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5 Ways You Can Help UT Students Change the World

Rolling up your sleeves and putting research to work is a big part of the Longhorn experience. Our students don’t just learn about helping people. They are out there making these ideas a reality.

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Rolling up your sleeves and putting research to work is a big part of the Longhorn experience. From creating a solar energy system to power a children’s malnutrition clinic in Guatemala to developing sustainable housing ideas for post-earthquake Nepal – Our students don’t just learn about helping people. They are out there making these ideas a reality.

And they need your help.

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For three years, UT students and faculty members have been harnessing the power of the Longhorn Nation to fund projects with HornRaiser – the university’s crowdfunding platform. HornRaiser gives donors a direct way to connect with specific projects on the Forty Acres. It allows students, faculty members and staffers to kick-start new projects and push existing ones to new heights. All donations are tax-deductible and are managed directly through The University of Texas at Austin.

Below are five ways you can help UT students change the world.

1. Provide an Entire Community with Clean Drinking Water

Over the course of the year this team of nine engineering undergrads will be designing a water filtration system for the community of Don Kang in Thailand. Their goal is to provide clean drinking water to approximately 400 individuals by creating a water distribution station. During the school year, they will design the entire project. In the summer, they will travel to the community to construct the filtration system and the distribution station.

This hands-on research is part of Projects with Under-served Communities (PUC), a unique program at The University of Texas at Austin that combines the challenges of community need and student enrichment. The program is a collaboration among the International Office, the Cockrell School of Engineering and the School of Social Work.

Want to help? PUC Team Thailand needs funding for the material costs for the new filtration system. Learn more.

2.Reconstruct Homes in Post-Earthquake Nepal

An interdisciplinary team of faculty members and graduate students from UT Austin, Nepal, Japan and the Netherlands is developing reconstruction plans for a collection of rural Nepali villages destroyed by the 2015 earthquake. Hosted by the LBJ School of Public Affairs, this team is tackling the question: How should Nepal rebuild homes when traditional methods won’t work? Earth-brick or stone construction has not fared well during earthquakes, because stacked bricks and stones connected by mortar tend to crumble or liquefy when shaken. The government of Nepal has reconstruction funds to rebuild, but it is still searching for a viable reconstruction plan.

The class members will develop ideas for sustainable construction of housing along with approaches to provide community water and utilities. The suggested technical outcomes will be to provide guidance to the Nepalese reconstruction authorities. The class is raising funds to travel to Nepal. Read more.


3. Promote Inclusion in Astrophysics


This coalition of astronomers and astrophysicists believes that “the best science gets done when we maximize the number of talented minds we can put together for a problem.” That is why they created the TAURUS program, a full-time, nine-week summer research experience in astronomy for highly motivated undergraduate students from underserved and traditionally marginalized groups.

TAURUS scholars come from across the country to UT Austin to work one-on-one with professional astronomers on an individual and unique research project. By giving them a hands-on professional scientific research experience, the program prepares TAURUS scholars to enter graduate school in top-rated astronomy and physics programs or to enter the STEM workforce after graduation.

The program is funded mostly by grants from National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), but not all costs related to the TAURUS program are covered. Find out how you can help fund a TARUS scholar’s travel, room and board.

4. Brighten the Futures of Malnourished Children in Guatemala

Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. In rural areas, chronic malnutrition affects 69.5 percent of children. The long-lasting effects include delays of motor and cognitive development, stunted growth and decreased muscle mass. A group of engineering and social work students has joined together to battle malnutrition in Guatemala.

These UT students are partnering with a group called Proyecto U.N.O. to design and build a solar energy system for a clinic in Guatemala. Their goal is to meet 100 percent of the clinic’s energy demands. “The money Hermana Edna (the clinic’s owner) saves with this system will go towards improving services in the clinic and basic necessities such as food, equipment, and medicine!” says the team on its HornRaiser webpage.

This project is being conducted in association with Projects with Under-served Communities (PUC), which provides technical solutions to communities in need. Read more about how you can help PUC Team Guatemala improve children’s access to health care.

5. Empower an Indian Farming Community with Education

This group of motivated engineers and social work students is building a community center in India to promote education. Part of Projects with Under-served Communities, PUC Team India will be traveling to a semi-rural village, Packianathapuram in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They will work closely with the local people and a nonprofit organization to construct a multipurpose Community Learning Resource Center.

Your support on HornRaiser goes directly toward the costs of construction and furnishing for the center. Whether small or large, donations will do everything from buying books to laying the foundation of the building.

“By providing improved learning resources and a central meeting space, we plan to connect this community to greater economic empowerment, promote discussion of social and political issues, and improve education for women and children,” the team’s HornRaiser page says. “We are extremely dedicated to this project and hope to use our academic skills to better the lives of others around the world.” Learn more.

There are 20 projects participating this year in HornRaiser. Check out some other ways to give at Hornraiser.utexas.edu.