Author Archives: Yolande Yip

The Secret Garden

With the temperature following a (rather finicky) rising trend, some Longhorns might want to spend a little more of their on-campus time outside.  The little-known courtyard of Goldsmith Hall is a great place if you’re interested in a serene, secluded spot in which to spend a few minutes and relax.

The entrance is just off the West Mall, between the West Mall Office Building and Goldsmith Hall.

Goldsmith Hall Courtyard from Stairs. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

After following the stairs leading down between the buildings, the entrance to the courtyard will be to your right.

"Veduggio Glimpse" by Anthony Caro. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

You’ll encounter a steel sculpture by Anthony Caro entitled “Veduggio Glimpse,” which is on long-term loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The piece is one of twenty-eight works from the Met as part of UT’s Landmarks project.

Goldsmith Courtyard Entrance. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Just past the sculpture, you’ll walk through two wrought iron gates.

Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

There’s not much going on here.  In fact, there’s always several discarded objects lying around.

Small Pool in Courtyard. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Just inside, there’s a small reflecting pool of sorts.

Pretty Plants. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Senior Mariel Davis says she likes to study, eat, and relax here.  “Most of the time there is nobody there, so it is a great place to enjoy yourself,” she said.

She “fell in love” with the spot when she accidentally found it after going to the post office to mail letters.

“It is the classic hidden, little, charming, perfect old place that you would see on a movie. It seems to be keeping a piece of history in its few branches and benches,” she said.

Opposite View of Courtyard. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

The flowers are gone now, but if you’re lucky, you might find the trees in bloom.  It’s stunning, truly.

Flowers on Tree. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Personally, I find this area is a great place to study.  I’ve enjoyed reading plenty of books here since I found out about it my Freshman year when an English professor conducted a class here.

You probably walk by the West Mall all the time, so why not check it out sometime?  You won’t regret it.

Photo Credit: Yolande Yip


Stay Safe during Spring Break!

I know everyone’s excited about Spring Break, but I just wanted to make sure everyone has fun but stays safe.  So here are a few Spring Break tips that everyone should follow!  (Bits taken from Campus Watch)
Prepare your residence for your Spring Break absence.
– Make sure you have your mail held at the post office and your newspaper delivery suspended.
– Check out an electric timer from the police department.  A timer can be used to turn your interior lights on and off.  This gives the impression your home is occupied.
–  Make sure your lawn, if you have one, is mowed and edged before you leave.  An unkempt lawn is an indication no one is at home.

Prepare your vehicle for Spring Break
–      This would be a good time to have a mechanic go over your vehicle.
–      Change the oil
–      Have the belts and engine hoses checked
–      Check all of your vehicle’s fluid levels checked and check the tire pressure
–      Put together an emergency kit.  This kit will contain some of the following items:
Emergency Blanket
Flashlight / Extra Batteries
First Aid Kit
Car Cell Phone Charger
Traffic Safety Vest ($9.00 in the sporting goods section of many stores)
Granola bars

Preparing your personal items for the trip and packing
– When packing your clothes for the trip, consider the attire of local people in the area you are visiting.  Do not dress to “flashy” or “laid-back” as that may cause you to stand out as a tourist and an easy target.  Plan to dress conservatively.
– Before you leave, take time to plan out your trip.  Having an itinerary and sharing it with friends you are travelling with helps to identify possible problems and areas where security may be of more concern.  Include your travel plans in the itinerary (how you will be travelling – plane, train, auto, bus, bicycle etc. and the identifiers for that method of travel; i.e. flight number 7645 leaving Austin – Bergstrom at 10 a.m. arriving at JFK International at 3:00p.m.) Make sure you provide a copy of this itinerary with friends or family that are staying here.  That way, they know more about where you are, where you plan to be and when you will be back.
– If travelling abroad, make sure you look up the local police department telephone numbers and the nearest US Embassy telephone numbers. Program those numbers into your cell phone.  You never know when you will need them.
– Check the State Department webpage for any travel advisories. The web address is
– Check the contents of your wallet.  Only bring that which is necessary.  Limit the amount of cash you take with you.  Use traveler’s checks or a credit card instead.  Write down the 1-800 number to your credit card in the event your card is lost or stolen.  Keep that number in your hotel.
– If you take prescription medications, make sure you have enough of the prescription to last you through the trip.  KEEP YOUR PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS IN THEIR ORIGINAL PRESCRIPTION BOTTLE.
– Keep your name and address on the inside of your luggage and write your contact information on the luggage tag.  Use a luggage tag that has a cover so your information can not be seen by someone walking by your luggage.
– Stay with your luggage from your house, to the airport and up to the bag check.  Watch the bag security check and ask Transportation Security Agency Officers to lock your bag after it is checked.

