Written by Shae Carey.

On Monday, November 27th, the Fall 2017 new members of the Liberal Arts Council put on an event called “Hot Chocolate with Charities” that enabled students to connect with different charities while sipping on hot chocolate provided by Texas Coffee Traders.

The event had the highest non-Council attendance in Liberal Arts Council history.

Eighteen charities attended the event and informed students about how they could get involved with their respective organizations.

The event also included a panel with professors from the UT community who discussed their involvement with charities. In attendance was Dr. Erick Akins from the Department of Geography, Dr. Pamela Paxton from the Department of Sociology, Dr. Stephanie Holmsten from the Department of Government, and Julie Casey, MA from the Department of Liberal Arts Honors. They discussed how they were involved with nonprofits, how nonprofits shape the political climate, and how they recovered when they hit a roadblock in their work.

While organizing the logistics of the event, the new members were assisted by the Liberal Arts Council Membership Director, Gabi Velasco.

“As Membership Director, I view the event as an opportunity to imbue new members with agency. Joining a large, established organization can be a bit intimidating,” Velasco said.

“I think a totally self-guided, collaborative project that the new members get to own is an amazing opportunity for empowerment. Learning how to plan a complete event from start to finish and learning how to work with a team of 24 peers develops leadership skills in the new members that guide them towards individual initiatives in LAC. More than that, I think it gives them really important professional skill sets,” she added.

Reflecting on the experience of working with the Fall 2017 new member class as a whole, Velasco said, “Our event was truly the result of this group’s unique collaboration and ambition, and guiding them to that result was honestly an honor.”



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