Thor Lund

Student Government presidential candidate Thor Lund said he and running mate Wills Brown will bring a fresh perspective to SG if elected. “I’m pretty personable,” Lund said. “We’re very sincere in what we’re trying to accomplish.” One of Lund’s goals is to provide 24-hour access to the Perry-Castaneda Library.

Photo Credit: Zen Ren | Daily Texan Staff

Last month, Olivia Messer drew national attention when she published "The Texas Legislature's Sexist Little Secret" in The Texas Observer. In the article, Messer reveals an unsettling number of patronizing comments, inappropriate pick-up lines and sexist jokes made by male legislators and staffers, as well as a more general sense of male privilege that, according to some of the state's most prominent female lawmakers, can make working at the Capitol a trying — and at times even degrading — experience for women.

While the indignation Messer's article has incited is entirely justified, the sexist incidents she recounts can't hold a candle to the remarks made Wednesday by UT's very own Thor Lund, former Student Government president and current Blogspot enthusiast. Rather than wait for an exposé of his misogynistic attitudes to surface, Lund himself took to his blog to share dating tips and observations about the opposite sex in a post entitled "What I've learned about women."

His now infamous comments include assertions that the best way to attract a woman is to demean and insult her, and that guys should never text girls because "you don't really care, you just want to sleep with them."

And if you have any moral qualms about insulting women and then using them for sex, don't worry: "Honestly they deserve it," Lund assures his readers, for having "perplexed men since the beginning of time when they tricked us to eat the devil's food in the [G]arden of [E]den."

All considered, Lund's philosophy on women seems guided by a bizarre combination of paternalism, resentment and bewilderment, along with a rather tenuous grasp of evolutionary theory. It has been met with condemnation, both on campus and in a series of national news articles.

So why keep talking about it? Why draw even more attention to Lund and his asinine comments? Simple: Because today’s ambitious college politicians are tomorrow’s lawmakers, and we have a responsibility to keep those with repugnant worldviews out of office. Thanks to this newspaper and other media outlets, it appears that Lund’s political aspirations have been permanently dashed.

Still, one must wonder for how long he would have gotten away with his misogynistic lifestyle if he hadn’t chosen to share all its details with the public. In the blog, Lund makes clear that his friends have long aided him in employing his dubious tactics to pick up girls.

Evidently, no one who came into social contact with Lund at all these bars and parties found sufficient reason to report his behavior to the student body that elected him or the administrators with whom he worked on a daily basis.

The egregious private behavior of an elected official is never irrelevant to his or her job performance; the idea that Thor suspended his misogynistic views each time he stepped into the Student Government office is hopelessly naïve and unrealistic. You carry your beliefs and values with you wherever you go, and in this case Thor was allowed to carry his perception of women as pathological liars, whose only value lies in their ability to bear children, with him into meetings and onto stages for the past year.

Oliver is an English and sociology junior from New Braunfels and a guest columnist for the Daily Texan. 

Former Student Government President Thor Lund addresses attendees at an event held last November. 

Photo Credit: Ben Chesnut | Daily Texan Staff

Eleven things I learned from former student government president and current UT student Thor Lund’s recent blog post, “What I've learned about Women.”

1. Though women spend most of the day telling lies, once they’ve slept with Thor, they are completely and utterly honest, having been spellbound by his naked body and his interest in their stupid purses. Even if he once vomited on them.

“Girls are lying all day long. They lie about their feelings, their weight, how much cardio they did, and what they think of their best friend's oversized purse. But at the end of the day, when I get a girl back to my place, she will tell the truth about what she wants to do when she grows up, what her family is like, what her city is like, and why she has that stupid oversized purse. That builds trust and that builds relationships. That is what you want, you don't want some story to tell your homeboys about. You want a real beautiful and complex female counterpart to trust you and think of you as their friend. That is why even though half the girls I've been with hate my guts and think I'm a sleazy asshole, they still talk to me when I call them, they still laugh at my jokes, and they still remember the brief time we shared, even if it was only thirty seconds before I barfed all over them.”

2. Much like magnets, men with “mommy issues” attract women with “daddy issues.” These women then take out said daddy issues on Thor in “mostly sexual” ways.

“They take out their pent up issues on me in a number of different ways, mostly sexual, and then when I don't text them enough they call me a pompous asshole, but at least we had a fun while it lasted.”

