Harrison Glaser, an environmental studies major with a minor in communication studies, grew up in nearby Austin. Some expected him to go to The University of Texas at Austin. Others thought he would go to school far from home. Harrison says, “I wanted to be close without being too close. Southwestern stuck out as being really personal and a cool community.”

After four years, he says his classes were all great, but by far the best parts of his Southwestern Experience were extracurricular. “A great thing about Southwestern is that it’s really easy to get involved in projects that are real and impactful. I was able to participate in, and often lead, efforts that truly affected people and made a difference.”

As a Resident Assistant (RA) and Head RA, Harrison had the opportunity to help many students adjust to college, which can be a tough transition. He says of the experience, “I always say that I learned more from being an RA than I did in any of my classes, and I stand by that. I learned how to work with people—how to talk and, more important, how to listen.”

Harrison was a member of University Programming Council, Students for Environmental Activism and Knowledge (SEAK) and the SU Garden Club. Off campus, he volunteered at the Georgetown Animal Shelter.

With his self-proclaimed “obsession with music,” it’s no wonder Harrison was also the co-chair of Clusterfest, a large-scale music festival held on campus. 

His philosophy and advice to new students is that “You can figure out a lot more about what you’re interested in by actually doing things instead of just learning about them … you have to stretch yourself and try a lot of things…”

Harrison says the thing he will miss most about Southwestern is the ability to walk out of his room and find someone to hang out with pretty much instantly. He also says of his time at SU, “I’ve become more confident and more interested in trying new things.” Maybe that’s due in part to the fact that he never expected to be so close to faculty and staff. “I knew Southwestern was going to be a close-knit community, but I didn’t think it would be close-knit between students, faculty and staff.”

Following graduation, Harrison served as conference assistant at the Austin Film Festival, even moderating one of the panels of writers. He says, “It was crazy and frantic and non-stop and one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.”  He is also an operations specialist for KIPP Austin Public Schools, a district of charter schools in East Austin.

Live music… suburb

From weekly events featuring nationally touring artists and performers to frequent student organization-sponsored events—including Clusterfest, an annual music festival held on campus—there is always an entertainment outlet. Austin, the live music capital (20-plus miles due south), is a big one.