Political Student Organization Hosts Workshops on Texas Legislature
By Avery Hough
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – With the 88th Texas legislative session now in full swing, the University of Texas political student organization Texas Rising held its first TX LEGE 101 workshop of the year.
The goal of the Feb. 15 meeting was to teach students about the legislature’s structure, key players and upcoming bills in the legislature.
Established in 2018, the UT chapter of Texas Rising hopes to make a large impact by registering voters, protesting and keeping students informed.
UT Austin sophomore Maggie Disanza said being part of a progressive political group in Texas can often be laborious and disappointing, but having a loving community to turn to during difficulties is truly radical.
She said the legislature can be intimidating to young people so events like this aim to make it more approachable.
“They’re super important so that young people feel that they have the power to go and make a difference and advocate for themselves, their needs, and their communities,” Disanza said. “Without this knowledge base, a lot of young folks feel like politics, or the legislature or city council are super inaccessible.”
Disanza said she wants to make sure students feel empowered to speak in political spaces.
“We want to make sure that all young folks know that their voice really does matter, not just when it comes to voting but even after elections are over,” she said. “If they don’t know what’s going on …often their voices go unheard and it’s important that all students are listened to.”
Texas Rising membership coordinator Nicholas Basha said young people who do not get involved in politics risk being taken advantage of by the government.
“People under 30 are the largest cohort in Texas, yet our positions are some of the most underrepresented in the legislature,” Basha said.
“The more we speak up, the more we vote, the more we get involved whether that be making phone calls or some of the stuff beyond just voting, the more our representatives start to consider our power.”
Texas Rising student leader Tatum Owens said being an informed voter can go a long way in making a change in the legislature, but there are also more active measures to take.
“Things you can do right now and going forward is attend hearings. You can provide testimony, you can contact legislators,” Owens said. “If you visit Texas Legislature online you can create catered content for yourself on issues that are important to you and your community.”
The organization put a recap of its workshops on its Instagram to give those who could not attend the meeting the opportunity to stay informed.
Through Texas Rising and its TX LEGE 101 workshops, Disanza said she wants people to feel empowered to take action.
“It’s never too early or never too late to get involved in these forms of advocacy and just to be aware of what’s happening in our state because there’s a lot at stake,” she said.