Cockrell School Cares (CSC) started in 2018 as a campaign founded by students out of a need for there to be more discussion on UT Austin’s engineering campus about mental health, self care, diversity and inclusion, and equity. In its first year, a group of 14 students hosted a one week long campaign in the Spring semester featuring student-led workshops, speaker events, tabling activities, social media initiatives, and a student interview series. The following year, CSC expanded to become a two week long campaign, growing both in size and in the diversity of topics that student members highlighted through campaign events.
At the end of 2019, CSC was cemented as an organization on campus as a year-long external committee of the Student Engineering Council. This change allowed the committee to work on initiatives outside of the traditional Spring campaign and keep conversations about student health and DEI going year round.
At its foundation, CSC is a space built by students for students. CSC is meant to be a place where students interested in building more inclusive environments in engineering can come together, engage in community learning, and work on projects that address important issues in our community and advocate for student wellness. As a space striving to meaningfully connect students, CSC is also committed to changing with the times as we all learn and grow together. We hope that by starting new conversations about how our engineering school is situated in the world and how we as future engineers are poised to enter industries that can materially impact the wellbeing of communities, we can simultaneously discover how best to use our degrees to help the world and understand the underlying forces that shape student experiences in the Cockrell School.
Current Committee Structure
CSC is traditionally composed of around 25 students and led by 2 co-directors. We’re currently divided into the following 4 subcommittees:
Publicity & Video:
The Publicity Committee is in charge of producing media and marketing to promote Cockrell School Cares initiatives. Members create Instagram event graphics, posts, and photography as well as running our accounts on these platforms. They are responsible for creating graphics for merchandise and campaign workshops and ensuring that CSC’s events are publicized to Cockrell students. They are responsible for promoting CSC and CSC initiatives by posting in student groups, advertising on social media, and word of mouth.
The committee will also be in charge of creating videos for the promotion of Cockrell School Cares. This includes the overall promotion videos, Cockrell School Shares videos, and the infographic videos. The promotion video serves to inform students about the initiative of Cockrell School Cares and the overall purpose of the committee. Cockrell School Shares videos are personal stories or interviews with students and staff designed to share the stories and experiences of Cockrell students in regards to our five pillars: Diversity, Inclusion, Mental Health, Self Care and Positionality. The infographic videos provide beneficial resources for students surrounding the five pillars of CSC.
Workshops & Events:
The Workshops & Events subcommittee hosts events, workshops, and panels aimed at stirring up discussions about CSC’s pillars of mental health, self care, diversity and inclusion, equity, and positionality. There events are meant to offer students the opportunity to learn from one another and facilitate community conversations in Cockrell.
This team will connect CSC with professors and departments within the Cockrell School of Engineering. Members of this team work with professors to negotiate extra credit opportunities for students to attend CSC’s events / workshops, which is the primary incentive for attendance to CSC events. During the campaign, members of this team help maintain a UT ID tracking system to collect sign-in information at all events, compile sign-in data, and forward the relevant sign-in sheets to professors providing extra credit to let them know which of their students attended campaign events.
One of the main tasks PO handles is distributing the annual Cockrell Climate Survey to professors in the fall to present to students. Additionally, the Professor Outreach subcommittee hosts a series of fireside chats to provide opportunities for students and professors to connect in a more relaxed, personal environment. The Professor Outreach subcommittee also works on spreading awareness on mental health topics to students through professors and events held by CSC about mental health.
The advocacy subcommittee works to receive student input on Cockrell issues and figuring out how to address these problems as students. The advocacy subcommittee collects student perspectives to identify what resources are most lacking and communicate to the administration what is in need of more support. The advocacy subcommittee also is involved in proactively seeking solutions to problems related to CSC‘s pillars and a student body’s wellbeing. This subcommittee also collaborates with PO on the Cockrell Climate Survey that is completed every year.
This subcommittee’s responsibilities include creating forms where students can report on what they think Cockrell could improve on and matters relating to mental health. It is also focused on coming up with ideas to better advocate mental health for engineering students and coming up with ideas for events that CSC could hold. This subcommittee is focused on finding ways to raise awareness for marginalized students and find ways to represent mental health awareness. The advocacy subcommittee works on gathering information of resources relating to Cockrell students in terms of mental health and ensuring that Cockrell students are aware of these resources.