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changing the world What your investment in UT makes possible student working on the entry. “The enthusiasm and support that we generated on HornRaiser are going to help our team immeasurably on this exciting journey.” Following the competition, the team will reassemble the house in East Austin as part of the School of Architecture’s pioneering Alley Flat Initiative, which promotes sustainable development. University leaders say such hands-on opportunities, whatever the discipline, are vital to a well-rounded and enriched educational experience. While UT does not have the means to support every worthy initiative on its own, the hope is that HornRaiser can help fill some of the gaps. Knowing that, for many projects, support of any

HELPING PROSPERITY GROW Longhorns go global to improve lives.

202 donations pumped $30,447 into the first 3 HornRaiser projects. Raise your Horns at

EMBRACE THE CROWD The campus community welcomes HornRaiser, a new tool to turn innovative ideas into reality.

Above: HornRaiser enabled

students on UT’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team to gain hands-on experience designing, building, and operating flying vehicles. Lower right: Architecture students are developing Nexushaus, a model of sustainability, efficiency, and affordability. Opposite: Robbie Paras spent a summer in Mongolia helping low-income women become entrepreneurs. creditS: Clockwise from

above: Jim Tran; Robbie Paras; Michael Rahmatoulin

54 |The


tudents and faculty at


have great ideas all the time ,

but the resources to get them off the ground? That’s often another story. Enter HornRaiser, the university’s official crowdfunding platform, which launched in the fall. Similar to Kickstarter,

it offers a fast and easy way to garner support for unique, diverse, and socially compelling concepts—only with a burnt-orange pedigree in this case. HornRaiser provides the campus community—students, faculty members, and staffers—a vehicle for raising philanthropic funds by leveraging their social media networks for initiatives that might not otherwise see the light of day. The effort began with three projects, two of which well surpassed their goals. Five to eight teams are expected to vie for funds in the spring semester. With 30- and 45-day projects kicking off March 18 and wrapping up April 16 and May 1, details of each of the projects—and countdown timers tracking their progress—are at After participating in HornRaiser’s inaugu-

ral funding round, one group of students is a step closer to representing UT—the only school selected from Texas—in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in California this October. The team, which is designing Nexushaus, an 850-square-foot solar-powered house for the competition, raised $21,422 (214 percent of their $10,000 goal) when one of their donors pitched in a $10,000 match. “We jumped at the opportunity to share the Nexushaus message of sustainability, energy efficiency, and affordability with the Longhorn community, and we’re ecstatic with the results,” says Jessica Janzen, an architecture graduate

size can make a tremendous impact, the Annual Giving Programs team in the University Development Office operates HornRaiser and selects project campaigns based on the strength of their idea and their commitment level. Funding goals, typically between $5,000 and $20,000, are then set. Donors who invest in projects are treated as insiders, receiving progress updates and, in some cases, exclusive benefits. For example, sponsors of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team—a project by students from across engineering and computer science disciplines to build a fully composite plane—were offered lab tours and flight demonstrations during the fall funding effort. “HornRaiser allows motivated project champions to engage their networks for charitable gifts in support of their passion,” says Adrian Matthys, BA ’97, director of Annual Giving Programs. “This is just one more example of how The University of Texas is empowering its community to change the world, one project at a time.”


ublic service by UT students takes many forms, but some of the most far-reaching efforts are those that promote economic development and fight poverty worldwide. That is the case with the William H. Crook Program in International Affairs, which awards fellowships each year to support students working on concrete, practical solutions in the developing world.

So far, more than 50 fellowship recipients have fought poverty around the world. Bill Crook was a pioneer in global development who established the Office of Economic Opportunity at the request of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 and was national director of VISTA, now known as AmeriCorps. Honoring his impact in the fight on poverty, the Crook Program launched in 2008 at UT’s Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law with funding from his wife, Eleanor Crook, and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. Since then, more than 50 fellowship recipients have worked with innovative

nonprofit organizations to improve economic, social, and educational conditions of communities in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Robbie Paras is working toward an MA in global policy studies and plans to pursue a career in international development. As a Crook Fellow, Paras spent last summer working with the Asia Foundation in Mongolia, where she helped low-income women learn to become entrepreneurs through sustainable small-scale farming. “Because Mongolian cuisine is based on a traditional, herding lifestyle, it consists mainly of meat and dairy products. So introducing fresh produce is one way to promote a more balanced diet,” Paras says. “Beyond that, growing and selling vegetables has encouraged these women to embrace entrepreneurship while providing for their families. For many, it has been a way to escape inequality and poverty. Over time, this brings about positive, long-term behavioral and social changes that will improve their lives and their communities.” The Crook Program is one more example of something that starts on campus—with the help of a privately funded endowment, in this case—and goes on to change the world, as well as the lives of the students who participate. Crook Fellows blog about their experiences at

s e p t e m b e r | o c t o b e r 2011

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Changing the World - Mar-Apr 2015  

Featured in The Alcalde, Mar/Apr 2015

Changing the World - Mar-Apr 2015  

Featured in The Alcalde, Mar/Apr 2015