Longhorn Energy Club connects UT to the energy sector

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Longhorn Energy Club exerts all of its energy planning one of the largest student-run energy conferences.

The club was formed three years ago, with the intention of connecting the UT community to energy-related opportunities and supporting students’ future careers in the energy sector. Now, the club’s primary activity is co-hosting UT Energy Week, during which experts from the industry, academia, non-governmental organizations and the government convene in Austin to discuss pressing energy-related issues. 

Originally composed of MBA students, the organization has evolved to include around 100 students, both graduate and undergraduate, from a variety of fields, said Hector Arreola, president of Longhorn Energy Club and energy and earth resources graduate student. 

“The idea is to facilitate the conversation of people between different schools in the university, so we have people from the engineering school, business, public policy, geosciences,” Arreola said. “All of us have interest in energy, but of course we have different approaches and ideas and expertise. The idea is to facilitate that dialogue.”

Longhorn Energy Club collaborates with UT’s Energy Institute, the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law & Business and UT law school’s Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law to organize UT Energy Week, which is one of the biggest student-run energy conferences. 

Students plan all aspects of the conference, including inviting speakers and scheduling. The Longhorn Energy Club’s 13 member executive board is responsible for planning Energy Week. 

In addition to its keynotes and speakers, who come from organizations such as the U.S. Air Force and Conoco Phillips, the conference holds research and startup competitions for students.

“(UT Energy Week) is the perfect stage for students to show their work and ideas,” Arreola said. 

This year’s Energy Week will include tours of UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering, UT’s school of architecture and UT’s power plant.

Arreola said he is excited about this year’s energy week because the club was able to organize a variety of panels.

“I think we were able to balance really well and cover all aspects of energy — oil and gas, power generation, renewables,” Arreola said. “We have people from academia, other schools, senior vice presidents, CEOs.”

Drake Hernandez, mechanical engineering senior and Energy Week co-chair, said he was most excited about hosting such an event at a leading
energy university.

“We’re most proud that (UT Energy Week) is free for UT faculty, students and staff,” Hernandez said. “UT is the
energy university.”

Immediately after the event, Longhorn Energy Club will assemble its next executive board to plan next year’s Energy Week. Hernandez said the club is always trying to recruit more members and volunteers for their events. 

Arreola said he encourages both students and professors to attend this week’s conference.

“People should take advantage that we are in a university that’s a leader in different aspects of the energy sector,” Arreola said. “This is the perfect way to stay connected to what is happening in the field.”

Energy Week will run from Feb. 7 to 10 in the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center.