Division News

Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC)

  • The prevention and outreach team welcomed new students to campus with an event held during Longhorn Welcome. Hundreds of students attended to learn about CMHC’s programs and services.
  • Staff welcomed new psychology and social work interns. The interns will spend a year working alongside mental health professionals in the center. This opportunity gives interns the ability to apply what they learn in the classroom to a professional setting, preparing them for their careers after graduation.
  • Raising awareness for suicide prevention efforts on campus, CMHC staff will host the annual Suicide Prevention Week Sept. 10–15. Events include a kickball tournament, panel discussion and student-led activities. Event information will be posted the CMHC website.
  • The entire team came together for Organizational Days. This bi-annual event is an opportunity for professional development and training. Staff also prepared for the 2017–2018 academic year, thinking of new ways to support students.

Housing and Food Service (DHFS)


  • The Residence Life team trained 161 resident assistants (RAs) on management skills, teamwork, building community and leadership to prepare them for the upcoming year. The RAs also learned about Housing and Food Service’s standard operating procedures and policies.

Carol Longoria (Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs), Rene Rodriguez, Philemon Brown, Mylon Kirksy, Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly and Adriana Rojas at Mooov-In

  • Housing and Food Service welcomed more than 7,000 new residents to 14 on-campus residence halls during Mooov-In. They teamed up with 450 faculty, staff and student volunteers to help the students settle into their new home on the Forty Acres. Mooov-In kicks off Longhorn Welcome, a series of free events to welcome first-year and transfer students to campus. Read more.

President Gregory Fenves (center) with the Housing and Food Service team 

  • Staff enjoyed a meet and greet with President Gregory Fenves, with the opportunity to ask questions about campus issues.

(Front row) Rene Rodriguez, Adriana Rojas, Hemlata Jhaveri, Melanie Grice and Mylon Kirksy; (Back Row) Rick Early, Randy Porter, Aaron Voyles and Tom Dison

  • Housing and Food Service senior staff planned for the 2017–2018 academic year during a recent retreat. They reviewed strategic goals, assessed current accomplishments and prepared for the upcoming year.

Food Service

  • All-you-care-to-eat dining locations in Jester and Kinsolving will now stay open between lunch and dinner to offer continuous service. Customers can now grab a meal from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. in J2 and Kinsolving Dining.

New Student Services (NSS)

Shiloh Modisett and Amy Jorgensen at UT Orientation

  • NSS hosted the final orientation session of the summer for more than 540 freshmen and 230 transfer students. Staff hosted a total of 10 orientation sessions June–August, welcoming more than 10,000 new Longhorns to the university.

Amy Jorgensen, Desiree Alva, Rebecca Marcus, Melissa Porch and Ashley Davis at Lost in Austin

  • Longhorn Welcome events continue through Sept. 8. NSS hosted Lost in Austin, an event for students to learn more about the city surrounding the Forty Acres. Check out the photos.

Office of the Dean of Students

Office of the Dean of Students Retreat

  • Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly led the annual office retreat at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The team worked together on team building activities and creative presentations. They also assembled bikes for Orange Santa, a program to provide gifts to UT Austin families in need during the holidays.
  • Please help Student Activities remind student organizations to table on the east side of Speedway. The west side must be clear for pedestrians and emergency access.
  • The Leadership and Ethics Institute (LEI) is currently registering students for Leadership Education and Progress (LEAP). This six-week workshop series builds students’ leadership skills and prepares them for life after the Forty Acres. Students establish a professional network of peers, receive coaching from upperclassmen, and learn leadership practices from UT Austin staff and community leaders.
  • LEI is also providing free on-demand leadership development workshops for student organizations. Organizations can request a workshop to help their members become ethical and socially-responsible leaders.
  • Student Conduct and Academic Integrity is recruiting students to be Peer Ambassadors and members of the Student Conduct Advisory Committee. Encourage students to apply Sept. 5–15. Contact Robert Leary with additional questions.

Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA)

  • Join the dialogue at the VPSA 2017–2018 Kickoff, Sept. 13, 8:30–10:30 a.m., Texas Union Ballroom. Discuss, plan and set the tone for the upcoming year at this Division-wide Staff Meeting.

Dr. Lilly speaks to a parent at Mooov-In.

  • Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly welcomed new students to campus during Mooov-In and gave the official welcome address at New Black Student Weekend.
  • Staff hosted a training for the 20 Division team members who are trained in the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI®). Mylon Kirksy, Housing and Food Service, led the training on how to create a group profile. 

