Skip Navigation

Advocacy in Action: Student-Supported Causes from Galveston to Austin    

February 28, 2023

Galveston students with Reveille in the rotunda at the Texas Capitol
Galveston students with Reveille in the rotunda at the Texas Capitol

By Taylor Bounds, Content Specialist

Texas A&M University at Galveston students are the future of Texas politics and are proving their political prowess through advocacy. 

Galveston students traveled to Austin in February for Orange and Maroon Legislative Day, or OMLD, a biennial event hosted by the Association of Former Students and Texas Exes to advocate at the Capitol for the rival universities’ shared interests. While Texas A&M and the University of Texas (or ‘t.u.,” as it’s colloquially known around campus) will soon face off on the football field once again, when it comes to the Texas Legislature, the two schools must partner up. 

With the 88th Legislative Session in full swing, students visited legislative offices to discuss funding for both schools, an increased investment in Texas-based research initiatives, such as the university’s seafood safety lab and turtle hospital, the benefits of semiconductor research at Texas universities, mental health support and veteran education benefits. 

“Orange and Maroon Legislative Day, in addition to being an advocacy day benefitting the two universities, gives students the opportunity to meet face-to-face with legislators and legislative staffers,” said Ashton Whittington ‘25. “Building these relationships means better lines of communication with the legislature which leads to bettering our communities.”

Student Ashton Whittington speaks to a legislative staffer during Orange and Maroon Legislative Day
Ashton Whittington '25 speaking with a legislative staffer at OMLD.

While the legislative session is in the interim, it’s election season in Texas. Malarie Humble, M.A., Student Engagement Coordinator at Texas A&M-Galveston, said that students “voiced their frustration of wanting to create engaging programming to encourage our students to show up and vote for the elections taking place in fall of 2022, but they lacked the finances to do so. I asked them if they wanted to apply for the MTV Campus Challenge Grant, we did not know the odds of whether we would be selected – but we decided to go for it.” 

They received $3,000 to aid in their outreach. 

Now empowered by the grant, student Democracy Fellows fight for increased access to the ballot box as part of Campus Vote Project. The end goal? A vote center at the Galveston campus. 

Focused on GOTV, or Get Out The Vote, and voter registration, Campus Vote Project is a nonpartisan organization designed to increase voter turnout in college students. Only about half of Texans aged 18-24 are registered to vote, so the program is designed to disseminate as much information about voting as possible to this electorally underrepresented demographic. 

Students discuss an on-campus vote center
Democracy Fellows handing out t-shirts at their survey event.

“We've been able to use [the grant] towards voter registration events and creating merchandise to get our campus excited about voting,” said Cadence Housmans ‘25. “It allowed us to collect some valuable data on students' perspective on voting.” 

The organization sees tangible results: more than 80 students registered to vote because of Campus Vote Project’s efforts last fall, and the organization will host another voter registration drive this spring. It’s not unheard of for Texas Legislature and local races to be decided by single digits, so every vote has an impact on our daily lives. 

After the election, students in the organization surveyed their peers to gauge interest in an on-campus vote center. 93% of those surveyed said they would consider using an on-campus vote center. 

Students collecting data on interest in an on-campus vote center 

“We hope that by advocating for our campus and showing that our students are interested in voter engagement that we may have polling place on this campus again,” said Housmans. “That way voting can be easily accessible for students, faculty, and staff on our campus.” 

Need to register to vote? Voter registrars will be available March 22, 2023 from 2-4 p.m. in the Flagroom.


Texas A&M University at Galveston is the marine and maritime branch campus of Texas A&M University which educates nearly 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students in science, business, engineering, liberal arts and transportation. It is driving the development of the blue economy in the Gulf Coast Region and is a critical contributor to Texas A&M's rare land-, sea-, space-grant mission with nearly $10 million in research expenditures.

Texas A&M-Galveston is also home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, one of six state maritime academies and the only one in the southern United States, which trains over 400 cadets annually for maritime service and employment around the world.

Texas A&M-Galveston is located in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast where it is surrounded by industry, environment and programs essential to fulfilling its special-purpose mission. Aggies are known for their deep commitment to the success of each other and their strong desire to serve.