We recently welcomed 50,000 visitors to our campus for Explore UT – the annual event we call “the biggest open house in Texas.”
Explore UT brings families, teachers, and K-12 students from all over Texas to the 40 Acres. Many of these students have never visited a university campus. They are greeted by our faculty, staff, and students, who guide them through fun programs in classrooms, libraries, and labs in nearly every corner of the campus. We hope to inspire these young visitors, as well, and introduce them to the idea that a college education will transform their lives. And that a college degree is a goal worth striving for.
Explore UT has been growing steadily since we began the program 11 years ago. This year, 443 school buses and 20 vans brought visitors from 261 schools in 65 Texas counties, representing 11 percent of the school districts in Texas. They came from as far away as El Paso, Plano, and the Rio Grande Valley.
Many current students tell us that they made their decision to attend UT based on their visit to campus during Explore UT. When UT aerospace engineering student Travis Imken was deciding on which university to choose, he discovered his answer at Explore UT. As he says, the day-long program gave him an opportunity “to check out the labs where students do projects and research, to talk with student organizations about their programs and how to get involved, and to interact with students and advisers. Explore UT was a great way for a prospective student like me to see what university life is really like and what to expect.”
I hope that all our visitors left campus with a better idea of what we do at UT—and a better sense of why we say “What starts here changes the world.”
Click here for a video of what the Explore UT experience means to Chris Lamons, a counselor at Southwest Elementary School in Belton, Texas, and her students. http://www.utexas.edu/features/2010/03/01/exploreut10/
Click here to watch a time-lapse video of visitors gathering to create the heart shape on UT’s Main Mall, deep in the heart of Texas. http://www.utexas.edu/know/2010/03/09/biggest-heart-in-texas/