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Division News

Counseling and Mental Health Center

  • Our clinical staff came together for training on insomnia and sleep anxiety, assessment and treatment of eating disorders.
  • Our team gathered for Organizational Day on Jan. 17. We heard updates from our communications team and learned about a new clinical tool that will be announced later this semester. 

New Student Services

Dr. Celena Mondie-Milner at Spring Orientation

  • Our team welcomed 490 new freshman and transfer students at Spring Orientation. We also launched a new online orientation for students who were not able to attend the program. 

Paige Muehlenkamp and Noemi Madera at Spring Orientation

  • We hosted Spring Welcome Week Jan. 15–19 to help students connect with peers and university life. See the photos.

NSS staff at RISE 2019

New Student Services staff at RISE 2019

  • Our office hosted the fourth annual RISE summit (Reflect, Inspire, Surpass, Emerge) for 200 students. This one-day program for first-year students reinforces information and resources they learned at summer orientation. RISE is presented by our office in partnership with the Senate of College Councils

Shannon Price presents at the Orientation Advisor Leadership Team Retreat. 

  • Our orientation advisor training course began on Jan. 22. The leadership course, facilitated by Kyle St. Nicholas, prepares our 80+ OAs for summer orientation.

Office of the Dean of Students

  • Our Student Activities team hosted Spring Student Organization Fair on Jan. 30. The fair gives 150 student organizations the opportunity to begin their spring recruitment.
  • Campus-wide Elections will take place March 4–5, with election results announced on March 8. The elections are administered by the Election Supervisory Board and include more than 50 elected student leader positions in Graduate Student Assembly, Student Government, Texas Student Media, University Co-op and University Unions. The filing deadline is Feb. 15 and campaigning will take place Feb. 18–March 5.

Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs

Melissa Wommack and Katherine Goodwin (Office of the Dean of Students) at the Division-wide Meeting

  • Team appreciation and Staff Merit Awards were the focus of the Division-wide Meeting on Jan. 23. We recognized new staff, celebrated staff members’ years of service and announced the 21st Annual Texas Parents Staff Merit Award winners. Read about the honorees in Dr. Lilly’s column.
  • Dr. Lilly welcomed Division staff back to campus with an email on Jan. 22.

Larry Roper and Dr. Lilly kick off a two-day professional development program in the Texas Union.

  • Our team hosted distinguished student affairs leader Dr. Larry Roper on campus Jan. 30–31. He led discussions with Division staff and campus partners on how to better balance our personal and professional lives. See photos.
  • Our office will resume Graduate Assistant and Graduate Research Assistant Workshops on Feb. 7, 9–11 a.m., Student Activity Center Ballroom. Dr. Mylon Kirksy, University Housing and Dining, will facilitate this workshop on the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI®).

Recreational Sports

  • Our team collaborated on Final Stretch, a program during finals in December offering students a variety of stress-relieving activities.
  • Our staff and student ambassadors shared information with new students and families during Spring Family Orientation, Spring Welcome Week and International Student Orientation.

  • Register today for Longhorn Run on April 13. The race unites students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the UT Austin community. Form a team and take advantage of valuable rewards. Learn more. 

Texas Parents

Justin Samuel (University Housing and Dining), Dr. Lilly, Miles Sapp and Marilyn Russell (Office of the Dean of Students) 

  • The 21st Annual Texas Parents Staff Merit Awards were presented to Marilyn Russell, Office of the Dean of Students, Justin Samuel, University Housing and Dining, and Miles Sapp, Office of the Dean of Students. These team members go above and beyond to influence the Longhorn Life. They provide care, create community and instill courage in our students. Read about them in Dr. Lilly’s column. 
  • We welcomed 134 families of incoming freshman and transfer students at Family Orientation on Jan. 14.
  • Our office is encouraging parents to honor their students by purchasing a 2019 Texas Parents Brick Paver by Feb. 15. The pavers are laid outside the Student Services Building before commencement.
  • Nominate a senior for the 2018-19 Outstanding Student Award by Feb. 11. The Outstanding Student Award is given to one male and one female senior student who demonstrate exceptional leadership, scholarship, character and service.
  • Applications for the Family Orientation Student Leader position open on March 1. These students support our team during the summer Family Orientation programs.

The Center for Students in Recovery

  • We are excited to celebrate the center’s 15-year anniversary at our annual luncheon on April 6, noon–2 p.m. Mark your calendars! Email Sierra Castedo for details.
  • We launched a new program last semester to help students, faculty and staff better support students in recovery and hope of recovery. The Recovery Ally Training sessions educated more than 175 people from across campus on the dynamics of addiction and recovery, campus resources and how to talk to someone in active addiction. Details to come on our spring workshops.

University Health Services

  • Our team gathered for Organizational Day on Jan. 8 and also participated in various trainings that week, including how to manage conflict, upcoming IT changes and fire safety. We also hosted Staff Development Day on Jan. 9.

Marvin Mackey, Kevin Jones, Lee Warren, Ben Lara and Ronnie Ruiz at the Ronald McDonald House

  • To give back to the community, our Material Management team served breakfast to families at the Ronald McDonald House.

General Medicine nurses in the Texas State Capitol

  • Our General Medicine nurses toured the Texas State Capitol as a team. 

