Getting Festive with Texas Tribune CEO, Evan Smith

By Pete Ramirez

The Texas Tribune, a digital, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization, is hosting it’s eleventh annual Texas Tribune Festival beginning on Monday, September 20, 2021 and ending Friday evening, September 25, 2021. 

This festival brings together leading politicians and policy makers within local, state and national government to participate in a mix of one-on-one interviews, panels and networking sessions hosted by some of the premier journalists in the nation.

Students are eligible to purchase discounted student tickets to the virtual festival for $49 by following this link: https://festival.texastribune.org/. General admission tickets are $199.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the festival will be held entirely online in a virtual setting. “It’s the second and hopefully the last festival that will be virtual,” said Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune. 

Smith said that although his organization originally wanted to host a portion of the event in-person, completely pivoting to virtual allows the event to be more accessible to not only the politicians and policy makers, but to casual fans of the Tribune who can now participate from the comfort of their homes.

“We provide all kinds of opportunities for people to spend time with some of the biggest thought leaders and influencers around Texas and around the county,” Smith said. 

A few of the biggest names that will be attending the event are: U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Senator, John Cornyn, staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and creator of the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones and former U.S. Representative, Beto O’Rourke.

For a list of all the speakers who will be attending the festival, follow this link.

“If you care about politics, if you care about policy, if you care about Texas, if you care about the world, there are going to be incredible opportunities that you would not otherwise have, to be part of conversations about those things,” Smith said.

Students who attend can benefit from the festival’s networking opportunities and grow their knowledge on nearly any subject they may be interested in.

“As a student, especially, this is a great moment to expand your thinking,” Smith said. The Tribune’s event provides a safe place for attendees to listen to views that challenge their preconceived notions on certain issues. 

“The goal is that there is something for everybody. And if you allow yourself to stray from the things that you are coming to see, there are going to be other things over here that you are not aware of but are going to be interesting also,” said Smith.

The Texas Tribune and their festival want attendees to walk away from their event better informed and more engaged citizens.

Smith also shared that there will be a session which is exclusively for students attending the festival.

Before our interview came to a close, Smith provided some words of wisdom for journalism students looking to enter the industry.

“The best advice I can give anybody wanting to break into the journalism business is you want to be a swiss army knife and not a meat cleaver,” Smith said. “We need people like that. We need multi-tool players more than we’ve ever needed them.”

Student Organization Profiles

By: Patrick Davis

Joining a student organization at Austin Community College may be the last thing on your list considering the demands from classes, work, family responsibilities, internships, and more. However, there are students involved in student organizations who will tell you that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. ACCENT met with three students involved with student organizations to hear about their experiences.

ACC’s Student Life website has a list of 115 student organizations, although not all of them are active. If a student cannot find the organization they are looking for, an advisor will work with the student to create a new organization. That is exactly what happened to Devin Driskell of the Future Business Leaders of Austin (FBLA) and Ashley Pesina of the Latinx Student Union (LXSU).

Pesina was a member of the Hispanic Students Association (HSA) in 2009. When she came back to ACC ten years later, she found that HSA was no longer active. With Advisor Jessica Oest’s help, Pesina started working on a new student organization for Latinx students. LXSU officially became an organization in Oct. of 2020.

The group’s primary purpose is “helping individuals escape a sense of otherness that the Latinx community is often confronted with,” Pesina said.

Although LXSU is concentrated on the Latinx community, the group welcomes all students.

Ayeesha Green giving a presentation on finance during a virtual Future Business Leaders of Austin (FBLA) meeting
Ayeesha Green giving a presentation on finance during a virtual Future Business Leaders of Austin (FBLA) meeting.

FBLA was also founded by a student who couldn’t find the club they were looking for. Since starting FBLA only two years ago, the student organization membership has grown to have 50 members to this day. The group aims to “help people be ready for their journey into the business world,” Driskell said.

While the group is focused on business majors, Driskell believes that the skills fostered by FBLA such as public speaking, networking, and interview skills, can be of use to students who are pursuing any degree plan.

Alpha Gamma Pi is the ACC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an international honor society for community colleges. The group was founded on four hallmarks: scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship. PTK works in the community through service projects and volunteer opportunities.

Alicia Stadler is currently the vice president of PTK of the Highland campus and has served as president and historian in past semesters. Stadler said that she initially joined PTK to improve her transfer application but gained a tight-knit support system.

