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Center for Students in Recovery

Texas Lassos and Longhorns Against Drunk Driving participate in Recovery Ally Training on March 10

Texas Lassos and Longhorns Against Drunk Driving participate in Recovery Ally Training on March 10

  • Our next virtual Recovery Ally Training will be held April 9, 4-5 p.m. This training is designed to reduce stigma toward people with addiction or who are in recovery, and to increase awareness about the millions of individuals living in healthy recovery across the country. Sign up for this training.

Cayla Palmer (SHIFT) 

  • Check out our new series, “I Am a Recovery Ally Because...,” on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram featuring campus partners who support campus recovery efforts.
  • New this semester, we host a speaker meeting during our weekly recovery support group the first Tuesday of the month. This new addition to our Campus Open Recovery meeting allows those in recovery to share their experience, strength and hope for the benefit of staff, students and faculty in or in hope of recovery. Next meeting is on April 6, 7:15-8:15 p.m.
  • We launched our 40 Hours for the Forty Acres campaign with a supporter and alumni Zoom "coffee chat" on March 30. As part of the university’s annual fundraiser, our gathering helped supporters plug into our community.

Counseling and Mental Health Center

  • April is Sexual Violence Prevention Month. We won’t be hosting events this year, but our team will be sharing an on-demand calendar of resources with students. 
  • Mental Health Promotion Week, April 12-16, will promote elements of positive emotional well-being. Programs throughout the week will emphasize the benefits of exploring mindfulness, community, diversity and inclusion, self-care, gratitude and resilience.
  • We're hosting virtual discussion groups for Asian and Asian American students seeking an opportunity for conversation, support and healing amidst the increase in anti-Asian racism and violence. Using the bystander intervention model, BeVocal teamed up with UT Center for Asian American Studies to host workshops covering the history of anti-Asian xenophobia on March 29 and 30. And on March 25, some of our staff participated in a town hall with Austin-area organizations. 

The Counselors in Academic Residence (CARE) team at "Sundaes on Thursdaes": (Front row) Laura Sandoval-Sweeney, Jeni Wade and Abby Simpson; (back row) Maria Timm, Nic Dahlberg, Armando Sanchez, Danie White, Laura Dupuis and Gretchen Rees

  • Our team paused for a sweet, social-distanced treat on March 25 for “Sundaes on Thursdaes.” We enjoyed homemade ice cream tacos as a thank-you from our leadership for all our hard work. This re-envisioned version of the staff team-building tradition was the first event since the pandemic began.
  • Commit to changing the culture around substance use on campus by signing and sharing SHIFT’s Open Letter. They have more than 240 signatures so far.
  • The fourth annual Leading & Learning: Student Educator Forum on March 6 focused on engagement, inclusivity, facilitation and mental health. We partnered with the Sanger Learning Center to host 180+ student educators. Keynote speakers included Peniel Joseph (Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, College of Liberal Arts) and Darrion Nguyen (@LabShenanigans), a recent UT Austin graduate.
  • Our 30 Longhorn Wellness Peer Educators, trained and managed by our team, have been busy supporting public health efforts on campus. They led workshops on self-care, resilience and sexual health, and engaged in a campus-wide public health project. They are also volunteering at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

New Student Services

  • All sessions of UT Orientation will be online this summer. Registration is now open. The team is gearing up for a fun, engaging program featuring university leadership, faculty, staff and our Orientation Advisors. This digital content helps welcome new students to UT Austin and supports their transition to university life. The program is for incoming freshmen and transfer students.
  • Our Longhorn TIES (Transition, Inclusion, Empower, Success) team will kick off Autism Acceptance and Awareness Month on April 2 by asking the campus community to wear bright colors on World Autism Day. The week of April 19, they will host panels and events, including student discussion groups and a movie screening.
  • Our staff discussed planning, goals and strategy for summer orientation sessions at a virtual retreat on March 8 and 9.

Office of the Dean of Students

  • Our annual celebration and awards ceremony for student organizations, Evening of the Stars, will be held as a hybrid event on May 4. Look out for details in the May newsletter.

