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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas Rising at TXST encourages students to vote, find individual voices

Photo Courtesy of Isabella Nieto
Public administration senior Jacob Graybill (left) assists students with voter registration forms, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, in front of Alkek Library.

According to Statista, in 2022, adults from the age of 18-24 were the lowest group of registered voters in the U.S. with only 49.1% being registered. Texas Rising at Texas State is here to change that.

Texas Rising is a nonprofit, nonpartisan project within Texas Freedom Network, a statewide grassroots organization with a mission toward equality and social justice.

The main mission of Texas Rising is to promote voter education and outreach to college students. Since 2018, Texas Rising has created chapters on more than 20 college campuses in Texas, including the University of Texas at Austin, Baylor University, Texas A&M University and Texas State.

“Our main goal is to empower young people,” Isabella Nieto, Texas Rising’s regional program coordinator for San Antonio and San Marcos, said. “Those are the people that we’re trying to reach and get more involved to feel like they have the skills, capacity and the voice to advocate for themselves and others.”

Along with encouraging students to register to vote, Texas Rising also advocates for reproductive justice, climate justice, LGBTQ+ equality, immigration and criminal justice reform and more, according to Nieto.

Texas Rising has collaborated with local advocacy group Mano Amiga to collect petition signatures for Prop A to be placed on the ballot and contributed to get an immigrant Legal Defense Fund passed.

Although Texas Rising has had satisfactory changes for its organization, the main struggles members see is the lack of confidence students have in their own voice.

“A lot of people are just apathetic that their vote even matters,” Jacob Graybill, a public administration senior and leader for Texas Rising, said. “That’s something that I try to fight against and overcome. There’s sensible things that we can work for on a local level where we can actually see our voices being heard.”

Graybill came in as a leader this semester, but has been intrigued to join a political organization since 2020 after taking a Texas politics course his freshman year. Since his newfound love for becoming involved with Texas activism, Graybill has spent most of his time this semester helping students register to vote and making greater connections with members in the state capitol.

“I’ve met so many [people] through tabling on campus and getting to know so many smart politically-minded students in the area,” Graybill said. “We’ve also gone up to the Capitol and I’ve been able to get more educated and network with a lot of these generous political officials. It has been really beneficial.”

The need to join a political organization was the same for Adriana Montoya, a public administration senior and a leader for Texas Rising at Texas State. Montoya joined in 2021 after seeing the work Texas Rising did in her hometown El Paso.

Through her time with Texas Rising, Montoya has not only become grateful for meeting new students, but she has become determined to make sure voices are followed through, one student at a time.

“I am responsible for getting people registered to vote and making sure that even after people are registered to vote that they still understand the issue,” Montoya said. “It doesn’t just end with them signing the paper. It’s a whole process of keeping students civically engaged.”

To keep up with Texas Rising at Texas State, visit its Instagram @texrisingtxst. To learn more about Texas Rising, go to txrising.org.

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