“The officer team has become my family. I love them all. They’re great people,” Stadler said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, student organizations have moved their club meetings and events to online platforms such as Google Meet and Zoom. Pesina has noticed that meeting virtually makes it challenging to bond with other LXSU members. However, Driskell has actually seen a rise in FBLA membership since the start of the pandemic, presumably because virtual meetings are more convenient for students to attend than in-person events. The biggest challenge these students have faced when joining or starting the groups has been finding the time to participate and organize activities.

Driskell sees a silver lining in that challenge, as it has helped him improve his time management skills. He has also become more comfortable with public speaking.

In addition to time-management, Pesina also cites greater patience and accountability as qualities she has gained during her time with LXSU.

Driskell, Pesina, and Stadler all speak highly of their time spent in student organizations. The time invested can create new friendships, networking opportunities, and real-life skills. Student organizations give their members the chance to work with a diverse group of people, including other students, advisors, and industry professionals.

Stadler encourages anyone who has the opportunity to join a student organization to do so.

“You never know if you’re going to meet your best friend, or meet somebody who could help you get into these dream schools, or just meet some really, really great people.” Stadler said.

Plastic Free July

Jasmin Rostamnezhad, Austin Community College’s Sustainability Coordinator, is interviewed by ACCENT’s Editor-In-Chief, Pete Ramirez.

By Pete Ramirez

Take a look around you. How many items in your vicinity are made from plastic? 

With a quick scan around my room, I can count at least twenty things that have some sort of plastic used in the product. I’m sure your number is nearly the same, if not, more.

 Plastics have infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives. They are so ubiquitous that it’s hard for me to imagine a world without them.

Our global obsession with the low-cost and convenience of plastics has come with a hefty price to our environment. 

You’ve seen these images of huge, floating garbage patches in the ocean. Next time you go to a beach or to the Greenbelt, take a good look around and you’ll find plastic waste throughout the most popular locations. 

For those of you who are tired of the abuse we are inflicting on the Earth, Plastic Free July is a perfect opportunity for you to commit yourself to being more conscious about your plastic consumption and adopt new habits that decrease your use of plastic altogether.

Jasmin Rostamnezhad, Austin Community College’s Sustainability Coordinator, said that Plastic Free July is an “educational opportunity to bring this issue of plastic pollution to the forefront of people’s minds.”

The month-long event gives people the opportunity to take on the challenge of decreasing their plastic consumption or eliminating plastic from their lives entirely.

“It’s not about telling people, ‘Don’t consume plastic for the whole month’ and then don’t think about it,” Anne Cuzeau, a computer science major and sustainability steward at ACC’s Energy & Sustainability department, said. “It’s more about having a really big global conversation about plastic and how we can address this crisis.”

“[ACC] is always trying to come up with ways to do Plastic Free July all year long,” Rostamnezhad said.

In 2020, ACC officially became a styrofoam free campus, Rostamnezhad said. This means ACC does not purchase products with styrofoam packaging. If a product arrives with styrofoam, the energy & sustainability department will reach out and notify the vendor that the school needs their products packaged differently.

As many of us now know, recycling is not all it’s cracked up to be. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, less than 10% of plastics actually find a repurposed life as a new container, the majority of the remaining 90% is usually buried in the ground at a landfill.

The folks at ACC’s Energy & Sustainability Department have long recognized this and have taken concrete steps to embrace composting throughout it’s campuses. It’s not hard to locate a compost bin when at an ACC location.

Not only is plastic harming the environment and its biodiversity, it’s also harming the health of human beings.

“Plastic is made through the oil industry and the chemicals that are within the plastic can leach into the foods that you are eating from packaging or can leach into the foods that you heat up in the microwave,” Rostamnezhad said. “Those include a lot of cancer causing chemicals so you’re basically ingesting the plastic which is really bad for your health.”

In addition to the chemicals plastics can leach, microplastics, which are microscopic particles of plastic less than 5 millimeters, are another way plastics end up in our bodies, Rostamnezhad said.

“The average human eats a credit card of plastic a week,” Rostamnezhad said. The study by the University of Newcastle in Australia, who first made this assertion, says that most microplastics are ingested by humans via tap and bottled water.

In an effort to reduce her plastic consumption, Holli Sampson, a sophomore geology major at ACC, said that she implements creative ways to repurpose her plastic containers to organize and store her school supplies, spices, and makeup.

“It becomes a fun game to see how you can reuse an item instead of sending it on its way to somewhere you’re not sure of,” Sampson said. “Also, it saves you money!”

Rostamnezhad is currently working on an educational flyer that explains exactly what steps people should take in order to reduce plastic waste in their personal lives. 


Anne Cuzeau, sustainability steward at ACC’s Energy & Sustainability department, speaks to Pete Ramirez, ACCENT’s Editor-In-Chief.

A few simple tips shared by Rostamnezhad, Cuzeau and Sampson are:

  • Consider carrying a pouch full of compostable utensils and straws in your car so you won’t need to accept single-use plastics when you pick up food from a restaurant.
  • Contrary to common belief, the city of Austin does not recycle plastic bags. Instead, take your plastic bags to your local grocery store and they will recycle the bags for you. Go to this website to find the nearest participating grocery store.
  • Buy reusable water bottles and containers that bring you joy so you are more likely to continue to use them.

“At the end of the day, just do your best,” Cuzeau said.

If you have any questions or ideas you would like to send to ACC’s Energy & Sustainability department, email them at green@austincc.edu.

The Energy & Sustainability Department is also working with the purchasing department at ACC to develop training and rules to limit and eventually eliminate the purchasing of single-use plastic.

All three of the women interviewed for this piece brought up a common issue of pushing back against large companies that are the main culprits of plastic creation and waste. 

“How can we get the big corporations who are putting these plastics out for us to consume to scale back?” Cuzeau said. “Clearly, this is not going to come from them. It’s going to come from the bottom up.”

“I don’t think we’ll be able to make a difference until we start holding companies accountable,” Rostemnezhad said. “They need to start innovating and coming up with ideas on how to change packaging and change their products.”

We all have the power to change these corporations and that starts in our wallets and where we choose to spend our money. Look to spend your money with businesses who are making steps to reduce and eliminate their plastic consumption.

“Plastic Free July is great,” Sampson said. “It’s a start, but we should all work together to become a plastic free society as much as we can.”

Juneteenth: History to Present Day

Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Although it has long been celebrated in the African American community, this monumental event which is also known as “Black Independence Day” and “Texas Emancipation Day,” is beginning to see mainstream celebrations. While the holiday was informally commemorated for years, Texas became the first state to honor the day as a state holiday in 1980.

By Kimberly Dalbert

Many cities have parks where Emancipation Day celebrations took place, which also includes Austin. Austin’s Eastwoods Park prior to 1930, was referred to as Wheeler’s Grove. The site is historically significant for hosting one of the earliest Juneteenth celebrations in Austin in the latter part of the 19th century. The restrooms at the park now used to be the Eastwoods Shelter House.

On “Freedom’s Eve,” also known as the eve of January 1, 1863, at the stroke of midnight, all enslaved people in the Confederate States were declared legally free, but not Texans. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, most slaves in Texas were still unaware of their freedom and that the war had ended in April of 1865. When Union troops arrived in Galveston Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, commanding officer, District of Texas, from his headquarters in the Osterman building (Strand and 22nd St.), read ‘General Order No. 3’ on June 19, 1865. This order stated that the people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the executive of the United States, all slaves are free.


Juneteenth Historical Marker, 2201 Strand Street, Galveston, TX, on June 6, 2021.


Photo Kim Dalbert


The mural was created by Houston artist Reginald C. Adams.


Photo Kim Dalbert


Eastwoods Shelter House, Eastwoods Park

Photo Austin History Center

Eastwoods Shelter House, Eastwoods Park, is now the restrooms.

Photo Kim Dalbert

Austin’s 2018 Juneteenth Parade

Photo By David Brendon Hall

Photo By Jana Birchum

June 18, 2013

Juneteenth day celebration in Texas, 1900.

Photo Austin History Center

King “fuh-fuh” X, an Austin activist who organized StarPower Black Collectives, and has led many protests over the past year. Emancipation Proclamation that leads to the Bell of Freedom.

Carver Museum, Austin, Tx, September 29, 2020.

Photo Kim Dalbert

 There are five statues, the lawmaker, the minister, the former slaves, both male and female, and the child, a daughter.

 Carver Museum, Austin, Tx, September 29, 2020

Photo Kim Dalbert

Juneteenth day celebration in Texas, 1900.

Photo Austin History Center

Taking Initiative: Why, and How Students Should Start Honoring Asian Heritage This Month

ACCENT spoke to Asian-American career counselor, Shun-Heng (Henry) Tsai, TV production major student Opal S. Framnes, and engineering student Alex Hsu who spoke on several aspects relevant to Asian American heritage month.

By: Renata Salazar

How much do you know about Asian American heritage? 

