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Division News

Counseling and Mental Health Center


Note display at Rally for Healthy Relationships

  • Our Voices Against Violence staff hosted events throughout October for Relationship Violence Prevention Month. The signature event was Breaking the Silence, a survivor speak-out featuring an open mic, interactive art installation and resource fair.

New Student Services

  • Our office participated in West Campus National Night Out on Oct. 1 to promote our off-campus resources.
  • We hosted six orientation advisor information sessions in October to recruit a new group of orientation advisors who will assist us with the 2020 orientation program.
  • On Oct. 10-11, we visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for our annual staff retreat to plan for the upcoming year.
  • Dr. Desiree Alva, Kayleigh Damphousse, Dr. Celena Mondie-Milner and Kyle St. Nicholas attended the 2019 Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education Annual Conference (NODA) on Oct. 20-23. The organization provides education, leadership and professional development in the fields of college student orientation, transition and retention.
  • We held our Meal Prep 101 event on Speedway on Oct. 24. Students who stopped by our table received a free lunch container, campus microwave map and meal prep resources. This event is part of the aUsTinite initiative, connecting off-campus students to campus and Austin communities.
  • We invited transfer students to connect with each other at Transfer Talk and Tacos on Oct. 25 at the Transfer Experience Center.

Office of the Dean of Students

  • Our Student Activities team is reminding all student organizations that spring semester reservations for outdoor spaces, general purpose classrooms, banners and A-frame signs opens Nov. 5. Departments can reserve outdoor space 364 days before the event.
  • Our Leadership and Ethics Institute team is holding free leadership development workshops. These workshops are free and open to all students. Full workshop descriptions and the required RSVP link are available on our website.
  • Our Leadership and Ethics Institute staff is recruiting Division of Student Affairs student employees and volunteers for the CoachUT pilot program. Through this initiative, students receive five meetings with a leadership development coach to help them identify and meet their personal goals. Email for more information.

Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs


Alice Clayton, Valeria Martin and Oralia Rodriguez (University Housing and Dining) at New Staff Welcome

  • New Division staff participated in New Staff Welcome on Oct. 1. The 58 staff members heard from senior leadership and collected information on our nine departments.
  • The Assessment Team (A-Team) turned in 19 assessment plans to the Office of Strategic Academic Initiatives (SAI) on Oct. 1 and reflection summaries on the last four years assessment cycle on Nov. 1.


New Professionals Workshop participants with facilitator Dr. Gage Paine (center)

  • We hosted the New Professionals Workshop for 22 Division staff members on Oct. 2-4. Former Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Gage Paine led workshops on leadership, organizational structure and common issues facing student affairs professionals.
  • Dr. Lilly and our Development team met with alumni, supporters and students at the Texas vs. OU football game on Oct. 12.


Sophia Spera, Wesley Barnett and Debbie Dillingham (University Unions) at True Colors®

  • New staff were also able to participate in True Colors®: Keys to Personal Success on Oct. 15. We held two sessions for 48 new staff.
  • Our office is launching a new effort with the Division Admin Professionals Meeting on Nov. 5, 2-4 p.m., Quadrangle Room, Texas Union.
  • The office is bringing renowned speaker Dr. Jean Twenge to campus for the Mental Health and Well-being Symposium on Nov. 13.

UT Outpost Graphic

  • Help stock the UT Outpost with healthy food and business clothing by participating in the Thanksgiving Challenge before Nov. 29.
  • Save the date for the Division-wide Holiday Gathering on Dec. 5, 9-11 a.m., Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom, Texas Union. Download the flyer to share with your staff.

Recreational Sports

Bridget Lawrence and Adrienne MacKenzi at the Golf Tournament
Bridget Lawrence and Adrienne MacKenzie at the Friends of RecSports Golf Tournament


CieCie Leonard, Bridget Tasker, Samantha Caufield, Kari Teri and Mark Munguia at NIRSA Region IV Conference

Texas Parents


Dr. Lilly speaking at Texas Parents Ambassadors Council.

  • Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly gave the university and Division update at the Texas Parents Ambassadors Council meeting on Oct. 25. 
  • At the council meeting luncheon, Texas Parents granted $45,000 to 56 student organizations and$5000 to the Student Emergency Fund. Student organization representatives attended to thank Texas Parents for its support.
  • Our team facilitated Family Weekend Oct. 25-27 with over 120 events on campus and within the Austin community for 1000 families. All nine departments participated in the event. This annual campus tradition is hosted in association with the Office of the President.
  • Since 1998, Texas Parents has been honoring exceptional staff members within the Division of Student Affairs with the Staff Merit Award. Nominations will open mid-November.