3. Women are special as a holistic concept, but individually, they are not worth mentioning. Especially the ones we have here in the states.

"When you start treating one girl like she is special you will lose her. Women are special as a whole, but individually they are not, except for your sisters and mom and wife. Those ones are special. But regular girls at college and the bars, they aren't special. Newsflash for everyone who is so in love with the first girl they met. I can find one hundred million girls that look just like her but speak two languages. They live in Europe and they can cook way better than your so called perfect woman." 

4. But Thor? Thor is special.

"I'm lucky in that all I have to do is say "My name is Thor" and she usually recognizes that I was SG President, and if she doesn't one of my friends will be a good wingman and jump in and be like "Don't you know Thor? He was the president."

5. In addition to studying engineering, Thor has also dabbled in, or rather once read a Reddit post about, evolutionary science.

"Attraction is a not a choice, women don't sit around before they go out and say "hmmm well I think tonight I am going to hook up with Joe because he is smart and nice and I like his brown hair." No, in less than a second a woman is either attracted to someone or she isn't. The reason it is this way is because back in the day when we were hunting and gathering with our fellow neanderthals, women had to develop an acute sense of what type of man she met. She couldn't sit around and ponder the pros and cons of each caveman she came in contact with. She had to know in a snap instant whether this guy was going to love her and leave her or whether he was going to get her pregnant and stick around to protect and feed the tribe. We don't protect or feed the tribe like our ancestors did way back in the early days of humanity, but the evolutionary subconscious attraction switch still turns on or off just like it did when we were chasing wooly mammoth." 

6. Women are important because they can get pregnant, become mothers and care for young children. Young children like Thor.

“[Women] create life, they care for the young, and you better believe that your mother is the single greatest person in your life, because she carried your lazy ass for nine months inside of her! You started out so helpless that she literally had to give you her breast milk! So, love your mother, and every other woman that will some day be a mother… When I left my house four hours ago, I had put [my mother] in a bad mood because she had to pay $400 to keep me from getting arrested because I had two outstanding speeding tickets and missed both court dates.” 

7. Thor wants you to love all women — even those who don’t look like Halle Berry — but he’s not unaware of the power, and the impermanence, of “perky breasts” and a “toned ass.”

"Some day those perky breasts are going to sag below the belt line, and that toned ass is going to be all wrinkly and disgusting. At that point its not about the sexual attraction, its about the emotional attachment and waking up every day knowing that you are at least going to laugh and have a good time once more before you fall over and die."

8. Not unlike a cow’s hooves, a woman’s feet say a lot about her overall quality, especially when it comes to the quality of her “you know what.”

"The third and most important place you can look at a woman is her toes. Why? Because the toes tell all. If her feet are pretty and her nails are painted then you can assume the rest of her body is well groomed and cleaned. If she has gross feet, then chances are she has gross you know what and you will want to avoid that at all costs." 

9. The best way to get drunk for cheap while downtown is to make beautiful women think you are a demi-god, and they are losers barely worthy of your glance.

"Every other frat guy out there is going to say "you are so pretty, can I buy you a drink?" he just got friend zoned because he is like everyone else, and he asked for her permission. Instead walk up to a girl and say "hey you seem like no one will be your friend, so I'll let you buy thirty seconds of my time. I'll take a whiskey coke." She is going to be so confused because you aren't needy and asking for her permission. Instead you are assuming she is going to buy you a drink because you are in fact the catch, and she is just some loser." 

10. Bill Clinton became president not for the love of the job but for the love of oral sex in office spaces.

“Seriously think about it, did Bill Clinton become President because he wanted the world's most stressful job? No he did it because he wanted to get head in the oval office.”

11. Lastly, if you hook up with Thor, be sure to not talk about how special you are. In fact, don’t talk at all. Because respecting you as an individual is the job of some “nice clingy guy” who understands that continually saying “women are the best” in a blog post laced with rampant sexism is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.

"I only text girls that I hook up with two things "DT?" or "coming over tonight?" That’s it. I don't want to know what they had for lunch or what they thought about the Justin Bieber movie, that is the nice clingy guys job to find all that out. I just want to know if she is going to spend the night, or if I need to text someone else for that. 

In conclusion, women are the best. You should love them and treat them with respect. Do the opposite of what they want, unless they say no. Always do what they say when they say no!" 

