The UT Austin campus is well known for innovations — many of which originate with our students — that impact the world and change lives. Our work in the Division of Student Affairs with students and listening to their ideas reflects the changing needs of an evolving student body. They help keep our work relevant and student-centered, which often positions us as leaders with best practices that are adopted nationally. Our departments can point to a number of initiatives happening in their areas that are student-influenced:
- The Office of the Dean of Students is partnering with the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) and the Title IX Office to launch Interpersonal Violence Peer Support (IVPS). IVPS will be a confidential program allowing students to discuss personal violence with their peers without having to make a report. The Office of the Dean of Students is also moving forward on creating a Food Pantry and Career Closet to provide students professional clothing for interviews. Details are in the works.
- CMHC has opened a second MindBody Lab on campus. Downloads for Thrive at UT, a free iPhone app designed to enhance student well-being, continue to grow.
- Housing and Food Service will launch Living Learning Communities in residence halls this fall. They integrate academic and social learning through faculty/staff involvement and holistic education. Students will live together in the same area of a hall and share experiences that reinforce the theme (Global, Healthy Lifestyles, Sustainability, Women in Engineering and Women in Natural Sciences). The Center for Students in Recovery is collaborating with Housing and Food Service to open the Healthy Lifestyle Living Learning Community for incoming freshmen who want to live with other freshmen that embrace sobriety and peer support.
- New Student Services is working with Recreational Sports to better track participation in orientation programming by adding Quick Response (QR) codes to student name tags. The team also partnered with academic liaisons and the Offices of the Registrar and Provost to create an “Understanding the Course Schedule” video for new students.
- Recreational Sports’ Amazon pick-up location in Gregory Gym continues to provide service to students. The Wright Whitaker Sports Complex also recently reopened with new amenities/innovations in everything from lighting to drainage and additional amenities that students want and need.
- Texas Parents recently launched parents.utexas.edu, providing a starting point for parents and families to find information and be connected to specific resources. They serve all students’ families who need assistance navigating university resources. All parents and families of enrolled undergraduate students are members of the Texas Parents Association, the university’s official parents’ association.
- University Health Services offers HealthyhornsTXT, a text messaging program. Subscribers receive brief, timely information about general college health tips including physical activity and nutrition, sleep, stress management and alcohol risk reduction.
- University Unions recently began providing food trucks owned by local vendors outside the Student Activity Center, Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Your commitment to listening to our student’s input and ideas make a difference on our campus. Keep up the good work!
Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly