Austin College Reflections

Seeing Race


The moment that many white students walk into my course they are experiencing a series of firsts: The first time many of them have had a black teacher or professor. The first time many of them have ever taken a class dealing with African-American history. The first time many of them have been in a class with so many black and Latino students. The first time many of them have taken a class that does not meet their parents’ approval. The first time many of them feel like a minority. The first time many of them will be in a class that forces them to confront African-American issues and concerns.

Source: Seeing Race | The Alcalde

The Alcalde has a very enjoyable article about Dr. Leonard Moore’s History of the Black Power Movement course, taught in the fall semesters at The University of Texas at Austin.

It has been nearly 13 years since my freshman year at UT-Austin—holy 💩 has it been that long?—and what struck me walking on to 40 Acres for the first time was that lack of diversity after 12 years of attending some of the highest minority-attending public schools in my hometown. In fact, it was one of the earliest posts on this site after it adopted a blog format.

I’m excited that this is being offered at UT and that it is in high demand.

College Funny

Texas Legohorns

Meet Drew Finkel, the Longhorn who built the UT Tower and DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium out of Legos.

Installing a tablet into the scoreboard of the stadium, playing Longhorn highlights is my favorite touch.

Source: Lego Land | An Alcalde Interactive Feature


Is a Texas Edition Pickup Truck…

Is a Texas Edition pickup truck too broad for you? We have you covered. Chevy has announced the 2015 Chevy Silverado University of Texas Edition.

No, seriously.

College Personal Reflections

Why I’m Embarrassed By My Degree

I am embarrassed by my degree. Not my major, nor my university, but the date on it. I’m embarrassed by it, partly, because very few people, previously to this post, knew about the secret of the date printed on it.

Earlier this week, I was picking up my Texas Exes Life Membership packet which reminded me of all of this. One of the pieces of Life Membership includes a beautiful Life Member certificate. “The Alumni Association of The University of Texas at Austin… This hereby certifies Brandon Joseph Kraft, BA Sociology ’10 as a champion of the University and as life member…” 2010.

I started college in 2002. It was a bit rocky. Much of it was self-induced between an ungodly level of unmerited self-confidence and cockiness mixed in with finally dealing with the emotional burden of my father’s death. In truth, I am probably a good example of someone who should have done something for a couple of years before starting school.

I took on a full-time job and overcommitted in various organizations. Finally, after five years, I “graduated”. I walked the stage, I did the dog and pony show. At UT-Austin, you can walk the stage when you’re within a certain number of hours of graduation. I only lacked the must-take Sociological Theory and four semesters of foreign language. Four semesters.

A long story made short, my self-confidence continued as I tried various self-study, technologically-fancy methods trying to knock out 16 credit hours of Spanish, which only netted me 5 hours, until I finally accepted that I need to do it in a traditional way. By this point, I had already left my full-time job of five years for another one, but managed to fit in 11 credit hours of Spanish within two semesters at the local Austin Community College.

After another semester passed for the paperwork to get processed, since another semester is meaningless at this point, The University awarded my degree on August 16, 2010.

The fact that I shy away from the date, trying to make up for it. “I started school in 2002” or “I finished full-time coursework in 2007”. I’m embarrassed by it. I took longer than Tommy Boy.

Looking at the Life Member certificate though reminds me that I can’t be ashamed of not fitting into the typical progression. BA ’10 will be next to my name anytime I’m mentioned by the Exes. And that’s okay. Part of being okay with it is dropping any pretense with anyone that I was academically excellent in college, thus this public statement.

At the end of the day, I graduated from one of the best universities in the world dropped in ranking since then; it was high during the majority of my time truly on campus, regardless of degree, incredibly enjoy my work, and am overjoyed with my family. Now that it is over, it doesn’t matter if I complete a degree in two years or ten years.

Brandon Kraft, BA ’10.


Here and No Further

Yesterday, the Board of Regent for The University of Texas System authorized UT-Austin to purchase Players, the beloved burger joint.

photocredit: Austin Chronicle

In 2005, the University attempted to acquire Players too. At the time, the price offered by UT was too low for the owners of Players and UT was authorized to use eminent domain to seize the property. The rub: UT was planning on seizing it for a parking garage for a hotel. A petition drive started with some virtual signatures and mostly physical signatures (remember, this was Facebook wasn’t, it was and looked like this. Long ago!)

The media loved the story. I was on the Bobby Bones Show. The Statesman ran a story about the effort. TV news outlets reported it. We made noise. There was support in the Texas House and a bill won overwhelming support against the University using eminent domain.

I haven’t spoke with the owners since news broke yesterday. If they don’t want to sell, we’re going to help them. Save Players is back.

[ Website ] [ Facebook ] [ Twitter ]

“But Kraft, it’s just a burger place. There’s nothing particularly unique about it.” True, absolutely true. However, it’s that third space. For most of us, we have a first space (home) and a second space (work/school). We need our place to go to where we can relax and socialize. Players is that place for many folks in Central Austin. Virtually on campus (or else UT wouldn’t want it), it is easily accessible to the southern half of campus. From living in Jester to working at the University Catholic Center, Players was the place to hang out, meet with friends, watch the game and get a bite to eat. Picture “Cheers” but on a college level.