Horacio Villarreal: Hooray for Horacio
Although friends, family and supporters waited with arms wide open, Horacio Villarreal’s palms were sweaty and knees were shaky. The tips of his fingers slowly turned white as he tightly crossed them with anticipation of the outcome. Everyone had voted. The votes were in. The results were out of his hands.
From tabling at Jester, campaigning in the west mall and speaker circuiting during fraternity and sorority chapter dinners, senior Villarreal ran for the position of Student Body President at The University of Texas at Austin.
“I’m really excited that I am going to be running for student body president. Being able to have the opportunity just to run for student body president is extremely humbling,” Villarreal from Corpus Christi said before the results were announced on Feb. 28.
Running as a pair for the executive alliance campaign, Villarreal joined efforts with senior Ugeo Williams from Corsicana. In The University of Texas Student Government Assembly, Villarreal and Williams served as University-Wide Representatives. Outside of UT Student Government, the duo is not involved in any other similar organizations. For example, Villarreal is an active member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, while Williams serves as a co-chairman of the Tejas club. With their diverse friend and club groups, Villarreal and Williams earned votes by reaching out to various students across campus.
Villarreal and Williams focused their platform on promoting upper division tutoring in the Sanger Learning Center, helping incoming and transfer students with upperclassmen mentors and improving safety for students by introducing police call boxes.
Villarreal said planning and campaigning for the election was a long, three-month process. During the three months, friends, family and even roommates, such as junior Steven Newell, reassured Villarreal.
“Horacio does a great job of connecting with people, and this is why the position of student body president is the perfect job for him,” Newell said.
Newell further explained that Villarreal does a great job dividing his time between roommates, club friends and fraternity brothers. One of Villarreal’s fraternity brothers, junior Payton Schramm, said that Villarreal’s involvement with on- and off-campus organizations has allowed him to be well networked.
“Don't try and walk home from campus with him because you have to stop every five or 10 seconds to see somebody saying hey or hi to him,” Schramm stated.
Due to Villarreal’s social skills and ability to hold a conversation, Villarreal and Williams were able to create a campaign team of roughly 50 UT students, who endorsed and helped the duo promote their platform. With flyers, T-shirts and social media efforts, Villarreal and his team encouraged students to vote Horacio and Ugeo during the two-week election process.
There were many appointed positions and committees on the Horacio and Ugeo campaign team. For instance, Schramm was assigned to be head of Greek Outreach, in which he was responsible for mobilizing the Greek vote. When venturing to sorority and fraternity chapter dinners to speaker circuit, Schramm and Villarreal explained the Horacio and Ugeo platform and how to vote on Feb. 27 and 28.
“I pushed voting even more within our fraternity due to the fact that we had a fraternity member lose the University-Wide Representative election the preceding year by only three votes,” Schramm said. “Therefore, I stressed the importance of voting to all of the members of Greek life and the slogan of ‘Every Vote Counts’ because every little vote could actually make the difference.”
Stressing the importance to vote was the end result when Villarreal was announced Student Body President of The University of Texas at Austin at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 on the south steps of the Tower.
“Right when we heard the names Horacio and Ugeo, we jumped up for joy because we finally were able to experience the thrill for something that we worked so hard for,” Villarreal exclaimed.
Villarreal loosened his finger grip as he celebrated their victory in front of the Tower with their friends, family and supporters. Previous University of Texas President Thor Lund and Vice President Wills Brown made an appearance at the Tower to congratulate the new executive alliance.
“Horacio and Ugeo have a great vision and a plan to achieve it,” Lund said. “I am totally confident in their ability and I know they will make the students of this university proud.”