The Battle Hall

Battle Hall (Eastern façade). Photo Credit: (CC) Larry D. Moore

Located along the west mall, you’ve probably walked by the Battle Hall a countless number of times, but did you know that it’s considered to be the architectural gem of campus?

Battle Hall Door (Eastern façade). Photo Credit: (CC) mrjojo

New York architect Cass Gilbert, who was also the architect U.S. Supreme Court building, designed the Battle Hall in 1911.  The Battle Hall was originally the university’s main library until 1937 when it was used for fine arts classes and administrative purposes.  It became the Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center from 1950 to 1973 when the Texas history exhibit was moved to Sid Richardson Hall, and the building was re-named in honor of Dr. William James Battle, the sixth UT president (from 1870-1955).  Currently, the Battle Hall houses the Architecture and Planning Library, the Alexander Architectural Archive and the Center for American Architecture and Design.

Gilbert designed the Battle Hall in a Spanish-Mediterranean revival style, which became the model for future buildings on campus.  Sutton Hall is the only other UT campus of Gilbert’s design.

Battle Hall Soffit Detail. Photo Credit: (CC) Larry D. Moore

Sophomore Lauren Rego, a bio-chemistry major, likes the Battle Hall for it’s “quaint, antique-y” atmosphere and said she goes there when she needs “a place to recuperate and focus.”

“[The Architecture and Planning Library] is really dimly lit, but it’s still a nice place to study because when the sun is out, it is flooded with light,” she said.

The Battle Hall is also the only UT academic building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

And another fun fact:  the Battle Hall ranked 150 (out of 150) in a 2007 public poll of America’s Favorite Architecture, held by The American Institute of Architects.  The Empire State Building in New York City tops the list.

Student Org. Series: Planet Longhorn

With over 900 registered UT student organizations, there’s bound to be one that peaks your interest.  No one wants to wade through the dismal abyss that is the student organization database, however, so here at Burnt Orange Living, we’ve decided to feature both prominent and lesser-known organizations to help you decide which ones best fit your Longhorn lifestyle.

What is it?

Planet Longhorn is a social organization dedicated to helping international students meet both other international and local UT students.  It was founded by Doug Yacek and Paul McCloud, who were inspired by a similar organization they encountered while studying in Melbourne, Australia.  Upon returning to Austin, they realized there wasn’t  a student-run organization dedicated to socially acclimating foreign students.  They decided to fill that need, and thus, Planet Longhorn was born.

Planet Longhorn has only been in existence since January 2008, but don’t let it’s young age fool you.  They were awarded Best Social Organization of 2009 by the UT Swing-out Awards, and the organization has since been garnering increased attention.

Paul McCloud (left) and Douglas Yacek, co-founders of Planet Longhorn. Photo Credit: Anna Walter

What does it do?

Planet Longhorn mainly plan social events from larger “formal” events–from their signature Welcome B.B.Q. to their Downtown Cocktail Party to floating the river–to smaller, “informal” events–from bowling to tailgates to just hanging out at someone’s apartment.  Some members even pick up internationals from the airport, take them grocery shopping and help them find housing.  Planet Longhorn also participates in UT intramural sports, in case that’s something you’re interested in.

The Planet Longhorn 2009 Masquerade Ball. Photo Credit: Dana Yu

How is it different?

The diverse people you can meet through Planet Longhorn are what make the organization unique.

“You get to meet so many different kinds of people,” said President Dana Yu.  “It’s really cool to not only meet them, but they end up being integral parts of your life,” she added.

Dana still keeps in close contact with several foreign exchange students she has met in past semesters.

