Division News

Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC)

Thrive Screenshot 1

Thrive at UT mobile application

  • CMHC launched Thrive At UT on Feb. 1. The free iPhone app is designed to enhance students’ well-being. The app includes seven topic areas with inspirational quotes, short videos of UT Austin students sharing their stories, interactive activities and daily notifications. Read this story to learn more. Download the app.
  • Chris Brownson, Erin Burrows and Marilyn Russell (Office of the Dean of Students) organized and held the second annual UT System Bystander Intervention Conference in Austin last month. Staff who are implementing bystander intervention programming on campuses across the UT System attended the conference.

Housing and Food Service (DHFS)


  • DHFS staff worked closely with the UT fire marshal to prohibit hoverboard use in residence halls, lounges and other public areas. The update can be found on page 34 of the Residence Hall Manual, under the Sports in the Halls section.
  • Staff will host the Go TX Health and Fitness Fair in the San Jacinto Residence Hall. DHFS staff, along with campus partners at CMHC, Recreational Sports and University Health Services will provide resources and information to students. 



  • DHFS staff collaborated with a team of students to develop The UT Farm Stand, opening Feb. 25. Lindsey Hutchison, Darla Stewart, Doug Clary, Kathy Phan, Missy Lovegren and Lindsay Wilson designed the stand, which will offer local organic fruit, vegetables and baked goods. Four additional UT Farm Stands are planned for spring.


  • Lite Bites are now available at Jester City Market (JCM). The Wellness Network’s healthy dining committee developed the program, which promotes healthy snacks according to calories, fat, sugar and sodium.

Darla Stewart, Rene Rodriguez, Claudia Ashlock, Hemlata Jhaveri, Michael Sawyer and Tom Dison are joined by Robert Mayberry and Eric Weeks dressed as giant coffee cups at the Kins Coffee Ribbon Cutting ceremony.

  • Tom Dison, Hemlata Jhaveri, Rene Rodriguez, Darla Stewart, Claudia Ashlock and Michael Sawyer unveiled Kins Coffee on Jan. 19 alongside larger-than-life coffee cup costumes. Kins Market Assistant Manager Eric Weeks is leading the coffee shop. See the photos.

New Student Services (NSS)

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Alex Kappus, Celena Mondie-Milner, Rosie Garza, Desiree Alva, Gretchen Pierce, Esmer Bedia and Kyle Clark at Spring Orientation

  • NSS hosted Spring Orientation on Jan. 11 for 443 transfer and 48 freshman students. View the Storify for a recap.
  • The second annual Spring Transition Week, Jan. 12–15, was a success. New Longhorns took advantage of the events and programs. Staff extend their thanks to the Sanger Learning Center, First-Year Experience Office, Leadership and Ethics Institute, Recreational Sports, Counseling and Mental Health Center, Bevo Bucks, University of Texas Athletics, and the other campus partners and student leaders who helped out. Take a look at the photos.

Kyle Clark and Alex Kappus at RISE 2016

  • On Jan. 15, NSS staff gave 60 first-year students tools for success during RISE 2016 (reflect, inspire, surpass and emerge). NSS partnered with University Unions staff to host the one-day summit. See photos of the presentations.
  • NSS launched The Longhorn Way, an extended orientation program that highlights events and opportunities to help new students transition to UT Austin. For more information, visit our website.
  • Staff trained Returning Orientation Advisors (ROAs) at a leadership workshop on Jan. 14. See the photos. They also kicked off a semester-long peer leadership course for Orientation Advisors (OAs).

Office of the Dean of Students (DoS)

  • Student Activities will begin the Adviser Brown Bag Lunch Series this month. This event offers training, resources and networking, and is open to university staff and faculty who advise student organizations. Read more in the Events section.



  • Staff should encourage students to apply for scholarships and other recognition opportunities. Student organizations advisers should remind groups to apply for Swing Out Awards by Feb. 29.
Staff welcome families to Student Veteran Orientation.

Staff welcome new Longhorns during Student Veteran Spring Orientation.

  • Student Veteran Services (SVS) welcomed more than 40 new student veterans and their families at the Student Veteran Spring Orientation. SVS partnered with the Office of the Registrar, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Texas Veterans Commission. Representatives gave information about educational benefits and university life. There was also a panel discussion with current student veterans.
  • SVS staff are excited to announce Operation Supply Drop’s donation of a PlayStation 4 and games to the Student Veteran Center. Feel free to invite student veterans on campus to drop in for a game.

Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA)

Gage Paine and Frances Lucas in the Texas Union

Gage Paine and Frances Lucas in the Texas Union

  • Division staff heard a compelling presentation from Student Affairs leader Frances Lucas at the Division-wide Staff Meeting on Jan. 28. Her presentation “Seven Steps to Courageous Leadership” taught staff how to maximize their potential and strengthen skills to bolster courage. She outlined these seven steps: teach by who you are, tame your “lizard brain” and avoid fear, focus on what you want, control your thoughts, save money, forgive people and sharpen your saw. After the meeting, ninety staff members participated in an afternoon workshop where Lucas expounded on her message of minimizing fear. “Thriving through Change” reminded leaders to give staff hope during institutional changes. See the meeting and workshop photos.
Gage Paine (second from the left, seated) participating in a panel.

Gage Paine (second from the left, seated) participating in a panel.

  • Gage Paine, Vice President for Student Affairs, presented at the 2016 NASPA Alice Manicur Symposium. This conference is offered every two years for women in mid-management level positions considering a move to become vice presidents of student affairs.

Recreational Sports (RecSports)


  • Registration has opened for Longhorn Run 2016. The April 9 event will feature new 5K and 10K courses and is open to anyone interested in participating in this popular campus-wide event. All proceeds benefit the Excellence Funds of Student Government and Recreational Sports.
  • RecSports will participate in the Go TX Health and Fitness Fair on Feb. 3 sponsored by the Division of Housing and Food Service. Fair-goers will be able to enjoy three complimentary group fitness classes–Nike Training Club™, Zumba Dance and Yoga.

Texas Parents

TP Outstanding Student Award

  • Staff is encouraged to nominate exceptional students for the 2015–16 Outstanding Student Awards by Feb. 8. This award is given to one male and one female senior student who demonstrate leadership, scholarship, character and service. Go here for the nomination packet.

Brick Paver Instagram Graphic

  • Tell parents about the Spring 2016 Texas Parents Student Services Endowment Brick Paver campaign. Parents can make a gift while honoring their students by purchasing a brick paver that will be placed outside the Student Services Building (SSB). Order by Feb. 16.
  • Let students know the applications for the Family Orientation Student Leader (FOSL) and Membership Recruitment Student Leader (MRSL) open Feb. 15. These students welcome new families to the UT Austin community at Family Orientation.
  • Texas Parents is hosting the annual Big XII Parents Programs Conference Feb. 10. Staff from Texas State University, Baylor University, Southern Methodist University and more will attend.

The Center for Students in Recovery (CSR)

  • CSR has added a new support group meeting for the spring semester. This Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is open to staff and faculty every Wednesday at noon in CSR’s main meeting room in Bellmont (BEL) 222. See the meeting schedule.
  • Staff and students started off the new year with a chilly splash in Barton Springs Pool during the Polar Bear Plunge.
  • Director Sierra Castedo will present at the Austin chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals (TAAP). RSVP for the presentation on Feb. 5 at Infinite Recovery.

University Health Services (UHS)

  • University of Texas Police Officer William Pieper spoke to staff at a Passport to Safety event. Staff members learned about information security, infection prevention and emergency preparedness. Pieper also discussed staying safe during active shooter situations.
  • UHS’ January Organizational Day focused on self-care with Be Vocal Bystander Intervention training, an intro to mindfulness meditation and TED talks from Banke Adepoju, Barb Blizzard, Shannon Hanby and Andrew Mendoza. In a special training segment, staff studied the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) approach to quality improvement. A mock-surgery presentation showed that every detail counts — a score of “surgical teams” worked to re-assemble a “badly injured” Mr. Potato Head. This engaging demonstration conveyed how to document how the plan was carried out.
UHS photo

Christina Fehler helps organize the 4th annual UHS Chili Cook-Off

  • Staff started the spring semester with a spicy kick during the fourth annual chili cook-off. Tara Cutler won first place with a fragrant beef chili, but there were many delicious recipes from vegan to venison. Runners up Sharon Beene and Karen Hickey shared the limelight.

University Unions

  • Applications nominations now being accepted for two campus-wide student awards, the J.J. “Jake” Pickle Citizenship Award and the Pal – Make a Difference Award. Nominate an exceptional student for one of these awards.
  • Staff in the Student Activity Center added 37 tables and 122 seats to the facility. The Unions team made these improvements in response to a Student Government resolution and an annual student survey. These changes raised seating capacity in the food court by 14 percent and in the entire building by 35 percent. The number of tables went up by 51 percent.

Joshua Thomas, Jeff Sladcik, Gary Stackhouse and Leslie Hay with their winning prizes

  • To promote team-building skills and communication, the University Unions hosted its first annual staff chili cook-off. Leslie Hay, Gary Stackhouse, Jeff Sladcik and Joshua Thomas took home top honors.