  • Our Sorority and Fraternity Life team's Horns Against Hazing: A Series continues April 1 and 8. Please continue to encourage your students to RSVP.
  • Our Leadership and Ethics Institute team is hosting Step into Leadership on April 16. This three-hour virtual workshop will teach valuable leadership skills and help students build community.
  • Our UT Outpost team in Student Emergency Services is planning a “sidewalk sale” event April 13-16. This large-scale giveaway of professional clothes will be held in the University Avenue 9 building courtyard and Transfer Experience Center (located inside the building).

Recreational Sports

Longhorn Run 2021 Graphic

  • Join us for Longhorn Run 2021 on April 17. This year’s virtual race will allow you to run or walk the course from wherever you are. 
  • Our team participated in Explore UT offering virtual yoga sessions, Zumba and POUND® workouts for all ages, and the opportunity to visit virtually with members of Texas Gymnastics and Texas Wushu.
  • Associate Director E.J. Patterson oversaw the annual Texas THON event, held virtually; student participants raised $152,364.52 to benefit pediatric patients at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.
  • We connected with RecSports alumni at virtual happy hours we hosted for former facility operations and intramural sports student staff, and alumni who work in collegiate recreation. Our Ride Across Texas with RecSports cycle challenge featured free TeXercise group cycling classes in an effort to collectively ride 862 miles, the longest distance  east to west  across Texas. Together, participants rode 867.7 miles, exceeding the goal!

Texas Parents

  • All sessions of Family Orientation will be online this summer. Registration is now open. The team is busy putting together a robust program featuring university leadership, faculty, staff and students. This digital content provides parents and families with information needed for their student’s successful transition to university life. The program supports families of both freshman and transfer students.
  • Incoming (and current) parents and families can now sign up for membership in the Texas Parents Association for the 2021-22 academic year. All parents and families of enrolled undergraduate students are members of the Texas Parents Association, the university’s official association of parents and families. Even though membership is automatic, we still need families to sign up for the category that best fits their needs.
  • The Outstanding Student Award recipients will be announced in mid-April. Stay tuned for an announcement in the May newsletter.
  • During the 2021 Texas Parents Brick Paver campaign, we sold 190 Brick Pavers to lay in front of the Student Services Building before UT Remembers and the May 2021 Commencement. Our office will lay seven memorial bricks honoring students who passed away during the academic year and bricks for the Outstanding Student Award recipients.

University Health Services

  • Please continue to encourage students to participate in Proactive Community Testing. Since last fall, our team was able to administer over 90,000 tests and detect over 1,000 asymptomatic, positive cases to help protect our community from the spread of COVID-19. We’ve also posted testing frequently asked questions on this page.

 Sherry Bell and Katy Redd (Counseling and Mental Health Center/University Health Services) volunteering at the vaccine clinic.

  • We also have an essential role in the university’s vaccine distribution – and you can help, too! Volunteers are needed to manage the line outside Gregory Gym and answer questions. Staff can volunteer 10 hours a month during work hours with your supervisor’s approval. If you are able to support these efforts, please sign up.
  • If you are interested in receiving a vaccine from UT Austin, please fill out the COVID-19 Vaccine Form to be placed on the waiting list. When your priority group is authorized by the State of Texas, you will receive a personalized email from UT Health Austin to schedule your appointment. Scheduling people on the waitlist will depend on vaccine availability.
  • We’ve reopened the Get Yourself Tested Fund to provide free sexually-transmitted infection (STI) testing.

University Housing and Dining

Dining staff at Destination Spring Break's Sunday Funday event

  • Our catering team crafted special menus for Destination Spring Break events March 14-19, so that each city (Austin, New Orleans, Miami) could have its own unique flavor. Our student learning and development team also applied their expertise to these event concepts.

Neil Kaufman in the Jester Garden

  • Learn the history of UT Farm Stand by watching this new video Producing Change: One Market at a Time. Our marketing and sustainability teams collaborated on this project to help tell the story of our on-campus farmers market and community gardens.