MyEdu CEO Michael Crosno and Vice President Deepak Surana present to the UT System's Board of Regents in July.

Photo Credit: Will Crites-Krumm | Daily Texan Staff

MyEdu claims students support changes made by the company in the past year, but former student leaders doubt the changes are beneficial or worth the $10 million the UT System invested in the company. 

At the UT System regents meeting earlier this month, MyEdu showcased new features providing career services to the company’s website. MyEdu executives cited student satisfaction in their short presentation, which elicited few comments from the regents, but the company’s new career services options may not be the best direction for students, said Michael Morton, former Senate of College Councils president and UT alumnus. 

"I haven’t really been impressed with MyEdu and their communication with students on what exactly they’ve changed in their product," Morton said. "There’s a long way to go in order for MyEdu to be an effective company."

In October, MyEdu began offering career services on its website, as well as a “student profile” service. In an interview with The Daily Texan, Frank Lyman, chief product officer at MyEdu, said the profile gives students a place to showcase their skills to employers.

The partnership between UT and MyEdu began in 2011, when the UT System made a $10 million investment into MyEdu, a website that helps college students select their courses and professors online. John Cunningham, one of the company’s founders, is the son of former UT-Austin President and UT System Chancellor William Cunningham. The UT System Board of Regents were aware of the connection when the investment was made.

“MyEdu has always been an academic platform that helps students plan and succeed in college,” Lyman said. “What we recognized is that for a lot of students, the goal was really broader than just their academic success.”

However, Morton and former Student Government President Thor Lund both said they were concerned with MyEdu’s new focus on connecting students with employers. While in office, Lund and Morton were the only student members on UT’s MyEdu steering committee. 

“It presents a lot of ethical dilemmas when there’s a partnership between the UT System and MyEdu if students’ information is being giving to employers,” Morton said. “It really presents a lot of questions regarding what information is being used and how employers are having their jobs targeted toward students.”

The committee, also made up of faculty and staff members, meets with MyEdu representatives every month during the regular semesters to discuss ideas and issues with the company’s product. 

Lund said MyEdu’s job matching service is not the best place for UT students to find jobs. Lund pointed out that there are already Career Services offices and job fairs offered on campus.

“I don’t think that’s how the job process should go,” Lund said. “I don’t think people should be picked out for jobs based on what activities they’ve been in or how they did in certain classes. I think each person is a unique case, and you can’t judge them based on an online profile.”

Not all members of the steering committee share these concerns. Brad Englert, UT chief information officer and head of the steering committee, said students can choose not to use MyEdu if they do not want to use the service.

“We’re all for students getting jobs,” Englert said. “I’m not sure what the concerns would be, but you opt into it. It’s not that you’re required to use it.”

Englert said more than 90 percent of UT-Austin students have a MyEdu account.

The company also made changes to its professor review feature. Previously, the website allowed students to write both positive and negative reviews of professors and rate them on a five-star scale. According to Lyman, MyEdu removed the negative reviews and star-ratings as part of the company’s decision to move to an objective review method. Lyman said the site now offers questionnaires about professors’ classes.

“We changed our professor [review] model to a recommendation model,” Lyman said. “Every semester, we do a customer satisfaction survey with all of our students across the country. I specifically looked at the UT-Austin feedback for the April survey and there were zero negative comments around professor reviews and recommendations.” 

However, Lund said the company’s previous professor review system better served UT students.

“The reason I go to MyEdu is because I want to know how a professor teaches,” Lund said. “If they really wanted to be a successful company, they would bring back honest professor reviews. But for some reason, the company has decided that they’re a job hunting company.”

Michael Redding, former Graduate Student Assembly president, also expressed his frustrations with the company. Redding said while serving as GSA president, his attempts to contact MyEdu representatives about expanding the company’s services to graduate students were unsuccessful.

“My impression was that they weren’t very responsive when it came to working with students,” Redding said.

In a March letter to Rep. Roberto Alonzo, R-Dallas, Redding called the company an “unproven system.” Shortly after, he received an email from MyEdu CEO Michael Crosno regarding his comments. Redding shared the email exchange with The Daily Texan.

“We have worked very hard over the last year to build a partnership with all the System campuses and especially UT Austin,” Crosno wrote in the email. “Hopefully, you will take the time to learn more about what we are doing at UT Austin to work cooperatively with the administration, students and faculty.”

