Division News

Latest News from the Division

Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC)

  • We’re co-hosting a workshop entitled “An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others” presented by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, a trauma social worker and educator. The program will help participants gain a deeper understanding of how to live and work sustainably, enabling them to do their jobs better. The all-day event takes place on Jan. 9 in the Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom (Texas Union 3.202). Division staff is invited to participate in the free program but must RSVP by Jan. 6. Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) will be available for Psychology, Social Work and Licensed Professional Counselors. The workshop is also being co-hosted by the Division of Student Affairs and the School of Nursing.
  • Be An Anchor campaignThe CMHC/Voices Against Violence (VAV) “Be An Anchor” Campaign is underway, being led by Erin Burrows, VAV prevention specialist; 26 student organizations will raise funds for the VAV Survivor’s Emergency Fund. It provides financial assistance to student survivors of sexual violence, relationship violence and/or stalking, towards the aim of increasing that student’s safety, coping and independence. The fund was started in 2001 and has been supported entirely by individual contributions. All organizations that participate in “Be an Anchor” will be recognized in April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Housing and Food Service (DHFS)


  • Program Manager LT Robinson joined members of the University Residence Hall Association (URHA) to present at the Southwest Association of College and University Residence Halls (SWACURH) conference at Texas Tech University. Their program, “No Luck Necessary”, is an immersion program where residents experience a year in the life of a Residence Hall Council or Residence Hall Association in less than 40 minutes. URHA earned several awards at the conference including Program of the Year, Best School Display and second place in the Programming Case Study Competition. LT serves as advisor to the group.

    Susie Smith Presenting to Residence Life

    Susie Smith Presenting to Residence Life

  • We had 170 staff members participate in the “Know Your Numbers” health screenings this semester. The second phase of the program features educational classes, offered in-person and online.
  • Susie Smith, director of Texas Parents, presented to the residence life group on Nov. 21 on the changing trends/behaviors of parents over the last decade and how we as student affairs professionals can assist in creating a partnership without violating FERPA. She shared that based on research, students today contact their parents 13.4 times a week.

Food Service

  • Our food service areas received high scores during the UT Austin Environmental Health and Safety quality assurance inspections (100 is the top score): Jester Warehouse 96, Jester Basement Kitchen 97, Jester City Limits 87, Jester City Market 100, Jesta Pizza 96, Jester Java 100, Freshens 100, J2 96, Cypress Bend 100, Littlefield Patio Café 95, Kins Dining 100 and Kins Market 100.
  • All Division staff are invited to join us for the holiday dinner at J2 (4:30—7:30 p.m.) and Kinsolving (4:30—7 p.m.) on Dec. 5 ($8.75 cash, $7.87 with Faculty/Staff Dine-In Dollars).
  • Dietitian Lindsay Wilson provided an educational presentation for the University Health Services peer educators on Nov. 11.
  • We collaborated with the Perry-Castaneda Library (PCL) on its “Crunch Time” event Nov. 11—15. To aid students with their final papers, exams and research projects, the PCL has a table displayed with on-campus resources for studying, library aids and healthy eating. We provided an infographic flyer with a coupon for a free apple at Jester City Limits and Jester City Market.
  • Lindsay Wilson provided a guest lecture presentation for the Nutrition 334 course – Food Service Systems Management on Nov. 14. Students learned about her job responsibilities and computerized food management systems plus completed interactive role-playing exercises.

Office of the Dean of Students (DoS)

Ben and Mr. Denius

Ben Armstrong and Frank Denius at the Frank Denius Lecture Series

  • The DoS Research Institute’s contributions to the Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) Initiative and work by Student Veteran Services helped The University of Texas at Austin tie for second in US News and World Report’s inaugural list of Best Colleges for Veterans.
  • Student Activities will offer a Policy Training Workshop for campus partners on Dec. 9. Topics will include Institutional Rules as they apply to sponsored student and registered student organizations. Discussion will focus on the use of campus space, solicitation, co-sponsorship, travel and more. Please RSVP if interested in attending.
  • Dr. Gage Paine visited the Dean of Students Undergraduate Research Scholars on Nov. 13 and discussed the role undergraduate research plays in improving student life at the university.
  • Student Veteran Services’ Ben Armstrong delivered a speech about our student veterans at the Frank Denius Lecture Series during Veterans Week.

Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA)

  • We invite our Division staff to join us for a Staff Holiday Celebration on Dec. 10 from 9—11 a.m. in the Texas Union Quadrangle Room.
  • We organized the inaugural Division staff photo on Nov. 6. Thanks to all those who were able to join us and a special thanks to the University Unions’ Nick Parras and the Student Activity Center staff for making the Ballroom available as a rain location.
  • Mary Beth Mercatoris and Gage Paine at What's On Your Mind?

