The Texas Union Advisory Council was created by the Regents of The University of Texas System in 1983, the fiftieth anniversary year of The Texas Union and The University's centennial year.
Initially, nine appointed members were authorized. Within a few years, that number grew to fifteen. In 1993, the number of appointed members was increased to twenty-one, and then to thirty. Other categories of Council membership are senior active, life, honorary and ex officio.
The Advisory Council has a broad mandate to assist the Unions in achieving its long-range goals by undertaking fund-raising activities to support specific programs and goals; by working actively to develop a broad base of support for the Union's role on campus and in undergraduate life; by advocating on behalf of the Unions both on and off the campus; and by sharing experiences and historical perspectives with Union students and staff.
Key initiatives of the Advisory Council during the past two decades include:
- Establishing an endowed lectureship
- Establishing the Student Awards Endowment
- Creating the Sinclair Society, a recognition group for planned giving donors
- Establishing the annual campus-wide J.J. "Jake" Pickle Citizenship Award
- Establishing the GRants for Active Student Participants (GRASP) endowment to foster student participation in Union programs and committees
Qualifications for Membership
- Strong belief in the need for private support of public higher education in Texas and enthusiasm for the University Unions and The University of Texas;
- High standing in the community and wide acquaintanceship;
- Willingness to participate in Council activities;
- Ability to persuade others to support the University Unions and The University of Texas at Austin; and
- Willingness to provide financial support for the University Unions and to provide support insofar as possible.
Categories of Membership
- Appointed Members - nominated by current and former council members or by Union administrators and appointed the executive director.
- Senior Active Members - former Advisory Council chairs.
- Life Members - former appointed Council members who have served at least one full term on the Council and who can provide distinguished service through life membership participation.
- Ex Officio Voting Members - University Unions Board chair, Events + Entertainment president, University Unions executive director and Vice President for Student Affairs.
- Ex Officio Non-voting Members - Vice President for Development and UT Austin President.
Council Members' Responsibilities
- Attendance at the fall and spring Council meetings;
- Contribution of $100 per meeting to the Advisory Council discretionary fund to defray Council expenses and to provide support for non-state funded items such as awards and memorials;
- Advocacy of the mission and needs of the University Unions; and
- Participation in Council activities.
- Established the Lectureship endowment;
- Established the Student Awards endowment;
- Co-sponsored a report to the Campus Master Planning Committee that led to designation of sites for two new unions in the 1996 campus master plan;
- Collaborated with Texas Union student leaders to secure passage of new Texas Union Fee legislation in the 1999 legislative session;
- Created the Sinclair Society, a recognition group for donors of planned gifts; and
- Established the annual J.J. "Jake" Pickle Citizenship Award to recognize a student at the university whose contributions to campus life best exemplify the high standards of leadership and service that are the hallmarks of the life and career of J. J. "Jake" Pickle.
Advisory Council Goals
- Develop a solid base of support for the role of the University Unions among alumni and within the administration of The University of Texas at Austin.
- Provide support for efforts to develop a firm financial foundation for the operation of the University Unions.
- Advocate and support efforts to increase Union space on campus.
- Provide mentoring and networking opportunities for Unions student leaders.
- Develop an effective, working partnership with the University Unions Board.