This is the question students at Austin Community College should ask themselves when learning to embrace and honor different cultures and their traditions– a crucial factor to creating a welcoming and inclusive community at ACC. ACCENT spoke to Asian-American career counselor, Shun-Heng (Henry) Tsai, TV production major student Opal S. Framnes, and engineering student Alex Hsu who spoke on several aspects relevant to Asian American heritage month.

“Something I will never forget is where I come from, my background and origin is from Asia,” Tsai said.

Tsai honors his Taiwanese heritage in America by enjoying local Asian food as well as keeping up with films and books from his culture.. There are also official and local communities with events to celebrate diversity through Asian art, political issues, food, and other traditional rituals. Tsai is also able to help students with their career goals as an Asian American career counselor at the college like Hzu.  

Hzu, an engineering major at ACC, is a taiwanese student who moved to Texas four years ago. As a minority in the U.S. Hzu consistently absorbs and learns more about different cultures, while still honoring his own.

 “A big part of our Asian culture/heritage is having a very strong family bond,” Hzu shares, “we have a lot of festivals that are meant to be celebrated with family members, such as Lunar New Year, Moon Festival, and Qingming Festival.”

Student Opal Framnes, an Taiwanese student and mother working towards a major in TV production, believes being able to interpret and explain your own culture is an important factor when letting people hear your story.

“We have to do our own part first, and create opportunities that allow people to understand our culture”  

“Everybody has different stories no matter who you are, so we need to let people listen to us”

“Even though most of our cultures are not similar at all, I think ACC, or any other institutions should do the same to educate their students to be open-minded” states Hzu.

“Different departments officiate events organized by the college that allows students and staff to participate and learn more about or even just help promote social justice.” 

Implementing these events to get to know other people from various cultures sparks a conversation where students can mutually benefit from each other’s experiences.

To shed a light on the positive and interesting aspects of Asian heritage Framnes believes “It comes down to being a better person, we are living in a different country and we can contribute to a lot of things.” 

Educating students, and ourselves is pivotal. Whether through your own research online or participating and seeking to learn about different heritages, you are taking the initiative to honor a different culture unlike your own. It is common for ACC students to come from a homogenous background. Tsai believes it is “very important to promote awareness of the idea of multiculturalism, diversity, equity and inclusiveness coming from any curriculum design”  

ACC’s Dean  made a statement regarding recent hate crimes against Asian Americans, officially demonstrating their stance of support against anti-Asia hate crimes. “The college is working to establish a new Asian-American cultural center and it has been an ongoing project now becoming part of the 2022-2025 Academic Master Plan.” 

“It will be so nice for students to know that they have a student organization that belongs to them, and feel comfortable sharing their culture.” Tsai states.

With the following steps: hiring personnel and establishing other aspects, we should look forward to seeing ACC’s Asian American Cultural Center be installed in Spring 2021. 

Alongside the new cultural center, students like Hzu are also in search of ways to get more Asian American voices involved at ACC. One of Zhu’s goals is to become a person that advocates for Asian American voices like his own. 

“People only listen to the ones that are influential, so to let more people know our heritage, the way is to succeed and use your power and influence to change what people thought about you stereotypically.”

“This is all about educating oneself,” With relevant climates pertaining to Asian Hate crimes, it is important to know what you can do to support Asian Communities and prevent racially motivated crimes, and his response was–participate. 

“Everything comes down to being aware of the prejudices and stereotypes we might usually project on to other races,” Tsai says. 

Restoring Our Earth in a Week

At ACC, we don’t just celebrate Earth Day, but rather Earth week. The college will be hosting their annual Earth Week events virtually for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

By: Zeus Enloe

Hollie Sampson Student Leader

This year, there are over 50 videos and activities for students to choose from to learn the ins and outs of sustainability. Events will kick off  on April 19, students have the option to attend a variety of virtual events held by ACC and other organizations in our community. These events include trivia games, recycled crafts, and more. There are also resources for students to learn more about sustainable practices in their personal time. To learn more, ACCENT spoke with several staff members and students involved in ACC’s sustainability initiatives as well as the Earth Week festivities.

At ACC, Earth Week events are organized by the Office of Sustainability. Additionally, each ACC campus is home to its own Green Team. The Green Teams are collaborative student and faculty groups working towards the goal of increasing sustainability on our ACC campuses. 

Carol Knight, ACC’s administrative assistant and Green Team coordinator for the Cypress Creek Campus, explains Earth Day as “a way to draw attention to things that directly affect and influence you know ones daily lifestyle and choices.”

