An Army of Volunteers

 

The dedicated members of the Texas Exes’ 146 chapters power our purpose worldwide.

An Army of Volunteers

Every day, in communities around the world, alumni volunteers go about the business of engaging their fellow UT grads and connecting them with our alma mater. These volunteers, who donate their time and money, are the lifeblood of our Association. They plan and carry out the scholarship fundraisers, recruiting drives, service projects, legislator visits, cookoffs, game watches, Thirsty Thursdays, and countless other events that represent the basis of the Texas Exes’ mission—all in their spare time, fueled by their passion for UT.

Without these volunteers, the Texas Exes’ global impact would not be what it is today. This year, the Association awarded a record $2.53 million in scholarships, with $525,000 of that going to chapter scholarships for 352 students from the chapters’ communities. At a time when it’s harder than ever for students to afford a world-class education, the importance of these scholarships cannot be overstated. We are proud of these students, of their success on the Forty Acres, and of the 3.21 average GPA they have achieved.

Fifty-three Texas Exes chapters participated in our monthlong volunteer initiative, Project Worldwide, last February. Alumni donned their burnt orange and gave back to their communities. Some cleaned up parks; others worked in food kitchens, and still others organized clothing drives. There are few efforts that better illustrate what the University means when it says “what starts here changes the world” than its alumni out working to improve their communities for their neighbors.

Chapter volunteers are vital to the Texas Exes mission of communicating the value of UT.

Increasingly, our chapters are mobilizing to help advocate on the University’s behalf. As Capitol insiders will tell you, only so much advocacy can take place in Austin. Often the real work gets done in the districts, in conversations between legislators and their constituents. More than ever, our chapter volunteers are having those conversations with their elected representatives and urging them to advance the positive impact The University of Texas at Austin makes on our state, our nation and the world. This is something the University cannot do for itself, and it’s one of the many ways the Texas Exes works to generate favorable feelings toward higher education.

Chapter volunteers are vital to the Texas Exes’ mission of communicating the value of UT. We fill our many communications channels, from our sprawling social-media community to this magazine, with stories like the one about Richard Crooks, a UT researcher whose breakthrough in saltwater desalination could affect the future of our planet, or the story of Alejandra Ortega, a Forty Acres Scholar and UT freshman who was the first in her family to graduate from high school. She has already converted her aunts, uncles, cousins, and parents into diehard UT fans. The Alcalde staff can tell these stories, but it is our chapter leaders and volunteers who read them, learn from them, and share them with friends and neighbors.

This is an important time for our alma mater as it marches toward its goal of becoming the top public research university in the country. To achieve that, it needs its alumni informed and engaged. I invite you to get involved with your local chapter today. If there isn’t one in your area, we’ll help you start one. We ask that you reach out to alumni you know and encourage them to join the Texas Exes as Life Members. The more of us who work together as a unified front to support students, to inform others of the value of UT, and to serve as its champions, the more power we have to advance The University of Texas at Austin.

Charles Matthews
President, Texas Exes

Photo courtesy Thinkstock.

 

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