Since moving to our state’s capital nearly two months ago, people often ask me what the biggest differences between Austin and Abilene are. They are numerous and they are obvious. So instead I’ve set out to find some similarities between these two A-towns, even if they are few and far between.
It seems that a college town is still a college town no matter the size. Frat guys will be frat guys and feral cats will be feral cats, no matter the school’s religious affiliation (or lack thereof).
Starting with those frat guys, it turns out that labeling it a social club rather than a fraternity makes no difference in their brotherly bondage. Similar to the custom of clustering together in Chapel or the Campus Center, bros in Austin also travel in packs. And like ACU, they’re easy to spot because they’re all wearing the exact same thing. As the chinese say, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” Do not be an individual, be a bro.
(Not to be sexist here, this can also apply to women’s social clubs/sororities.)
Second, ACU and UT students are similar in how little they care about student government. At election time, students plug their ears and march through the West Mall twice as fast. Sound like the Campus Center yet? In last spring’s executive officer election at ACU, more than 1,850 students voted. Which was less than 35 percent of our student body. According to the Daily Texan, in 2011 only 15.7 percent of the UT students voted for their executive officers. I’m sorry SA””I know that we should care that you control our money, but the numbers don’t lie in Abilene or Austin.
Finally, it’s eerie how similar Austin and Abilene are when it comes to the number of homeless people. I find it ironic how high Abilene’s homeless population is considering our outrageous number of churches (106 recognized on ACU’s website alone). Granted, some of the “drag rats,” as they call the beards who linger around UT campus, are actually fairly well-off students doing some soul searching for a semester. But for the high number of actual homeless people I see around Austin, I’m often reminded of my journeymen friends out west.
Some of these similarities are obvious and some not so much, but it’s fun to search for them underneath all the differences. And if you come visit me in Austin, I can show you the Trap, Neuter, Return program I’ve started for all the frat guys””I mean feral cats in my neighborhood.