 This was echoed by Andy Kim, the energy & sustainability director, when asked why ACC students should even care about Earth Day to begin with. 

“Everything we do in our daily lives affects our environment, no matter how trivial it is,” Kim says.

Throughout the entire week, students will be given ideas on how to incorporate eco-friendly practices into their daily lives such as creating a DIY home garden, learning how to cook vegetarian dishes, or take on challenges that reduce electricity usage in their homes. Activities are open to students with any level of knowledge about sustainability. 

[F]or those that don’t necessarily know much about sustainability, Earth Day/Week is an opportunity to learn about and get involved in sustainability at ACC and at home. It is a time for us all to shout from the rooftops how important it is to live a sustainable lifestyle and how easy it is to do so,” Jasmin Rostamnezhad, ACC’s sustainability coordinator, says.

Student leaders Celeste Mills and Holli Sampson agreed, telling ACCENT that we should work towards sustainability every day, and Earth Week is a way to remind us of this. 

Mills advised, “We need help to make companies accountable and make it possible for everyone to live a sustainable life.”

Mills will be hosting an Earth Week book club featuring “Kleptopia: How Dirty Money Is Conquering the World” by Tom Burgis as well as “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells. 

Sampson  organized a trash pickup for students to partake in on April 25. Students can find a space in their local community that needs to be cleaned and will receive a voucher for a free slice of pizza from Toss Pizzeria for their efforts. Students can walk around and pick up trash, even if they’re only going on a 15 minute walk with their dog.

 “[It’s] Such an easy way to get things done and it feels good,” Sampson says.

Something new to Earth Week this year are the Energy and Sustainability Office’s meetups. The meetups will be recurring throughout the week and will allow students the opportunity to connect with the sustainability staff and learn more about ACC’s green initiatives. 

“Sustainability touches on just about everything and anything we do,” Kim says. “[It’s] Not just one day. We need to think about our limited resources.”

After Earth Week ends, students are still encouraged to continue practicing the tools and resources learned from these events. Knight suggested that students “find one thing” that they care about and find a way to connect it with Earth Day.

 “[There is] always something more to learn that I can do that can help minimize the things that are bad for the planet,” she says. “For example, a student that enjoys cooking can look into green cooking and container gardening. 

There are also events hosted by organizations outside of ACC. Both Kim and Knight suggested that students look into the nonprofit organization called Keep Austin Beautiful.  Rostamnezhad suggested getting involved with a nonprofit called EartShare of Texas and their daily eco-friendly challenges for the month of April.

“ [I] would encourage everyone to participate in the #MyEarthMyTexas Challenge April 1 – 30, 2021. This challenge will show you easy ways to reduce your environmental footprint at home and you get prizes for it!” Rostamnezhad said.

Earth Day celebrations are not only beneficial to our planet and community, but can also lead to great memories. For Kim this was when he was challenged to make wearable items out of reused objects. Something that still sticks with Kim is how one person apparently made a hat out of kitty litter packaging. For Knight, this was the many projects that have been implemented at the Cypress Creek campus, such as the butterfly garden.  Students can make their own memories this year, whether they are interested in gardening, sustainable cooking, trash pick-ups, or even informational presentations. Get involved, get educated, and make a difference. Find the full list of Earth Week events here.

Leadership Conference Aims to Build Students’ Confidence

Austin Community College Student Life is kicking off 2021 with the first annual Student Leadership Conference! This web-based convention allows ACC students to attend panels, meet with guest speakers, and network with their fellow peers. ACCENT met with organizers of this event, students, and guest speakers to get the scoop.

By: Adam Cherian

Austin Community College is kicking off 2021 with the first annual Student Leadership Conference! This web-based convention allows ACC students to attend panels, meet with guest speakers, and network with their fellow peers. 

Starting on Feb 4, this virtual two-day event will encompass central themes of confidence, resilience, and civic engagement. Students will have the opportunity to build such skills by listening to guest speakers such as local Austin icon, Evenlyn from the Internets.

Each day is divided into different time slots, where panels and networking will take place. The organizers realize that building networks of people during the Covid-19 pandemic is not easy, so the conference organizers have dedicated a whole hour each day for the sole purpose of meeting with other students. 

ACCENT had the opportunity to speak with ACC students, Ashley Pesina and Todd Snow, about why they were attending this conference, as well as what they are expecting to gain from attending.

“I want to strengthen my leadership skills. I am the new president of the new student organization LatinX Student Union. It will definitely help me in this new opportunity to be a better leader,” Pesina said. 

