One Main Message: Civic Engagement and Public Discourse at UHD

Dear UHD Community,

Tomorrow is Election Day, and I encourage those who have not visited the polls yet to exercise your right to vote. This year, Harris County voters can cast ballots at any location within the county. Visit for the addresses of polling stations, a list of accepted forms of identification, and sample ballots. As a reminder, UHD employees are entitled to Voting Leave.

As you’re well aware, UHD has a proud history of hosting events and initiatives that help get the vote out. Walk2Vote and Meet and Greet the Candidates (both featured below) are excellent examples of Gators motivating Houstonians to participate in the election process.

This edition of the One Main Message revisits recent events aimed at promoting both civic engagement and delivering insightful discourse.

Great universities host important conversations addressing topics affecting communities in Houston and across the nation. The events featured below are just some of the many forums, symposia, town halls and conferences on our campus. It is an honor to host these discussions and to provide these unique learning experiences to our students and campus.

Gator Grit & ‘Reflecting Black’

Gator Grit Speaker Series with Henry Cisneros (left) and Adrian Garcia

UHD recently hosted two outstanding events, the Gator Grit Speaker Series featuring Henry Cisneros on Oct. 23 and the symposium “Reflecting Black: 400 Years of African American Life and History” on Oct. 24. Both offered faculty, staff and students opportunities to learn from noted scholars and veteran civic leaders.  I was pleased to see a full house in attendance for both events. Likewise, it was a privilege to welcome former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and longtime San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros to campus alongside Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia to our Gator Grit Series.  The “Reflecting Black” event also was a success with presentations from historians and race scholars addressing the arrival of African slaves to the U.S. four centuries ago.  Thanks to those faculty and staff members who coordinated Gator Grit and “Reflecting Black” and the students who attended these events. More events like these are scheduled for November, including the Texas Tribune’s Future of Urban Texas Symposium on Nov. 14 and 15, and the next Gator Grit conversation featuring alumnus, entrepreneur and veteran Marcus Bowers on Nov. 19.

Walk2Vote, Meet and Greet the Candidates


For the seventh year, UHD’s Student Government Association led a procession to the polls during Walk2Vote. I joined them as they kicked off their walk to the Harris County Law Library to cast their ballots and was impressed by the turnout – which included Mayor Sylvester Turner among other notable guests. Preceding Walk2Vote was the Meet & Greet the Candidates forum (presented by the Center for Public Deliberation), which offered students the rare opportunity to engage in roundtable discussions with prospective City Council members and mayoral candidates. Both events are excellent examples of the UHD community’s efforts to engage and inspire citizens.