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Division News (November 2019-January 2020)

Counseling and Mental Health Center

Marla Craig, Celena Mondie-Milner (New Student Services), Dr. Jean Twenge, Charles Martinez (College of Education) Chris Brownson 

  • We partnered with the Vice President for Student Affairs team to host the Mental Health and Well-being Symposium on Nov. 13. Dr. Jean Twenge provided insight into the mental health of today’s college students to a group of 400 Division staff, faculty and campus partners. Dr. Twenge also participated in a panel discussion with Chris Brownson and Marla Craig (Counseling and Mental Health Center), Celena Mondie-Milner (New Student Services) and Dean Charles Martinez (College of Education). Staff from the Counseling and Mental Health Center, Longhorn Wellness Center and Student Emergency Services in the Office of the Dean of Students presented “Intervening with Students in Distress.”
  • We hosted partners from other UT System campuses at the annual UT System Bystander Retreat Jan. 6-7.
  • Our Diversity Awareness and Education Committee hosted a training for staff which included information on undocumented students and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on Dec. 12.
  • We offered students snacks and water to prepare for finals during Fuel Up for Finals on Dec. 10.

New Student Services

Caroline Carothers, Paige Muehleukamp and Emmy Edwards at RISE

  • We partnered with the Senate of College Councils to host the fourth annual RISE (Reflect, Inspire, Surpass, Emerge) Summit on Feb. 1. This one-day summit for first-year students reinforces the information and resources that were first presented at orientation.

Callie Smith, Desiree Alva and Emmy Edwards at Spring Orientation

Mia Eltiste at Cookies with a Cop 

Dr. Celena Mondie-Milner at First-Generation College Celebration Day 

  • Our office was a key partner for the university-wide weeklong effort to recognize first-generation college students Nov. 4–8. We created this video featuring first-generation students discussing their support systems. 
  • In November, we completed orientation advisor recruitment and hired 80 new orientation advisors who will assist with student orientation this summer.

Office of the Dean of Students

  • Our Student Activities team will host UT Marketplace on Feb. 26, 10 a.m.–3 p.m., Gregory Gym Plaza. This is one of two days during the academic year when local and national vendors come on campus sharing giveaways and information about their services.
  • Our Sorority and Fraternity Life staff are looking for judges to help select the recipients of the 2020 Sorority and Fraternity Life Awards. These awards recognize councils, chapters and individuals for the great work they have done. Prior experience with the Sorority and Fraternity community is not required. If you are interested in judging, please email Abbey Suslavich by Feb.14 (include your EID).
  • We handed out complimentary coffee during Good Luck Coffee on Dec. 10 and 11 before finals. 

Recreational Sports

  • Sign up for our nationally-known outdoor fitness program Camp Gladiator. Our new partnership offers UT Austin students, faculty and staff a 20 percent discount.
  • Register for the 10th annual Longhorn Run on April 18, featuring UT Austin traditions along the 5K and 10K courses and a festive post-race celebration at the UT Tower.
  • Our staff promoted programs, facilities and services to new freshman and transfer students at the International Student Orientation, Spring Welcome and RISE Summit. We also shared information with their families at Family Orientation on Jan. 13.
  • We led a Longhorn Takeover on the UT Austin Instagram Story and featured our adventure trip to Hawaii on Jan. 9.
  • Darci Doll and Joe Wise served on the host committee for the NIRSA Flag Football National Championships, Jan. 3–5.
  • We hosted the NCAA Volleyball Regional and National Championship Tournament games for several weeks in December in Gregory Gym.
  • Our Archery Club’s men’s recurve team won a gold medal at the National Outdoor Collegiate Championships in May earning a Tower lighting.

  • Our team won the Aggies vs. Longhorns Cycling Challenge in November by amassing a combined 3,624.71 miles on group cycling bikes. Texas A&M completed 2,584.35 miles.