The Center for Students in Recovery

  • UT Austin professor Abena Mackall spoke at our Seminar on Addiction and Recovery (SOAR) on Oct. 17. She talked about her research into peer recovery support for individuals that have been involved in the criminal justice system.
  • On Oct. 18, Google's Recovery@ Group visited the center and hosted an event for students in recovery from colleges across Texas. This event provided a forum where students in recovery connected with and learned from professionals at Google who are in recovery. The event included a resume building workshop, #IamRemarkable workshop, a sobriety countdown and a mocktail bar. 
  • We are hosting Song Healing on Oct. 30, 5-6 p.m., Bellmont 222. This event will incorporate guided meditation, expressive writing and music. The event helps participants find a grounded and centered state of mind, free of negative thoughts, worries and anxiety.
  • Our team is offering a special recovery-supportive program for students to learn to break wooden boards, symbolizing the expression of fears and breaking through them. Board Breaking with Dewayne Trice will take place Nov. 19, 6 p.m., Bellmont 222. Trice is a nurse, person in long-term sobriety and veteran.
  • Mark your calendar for our Ugly Sweater Party on Dec. 6, 4 p.m., Bellmont 222. Attendees are encouraged to bring their holiday cheer and dress the part. Celebrate the end of the semester with food, music, games and prizes.

University Health Services

  • We administered 12,654 flu shots to UT Austin students, faculty and staff during our annual Flu Shot Campaign. University Housing and Dining’s Littlefield Patio Café team supplied lunch for our staff who worked the clinics Sept. 24-Oct. 17. This is the second year the department has partnered with us to create a #flufreeut.
  • Our Voices Against Violence staff hosted events throughout October for Relationship Violence Prevention Month. The signature event was Breaking the Silence, a survivor speak-out featuring an open mic, interactive art installation and resource fair.

University Housing and Dining

  • Nutrition Services staff launched a new Student Committee for Dining Diversity on Oct. 2 to gain student feedback on our menu offerings for diverse dietary needs.

Chef John Huff presents a spread of apples as Kins Dining
Chef John Huff presents a spread of apples as Kins Dining.

  • Our Dining team introduced students to several apple varieties and their health benefits during Apple Week, Oct. 7-11, J2 and Kins Dining.

Eric Geiger, Colin Scott, Rene Rodriguez, Rachel Cohen Ford, Robert Valdez and Andrew Hunt at the Event Space Showcase
Eric Geiger, Colin Scott, Rene Rodriguez, Rachel Cohen Ford, Robert Valdez and Andrew Hunt at the Event Space Showcase

  • Staff from Dining, Catering, and Events and Conferences hosted an Event Space Showcase on Oct. 8. More than 300 faculty and staff from across campus visited our meeting space in San Jacinto Residence Hall and sampled food from our new catering menu.
  • Neil Kaufman partnered with Financial and Administrative Services staff to host Zero Waste Hero on Oct. 18. This workshop teaches students, faculty and staff about waste sorting. Participants are required to spend 10 hours volunteering around campus.

  • A variety of cheese, crackers and charcuterie was on display during Cheese Fest on Oct. 24. 


Neil Kaufman unveils a garden tower at UT Farm Stand

  • We recently acquired 10 hydroponic garden towers through the Green Fund for our Jester Garden. To involve the campus community in our sustainability practices, the UT Farm Stand team brings the towers to the farmers market event and people can harvest greens and purchase them.

University Unions


Wesley Barnett, Sophia Spera, Julie Wier and James Buckley at Kindness Cart

  • Our Kindness Cart headed to the Student Services Building on Oct. 24. Staff helped usher in the fall season by handing out fresh apples and mandarin oranges to students and staff. This has been a successful initiative to spread goodwill around campus.


  • Look for our refreshed, more colorful logo and signage for the “Street Eats” food truck program. Students, faculty and staff can now easily scan a QR code to get the most current weekly schedule for our locations at Gregory Gym and Perry-Castañeda Library Plaza.

Texas Union Team

Jeff Sladcik, Alexandra Garcia, Wesley Barnett, Mulu Ferede, Jenn Zamora, James Buckley and Claudette Campbell at the coffee and donut giveaway

  • The Texas Union was closed Oct. 28-Nov. 3 due to a water-related issue. Our Texas Union Team handed out free donuts and coffee Nov. 4 and 5 to thank the community for their patience.
  • Get tickets for the 39th annual Madrigal Dinner: Never Break. The Campus Events+Entertainment Creative Arts+Theatre Committee will host this student-written, produced and performed comedic play, choir concert and a four-course meal on Nov. 21–23.