According to Crosno’s email, Crosno discussed Redding’s comments with UT Provost Steven Leslie.

“That was something that I’ve never seen before: The CEO of a company calling me out for calling his company out,” Redding said.

Lyman said Crosno always takes an interest with any student public opinion on MyEdu. 

“In this case he reached out to Michael Redding to invite him to lunch and try and better understand his thoughts on MyEdu,” Lyman said.

Redding and Crosno were unable to schedule a meeting with each other. 

“None of the other student leaders I have worked with like MyEdu,” Redding said. “I would definitely say that it is not the case that students, at least the elected student representatives at UT-Austin, like it.”

Responding to Lund, Morton and Redding, Lyman cited a MyEdu survey that found 96 percent of UT students surveyed expressed satisfaction with the company’s product.

“That suggests to me that most students are really pleased with what we are doing,” Lyman said.

In the future, Morton said the UT System must find a new way to make its partnership with MyEdu more beneficial to students since it now cannot take back its investment, 

“I can think of about 10 million areas that are better spent for the $10 million,” Morton said. “But you have to move forward. The money is spent. If [MyEdu and the UT System] can find a way that will improve how students find the courses that they need, and how they plan for their four years at the University, then that’s the key.”

Follow Jacob Kerr on Twitter @jacobrkerr.

MyEdu CEO Michael Crosno and Vice President Deepak Surana present to the UT System's Board of Regents in July.

Photo Credit: Will Crites-Krumm | Daily Texan Staff

While a presentation from MyEdu’s executives to the UT System’s Board of Regents elicited a positive response from the Regents on Thursday, some UT students are not pleased with the changes in MyEdu and the direction the company has taken since the system invested $10 million in 2011.

Michael Crosno, MyEdu chairman and CEO, and Deepak Surana, a vice president at the company, showcased the website’s student profile feature to the Board. MyEdu, previously a website that helped students pick professors and make schedules, now also doubles as a career search service for students. 

The student profile allows employers to interactively view multiple aspects of students, such as their skill set, work experience, coursework, interests, projects and more. At the meeting, Crosno and Surana said MyEdu allows students and employers to connect earlier and more efficiently.

“What MyEdu has always been about is helping kids succeed in college. We really focused in on how we can bring in jobs,” Cronso said. “This is a marketplace that puts supply and demand together.”

The UT System formed a partnership with MyEdu in 2011 and invested $10 million into the company. MyEdu was co-founded by John Cunningham, son of former UT president and UT System Chancellor William Cunningham.

While asking the MyEdu representatives questions, UT Regent Wallace Hall spoke highly of MyEdu.

“I’m really excited about what y’all have created,” Hall said.

But despite Hall's positive reaction to the presentation, some students said they feel the company is no longer representing students’ best interests. Former Student Government President and engineering senior Thor Lund, said the UT System should end its partnership with MyEdu. Lund, who served on a UT steering committee for MyEdu last semester, said the UT System does not benefit from MyEdu’s new focus on careers.

“There’s no one size fits all solution for the UT System. We have Career Services. We don’t need this website to take our information and basically sell it to employers,” Lund said. “I’m not impressed with the way MyEdu runs their business. You can learn a lot about somebody based on an online profile, but that’s not how you get jobs.”

MyEdu also allows students to post reviews of the professors they have taken classes with, but a star rating system the company previously used is gone. Instead, students write simple written responses to professors. Lund said balanced teacher reviews would make the site a worthwhile investment for the UT System.

“If a professor doesn’t teach a class well, then I think students should know that,” Lund said. “If they had honest and truthful reviews, both bad and good, then I think [MyEdu] would be of great value.”

Thursday’s regents' meeting also saw the introduction of new board members, Ernest Aliseda and Jeffrey Hildebrand. Hildebrand was not present at the meeting. The meeting was also the first for communications studies senior Nash Horne, the recently appointed student regent.

Also at the meeting, UT-Austin President William Powers Jr. announced the new Center for Latin American Law at the University will be named in honor of former U.S. Senator and UT alumnus Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

The Board also approved an $8 million repository for the Blanton Museum of Art. The repository will be funded by gifts to the University.

Follow Jacob Kerr on Twitter @jacobrkerr.

