Texas Iron Spikes

Texas Iron Spikes is an honorary men's service and spirit organization at The University of Texas at Austin, Texas. Founded in 1994 by Andrew Phong Vo,[1] Texas Iron Spikes was established to serve the University and Central Texas region through active philanthropy. The Texas Iron Spikes also serve as the official spirit organization for the University of Texas baseball team.[2]

History

In January 1994, Vo envisioned creating a multi-faceted service organization that would benefit the university and surrounding communities while, at the same time, enable its members the opportunity to develop lifetime, fraternal bonds through spirit, social, and intramural activities. In April 1994, after obtaining approval by the University of Texas administrators and securing support from legendary UT baseball coach, Cliff Gustafson, Vo recruited 16 other students to officially create a premier organization that embodied a common vision while allowing its members to maintain their individual values, personal integrity, and academic goals.

In its first year of existence, the Texas Iron Spikes focused on supporting two key organizations: Special Olympics Texas and Neighborhood Longhorns. With Special Olympics Texas, the Texas Iron Spikes participated in a variety of hands-on interactive events with the Area 13 Special Olympians to support the athletes. The Iron Spikes also began a series of monthly group panhandling efforts across Austin to raise funds for this non-profit organization - a tradition that still remains strong to this day. Partnering with Neighborhood Longhorns, the Texas Iron Spikes focused on tutoring academics and coaching sports to low-income elementary school students on a weekly basis throughout the school year and quickly became the first student group to serve as ambassadors for the UT-sponsored program. In both 1994 and 1995, the University of Texas recognized the Texas Iron Spikes with the Outstanding Group Service to the Community Award.

To complement their focus on volunteerism, the Texas Iron Spikes quickly gained recognition as the first and only official men’s spirit group for the University of Texas baseball team. Vo felt that the Texas Iron Spikes' commitment to both community service and promotion of UT spirit would attract well-rounded student leaders to the organization by giving them a forum to demonstrate their passion to give back to others while also allowing them to enjoy their love for baseball, America’s favorite pastime, which has proved time and again that it has the power to bring people together. As a result of the strong foundation established by the Founding Class and through the continued commitment to the core values by its early leaders, in the less than five years of the existence, the Texas Iron Spikes were recognized by the University of Texas as the Most Outstanding Service Organization (1998) and Best Overall Organization (1999).

Texas Iron Spikes is an organization that selects well-rounded students at the University of Texas from a variety of backgrounds and helps develop them into rising leaders within the community. Since 1994, these individuals have demonstrated commitment to the values expressed in the Texas Iron Spikes vision and creed, and strive to live by these values daily. As a result of their active involvement in Spikes, past members have been invited to become members of other honorary organizations on campus and have also received prestigious awards from the university and surrounding communities. Throughout the short history of the Texas Iron Spikes, strong leaders have emerged to leave their lasting legacy on campus as both students and alumni.[3]

Service

Texas Iron Spikes are serious about their responsibility to the University and Austin community. As a result, the Spikes take great pride in being recognized as one of the premier service organizations on campus. Individual members take pride in the quality of each service hour they perform. Each member is expected to complete a minimum number of hours per semester, but most do substantially more than their requirement each semester.

The Texas Iron Spikes contribute to a number of volunteer programs including but not limited to:

  • Special Olympics Texas (Main Philanthropy)[4]
  • Spring Classic Softball Tournament[5]
  • Neighborhood Longhorns
  • Hosts Program at Metz Elementary
  • Parmer Woods Assisted Living
  • 40 Acres Fest

[6]

Notable Service Awards

1994 - Outstanding Group Service to the Community Award for the UT Neighborhood Longhorns Program

1995 - Outstanding Group Service to the Community Award for the UT Neighborhood Longhorns Program

1998 - Swing Out Award for Most Outstanding Service Organization by the University of Texas Leadership Board

1999 - Swing Out Award for Most Outstanding Organization Overall by the University of Texas Leadership Board

2000 - Outstanding Group Service to the Community Award for the UT Neighborhood Longhorns Program

2010 - AISD Volunteer Group of the Year for HOSTS

References

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