Standouts

Dr. Lilly gave the welcome remarks at the Terry Scholars Banquet on Oct. 9. She also gave the welcome address to the Texas Blazers 25th Anniversary celebration on Nov. 2. She led a College of Education Department of Educational Leadership live case study presentation with Sara Kennedy, Office of the Dean of Students, on Oct. 30. She will address the Longhorn Family Leadership Council and University Unions Advisory Council on Nov. 8.


Edna Dominguez, Brooke Bulow and Dr. Lilly (Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs) at Texas Association of College & University Student Personnel Administrators (TACUSPA)

The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs was the presenting sponsor at the Texas Association of College & University Student Personnel Administrators (TACUSPA) on Oct. 20-22. Check out the photos.

Brooke BulowOffice of the Vice President for Student Affairs, presented “Purposeful Communication: Managing Your Reputation in The Digital Age” to students in the Student Affairs in Higher Education class, one of the courses in the masters in Higher Education Leadership program. She also presented “Your Digital Trail: Harming or Helping your Future?” to Foundation Scholars Program mentors in the College of Liberal Arts on Oct. 16.

Mandy Colbert (Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services) and Janci Addison (College of Pharmacy) at Healthier Texas Summit
Mandy Colbert (Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services) and Janci Addison (College of Pharmacy) at Healthier Texas Summit

Mandy ColbertCounseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services, co-presented “Prevention of Prescription Drug Misuse among College Students” poster presentation at Healthier Texas Summit Oct. 17-18. She presented with College of Pharmacy Graduate Student Janci Addison.

Hailey Merlo and Melissa PorchNew Student Services, presented a recap of orientation social media strategies to the University Communications Social Media Council on Oct. 29.

Rita MillerOffice of the Vice President for Student Affairs, presented about assessment to students in the Student Affairs in Higher Education class, one of the courses in the masters in Higher Education Leadership Program.

Marilyn RussellOffice of the Dean of Students, was elected to serve as the Region IV Representative on the Nominations and Elections Committee for the for the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors.


Desere Cross Ward (Office of the President) and Justin Samuel (University Housing and Dining) at the Educational Leadership and Policy Student Association meeting

Dr. Justin Samuel, University Housing and Dining, presented "Professional Identity" to graduate students at the Educational Leadership and Policy Student Association meeting on Nov. 1.


Dr. Shauna Sobers (University Housing and Dining) at the Texas Association of College & University Student Personnel Administrators (TACUSPA)

Dr. Shauna Sobers, University Housing and Dining, presented the "CliftonStrengths-based Approach to Supervising" at the Texas Association of College & University Student Personnel Administrators (TACUSPA) on Oct. 21.

Dr. Thea WoodruffCounseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services, co-authored a chapter on Resiliency and Well-being in a new pharmacy textbook, The Preceptor’s Handbook for Pharmacists, 4th Edition.

University Excellence in Communications Awards 2019

The inaugural University Excellence in Communications Awards recognized the work produced by communications professionals on campus. There were 12 winners, 35 finalists and 200 nominations. Below are Division colleagues who were recognized.

  • Cross-University Collaboration: Enrollment Management, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, received the award for collaborating with New Student Services and Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs staff on the First-Generation College Celebration Day Campaign.
  • Cross-University Collaboration: Cynthia Lew, University Housing and Dining, was a finalist for collaborating with the University of Texas Police Department on the Sexual Assault Resource Guide and Re-branding of the Safer by the Slice Program.
  • Small But Mighty: Brooke Bulow and Jess Cybulski, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, were finalists for leading Division Integrated Communication and Marketing Strategies.

“A Tip of the Hat to…”

…Winston ChapmanCenter for Students in Recovery, who presented on addiction and recovery to Texas Bluebonnets:

“Thank you so much for coming to present! We really enjoyed your presentation and many of our members came to me afterwards saying they learned a lot that they were not expecting.”

Chapman also participated in a discussion with the pre-health Dell Addiction Medicine Interest Group and received this feedback:

“Conversations like we had are so amazing and need to happen more often in the medical field (and others). I can't over-express how awesome the Center for Students in Recovery is. The story about the growth over the years into what it is now gives me a lot of hope about collegiate recovery programs at colleges across the country.”


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