Founded in 1923, Texas Orange Jackets (OJs) is one of the oldest honorary service organizations on campus with a membership of women and nonbinary folks dedicated to upholding the tenets of service, leadership, scholarship, and community. We are a service organization that serves as official hosts of the University of Texas at Austin. All members of OJs dedicate themselves to upholding the four Orange Jackets tenets: scholarship, leadership, service, and community. Orange Jackets membership devotes itself to serving the university, Austin community, and supporting individual members’ initiatives. We spend countless hours volunteering at The Settlement Home for Children, our primary philanthropy for over two decades.
Service is a central part of being an OJ. Members exhibit a dedication to serving their community within and outside of the organization. New members participate in a year-long initiation process in which they construct a unique service project. Additionally, all members participate in serving The Settlement Home and volunteer at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Leadership is exhibited by all members in various capacities. Members are encouraged to attend and support others’ organizational events. Fundamentally, OJs help each other lead by providing encouraging environments to foster growth and enable other members to see their potential.
Scholarship takes many forms for OJs. From attending tours to learn more about UT to attending poetry readings together, members have many opportunities to engage with each other and with people throughout Austin. Some memorable scholarship circles from the past year include discussing social media’s impact on mental health, the Women’s March, and education in the US.
Community that, as the foundational tenet, builds unwavering solidarity alongside all movements committed to change for the common good.
Orange Jackets is the oldest honorary service organization at the University of Texas. The core tenets of the organization are excellence in scholarship, leadership, service, and community. Since its inception in 1923, OJs have been actively serving both UT and the greater Austin community. Members of Orange Jackets are easily recognized at campus events by their burnt orange vests emblazoned with a white “T” on the side pocket. Orange Jackets have been sporting this uniform ever since the UT v. OU game that took place on November 17, 1923. Every person who becomes an Orange Jacket receives their vest at the end of their Tappee year.
Although the Orange Jackets have historically been highly visible during UT football games, they remain first and foremost a service organization. Orange Jackets host numerous events for the University of Texas, plan and put on the annual Week of Women, and raise money for The Settlement Home with their Capture the 40 Acres flag football tournament.
OJ TAP PROJECT
OJ Tappees (first year members) also perform a unique service for the University of Texas or the city of Austin on an annual basis through the execution of their year-long Tappee project, a requirement the Tappees must complete in order to earn their vests by Initiation. Past Tappee projects have included the Push for Emergency Call Boxes Initiative, the Voices Against Violence Campaign, the We Rose: Stories of Longhorn Women journal, and the Barbara Jordan Statue project.
Given that Orange Jackets was founded as an organization for the most outstanding women and nonbinary individuals on campus, it is no surprise that many former members have gone on to become outstanding figures in their professional fields. Dr. Margaret C. Berry, Shirley Bird Perry, Carol Keeton Strayhorn, Liz Carpenter, and Lady Bird Johnson are only a few examples of countless prominent Orange Jackets alumni. The Orange Jackets today continue the traditions set out by their illustrious predecessors. Through the continued selection of campus leaders for membership, Orange Jackets will long be remembered for their leadership, scholarship, spirit, service, and dedication to the University of Texas at Austin.