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Division News

Counseling and Mental Health Center

  • CMHC is implementing a new charge structure this semester. Students will no longer pay the $10 individual counseling appointment charge.Students who see a CMHC psychiatrist will pay only $10 of our $15 appointment charge for psychiatry. These charges have been subsidized by The Longhorn Network. Read President Gregory L. Fenves’ announcement to learn more.
  • Learn about CMHC’s new initiative to embed well-being and mental health promotion into classrooms through Well-being in Learning Environments. Staff is partnering with the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Pharmacy, Cockrell School of Engineering, Office of the Student Ombuds, Project 2021 and Faculty Innovation Center. The program launched late fall.

New Student Services








Melissa Porch speaks with a student at Spring Orientation.

  • Staff welcomed 489 new transfer students to campus during Spring Orientation last month. 
  • Following orientation, NSS hosted Transition Week, a series of free events to help students make social connections at the university. Transition Week gives Spring Orientation extended programming, similar to Longhorn Welcome in the fall. 
  • NSS hosted its spring welcome event for Horns Helping Horns. The program provides financial and mentorship support to students with limited resources, including financially independent students and foster care alumni.










Desiree Alva and Amy Hendrickson at RISE 2018

  • Staff partnered with the Senate of College Councils to host the third annual RISE (Reflect, Inspire, Surpass, Emerge) Summit. This event is an extended orientation/transition program for first-year and transfer students. The program featured workshops on time management, healthy living and study skills.

Office of the Dean of Students

Encourage students to apply for the Glenn Maloney Memorial Scholarship. Applications are due Feb. 15, with recommendation letters due Feb. 22.

Doug Garrard at the Interpersonal Violence Peer Support Grand Opening 

  • Staff are supporting the launch of the Interpersonal Violence Peer Support program. They gathered with Division and campus partners at the grand opening on Jan. 24. This program’s team is a group of expertly trained undergraduate and graduate students who offer confidential, peer-based support to students who have been impacted by interpersonal violence.
  • Student Emergency Services staff are launching an on-campus food pantry and career closet. Please encourage students to participate in the Office of the Dean of Students’ Name the Pantry, Fill the Pantry! contest on its social media channels through March 2. Staff can donate nutritious food and cleaned professional clothing. 

Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA)

Dr. Lilly welcomes staff at the Division-wide Meeting.

  • Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly recognized this year’s Texas Parents Staff Merit Award winners at the Division-wide Meeting on Jan. 24. Learn about the winners in Texas Parents’ news section below.
  • Dr. Lilly welcomed Division staff back to campus with an email on Jan. 18.
  • VPSA hosted five sessions of True Colors® last semester for 140 staff members.
  • Staff have begun planning for the new Division Strategic Plan. Take a look at the Division of Student Affairs Strategic Plan Fourth Year Progress Report 2016-2017

Victoria Ortiz (University Health Services) and Ashley Montgomery (University Housing and Dining) at New Staff Orientation 

  • VPSA and the Division’s senior leaders hosted New Staff Orientation on Nov. 28 and Dec. 12 for 120 new Division staff. The staff learned about the Division’s cutting-edge programs, services and facilities.

Sotear Kuy (University Housing and Dining) at Media Training 

  • The communications team hosted media training for 13 staff members and student assistants from Division departments May-December 2017. This two-hour workshop helps staff effectively respond to media requests.
  • VPSA will host two performances for students, staff and faculty of the Defamation Experience on Feb. 21. This interactive theatre program explores race, religion, gender and class through a courtroom case where the audience is the jury. Encourage students to RSVP for the 11 a.m. or 6 p.m. performance.

Recreational Sports (RecSports)

  • Fitness/Wellness Program staff promoted free TeXercise classes prior to fall final exams with Final Stretch. The promotion included a contest for the best ‘90s-themed workout outfit.
  • Staff, with assistance from student ambassadors, educated students and parents about recreational programs and activities at spring orientations hosted in January by the International Office, Texas Parents and New Student Services.
  • Recreational Sports hosted the annual meeting in January of the Big Ten recreation directors. Directors from other Texas universities not in the Big Ten also attended. They all received a tour of RecSports facilities.
  • Staff are preparing to launch F45 Training, a new fitness program that combines fitness and technology. This program will be integrated into TeXercise.