During the past academic year, former Student Body President Thor Lund and former Student Body Vice President Wills Brown have accomplished many successful developments throughout the UT campus. They were succeeded in office by the current president Horacio Villarreal and vice president Ugeo Williams.

Photo Credit: Becca Gamache | Daily Texan Staff

Thor Lund and Wills Brown said they ended their year in charge of Student Government with extended student services and a more visible Student Government.

“I have no regrets,” Lund said. “We did everything we wanted to and more.” 

When Lund and Brown ran for office last year, they planned to improve student life by extending night hours on campus for libraries and food vendors, increasing safety measures on and off campus and making Student Government more transparent. 

Lund said the initiatives they planned effected more students’ everyday lives and helped show what SG can do for the campus. 

“One of the most rewarding things is to see the fruits of your labor and the smiles of Longhorns,” Lund said. 

Several of the initiatives they campaigned for have become permanent additions, including 24-hour access to the Perry-Castaneda Library and the State of the 40 Acres address, a YouTube address that will be aired at least four times a school year.

Lund and Brown said they hope SG can continue working toward initiatives they could not fully execute, including extending shuttle bus service hours for the North Campus and the Riverside areas. 

“That was obviously something we couldn’t accomplish in just one year,” Brown said. “We’re hoping Horacio and Ugeo will want to continue with that and take the next step to make that happen.”

Lund said current President Horacio Villarreal and Vice President Ugeo Williams, who took office April 2, have already said they want to continue what Lund and Brown started and bring fresh ideas to benefit students.

“Horacio and Ugeo have good ideas and as they grow into their roles they are starting to understand more about their roles and their ideas,” Lund said.

Villarreal said Lund and Brown made a significant impact on SG and on campus.

“Thor and Wills had a vision when they took office and they worked tirelessly to made that vision a reality,” Villarreal said. “There is an obvious [similarity] to many of the initiatives that we’re implemented so we’ll do what we need to do to continue their legacy. We’ve got big shoes to fill.”

As for their futures, Brown said he will join Teach for America after graduating in May, while Lund said he will be on campus for one last semester in the fall. The two have been friends since third grade.

“It’ll definitely be weird not seeing Thor every day, but I’ll just be an hour down the road in San Antonio,” Brown said. “Also, when we’re both in grad school at UT in a couple years, we’ll just run for GSA president and vice president, or heck, maybe even SG president and vice president again, so we’ll be back.”

Printed on Thursday, April 11, 2013 as Lund, Brown reflect on legacy 

New student body president Horacio Villarreal was sworn into office Tuesday evening by former president Thor Lund. Villarreal and new vice president Ugeo Williams plan to implement initiatives such as upper division tutoring in the Sanger Learning Center and introduce more police call boxes in the north campus and Riverside areas.

Photo Credit: Mikaela Locklear | Daily Texan Staff

Newly elected Student Government President Horacio Villarreal and Vice President Ugeo Williams took their new positions at Tuesday’s General Assembly meeting.

Villarreal, a history senior, and Williams, a sociology and education senior, are replacing previous Student Government President Thor Lund and Vice President Wills Brown.

Villarreal said he was excited to start working toward initiatives and programs for which they campaigned.

“We’ve already been meeting with so many people on campus for the last few weeks, this just makes it official,” Villarreal said. “We’re ready to get started.”

The executive alliance campaigned with plans to strengthen the organization’s connection to the Senate of College Councils and the Graduate Student Assembly, as well as connecting with more students and organizations to better voice the opinions of the student body.

They also plan to provide upper-division tutoring at the Sanger Learning Center, pair incoming and transfer students with upperclassmen mentors and improve safety for students living in north campus and in the Riverside area by introducing more police call boxes.

The newly elected college and university-wide representatives also selected committee chairs in addition to taking their new positions.

Williams said the executive alliance plans to individually review the campaign platforms of the new Student Government representatives.

“I‘m just getting to know everyone and meeting with everyone one-on-one,” Williams said. “Since we are going to be working closely, I want to make sure I get along with everyone.”

Villarreal and Williams were elected Feb. 28, in a campus-wide election, winning 53 percent of the vote. Villarreal is a former University-wide representative and Williams is a former College of Education representative.

Brown said he and Lund are glad to pass on the control of Student Government to Villarreal and Williams.

