Field Trip: University of Texas Diversity Tour


Free, affordable, and fun

Home school parents of middle and high school students need look no further than their local college campuses for field trip ideas that are free, affordable, and fun.  The Diversity Tour at the University of Texas, in Austin, presents an excellent and affordable (It’s free!) opportunity for students to not only complete one of their college visits, but also learn about the many contributions that American leaders of different cultures made to our society. Also, it’s a self-guided walking tour that takes a little over an hour, so students also get some great exercise while they’re learning.

The University of Texas at Austin has grown to become one of the most diverse universities in the country. In 2014, UT had 1% American Indian, 23% Asian, 5% black, 45% white, 21% Hispanic, <1% Native Islander or Hawaiian, and 7% unreported or multi-racial. Diversity is central to the core mission of the University as evidenced by its establishment of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). According to a University spokesperson, “Our division embraces and encourages diversity in all its forms. We strive for an inclusive university community that fosters an open, enlightened and robust learning environment.”

At TAMS and ED Homeschool, we teach tolerance and diversity with hands-on and real-world activities, such as our mosque visit and our Passover Seder. We believe that a free exchange of ideas requires knowledge, mutual respect, and consideration for our differences. UT says, “It is important to think of diversity not as a path toward uniformity, but as a way to acknowledge and value everyone’s varied experiences and backgrounds. This is especially vital in the increasingly multicultural state of Texas and global marketplace.”

Tour highlights include:

John Hargis Hall

  • John Hargis Hall. Built in 1891, the building was not owned by the university until 1925. In 1987, the building was named in honor of the first African-American student to receive an undergraduate degree from UT Austin.
  • Perry Castañeda Library (PCL) named for Dr. Ervin S. Perry, the first African American appointed to the academic rank of professor at The University of Texas at Austin, and Dr. Carlos E. Castañeda, a professor of Latin American History and a developer of the University’s esteemed Benson Latin American Collection. Since 1977 the PCL has been renowned as one of the most used-for research libraries in the United States; it houses 2.5 million volumes
  • Cesar Chavez Statue honoring Cesar Chavez, the late civil rights activist and labor leader. The students chose Cesar Chavez to be honored with a bronze statue because of his work as a spiritual figure and his commitment to social change.
  • Gender and Sexuality Center, a campus hub that provides a safe space for all members of the University community to explore, organize, and promote learning about different issues pertaining to gender and sexuality.
  • The Malcolm X Lounge, which serves as a place where all students can hang out, socialize, hold meetings, or study.
  • The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in a televised ceremony at the White House. The far-reaching law included provisions to protect the right to vote, guarantee access to public accommodations, and withhold federal funds from programs administered in a discriminatory fashion. Thirteen months later on August 6, 1965, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. The bill provided for direct federal action to enable African Americans to register and vote. In 1969, in his final press conference as President, Johnson cited passage of the Voting Rights Act as his greatest accomplishment. The LBJ Library houses forty-five million pages of historical documents which include the papers from the entire public career of Lyndon Baines Johnson and also from those of close associates. These papers and the vast administrative files from the presidency are used primarily by scholars.
Malcolm X Lounge
Malcolm X Lounge

Other highlights include the Barbara Jordan Statue, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue, Earl Campbell Statue, and the Almeria “Mama” Duren Residence Hall to honor the “Den” mother of Eliza Dee Hall, which was a co-op that operated during a time when women were not allowed to live on campus.

Cross Curriculum Lessons 

We used this tour to emphasize a number of cross curricular events:


  1. MLA WRITING AND RESEARCH: Students wrote and formatted a MLA style research paper about Lyndon B.
  2. AP WRITING AND RESEARCH: Students wrote and formatted an AP style argument essay about gender equality.
  3. READING: Students read I Am Malala and then wrote a compare and contrast essay about Malala Yousafzai and Barbara Jordan and each woman’s contributions to education.
  4. RHETORICAL ANALYSIS: Students compared speeches written by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, and wrote compare/contrast essays about each man’s life and style. Students also studied rhetorical devices and how each Civil Rights leader effectively used various devices.
  5. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT students learned how a bill becomes a law and looked at 50 years of Civil Rights struggles and victories since President Johnson put this law into action.

For more information about TAMS and ED Homeschool, visit us at http://www.tamsanded.comWe teach tolerance and diversity with hands-on and real-world activities. Our home school is for students who thrive in smaller classroom settings. We teach. We challenge. They learn.   For our students, the world is their classroom.

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