  • Registration opened today for the annual Longhorn Run on April 14. Assistant Director Cecilia Lopez Cardenas is overseeing a committee of 15 students organizing the event.

Texas Parents

  • Nominate an outstanding senior for the 2017-18 Outstanding Student Award by Feb. 6. This award is given to one male and one female senior student who demonstrate exceptional leadership, scholarship, character and service.
  • Texas Parents is hiring Family Orientation Student Leaders and the Membership Recruitment Student Leaders for the summer orientation season. Encourage students to apply by March 1. 

Susan Hochman (University Health Services), Leah Leeds (Counseling and Mental Health Center), Dr. Lilly and Susan Buckenmeyer (Office of the Dean of Students)

  • The 20th Annual Texas Parents Staff Merit Awards were presented to Susan Buckenmeyer, Office of the Dean of Students, Susan Hochman, University Health Services, and Leah Leeds, Counseling and Mental Health Center, at the Division-wide Meeting on Jan. 24. These team members support student success, strengthen student services and inspire their colleagues to seek excellence in their own work. They contribute to a culture of excellence, inclusion and success on the Forty Acres. 

Laurie Alvarado at Spring Family Orientation

  • Texas Parents welcomed 106 families of incoming freshmen and transfer students at Spring Family Orientation.
  • Texas Parents launched the spring 2018 Texas Parents Brick Paver Campaign through Feb. 16. Parents are encouraged to make a gift while honoring their students with a brick paver in front of the Student Services Building (SSB).

The Center for Students in Recovery (CSR)

  • CSR staff are partnering with the department’s registered student organization, Students for Recovery, to host a Sober Spin V-Day Hip Hop Dance Party, Feb. 10, 9:30 p.m.-midnight, Student Activity Center (SAC) Ballroom. The College of Pharmacy’s registered student organization, Student Pharmacist Recovery Network, is also partnering on the event. The student group received a Texas Parents Student Organization Grant to host the party.

University Health Services (UHS)

  • UHS and CMHC partnered to hold the third annual Getting to Know You, an event fostering an inclusive work environment. As part of the departments’ diversity initiatives, staff are able to share information about their identities, participate in activities and strengthen bonds between colleagues. Staff viewed cultural displays, listened to live music, sampled food and played video games.
  • The bi-annual UHS Organizational Day featured Dr. Dawna Ballard, Moody College of Communication, and Dr. Rich Reddick, College of Education. UHS staff learned and bonded as a team during the day-long event.
  • UHS launched the Get Yourself Tested Fund, a new service allowing students to receive free sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing once a semester.
  • In an effort to better serve LGBTQIA+ students, staff are providing healthcare information and specialized care options available at UHS on the website.

University Housing and Dining 

  • Staff launched a new name and identity on Jan. 1, creating a stronger link to the university brand. The new formal name is The University of Texas at Austin Housing and Dining, the informal name is University Housing and Dining (UHD).
  • Staff will conduct weekly workshops for Longhorns for a Culturally Competent Campus (LC3). This eight-week program increases students’ ability to interact effectively with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • UT Farm Stand is back for the spring semester. Stop by Jester Plaza on Feb. 7 and Feb. 22, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., to pick up your fresh produce, bread and honey.

Rick Early, Randy Porter, Hemlata Jhaveri, Mylon Kirksy, Melanie Grice, Aaron Voyles, Adriana Rojas and Rene Rodriguez at the Senior Staff Retreat

  • University Housing and Dining senior staff discussed strategic goals and the new name transition during a retreat on Jan. 19. 

JD Castro, Tiana Lindberg, Amy Costa, Gerard Smithwrick, Valeria Martin and Ashley Jones at Resident Assistant Training

  • Residence Life staff held Resident Assistant (RA) Training to prepare returning and new RAs for the upcoming semester. Take a look at the photos.