Texas Parents

  • Parents can honor their students with a brick paver in front of the Student Services Building. Deadline for 2020 Texas Parents Brick Pavers is Feb. 14.
  • Nominate a student for the 2019-20 Outstanding Student Award by Feb. 10. This award is given to two senior students who demonstrate exceptional leadership, scholarship, character and service.

Rita Miller, Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Joan Long and Andrew Mendoza

  • The 22nd Annual Texas Parents Staff Merit Awards were presented to Joan Long (Counseling and Mental Health Center), Andrew Mendoza (Counseling and Mental Health Center/University Health Services) and Rita Miller (Vice President for Student Affairs) at the Division-wide meeting on Jan. 29. These team members were honored for going above and beyond to influence the Longhorn life. 
  • Texas Parents welcomed 101 families of incoming freshman and transfer students at Family Orientation on Jan. 13.

The Center for Students in Recovery

Winston Chapman leading Recovery Ally Training.

  • We trained 90 Counseling and Mental Health Center staff during Recovery Ally Training on Jan. 15. Tiffany Cunningham and Winston Chapman facilitated the training, which helps students, staff and faculty understand the needs of students in recovery or in hopes of recovery.
  • To welcome our community back for the new semester we hosted the Spring Welcome on Jan. 31.
  • Our annual Festive Sweater Party took place on Dec. 6. The event featured holiday music, prizes for the most festive sweaters, gingerbread house making, hot chocolate and lots of holiday cheer.

University Health Services

  • In support of the university’s Honor Texas, Kouang Chan (Office of the University Ombuds) presented during our organizational day on Jan. 16.

General Medicine team at KUT

  • Our General Medicine team took a tour of KUT radio studios during their staff retreat on Jan. 15. 

  • Our department is celebrating 100 years on campus. We celebrated this milestone with a birthday party on Jan. 14 that included cake, historical trivia and a commemorative video shown to all our staff during our development day. We are inviting partners, supporters and friends to join us at a reception on April 17.
  • We hosted a Thanksgiving Muffin Match-up contest on Nov. 20. Susan Hochman, Mary Rhodes and Susan Vandervoort competed with their best pumpkin muffin recipes, with Vandervoort taking top honors. 

University Housing and Dining

Garden towers at the Jester Garden

  • Our Sustainability team renovated the Jester Garden to continue educating students on sustainable food production. They constructed 11 additional garden beds and purchased 20 sustainable garden towers that grow 600 fresh crops. We harvest crops grown in Jester and Kinsolving Gardens for our dining halls and also sell them at the UT Farm Stand. 

(Back row): Jordan Moncivaiz, Allison Johnson, Kyle Perkins and Jason Skidmore; (Front row): Landon Wolford, Valeria Martin, Connie Rodriguez and JD Castro at the Jester Trail of Lights

  • Our Jester Residence Hall team worked with the Residence Hall Councils to create the inaugural Jester Trail of Lights on Dec. 2. The event was open to all students. 
  • On Dec. 5 our dining team treated J2 and Kins Dining patrons to Holiday Sips and Sweets, an annual spread of desserts, candies and beverages.
  • We also hosted Cookies and Caffeine on Dec. 10 and 11 to support students during finals.

Albert Swanagain, Joseph Greer, Ibrahima Tounkara, Chris Triche, Jim Dorman, Brendan O’Connor, Lin Saw, Lee Pearson and Hoa Huynh at Friendsgiving Dinner

  • Our Jester Kitchen crew produced 85 turkeys, 20 gallons of gravy, 1,100 pounds of mashed potatoes, 713 pounds of stuffing, 400 pounds of sweet potatoes and 900 pumpkin pies for our annual Friendsgiving Dinner on Nov. 21. Students were able to enjoy roasted celery roots, kohlrabi, rutabaga and golden beets in both J2 and Kinsolving Dining.