    Mary Beth Mercatoris and Gage Paine at “What’s On Your Mind?”

    Gage Paine marked Veterans Day by holding the final What’s On Your Mind event of the semester along with Student Veteran Services on the East Mall.

  • Gage Paine joined the Texas Exes for its bi-annual Ring Ceremonies on Nov. 19—20.

Recreational Sports (RecSports)

Randall Ford at the Intramural Showdown

Randall Ford at the Intramural Showdown

  • As part of its service learning initiative, RecSports recruited student volunteers to plant trees in Bastrop on Nov. 23, approximately two years after the devastating fires that decimated the region. RecSports collaborated with the Campus Environmental Center and TreeFolks. A Help the Homeless initiative is planned for Dec. 10.
  • The Intramural flag football champions from UT Austin battled the Texas A&M teams at the Lone Star Intramural Showdown on Nov. 17 at Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field. Texas won the women’s and coed games to win the inaugural Showdown trophy. Texas A&M won the men’s game 14–12. The series continues in the spring with a basketball showdown at College Station.
  • RecSports Programs staff members Randall Ford and Jonathan Elliott traveled to Phoenix, Ariz., in late November to work at the National Campus Championship Series (NCCS) Soccer Championships, hosted by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA).
  • RecSports staff member Chad Zimmerman traveled to Lubbock, Texas, in late November to help staff NIRSA’s Region IV Flag Football Championships held at Texas Tech University.
  • For the first time in RecSports history, we will sponsor an intramural rock climbing competition. The contest is set for Dec. 7 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. at the GRE Climbing Wall.

Texas Parents

  • Texas Parents thanked many of our campus partners at the Family Weekend Colleague Appreciation Event. Family Weekend wouldn’t be possible without their hard work and dedication and Texas Parents is grateful for the team effort.
  • Texas Parents members were invited by the Division of Recreational Sports to their Tailgate by the Pool held on Saturday, Nov. 16. Over 80 members enjoyed live music, food and drinks before kick-off.

The Center for Students in Recovery (CSR)

Stephanie Person and Ivana Grahovac

Stephanie Person and Ivana Grahovac at the UT Tyler Center for Students in Recovery kick-off party

  • We joined The UT-Tyler Center for Students in Recovery for a kick-off party on Nov. 11. UT-Tyler is the first school in the UT System collegiate recovery expansion effort to establish a program on its campus.
  • Save the date. CSR is partnering with the Friends of the LBJ Library for “What Now? The Moyers’ Journey from Addiction to Recovery,” on Feb. 26, 6 p.m.  Bill and Judith Moyers will be speaking with their son, William Cope Moyers, who is in long-term recovery.  Look for more details soon.

University Health Services (UHS)

  • The UHS Health Promotion office was awarded a $30,000 grant from The Foundation for Alcohol Research (ABMRF) to implement and evaluate BASICS, a high-risk drinking prevention program designed to help students examine their own drinking behavior in a judgment-free environment.
  • To improve service and efficiency, the UHS 24-hour Nurse Advice Line converted to a new phone system in partnership with UT Information Technology Services. Since launch, the abandoned call rate has fallen to well below the industry standard of 5-percent.
  • Through the Know Your Line campaign, UHS Health Promotion staff partnered with the Tejas Club to host a free taco giveaway in the West Campus neighborhood on Halloween. The staff promoted healthier drinking behaviors, such as eating and alternating with non-alcohol beverages, on a night in which students are more likely to engage in high-risk drinking.

  University Union

Erik Conde

Erik Conde decorating the SAC tree

  • Santa Claus is coming to town! Stop by, say hi and get your picture taken with Santa Claus by the tree on Dec. 4. See the Events page for times.
  • Both the Student Activity Center and the Texas Union have decorated for the holidays. We welcome you to stop by to see the trees for some holiday cheer.

 Hogg Auditorium (HMA)

  • This month, Hogg will host the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s 23rd Annual Non-Greek Step Show, STEEL Dance Company’s Project Linking the Arts and performances for the Italian Drama Workshop course taught by Professor Antonella Olson.

Student Activity Center (SAC)

  • The SAC will be hosting Ace the Test Fest, a study program for students. During the two academic dead days on Dec. 9—10, all meeting rooms in the SAC will be repurposed to become study space for students. Study supplies, snacks and traditional midnight pancake breakfast will be provided.

Campus Events and Entertainment (E+E)

  • Our offices have temporarily moved. Due to the renovations in the Texas Union, E+E offices have been temporarily relocated to the 3rd level, room 3.312.

Texas Union (TXUN)

  • We are currently undergoing renovations on the 4th floor of our building to renovate the student programming offices and space for Campus Events + Entertainment. Please pardon our noise during this time!