Recruiting team at The Placement Exchange

  • Annually our Residence Life and Human Resources staff participate in The Placement Exchange. This year it’s scheduled for March 2–4. This hiring event helps our team recruit and interview complex coordinator candidates from across the nation. The committee interviewed 33 candidates; some of the top candidates will be invited to virtual interviews.
  • National Nutrition Month followed severe winter storms that affected many people across the state. Our Nutrition and Wellness team shared tips, resource videos, food demos and a trivia game about food preparation during an emergency situation.
  • J2 and Kins Dining teams hosted special events, including a hot cookie bar, Korean street food dinner and a birthday treat night.

University Unions

Sophia Spera outside the Texas Union

Sophia Spera outside the Texas Union

  • Our rooftop garden at the Texas Union has been planted! A Green Fund Award made the rooftop patio garden possible. Check it out on the patio overlooking Guadalupe Street. And learn more about one of the staff members who helped lead this effort as one of her “Coping During the Pandemic” strategies.
  • Campus Events+Entertainment will host Forty Acres Fest with a Candyland theme on April 9 and 10. 

Longhorn painting in the Forty Acres Room

  • The Forty Acres Room at the Texas Union is the new home for a beautiful painting of longhorns. This artwork was donated to UT Austin from the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History through the help of UT Development Board Chair Sam Susser.
  • Our team has adapted capabilities to host hybrid meetings with some attending in person and others virtually. On March 23, University Unions invited food service operators and colleagues from the Purchasing Office to a Request for Proposal (RFP) walk-through event. Later this spring, we will share the new dining options that will open Fall 2021.

Destination Spring Break event

Destination Spring Break at the William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center

  • Our team played a huge role in supporting Destination Spring Break March 14-19. Our operations staff took care of the Texas Union and William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center, home to the New Orleans and the Miami destinations. The Campus Events+Entertainment team applied their expertise to creating memorable event concepts.

Vice President for Student Affairs

(Front row) Dylan Smith and Jessica Mendiola (University Unions); (back row) Jennifer Zamora (University Unions), Aimee Huard (University Housing and Dining), Vicki Wooten (Vice President for Student Affairs), Callie Smith (New Student Services) and Rachel Cohen-Ford (University Housing and Dining) at Sunday Funday

  • Our Destination Spring Break daily events brought a fun adventure to campus March 14-19. Students enjoyed Austin, New Orleans and Miami in three different areas of campus. To see what our programming team has in store this month, check out the Division Events Calendar.
  • Students involved in campus life, volunteer work, tutoring and civic activities can apply for the Bonfire Unity Endowed Presidential Scholarship by April 15. This scholarship honors Longhorns who supported Texas A&M during the 1999 Bonfire tragedy.
  • We’ve begun our next cycle of Division strategic planning. Please fill out this Qualtrics survey by April 12 to share your thoughts.

 Rich Reddick (College of Education) presents and answers questions on The Eyes of Texas History Committee Report.

Rich Reddick (College of Education) at The Eyes of Texas History Committee Report presentation

  • Division staff engaged in a conversation about The Eyes of Texas History Committee Report during Vice President for Student Affairs Office Hours on March 29. Committee Chair Rich Reddick (College of Education) and Special Advisor to the President Brad Deutser facilitated. 

Division staff and friends at The University of Texas at Austin NASPA Reception 

Texas Tough Fundraiser Recognition on March 30

  • We supported the Student Government Presidents of UT Austin and Texas A&M on the Orange and Maroon: Texas Tough campaign Feb. 26-March 11 that raised more than $165,000 to support Longhorns impacted by the winter storms. The campaign total for both schools of more than $235,000 was celebrated at the Texas versus A&M baseball game on March 30. We also participated in 40 Hours for the Forty Acres March 30-31.

Student Emergency Services in the Office of the Dean of Students team

Student Emergency Services in the Office of the Dean of Students team

  • In case you missed it, check out the team’s heroic and selfless stories during the recent winter storms in our March staff newsletter.


