Tell almost anyone that you go to school in Austin, and city-envy ensues. It’s trendy. The economy is hot. The live music reputation is second-to-none. It’s got amazing parks, great restaurants, incredible festivals and an unmatchable vibe.

But there are reasons well beyond the cool factor that make Austin a great place to go to school — and home to St. Edward’s. Think internships at one of the city’s startup incubators. Professors who aren’t just teaching about the city’s arts scene but are the scene. Research opportunities at a 227-acre wilderness preserve just miles from campus. Service opportunities that connect students to the heart of the city.

The list could go well beyond these highlights, but we hope you’ll check out just a few of the ways our students are taking advantage of all that the city has to offer.

1. Austin has been named the No. 1 city on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Places to Live” list and is consistently included in the top 10 list. According to the report, Austinites enjoy the outdoors and the city has a “contagious vibrancy and enthusiasm.” Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, visitors come to Austin for the annual South by Southwest and Austin City Limits festivals. With a strong job market and continued long-term population growth, Austin remains an ideal place to live for many.

Students with scooters pause on the pedestrian bridge to talk and view the Austin, Texas, skyline
Tammie Rubin

2. Hilltoppers contribute to Austin’s vibrant art environment. For example, Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Ceramics Tammie Rubin participated in a 6-week outdoor installation at The Museum of Human Achievement in Austin, in which she set up her studio in a caged trailer, allowing her art making to be open and visible to the public.

3. The Bill Munday School of Business brings to campus keynote speakers from national organizations — including the CEO of Office Depot and a brand strategist for Google’s Unskippable Labs — to discuss leadership, management and innovation in the 21st century. 

4. Approximately 70 students participate in S.E.R.V.E. Austin each semester, which coordinates ongoing weekly commitments at locations like Central Texas Food Bank, Casa Marianella and Keep Austin Beautiful.

5. Every summer, a group of St. Edward’s students is funded by H-E-B grocery and Enterprise Rent-A-Car to complete paid internships. Students have been selected to work at local organizations, including Caritas of Austin, Latinitas, PeopleFund, and Kids in a New Groove.

6. Wild Basin Creative Research Center at St. Edward’s University is leading Austin Wildlife Watch, the city’s biodiversity monitoring initiative, by installing 26 motion-sensitive cameras in green spaces across the city. Located just 10 miles from campus within the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, the Research Center is an innovative field research station hosting creative opportunities for students across majors. Students can engage in existing research or create their own projects all while receiving support from dedicated faculty and staff. The preserve is also open for hiking every day, offering almost three miles of beautiful trails.

St. Edward's students conduct research at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
Mischelle Flores '22 stands in front of the Texas State Capital where she has works as an intern for a state senator

7. Students get an up-close look at politics and government, thanks to the university’s location in the state capitol. In 2021, Political Science major Michelle Flores ’22 was awarded a Texas Legislative Fellowship to work full-time in the office of State Senator Cesar Blanco.

8. St. Edward’s student interns contribute to the local community.  They have raised money for nonprofits like Six Square by helping write grant proposals. They have interned at the Texas Homeless Network, in the bird department at the San Antonio Zoo and with the Austin Film Society.

9. Each year, dozens of students across majors pitch their innovative business ideas to local Austin entrepreneurs and investors during 3 Day Startup, a program that gives participants the hands-on experience of starting a company.

10. Each fall, graduate and undergraduate Accounting students get tips from practicing accountants from across the field — KPMG to the Texas State Auditor’s Office — as part of a “How to Succeed in Accounting” retreat.

11. S.E.R.V.E. 1 Day brings together approximately 100 students from St. Edward’s one Saturday each month to volunteer at five different sites across the city.

12. Partnerships and connections between Austin and St. Edward’s open doors to internships for students to build career skills and deepen their knowledge in their major. Finance student Christoph Hoermann ’21 gained expertise in his major by interning with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and University Federal Credit Union.

Finance major Christoph Hoemann stands in the downtown Austin financial district
Student actors on stage in Marisol production at Mary Moody Nothern Theater

13. Each year, local professional actors and production artists work alongside student Theatre Arts majors to stage four outstanding plays in the Mary Moody Northern Theatre. Hits have included CabaretRomeo and Juliet, and Pride and Prejudice.

14. St. Edward’s partners with the City of Austin Innovation Office and Open Austin to host the annual ATX Hack for Change, which brings technology enthusiasts together to solve community problems by creating websites, mobile applications and online tools.

15. St. Edward’s University partners with Capital Factory to provide memberships for students in The Bill Munday School of Business each semester, giving them access to some of the city’s top entrepreneurs, investors and startup resources. See how the Capital Factory advantage helped Regina Vatterott ’16 and her co-founders launch Elliegrid, a digital pill organizer for managing medications.

16. Professors of Political Science Brian Smith and David Thomason are go-to experts for many Austin television stations, regularly sharing their perspective on local and national news coverage of elections, civic policies and more.

17. Graduates of St. Edward’s often launch their careers in Austin’s thriving business and creative scene, such as these three Hilltoppers working with Austin animation studio Minnow Mountain, and many of these 200 alumni trailblazers.

Austin is a global force, tech innovation hub and culture capital. But it’s also a lot of fun — home to great ice cream and coffee (both key to late-night studying), outdoor activities (key to health and wellness) and more. Check out 10 favorite Hilltopper spots and why college in Austin is great.