“You learn so much from them.  It really opens up your perspective,” she said.

How do you get involved?

General meetings are held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Jester A218A.  Members are also encouraged to sit-in on the officer meetings which occur half an hour before at 6:30 p.m.

Another way to stay updated with Planet Longhorn events is to join the Facebook page.

“[Planet Longhorn] is a discussion-based organization,” Yu said, citing this as one of Planet Longhorn’s strengths.  They “try to keep [meetings] casual,” as the organization is eager for member input, meaning “it’s really easy to get involved,” said Yu.

“Our events have been a meshing of everyone’s ideas.”

How committed do you have to be?

Planet Longhorn does not charge dues or membership fees, nor do they require a minimum amount of participation, which is good if you have a full schedule.  Participation requirements are very important to consider when joining an organization, especially if you are pressed for time in your day-to-day schedule.

Officers and Contact Info.

Dana Yu – President

Liana Depew – Vice President

Natalia Urbanowicz – Director of Social Events

James Chiang – Director of Administrative Events

Vanda Taupradist – Director of Membership and Recruiting

James Petlueng – Treasurer

Katie Casstevens – Historian

John Michael Cassetta – Webmaster

All inquiries may be addressed to

Planet Longhorn members in front of UT Tower. Photo Credit: James Chiang

Bottom Line

Planet Longhorn is a casual, fun organization that’s definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in meeting people from around the world, or if you’ve returned from studying abroad and are experiencing reverse culture shock.  The small membership means it’s easy to get involved and have your ideas heard.  Also, the lack of a required time commitment means this is a good organization for people who are extremely busy.

J.D. Salinger Tribute at HRC

The Harry Ransom Center and American Short Fiction, an Austin-based literary magazine, presented a tribute to the late J.D. Salinger Friday evening.

Authors Elizabeth Crane, Nick Flynn, Amelia Gray, ZZ Packer, John Pipkin, and Amanda Eyre Ward read excerpts from Salinger’s published work and bits of his letters to Elizabeth Murray.  Murray was the sister of one of Salinger’s classmates at Valley Forge Military Academy as well as a close friend.

I apologize in advance for the poor quality of my recorder, but you can listen to Elizabeth Crane narrate the first set of letters here:

And John Pipkin narrates the second set here:
photo by Yolande Yip

John Pipkin

While Salinger is best known for his novel The Catcher in the Rye, “we all know that Salinger’s accomplishments as a writer extend beyond this work.  He was undoubtedly one of the finest short story writers of his age, and he had a unique ability to create timeless characters that his readers, generation after generation, continued to identify with and love,” said Thomas F. Staley, the Harry Ransom Center Director.

“His fiction isn’t just for people who read and write for a living.  It’s for people who love words or conversation, people who are interested in religion or the lack of it, the serious, the light-hearted, young people and people who remember their youth,  the happy, the mystical, even the uninterested, the alienated,” said Callie Collins, Editorial Fellow of American Short Fiction.

photo by Yolande Yip

Jill Meyers (left) and Callie Collins

The event marked the opening of a small display of Salinger’s original manuscripts, letters (including the ones from Murray), and inscribed books from the HRC’s Salinger collection.

For any Longhorn who’s not familiar with the facility, the HRC is a renowned research library primarily dedicated to the study of literature and culture in the United States, Great Britain and France.  According to its website, the HRC’s “collections contain 36 million leaves of manuscripts, one million rare books, 5 million photographs, and 100,000 works of art, in addition to major holdings in theater arts and film.”

A few of the HRC’s most notable acquisitions include one of only five complete, original Gutenberg Bibles; the first photograph ever taken and costumes from Gone with the Wind.  The HRC also features impermanent exhibitions, rotating about every six months.

Chances are, you’ll never have an academic reason beyond Art History 301 (and trust me, TD 301 is a much easier fine arts credit) to get lost in the HRC archives, but it’s a very unique resource you can take advantage of during your UT career.  If nothing else, at least walk by 21st and Guadalupe to examine the nifty windows.

photo by Yolande Yip

HRC Windows from Outside

photo by Yolande Yip

HRC Windows from Inside