True Colors® facilitators in the Office of the Vice President for Students Affairs (Brooke Bulow and Adrienne MacKenzie not pictured)

  • Staff are preparing to host True Colors® workshops in October for new Division staff. Facilitators discussed ways to engage new Division staff during the upcoming season. Look out for dates and registration information in next month’s newsletter.                                          

Recreational Sports (RecSports)


President Gregory Fenves (center) with the Recreational Sports team

  • RecSports staff enjoyed a meet and greet with President Gregory Fenves, with the opportunity to ask questions about campus issues.
  • RecSports Warm Up, a signature event of Longhorn Welcome, provided a warm welcome to new and returning students. Staff hosted a variety of free activities including indoor climbing, TeXercise classes, chair massages, pick-up games and a sport club fair. Check out the photos.
  • More than 800 people enjoyed a free, freshly-blended shake during Shake Smart’s Free Shake Day. 

Dixon Hankins, Chrystina Wyatt, Hannah Covington and Phoebe Wainwright at the Fall Kickoff

  • Staff engaged with student staff at Fall Kickoff, a half-day training session for student employees. The event’s theme, “Raising the Bar on the Participant Experience,” taught students the value of their roles as RecSports employees. See the photos

  • Party on the Plaza, another signature event of Longhorn Welcome, will feature a student org fair, the Scholarship Shootout, food and games. This year’s event is presented by Uber. 

Texas Parents

Families write postcards at Mooov-In.

  • The team welcomed new parents and families to campus during Mooov-In at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. They provided information about Texas Parents as parents wrote their students a postcard. The cards will be delivered to new students in their residence halls.
  • Registered student organizations can apply for Student Organization Grants. Grants are awarded in two categories: Community Service and Student Experience. Applications close on Sept. 30.
  • Students with a compelling story of overcoming adversity can apply for the Texas Parents Mike Wacker Award. Applications close on Sept. 30.
  • Departments and campus organizations interested in hosting a table at the Great Texas Showcase during Family Weekend can sign up starting Oct. 4.
  • Look out for a full schedule of Family Weekend events on Sept. 15. 

The Center for Students in Recovery (CSR)

  • CSR staff welcomed 16 new students to the Healthy Lifestyles Living Learning Community in Moore-Hill Residence Hall. The residential community is UT Austin’s first on campus dedicated to wellbeing, sobriety and peer support. Learn more. Check out the photos.
  • The team invited CMHC counseling interns to the CSR meeting space for an orientation on addiction and recovery services. They discussed how the two departments can partner to coordinate care for UT Austin students.
  • Staff are excited to kick off National Recovery Month with the Fall Open House on Sept. 6. Students, alumni, staff and friends are welcome to help CSR begin the new academic year.
  • The team is gearing up for the first Sober Tailgate before Texas plays San Jose State on Sept. 9. Staff are partnering with University High School to provide food, games, music and a petting zoo. All are welcome to attend.
  • Staff will share information about CSR programs, facilities and services at the third annual Recovery in the Park on Sept. 30. This free community event features food, arts and crafts and live music.

University Health Services (UHS)

  • UHS medical staff were trained on providing care to transgender students during Staff Development Day. The team was also trained on interpersonal violence screening. These trainings are part of a multi-faceted and continuing series of efforts to improve health care provided to students on campus.
  • Team members John Valdez and Indi Ross trained staff from The University of Texas at San Antonio on how to enter and verify insurance into their Electronic Medical Records system.
  • Preparing for the upcoming academic year, the Office of Health Promotion team hosted an orientation for Healthyhorns Peer Educators and Student Health Advisory Committee members. They gave students a tour of UHS facilities, led team building exercises and set goals for 2017–2018.

University Unions

  • Student staff are an important part of University Unions facilities operations and programming. Full-time employees welcomed back student staff with a motivational training event.
  • Campus Events + Entertainment also began the academic year with a welcome event. They hosted 70 student leaders for a two-day leadership retreat.

University Unions and Office of the Dean of Students staff at Texas A&M University

  • The team partnered with Office of the Dean of Students staff to visit colleagues at Texas State and Texas A&M universities. They toured their facilities and learned about the institutions’ operations and events.
  • As part of Longhorn Welcome, University Unions held Beat the Heat, a chance for students to explore the Texas Union. They checked out the Union Underground, Theatre, and played games, trivia and billiards. See the photos.
  • Campus Events + Entertainment kicked off the academic year with the Back to School Bash. Students enjoyed games, food, giveaways and more as they geared up for the start of the fall semester.



Dane Cessac, Shannon Whelan, Robert Mayberry, Robert Dewitt, Michael Colom and Dympna Roman (Housing and Food Service) in the Kinsolving Kitchen

Dane Cessac, Michael Colom, Robert Dewitt and Robert Mayberry, Housing and Food Service, received the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Executive Chef®. This certification shows that a chef has high-level skills and culinary experience. 