“I have full faith in Horacio and Ugeo and believe they’ll do a great job,” Brown said. “They’re both stand-up guys who truly do care about this university and are ready to serve day-in and day-out. I’m very happy to be passing on the torch to these two awesome friends of mine.”

Student Government President Thor Lund, University Library Director Fred Heath and Vice President Wills Brown announce the indefinite continuation of the PCL’s 24/5. Keeping the PCL open 24 hours a day will come at the price of $40,000 more each year. 

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

The Perry-Castañeda Library’s 24/5 schedule will continue indefinitely, cementing its status as a home-away-from-home for students. 

Keeping the PCL open 24 hours, five days per week, will cost $40,000 more per year. Last semester, the PCL received funds from the Student Services Budget Committee, Office of the Provost, Division of Student Affairs and Texas Exes, but those organizations had only committed to funding the extended hours for the 2012-2013 academic year.

UT Athletics has historically given funds to the library system and decided to increase its planned donation this year to enable the extended hours, Natalie England, intercollegiate athletic communications manager, said.

Student government president Thor Lund and vice president Wills Brown, whose terms finish at the end of the month, campaigned on increasing the PCL’s hours. Lund, who presided with Brown at a celebration event launching PCL 24/5 for the rest of the spring Monday night, said he and Brown are happy to obtain the financial commitment from UT Athletics and have their main campaign promise realized. 

“It was just last year that Wills and I were standing outside the PCL with cardboard signs that said ‘24-hour PCL,’” Lund said. 

Brown said the donation has a deeper significance than simply fulfilling a goal he and Lund had set for themselves.

“It’s exciting, but it’s not about me or Thor,” Brown said. “It’s about the students and what makes them happy.”

Patrick Marsh, petroleum engineering senior and baseball player, attended the event on behalf of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to show his support of the extended hours. 

“With practices and games, having a library open at odd hours can only benefit us,” Marsh said. 

Electrical engineering freshman Abhi Kallur said he has already logged plenty of hours in the PCL — “as much as a freshman can” — and is happy to learn the hours had been extended indefinitely.

“Usually I can say most people study past 2 a.m.,” Kallur said. “It kind of gives you that extra motivation to keep going.”

Pre-pharmacy freshman Johana Campos said she is happy the extended hours mean she no longer has to walk home at 2 a.m.

“I live really far, and I’m always scared,” Campos said. “I would probably take a nap and keep studying.”

Printed on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 as: PCL to be 24/5 permanently 

As they look back over this past semester and ahead to the next one, Student Government president Thor Lund and vice-president Wills Brown said they are happy with what they see.

Brown and Lund announced later gym hours at Gregory Gym and the Recreational Sports Center on Wednesday night, the latest in a series of goals they met this past fall. Gregory Gym will now stay open until 1 a.m. and the Recreational Sports Center will stay open until 11 p.m.

“When Thor and I were freshmen, those were the hours,” Brown said. “The cutback was hard on us and from other students we heard from.”

With gym hours expanded, Brown and Lund said they are now looking forward to the spring, when their primary goal will be advocating for UT during the legislative session. Along with the Graduate Student Assembly, Senate of College Councils and other student organizations on campus, Student Government will lobby through a campaign called Invest In Texas.

“Every week we have meetings with the operational committee, going over platform, finalizing our points and preparing for what we need to do for winter break,” Lund said.

Among other requests, the Invest in Texas platform asks the Legislature to allow UT to decide its own admissions policy, determine its own campus gun policy and give the UT System student regent and the student representative on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board a vote in decisions.

Currently, Student Government is attempting to get outdoor water fountains built on campus.

“You got to promote hydration,” Brown said. “I’ve walked on campus and wished for an outdoor water fountain, because sometimes you don’t know where the water fountains are inside. And that’s odd.”

After asking for student input, Brown and Lund requested UT facilities install outdoor water fountains at Perry-Castañeda Library, near the intersection of Speedway and 24th Street and outside Robert Lee Moore Hall.

Although Lund and Brown expect Invest in Texas to keep them busy this spring, they said they were equally busy this past fall.

On the first day of classes and during their first student body YouTube address, Lund and Brown announced the Perry-Castañeda Library would start functioning on a 24/5 schedule midway through the semester.

“We’ve had students who we don’t know come up to us and thank us for making the PCL 24/5,” Brown said. “That was a huge deal for me.”

