The System Works: SHSU Interns in Austin!

Even though the 85th Legislative Session has begun and the Austin interns are starting to work long hours, we still make an effort to stay engaged through volunteerism. Last Wednesday, the interns/LEAP Ambassadors were invited to volunteer at the 3rd Biennial Texas State University System Foundation Gala. The Gala is an important scholarship fundraiser that benefits students across the TSUS System.

The Gala began with a host reception at 6p.m. but we arrived at 5p.m. to assist with anything that was needed before the arrival of guests. While some of us assisted at the check-in table, others guided guests to the reception area. As for Kaitlyn and Christina, they had the opportunity to assist at the Governor Abbott photo station and even got to take a picture with him!

Governor Greg Abbott, TSUS Foundation Gala, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center

At the registration table, we assisted with checking-in guests and providing them with a name tag. During the check-in process we used an app on our phones called “Legacy Check-In.” Instead of having multiple paper copies of guest lists and then combining them at the end, this app automatically updates for every person using it. It also has a nice feature that shows the percentage of guests that have been checked in. Additionally, as the event starts, it allows you to see how many people are missing. In doing so, we were able to do some last-minute seating to fill the gaps at the tables. It was fun to learn about this new technology!

Austin, Texas Feb. 15, 2017: Texas State University System (TSUS) Foundation Gala at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Austin on Feb. 15, 2017.  Photos by Bob Daemmrich   for reprints call 512-469-9700 or email
Alex Galavan, Beatriz Martinez, and Brian Aldaco.  Austin, Texas Feb. 15, 2017: Texas State University System (TSUS) Foundation Gala at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Austin on Feb. 15, 2017. Photos by Bob Daemmrich for reprints call 512-469-9700 or email

Once we signed in all the guests and led them to the ballroom, we joined the gala for dinner and to enjoy the program. Chancellor Brian McCall began by introducing their Honorary Guest, Governor Greg Abbott. Governor Abbott made special remarks about Texas and the importance of the TSUS system . The constituent universities (Sam Houston State proudly included) “are providing the future workforce of Texas, which attracts companies to Texas,” remarked Governor Abbot. Before the gala ended, a check for $300,000 was presented for scholarships for students within the TSUS System.

As the night came to a close, we had the opportunity to meet with Vice Chancellor Sean Cunningham and President Hoyt for a quick picture. As always, we are very excited to meet with them as they are very supportive of us and the Austin Intern Program!

President Dana Hoyt, TSUS Foundation Gala, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center

It was an honor to represent Sam Houston State University at such an important event for the Texas State University System. We are all thankful that the University System chose us as volunteers and hope to volunteer for them again!

Special thanks to TSUS Foundation Executive Director Mike Wintemute, who emailed us and invited us to the event.   It is a pleasure to attend a University and a University System that engages fully with the students, providing unique opportunities in education and job placement.

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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