Snow, who is now the current president of the Student Veterans Association of ACC, is attending for similar reasons.

 “Even if a person will never be in a leadership role, the skills a good leader needs are skills everyone should have.” Snow said. 

Many students, like Ashely and Todd, are looking for better ways to increase their leadership skills, especially while we are in a pandemic and are unable to meet in person. 

“…we have been virtual for a year almost so I am used to participating in events online,” Pesina said. 

Snow disclosed with us that he would not  have been able to go if it were an in person event, which raises the question of accessibility. Having virtual events for the past ten months have created a space where everyone can safely participate in large events.

For instance, there are over 130+ students planning to attend this conference. 

“I would recommend an ACC student to attend this conference because it will help them gain leadership skills and network with different people,” Pesina said. 

Janelle Greene and Darrell Merriweather, guest speakers for the Resilience: Reaching In, Reaching Out, Reaching Around panel set to occur at 10 a.m. on Feb 5 will discuss how people can remain resilient in these times, while also maintaining civic participation in our communities. 

With the panel’s intention to educate the attendees of the panel on the ways to remain resilient in the face of hardship, they also strive to connect with students in different ways, especially during the pandemic.

“We wanted to bring about different strategies…finding support groups…being able to bounce back and persevere through these times,” Merriweather said. 

Kelsey Sisler and Jamal Nelson, organizers for the event, stated that though the theme of this year’s conference is confidence building, Nelson explained that this conference is more than just that but that civic engagement and acquiring leadership skills are also the focus. As well as trying to build leadership qualities after traumatic experiences. 

When we asked Sisler about what she was specifically doing to plan for the event, she emphasized that diversity was extremely important. Both planners made diversity a huge priority, which is seen in the panelists they are having.

 Both organizers exclaimed to us how much easier it is to plan this event online. Though they both experienced “Zoom fatigue” while planning, the accessibility of having it online is worth the fatigue.

 “The take away from the conference should be the information gathered, and the larger network built,” Nelson said. 

The Student Leadership conference of 2021 is one of the largest virtual conferences held by ACC Student Life that allows students to get connected with your peers, as well as get informative talks from highly experienced individuals. 

Visit the Student Life website to learn more about the schedule of events and registration. 

ACC Student Life Hosts Virtual Enneagram Workshop Series for Students

Written By: Marissa Greene

How familiar does this scenario sound to you? One day while bored on the internet you decide to do what most people do when bored on the internet — you take a personality quiz. Whether it be just for the fun of it or for personal development, after a quick google search, you have thousands upon thousands of options to choose from. Whether that be the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire, or perhaps you simply want to find out if you would be a Hufflepuff or Gryffindor while as student at Hogwarts, a personality test might have shaped you in one way or another.

Despite whatever preconceptions you may have about personality tests, there may be one that you might want to know more about, and that is the Enneagram of Types. 

“The Enneagram of Personality Types is a modern synthesis of a number of ancient wisdom traditions, but the person who originally put the system together was Oscar Ichazo.” According to The Enneagram Institute. 

Ichazo was searching for a systematic approach to applying all of his teachings on “psychology, cosmology, metaphysics, spirituality, and so forth, combined with various practices to bring about transformations of human consciousness,” (The Enneagram Institute). He, and a group of psychologists and writers, Claudio Naranjo and John Lilly, visited Arica, Chile in the late 1960s and early 70s to study Ichazo’s findings and most notably, the Enneagram symbol. 

Although the Enneagram Symbol has ancient roots in Greek philosophy, the symbol was “reintroduced to the modern world by George Gurdjieff, the founder of a highly influential inner work school,” according to The Enneagram Institute. Which is what many of us may be familiar with today. 

The Enneagram of Personality Types is a set of nine numbers that represent nine basic personality types. 

  • One: The Reformer
  • Two: The Helper
  • Three: The Achiever
  • Four: The Individualist
  • Five: The Investigator
  • Six: The Loyalist
  • Seven: The Enthusiast
  • Eight: The Challenger
  • Nine: The Peacemaker

Although these numbers give some foundation to the lengthy process of fully understanding the enneagram system, these numbers don’t solely identify the individual. As a matter of fact, everyone will resonate with each of the numbers to a certain degree. 

However, unlike other personality typing systems, The Enneagram of Personality Types functions differently because there is no “official” enneagram test. 

“Technically, we really are not supposed to take a test to identify our number. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t push a test or workshop” said Lauren Christian, a Student Life Coordinator at Austin Community College. 