University Housing and Dining

Golden Horns Awards Recognition Committee: (front) Courtney Land, Vero Salazar, Christie Jenner and Melanie Grice; (back) Eva Barba, Keith Hill, Jennifer McClain, Allison Childs, Antonio Cicchese and Andrew Hunt

  • We recognized outstanding staff at the Golden Horns Awards on Jan. 10. Four team awards and eight individual awards were presented to winners from Facilities, Dining, Human Resources, Residence Life and Business Services. 

Residence Life staff

  • Our Residence Life staff held a team-building day on Jan. 11 at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. They focused on “renewal,” reinforcing team dynamics and reenergizing the staff. Residence Life will now include Occupancy Management and Conference Services staff, so the group welcomed them to the team. 

Kristina Salazar, JD Castro and Heidi Convery

  • They also hosted strength-based coaching for complex coordinators, assistant complex coordinators and senior resident assistants on Jan. 15. The coaching session was led by Heidi Convery, a former Jester Residence Hall coordinator and founder of Flourish, LLC. Staff learned how to apply their strengths to improve supervision skills.
  • The Residence Life team trained 161 resident assistants (RA) at a training before the semester began. The sessions covered self-care, stress management, self-awareness and how to support peers and residents.

University Unions

  • Nominate a student for the J.J. “Jake” Pickle Citizenship and the Pal – Make a Difference Awards by March 1. These awards recognize students for their contribution to campus life and the community. 
  • We partnered with Student Government to offer complimentary feminine hygiene products in the Texas Union and Student Activity Center women’s restrooms. This is a pilot program during the spring semester.
  • We are now offering a zero-waste option through University Unions Catering for events that are hosted in the Texas Union. Arrangements can be made to optimize a zero-waste environment for events hosted in other facilities.
  • Thanks to some renovations during the winter break, the Texas Union Starbucks is now serving hot sandwiches and pastries.
  • Jennifer Zamora attended the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) CEO Symposium with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) CEO John Taylor.


Jake Akin, University Unions, presented “Leadership Development as Professional Development” on exploring connections between leadership theory and practice for the Association of College Unions-International (ACUI) Virtual Research Institute.

Mary Cantu-Garcia and Alyssa Ray, Office of the Dean of Students, facilitated a webinar titled “Utilizing Experiential Learning to Transform the Student Experience” for the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators (TACUSPA).

Mary Cantu-Garcia and Alyssa Ray, Office of the Dean of Students, presented “Utilizing Experiential Learning to Transform the Student Experience” at NASPA’s Leadership Educator Institute (LEI).

JD Castro (University Housing and Dining)

JD Castro, University Housing and Dining, received the National of the Month award from the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH). He received the award at the campus and regional levels, before being honored with the national award. 

Dr. Melissa Eshelman, University Health Services, was listed on Texas Monthly’s 2018 Texas Super Doctors® list.

Jared Lyon (Student Veterans of America) and Jeremiah Gunderson (Office of the Dean of Students) at the Student Veterans of America national convention

Jeremiah Gunderson, Office of the Dean of Students, was named Chapter Advisor of the Year by the Student Veterans of America at their national convention. 

Brandon Jones (University Housing and Dining) at the Black Student Athlete Summit 

Dr. Brandon Jones, University Housing and Dining, presented “It Takes a Village: Holistic Support for Student-Athletes” at the Black Student-Athlete Summit on the importance of student-athletes having a community of support. 

Jenny Mason and Marilyn Russell, Office of the Dean of Students, presented “Hazing Prevention” at the UT System Bystander Intervention Conference. 

Arianne McArdle, Office of the Dean of Students, co-published Tweeting in Greek: How National Fraternities and Sororities Use Twitter in the Oracle: Research Journal of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors with Zachary Taylor, College of Education.

Katy Redd, Thea Woodruff and Samuel Pitasky, Counseling and Mental Health Center, presented on “Texas Well-being: Promoting Well-being in UT Learning Environments” at the NASPA Strategies Conference.

Jessica Hughes Wagner (Moody College of Communication) and Katy Redd (Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services) at the NASPA Strategies Conference

Katy Redd, Counseling and Mental Health Center, and Jessica Hughes Wagner, Moody College of Communication, presented “From Bud to Boss: Moving into Management” at the NASPA Strategies Conference.

Marilyn Russell, Office of the Dean of Students, and Marian TrattnerCounseling and Mental Health Center, presented “BeVocal Update” at the UT System Bystander Intervention Conference.

Catherine Thrasher-Carroll (Cornell University), Kristie Damell (New Jersey Institute of Technology), Marian Tratter (Counseling and Mental Health Center), Katie Marshall (Penn State University) and Michael Eberhard (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) at the NASPA Strategies Conference 

Marian Trattner, Counseling and Mental Health Center, presented “Creating a Culture of Care: Building a Multi Issue Bystander Intervention Program” at the NASPA Strategies Conference.

“A Tip of the Hat to…”

Texas Parents staff who received this message from the parent of a first-year student:

I just finished reading this newsletter and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate you, your staff and all of the great information you pack into everything you send. THANK YOU, TEXAS PARENTS!”

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