NOVEMBER 2, 2020 – In 2013, seven UTSA students sat in a Starbucks near Main Campus and created a club called Mobilize, Organize, Vote, and Empower: MOVE. The idea was simple: register students to vote and educate them on why city and local elections were important for the issues they cared about.
Now, that organization is called MOVE Texas, and they are in nine cities, over 60 college campuses, and have a $3.5 million operating budget. At the helm of this operation – and the person responsible for its growth – is UTSA alumnus Drew Galloway ’14.
Galloway grew up in Georgia and had grand culinary ambitions. After graduating high school, he went to London to study the art of winemaking and tasting, ultimately ending up at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.
Somewhere along the way, Galloway began to realize that his real passion was community engagement. And so, despite his background and previous education, he headed to UTSA to enroll in Public Administration.
Galloway was driven and determined, and finished his degree in one year. And he made sure to pack that year full of meaningful experiences. As an Archer Fellow, he spent his last semester in Washington, DC as a White House intern. “It was life-changing to me,” Galloway said. His work as an intern stood out so much that he temporarily filled a position in the Domestic Policy Council when it was vacated by a full-time staffer.
After his experience at the White House, Galloway landed at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at UT Austin. Still living in San Antonio, he drove to Austin every day. “I didn’t mind the commute at all because I loved working there so much,” he said.
Galloway thought he was set – he was doing what he loved with an organization that was impactful. But then he received a call from one of the founders of that student organization he had volunteered with years before. “I never thought I was going to leave Annette Strauss,” he said. “But I took a chance.”
When Galloway joined the team, they were called MOVE San Antonio and had a presence on 10 campuses with a $90k yearly budget. After only four years, the organization – now called MOVE Texas — has exploded and is considered one of the foremost powerhouse youth organizations in the United States.
“What Drew has done at MOVE Texas is nothing short of extraordinary,” Dr. Patricia Jaramillo, senior lecturer of Public Policy, said. “He’s taken a local nonprofit and extended its reach, statewide. Drew recognizes how rules and regulations establish the structures of community engagement so we have seen MOVE Texas regularly partner with other powerful nonprofit advocates to advocate for and against laws impacting issues of equality and civil rights.”
“Drew recognizes how rules and regulations establish the structures of community engagement so we have seen MOVE Texas regularly partner with other powerful nonprofit advocates to advocate for and against laws impacting issues of equality and civil rights.”
For his part, Galloway is grateful for the opportunity to impact change – and to do so from the ground, not from behind a desk. “My job is unique in that I get to work directly with young people,” Galloway said. “MOVE Texas believes in the power of young people.”
That belief is evident in the partnerships MOVE has established with college campuses, including its founding spot at UTSA. “Drew welcomes UTSA students as volunteers and interns,” Jaramillo said. “He sends volunteer deputy registrars to our classes to make sure UTSA students are registered to vote and that they know their voting rights, and how to exercise those rights. Drew makes himself available whenever we have called on him, maintaining a humbleness and continuing to show a generosity to serve others.”
Galloway encourages anyone who wants to affect change to consider the Public Administration program at UTSA. “It’s a very special place,” he said. “You build long-lasting relationships with professors. Ten years later, I still talk to professors I had for one year.”
The program itself, he said, exactly suited him. “Public Administration is the practical side of politics,” he said. “I’m a natural problem solver. With a PAD degree, I can solve those at the local level by working at the county or city. It really prepares you for looking at problems in a systemic way and being able to solve those problems.”
Public Administration isn’t always a clear choice for those wanting to make an impact. “It’s okay not to know what your path looks like,” Galloway said. “I have had a serpentine career path. I’ve worked in some of the nicest hotels in London, and I’ve worked in retail as a store manager and wine buyer, and as a non-profit executive in academia. When it comes to your future career, you don’t have to have all the answers, but if you’re passionate, you will make the right decisions.”