For the Fall 2020 semester, Christian has been hosting a virtual enneagram workshop series with ACC Student Life that breaks down the nine basic personality types into three triads: the gut, the heart, and the head. These events are dedicated to helping students better understand The Enneagram of Personality Types and discover their conscious or subconscious motivations.

“Two different people can have similar actions for very different reasons and very different thought patterns behind them. So the enneagram is a personality typing system that looks at the motivations that a person has learned through their life,” said Christian. 

Through this enneagram workshop series, students will be able to learn not only more about their motivations but also get a better understanding of those around them and how to communicate with them. Not only that but also how to utilize information from the enneagram workshop to identify better ways to be productive. 

Through Christian’s own personal experience learning about her enneagram number, she shares how she applies this concept to combat situations where she feels the least productive. 

“One of the common things about the nine’s is that momentum is one of the biggest things. So if you slow down, it takes a lot of energy to get back out of it. If you get going, you can keep going,” said Christian.

Christian also states that because she has learned more about the enneagram system, she is able to make personal reminders to keep her momentum going or even communicate her needs to others when in need of help. 

“It can help you better understand ‘Why am I slowing down?” or “Why am I speeding up?” That can be applied to school work, relationships, and things like that,” said Christian. 

There are two workshops left for the remainder of the semester. On Oct.19 the workshop will cover enneagram numbers two, three, and four that make up the heart triad. On Nov. 9 the event will wrap up the series with enneagram numbers five, six, and seven, also known as the head triad. Students are encouraged to participate in all the workshops no matter how much background knowledge one has about this concept. 

“Come with any questions you may have and be ready to look at yourself and your motivations,” said Christian. 

For more information on the Enneagram Workshop Series or to RSVP, visit the MYSL Website.  

Four ways Austin Celebrates LGBTQIA+ Pride During A Pandemic

Written by Emily Pesina

During times like these where staying indoors could potentially save your life and others; many public events, restaurants, and social gatherings have moved to a virtual platform. One of the largest annual traditions to be affected this year is Pride Month. With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the nationally recognized celebration members of the LGBTQIA+ community and others make every effort to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. Which is considered a tipping point for this movement in the United States, according to the Library of Congress. 

In previous years, you could find people celebrating in colorful pride parades, parties, and other large social gatherings. However, with more than two million people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States, alternative options have been made to still celebrate Pride as well as keep people safe and healthy. Here are four ways the Austinites have celebrated Pride month this year local events, nationally, and globally.

Thee Gay Agenda

Check out Thee Gay Agenda (TGA), a queer art collective based in ATX. TGA has hosted virtual events through Zoom such as “Thee Stay Homo Series”, a variety of queer creatives that call for bringing the LGBTQIA+ community closer while in quarantine. Thee Gay Agenda also focuses on uplifting LGBTQIA+ voices by sharing artwork of various local artists. TGA described this as “a culmination of expression and a celebration of queerness in the face of objection.” in order to combat hate comments sometimes left on their page.

Currently, TGA and Austin Black Pride have been working together to create “Thee Learning Factory Fund: a set of funds that are allocated to subsidize the cost of materials and classes for Black and queer individuals who wish to participate. This includes journals, tarot decks, jump rings, stained glass materials, and more.” in order to help those who want to participate in their series. If you’re interested in this unique, interactive, and knowledgeable fun group, check them out at their Instagram @thee.gay.agenda or website, https://www.theegayagenda.com/, for Pride events in June.

UT Austin Lavender Graduation and ACC LGBTQIA+ Pride Demonstrations

While many graduating students completed their final courses behind a screen rather than on campus this academic year, the University of Texas at Austin formed a Lavender Graduation ceremony. On May 20, UT Austin held this ceremony on Facebook Live to honor the achievements of graduating Longhorns who are also a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. The event included speeches from UT faculty, staff, and students, a care package that included a Lavender Graduation Certificate, a rainbow tassel, and a virtual cupcake.

“One of the ways you can celebrate pride is by owning a rainbow look. Whether that is owning a flag or wearing a pin,” said Whitney Stone, ACC dance Major. Like many others, Stone also plans on celebrating Pride Month virtually this year.

#IDAHOBIT

Annually, May 17 marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia, and Intersexphobia (IDAHOBIT). Usually, a day where people come out for marches of Pride and awareness-raising events about the harassment that the LGBTQIA+ community faces, this year people stayed in while being openly-queer on social media. Connected through the hashtag #IDAHOBIT, the community united globally as people went from sharing selfies with rainbow-painted cheeks to raising awareness of discriminatory-attitude events.