The initiative costs around $40,000 per year, of which the Student Services Budget Committee, the University Libraries and the Provost’s Office split the costs. When Lund and Brown met with the University’s administration about making the Perry-Castañeda Library 24/5, Brown said they were supportive.

“It was on us to find the money, but the administration was there to help us,” Brown said.

As an unexpected side effect, Travis Willmann, spokesperson for the Perry-Castañeda Library, said the library saw an 11.8 percent increase in visitors from October of last year compared to October of this year.

Lund and Brown also expanded Student Government this semester, creating the new Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency. Lund and Brown created the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency to increase support to student entrepreneurs.

“We want our entrepreneurial students to be as celebrated as our athletes,” Lund said.

Lund and Brown also restructured intramural sports, adding a basketball league to the fall and a football league to the spring. Brown said sign-ups for basketball in the fall filled up quickly, and he suspects sign-ups for football in the spring will fill up just as rapidly.

Printed on Friday, December 7, 2012 as: SG anticipates spring initiatives 

Student Government’s increased presence on YouTube might become permanent if a new bill passes through the general assembly next week.

Wills Brown, Student Government vice president, and Joshua Fuller, College of Liberal Arts representative, authored a new bill which would require future Student Government presidents and vice presidents to create at least four video addresses to the student body via YouTube every term. The general assembly will vote on the bill during Tuesday’s student government meeting in the Student Activity Center at 7 p.m.

Transparency and outreach were part of Student Government President Thor Lund and Brown’s campaign platform when they ran for their positions last spring. The two promised they would do regular YouTube addresses to update students on what Student Government is working on.

Student Government has released two videos this semester under Lund and Brown, one for September and another for October. They have made various announcements in these videos, including making the Perry-Castañeda Library operate 24 hours, five days a week midway through the semester.

“We have always said that we want students to know and recognize their student body president and vice president,” Lund said. “We want to stay connected with them and let them know that we are working every day to improve their lives on campus, and a video address is the best way to keep them updated and let them know what we are doing.”

Brown said the only concern he and Lund have heard is whether the bill would imply YouTube addresses are the only thing Student Government needs to do in terms of outreach. He said that is not the case.

“This is a stepping stone to more outreach and transparency,” Brown said. “This will require the future SG president and vice president do YouTube addresses, but they can do anything else they want. YouTube addresses are not the only thing they need to do.”

Brown said making the videos is a quick and easy process and normally takes no more than an hour. Since releasing the videos, Brown said he has been recognized on campus by strangers.

“In years past, the visibility of Student Government hasn’t been as much as it has been this year,” he said.

Anthropology senior Claire Porter said she had not seen the YouTube addresses Lund and Brown make. The addresses have been sent out via Twitter, Facebook and email. Porter could not name any of Student Government’s accomplishments, such as making the PCL 24/5.

“Honestly, I don’t know that much about Student Government,” Porter said. “It would be cool to hear more about them. I’m sure they do a lot of things I don’t know about.”

Porter is part of the group of students Lund and Brown are hoping the YouTube addresses will reach.

As of Tuesday, Student Government’s YouTube channel had 76 subscribers and a little more than 7,000 video views. Student Government represents more than 50,000 students.

Student Government voted Tuesday to make way for a new effort that will support Proposition 1, a Nov. 6 initiative that would bring UT a step closer to a medical school and teaching hospital.

Student body president Thor Lund, vice president Wills Brown and several other students presented initiative AR 15 at Tuesday’s Student Government meeting. The initiative calls for Student Government support of Proposition 1.

Proposition 1 would increase property taxes collected by Central Health, Travis County’s hospital district, from 7.89 cents to 12.9 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The increase would contribute $35 million toward operations at the teaching hospital and purchase medical services there from medical school students and faculty for the general public.

The AR 15 initiative explains why the proposed medical school and teaching hospital would benefit UT, Austin and the state of Texas, citing the creation of 15,000 jobs and the generation of $2 billion in annual economic activity locally.

Lund said the new medical services will be necessary to put UT on par with other universities in that respect.

“It brings a lot of prestige to UT,” he said. “A lot of the other top institutions around the nation have medical schools so it would only make sense that UT Austin had a medical school.”

Printed on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 as: Senator Zaffirini supports Proposition 1