Brandon Jones at the Stick2Civility Week kickoff event

  • Residence Life launched a week-long campaign Jan. 29-Feb. 2 called #Stick2Civility. It promotes a caring community where all members help one another grow. Residents in 14 on-campus residence halls will be encouraged to promote acts of civility by communicating, taking responsibility, showing respect, paying attention and listening.

University Unions

  • The Texas Union and Student Activity Center will operate under new building hours. The buildings will continue to open at 7 a.m., but will now close at 1 a.m. (Intersession and holiday hours may vary.)
  • Nominations for the J.J. “Jake” Pickle Citizenship Award and the Pal – Make a Difference Award open on Feb. 5. These campus-wide awards are given to students who exemplify citizenship, leadership and service to both the campus and their communities. Contact Megan McMillin with any questions.
  • University Unions staff opened a second food truck location on campus. The new location opened on Jan. 29 outside the Perry-Castaneda Library on Speedway Mall. The other location is outside Gregory Gym. See the schedule.
  • Campus Events + Entertainment hosted Chillfest to help students take a break before finals in December. More than 1,000 students attended the campus tradition held in the fall and spring semesters. Check out the photos.



Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo luncheon 

Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly welcomed the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarship committee at a luncheon on Jan. 22. See the photos.

Marilyn Russell (Office of the Dean of Students), Marian Trattner (BeVocal) and Alyssa Ray (Office of the Dean of Students) present at the UT System Bystander Intervention Conference.

Chris Brownson, Counseling and Mental Health Center, organized and hosted the UT System Bystander Intervention Conference. Marilyn Russell and Alyssa Ray, Office of the Dean of Students, and Marian Trattner, BeVocal, provided an update about UT Austin’s bystander intervention initiative. Thea Woodruff, Counseling and Mental Health Center, participated in a panel discussion about involving faculty in bystander intervention efforts. 

Melissa Porch and Ashley Davis present at the Orientation Advisor Leadership Class.

Ashley Davis and Melissa Porch, New Student Services, presented “Social Media Responsibility” to the Orientation Advisor Leadership Class. The presentation will help orientation advisors prepare for seven freshman sessions, three transfer sessions and August Orientation this summer.

Jaden Felix, Office of the Dean of Students, facilitated the pre-conference program, “Identifying Privilege in the Profession,” at the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) Annual Meeting

Marilyn Russell (right) with her co-presenters at the AFA Annual Meeting

Marilyn Russell, Office of the Dean of Students, presented “OWN IT: Your Role as a Mid-Manager in Fraternity and Sorority Life” at the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) Annual Meeting. She collaborated with colleagues from Clemson University, Emory University, the University of Houston and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 

Cristian Santillan Garcia, New Student Services, received a Dean of Students Staff Spotlight Award. This award recognizes work ethic and initiative. 

Benny Rohloff, Office of the Dean of Students, and Graduate Assistant Arianne McArdle hosted 55 students at Sorority and Fraternity Life’s annual IMPACT Retreat on Jan. 12–14.

Marian Trattner (third from right, BeVocal) with her co-presenters at the NASPA Strategies Conference

Marian Trattner, BeVocal, presented “Delivering Innovative Mental Health-focused Peer Education Program: Successes, Challenges, and Lessons Learned” at the 2018 NASPA Strategies Conference. She collaborated with colleagues from the Universities of Albany, Michigan and Southern Indiana.

Bree Van Nees (Office of the Dean of Students), Lauren White (Counseling and Mental Health Center) and Breall Baccus (Title IX Office) at the NASPA Strategies Conference

Bree Van Ness, Office of the Dean of Students, and Lauren White, Counseling and Mental Health Center, partnered with Breall Baccus, Title IX Office, to present “Peer Power: Lessons Learned from Creating a Peer Advocacy Program at UT Austin” at the 2018 NASPA Strategies Conference.

Jennifer Carter and Shannon Price (New Student Services) display Green Offices at UT Austin platinum certificate. 

The New Student Services office has once again achieved platinum certification from Green Offices at UT Austin. Certified since spring 2016, NSS is the only office on campus that has been certified three times — bronze, silver and now platinum. 


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