“I try to celebrate the accomplishments of LGBT, but it’s more of not just in June, but throughout the year,” said ACC graduate, Margo DeAlva.

DeAlva is the creator of ACC’s LGBTeQuity, AND an award-winning LGBT star award for her courageous achievements such as her self-made documentary Transtastic

“It’s important for everybody in this time, whether for pride month or throughout the year, to reminisce over your accomplishments,” DeAlva added, “It’s not selfish to talk to your loved ones about it and just be like “Hey, how did you feel when I first told you I was this or that, and what do you think about it now?” Although many societies around the world have progressed in acceptance and inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community, there remain battles left to fight.” DeAlva said. 

@virtualpride2k20 on Instagram

@Virtualpride2k20, an Instagram account founded by Kiara Fox, is hosting a month-long virtual event taking place in June that strives to unite the LGBTQIA+ community in providing not just community, but a youth-driven grassroots movement. 

On their Instagram page, various social media stars such as Eugene Yang from the Try Guys, Raquel Bagwell, a well-known content creator for the app Tik Tok, and many others share their experiences being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as host self-care days, and history about this community. To participate in this global event you can tune in to @virtualpride2k20’s EST Instagram/Twitch live streams, and post on social media with the hashtag corresponding to the day’s activity.

Five Remote Events for Taking a Break

Written by Marissa Greene

If you’re looking for a way to take your mind off the current events, Student Life has a variety of activities for ACC students. The catch, be signed into the Student Life Portal to see all events at austincc.edu/mysl.

  • Netflix Party Movie NightsNetflix Parties

Every Friday night Student Life will host Netflix Party Movie Nights where students can watch movies such as Nacho Libre, Tall Girl, and Cloverfield with fellow Riverbats through Netflix Party. Netflix Party is a free chrome extension that allows people to bond over some of their film favorites remotely. If you enjoy Netflix Originals with high school nostalgia and embracing one’s differences you can’t miss Tall Girl on April 17. If you love Superheros or are a Marvel Fanatic mark your calendars for May 1 for Antman & The Wasp. Lastly, who wouldn’t want to wrap up the semester with a movie that will leave you on the very edge of your seat? If that’s you, be sure to catch Cloverfield on May 8. To attend these events, simply RSVP to the event on the ACC Student Life Portal.

  • Kahoot Trivia Wednesday
    If you would rather enjoy putting your trivia skills to the ultimate test, make sure to partake in Student Life’s Kahoot Trivia Wednesdays. Every Wednesday at 3 p.m. Student Life will host a virtual Kahoot where students can compete with others on a variety of topics. For all of the sports fans, make sure to go big or go home on April 22 during Sports Trivia with Riverside. If you can paint with all the colors of the wind or own 101 Dalmations be sure to check out Disney Classics trivia with Northridge on April 29. If you always dreamed of having superpowers like Spiderman or Black Panther don’t forget about the Marvel Cinematic Universe trivia with Eastview on May 6. If you are always keeping up with the Kardashians and the latest trends you can’t miss Pop Culture trivia with Cypress Creek on May 13. There is only one entry per student per trivia. Not to mention, if you fill out the survey at the end of the trivia your name will be in the running to win a gift card. To be known as the ultimate trivia master, RSVP to the event on the ACC Student Life Portal.
  1. Life Skills 101life skills 101

Want to get a head start on building your future? If so, you’ll not want to miss the Life Skills 101 presentations hosted by Student Life through WebEx. These presentations will include life lessons that aren’t learned in the classroom such as a retirement planning workshop on April 28. Both events will begin at 1 p.m. and will last for about an hour. Find the details on how to participate in the Student Life Portal.  

  • Craft-ernoon
    Create fun projects using common household items by joining Student Life on Instagram @accstudentlife. If you are unable to see a loved one, or are currently able to enjoy their presence make a visual essay about them April 17. See the Instagram stories and create your own collage on May 1. Details on the Instagram Stories and Student Life Portal.
  • Meditation Mondaysmeditation mondays

Feeling stressed? Learn how to build mindfulness and incorporate yoga into your weekly routine with Meditation Mondays hosted by Student Life. These 30-minute yoga workshops will take place through Google Hangouts at 11 a.m. on April 13, April 27, and May 11. Discover your inner yogi while also entering yourself in the drawing for a gift card by completing a survey after the event. One entry per ACC student. Don’t forget to RSVP to the event on the ACC Student Life Portal.