Rhonda Cox (Recreational Sports, lower left) at the March Staff Council meeting

Rhonda Cox, Recreational Sports, has been elected chair of Staff Council for 2021-22, and Todd Lawrence, University Housing and Dining, has been elected vice-chair.

Emmy Edwards at UT25 Next Step

Emmy Edwards, Miranda Larralde and Katie Sullivan, New Student Services, presented UT Orientation Information as part of the Office of Admissions’ series UT25 Next Step. These virtual presentations help students admitted for Fall 2021 take the first steps in their Longhorn journey.

Dr. Lilly at ElevateUT

Dr. Lilly at ElevateUT

Doug Garrard, Office of the Dean of Students, and Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly spoke to sorority and fraternity chapter presidents during ElevateUT.

Texas Talks

(Top row) Alexis George and Jonathan Dror (Vice President for Student Affairs) and Darius Jones (Office of the Dean of Students); (second row) Terrance Hines (University Health Services), Susan Hochman (University Health Services/Counseling and Mental Health Center) and Susan Buckenmeyer (Office of the Dean of Students); (third row) Cheryl Le Gras (Office of the Dean of Students), Malik Crowder (Multicultural Engagement Center) and Vicki Wooten (Vice President for Student Affairs); (bottom row) Jessica Klima (University Health Services) and Krysta Chacon (Multicultural Engagement Center)

Dr. Terrance Hines, University Health Services, and Susan Hochman, University Health Services and Counseling and Mental Health Center, addressed students’ COVID-19 questions during the March 10 Texas Talks event. The Vice President for Student Affairs and the Multicultural Engagement Center host this speaker series.

Staff Council Vaccine Panel

Terrance Hines (University Health Services, top row, far right) at the Staff Council Vaccine Panel with (top row) Gabriela Alvarez Perez and Amayrany Maya-Mora (UT Health Austin); (bottom row) Jonathan Robb (Office of Emergency Preparedness), Jennifer Stoker (Interpreter) and Amy Young (Dell Medical School/UT Health Austin)

Hines also led a Q&A with Dr. Amy Young, Dell Medical School and UT Health Austin, and representatives from the School of Nursing and Office of Campus Safety, for Staff Council on March 25. 

Mylon Kirksy, University Housing and Dining, was elected to the NASPA Board of Directors as the 2022-2024 Region III director.

Dr. Lilly gave the opening remarks at the Big XII Black Student Government Conference on Feb. 27.

Nicole Olmeda, Recreational Sports, is co-leading national networking conversations for the new NIRSA Community Connections series. This effort brings together campus recreation professionals from schools across the country.

Shauna Sobers, University Housing and Dining, contributed a chapter in Visionistas, a new book written by women leaders. She presented at the Visionistas Conference 2021 on March 20.

Chad Zimmerman, Recreational Sports, served as a panelist on “The Future of Sports Club: A Panel Discussion” at the NIRSA 2021 Annual Conference.

Division staff who presented during the College of Liberal Art’s State of Black UT:

State of Black UT

Alexis George (Vice President for Student Affairs) at State of Black UT

State of Black UT panel

(Top row) Jonelle Bradshaw Hernandez (University Development Office) and Darius Jones (Office of the Dean of Students); (bottom row) Soncia Reagins-Lilly (Vice President for Student Affairs) and Brandon Jones (University Housing and Dining) at State of Black UT

Division staff who presented during the university’s Academic Counselors Association (ACA) Professional Development Day:

  • Emmy Edwards and Callie Smith, New Student Services: “Cyber Support to Student Staff: Virtual Approaches to Team-building among Student Leaders”
  • Cecilia Lopez Cardenas and Q’Anteria Roberson, Recreational Sports: “Marketing x Programming: A Recipe for Success”

Division staff who presented during the 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference:

Aaron Voyles NASPA presentation

Aaron Voyles (University Housing and Dining) at the 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference

“A Tip of the Hat to…”

…the Division of Student Affairs team, who received shoutouts and praise from college and school deans during the virtual Deans’ Breakfast meeting on Feb. 25. The deans complimented the team’s efforts, and expressed their gratitude to our staff for stepping up to support students during the pandemic and winter storms.

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