University Unions

  • Applications open the J.J. “Jake” Pickle Citizenship and Pal – Make a Difference Awards open Feb. 10. Applicants have the opportunity to be awarded $5,000 or $1,000, respectively. Encourage your students to apply by Feb. 28. 
  • We are enhancing the Texas Union’s Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom by installing a new roof. While there will be scaffolding through the spring semester, events booked in the space will not be affected.
  • Steak ‘n Shake, a favorite of President Gregory L. Fenves, is now open in the Texas Union. On Jan. 21, students had the opportunity to guess Fenves’ favorite menu item for a chance to win lunch with him. We promoted this contest on our Instagram Story.

Mulu Ferede serves students during the Late Night Breakfast finals event.

  • We supported students during finals in December with a variety of events and giveaways. They received massages, pizza, study gift bags and pancakes during our late-night breakfast tradition.

Vice President for Student Affairs

  • Save the date for the UT Austin NASPA Reception during the annual conference: March 30, 7–8:30 p.m., room 615AB, Hilton Austin. Senior Team will be collecting information from staff who are attending and presenting at the conference.

  • We have done a “refresh” on Living the Longhorn Life™, which launches today. Check out our new video where our students tell the story of what it means to live the Longhorn life. 

Dr. Lilly speaking at the Division-wide Meeting

National Association of Colleges and Employers webinar series

  • We are partnering with the Leadership and Ethics Institute in the Office of the Dean of Students to host a group screening of the National Association of Colleges and Employers three-part webinar series "Examining Campus Employment Series." Sign up for the Feb. 12 and March 26 webinars.

  • The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs is now referenced as the Vice President for Student Affairs. Please correct your department references accordingly.

Jess Cybulski, Cindy Posey (University Communications), Heather Guerrero, Brooke Bulow and Alma Garcia at the UT System Advancement Academy: A Professional Education Conference for University Development, Advancement Services, Communications and Events Colleagues

  • Our communications and development teams attended the UT System Advancement Academy on Dec. 9–10. 

Kate Lower (SHIFT), Brandon Jones (University Housing and Dining) and Winston Chapman (The Center for Students in Recovery) at the Division-wide Holiday Celebration


Randy Porter, Dr. Marilyn Tyus, Eva Barba and Rick Early at the Golden Horns Awards

Eva BarbaUniversity Housing and Dining, received the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award for her 45 years of service during the department’s annual Golden Horns Awards on Jan. 9. She was selected for her positive impact, consistent excellence and commitment to her team. The department celebrated 11 other individuals and four teams for their work. 

Larkin Cummings, Center for Students in Recovery, gave information about departmental programs and services to the Opioid Response Network.

Brittany O’Malley, Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services, presented “A tale of Two Campuses: Sustaining and Growing Campus Wellness Coalitions” at the NASPA Strategies Conference Jan. 16-18.

Katy Redd, Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services, presented “Creating a Health Communication Campaign to Address the Intersection of Alcohol and Consent” with Jessica Hughes Wagner, Moody College of Communication, at the NASPA Strategies Conference Jan. 16-18.

Chelsie Ruffino, University Housing and Dining, was a panelist during "Creating a First-Year First-Gen Community" at the Student Success Symposium on Jan. 17.

Justin Samuel, University Housing and Dining, discussed enhancing professional identity, taking advantage of resources on campus and maximizing online social media presence with the Multicultural Engagement Center staff on Dec. 6.

Thea Woodruff presenting at the Student Success Symposium.

Thea Woodruff, Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services, gave a presentation on Well-being in Learning Environments at the Student Success Symposium on Jan. 17. She also co-authored a chapter on Resiliency and Well-being in a new pharmacy textbook, “The Preceptor’s Handbook for Pharmacists, 4th edition.”

“A Tip of the Hat to…”

Winston Chapman, Center for Students in Recovery, who received this thank you from a supporter:

“Your presence at the Center for Students in Recovery is a gift to so many families who entrust their children to UT Austin.”

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