Edna Dominguez (left, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs) and Susie Smith (far right, Texas Parents) at the Texas Exes event

Edna Dominguez, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, and Susie Smith, Texas Parents, spoke to students and parents at a Texas Exes send-off event in Dallas for incoming freshmen. 

Jaden Felix (Office of the Dean of Students) speaks to students at the Texas Male Student Leadership Summit

Jaden Felix, Office of the Dean of Students, presented “Brotherhood: The Dynamic Role of Fraternities” at the Texas Male Student Leadership Summit.

Justin Jaskowiak, Housing and Food Service, received The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life Leaders in Civic Pursuit Award for registering 1,000 students to vote. He recruited resident assistants and Housing and Food Service staff to help with the efforts. 

Mylon Kirksy (Housing and Food Service), Kristen Hogan (School of Social Work), Betty Jeanne Taylor (Division of Diversity and Community Engagement) and Norma Ngo (University of Houston) at the 8th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

Mylon Kirksy, Housing and Food Service, participated in the panel discussion “Campus Climate and Marginalization” at the 8th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium. He was selected as co-chair of the NASPA — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education 2018 Region III Summer Symposium.

Mylon Kirksy (Housing and Food Service) at the Residence Life Professional Training

Kirksy also presented “Agent of the University: Understanding Responsibility, Liability and Risk” to the Residence Life staff at their annual Professional Training. 

Susan Kirtz, University Health Services, was selected to participate in Leadership Austin’s Emerge. The four-month series focuses on exploring leadership concepts, utilizing practical tools and creating a personal framework for being a more effective civic leader. 

Sotear Kuy and Lindsay Wilson (Housing and Food Service) at the Health and Lifestyle Expo

Sotear Kuy and Lindsay Wilson, Housing and Food Service, shared healthy eating tips with faculty and staff at the annual Health & Lifestyle Expo.

Manny Gonzalez (UT Austin alumnus), Rich Reddick (College of Education), Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Jennifer Smith (University Leadership Network) and Jinane Sounny-Slitine (College of Liberal Arts) at the 8th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly participated in the panel discussion “Leveraging Successful Mentoring Relationships” at the 8th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium.

Dr. Lilly at the New Faculty Symposium

Dr. Lilly also presented “Helping ALL Students Reach Their Fullest Potential” at the New Faculty Symposium hosted by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

Dr. Lilly at University Panhellenic Council Bid Day

Dr. Lilly welcomed students at the University Panhellenic Council Bid Day. The event, supported by Sorority and Fraternity Life staff in the Office of the Dean of Students, is for all potential new members to receive their sorority bid.

Dr. Lilly was selected by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to participate in the Governor's Executive Development Program. This three-week program enables leaders to extend, expand and better utilize their skills to more efficiently and effectively serve the people of Texas.

Richard Stimpert, University Unions, was elected to represent district 681 on The University of Texas at Austin Staff Council through 2019.

Jennifer Zamora, University Unions, was appointed the Honorary Friend of Beta Chair for the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity Foundation.

“A Tip of the Hat to…” 

Ericka Holmes, Dr. Melinda McMichael and Jerry Smith, University Health Services, who received this thank-you note from a patient:

“My visit today has been wonderful. I started off in General Medicine w/ Dr. [Melinda] McMichael who was such a gem. She really took the time to listen to my symptoms and took an active step in helping me get to Integrated Health to see a counselor. Next, at the Laboratory, Jerry [Smith] was incredibly kind and aware that I hate bloodwork. He made the experience wonderful, though, as we talked about his life, distracting me from the actual bloodwork. The staff at the front desk of Allergy/Immunization was also incredibly helpful, allowing me to have my appointment earlier without an issue. The woman who gave me the vaccine [Ericka Holmes] was also really engaging and we had a great conversation again distracting me from another needle. The UHS staff has been great and so efficient and personable today. Thank you for all your hard work! You are appreciated!”

Housing and Food Service staff, who received this note from a parent:

“As someone familiar with what is involved in moving a large group of students into a residence hall my commendations to your whole team during Mooov-In. Given the fact that your team responded to the emergency weather issues and opened the doors to everyone on Friday, the process went remarkably well all things considered. Till the end of the day all the staff and students involved in helping with the effort were engaged, helpful, and smiling. Dealing with parents and students is not the easiest of tasks, but dealing with 4 times as many and still maintain composure and getting the job done needs a shout out. My daughter is a freshman living in Jester West and I had the opportunity to observe and participate in the process as a parent which provided me a completely different perspective than my work at Penn State. Please congratulate your team on a job well done.”

University Health Services staff who received this note from a former student who asked a question through the website:

“The University Health Services was so incredible when I was in Austin! You're all absolute champions, and it was always such a nice experience when I had to visit you.”


  • No labels