Division News

Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC)

Staff from the CMHC, DoS, and Unions

Marian Trattner (Counseling and Mental Health Center), Marilyn Russell and Alyssa Ray (Office of the Dean of Students), Natalia Peddycoart (Counseling and Mental Health Center), Lisa Dela Cruz and Tracy Goodman (University Unions) at BeVocal’s 3rd Birthday

  • Staff from the CMHC, Office of the Dean of Students, University Health Services, University Unions and campus partners celebrated BeVocal‘s 3rd Birthday on April 26. BeVocal is UT Austin’s bystander intervention initiative that teaches students how to recognize potential harm and respond to the situation. Other UT System schools have modeled UT Austin’s program. CHMC’s Marian Trattner will lead the program as BeVocal coordinator, transitioning from her role as the department’s suicide prevention coordinator. Check out the photos.
Marian Timm and Xiaoxia Song at Feel Good Friday

Marian Timm and Xiaoxia Song at Feel Good Friday

  • Staff hosted Mental Health Promotion Week April 10–14 to give students a break from the busy pace of the semester. The signature event, Texas Mental Health Monologues, took place on April 11. Students shared their stories of living with a mental illness and how it has impacted their lives. Other highlights included night-time glow yoga and coffee talk with Tejas Club members on self-compassion. See the photos from Feel Good Friday on April 14.
Take Back the Night

Katy Redd, former Texas Senator Wendy Davis, Rachel Vaughn and Lauren White at Take Back the Night

  • Raising awareness for sexual assault prevention efforts, staff hosted Sexual Violence Prevention Month during April. The events provided a call to action for UT Austin students to join efforts to educate the campus community about sexual violence prevention and resources. Voices Against Violence partnered with former Texas Senator Wendy Davis for the annual signature event, Take Back the Night. See the photos. Check out interviews In the News.
CMHC staff

Black Grugett, Michelle Rivera, Solis Rough and Lysette Ibarra at National Administrative Professionals’ Day breakfast

  • Staff celebrated National Administrative Professionals’ Day with breakfast on April 26.

Housing and Food Service (DHFS)


  • A total of 4,600 housing contracts have been signed and 650 additional contracts went out to students on April 15.
  • Residence Life staff hosted “Lunch with the Res Life Bunch” on April 13. Staff from Services for Students with Disabilities and the Student Emergency Services shared trends in student behavior during this busy time of the semester.
  • Residence Life staff and College of Education faculty hosted a lunch for resident assistants on April 13 to discuss ways to create community and understand diversity.
  • DHFS was selected to host the 2018 Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers (SWACUHO) Resident Assistant Conference Oct. 19–21.
  • Duren Residence Hall staff hosted Duren City Limits on April 22 with food trucks and live music.
ResLife Banquet

Veronica Salazar at the Residence Life Student Leadership Banquet

  • More than 250 people attended the Residence Life Student Leadership Banquet on April 24 where 30 staff members and student leaders received awards for their achievements. See the photos.

Food Service

  • Food service staff served 1,752 meals to Texas high school visitors last month.
DHFS Bakery Team

Patty Johnson, Ciara Ruiz, Angelica Cazares, Rachel Laureyns and Blanca Garay with their Easter cookies

  • The bakery team made 600 hand-decorated Easter cookies ahead of the holiday.
Earth Week Luncheon

Art Markman (College of Liberal Arts) and Neil Kaufman at the Earth Week Staff Luncheon.

  • Sustainability staff partnered with the Office of Sustainability to host the annual Earth Week Staff Luncheon on April 19. The team hosted several other Earth Month events, including Kinsolving Garden Open House and UT Farm Stand.

New Student Services (NSS)

  • Staff will host Summer School Orientation on May 30. This one-day program is for students taking classes over the summer.
  • NSS participated in 40 Hours for the Forty Acres to raise money for Cristi Biggs Orientation Leadership Fund, supporting leadership development for current orientation advisors.
  • Incoming students received an email with instructions for watching pre-orientation videos produced by NSS. Freshmen are required to watch six videos, while transfer students are required to watch three.
  • A total of 6,334 students have registered for Freshman Orientation. The first session begins June 5.
  • Orientation advisors will participate in a two-week training workshop May 24–June 4 to prepare for Freshman and Transfer Orientation.
  • Summer Orientation Support Staff (SOS), a group of returning Orientation Advisors who help new students and families adjust to university life, will participate in a one-day retreat on May 22.

Office of the Dean of Students (DoS)

  • Staff hosted Evening of the Stars on April 18 to honor student organizations. This annual celebration recognizes groups and student leaders for their accomplishments and the contributions made throughout the academic year.
  • Staff met with the 2017-2018 student leaders at the Legislative Student Organization (LSO) Welcome Orientation on April 24. LSOs include Graduate Student Assembly, Senate of College Councils and Student Government.
  • Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly celebrated the 2017 Dean’s Dozen, thirteen students recognized for supporting Office of the Dean of Students programs and contributing to the campus community.

Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA)

VPSA Reunion

Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly, President Gregory Fenves and Senior Associate Vice President and Recreational Sports Director Tom Dison at the Vice President for Student Affairs Reunion

  • VPSA staff welcomed students, alumni, staff and friends to the Vice President for Student Affairs Reunion, hosted in association with the Office of the President. The event celebrated Recreational Sports’ centennial anniversary.
Beyond Diversity

Carol Longoria (right) with Glenn Singleton at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

  • Carol Longoria attended Beyond Diversity: Courageous Conversations about Race at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs on April 7 and 8. Glenn Singleton, founder of the Pacific Education Group, led this two-day seminar for students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Student Employee of the Year Luncheon

Donna Bellinghausen, Cathy Kinsey, Amy Greenspan (Human Resources), Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Virginia Luehrsen and Vicki Wooten at the Student Employee of the Year Luncheon

  • VPSA staff partnered with the Office of the President and Human Resources to honor the Student Employee of the Year and 10 finalists on April 10. CMHC, DHFS and Recreational Sports employ four of the finalists. Watch the video about the winner. View the photos.
VPSA Staff

Teryl McFerrin, Vicki Wooten, Donna Bellinghausen, Denise Fitch, Carol Longoria, Virginia Luehrsen, Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Andrew Clark and Jess Cybulski at the National Administrative Professionals’ Day Lunch

  • VPSA staff celebrated National Administrative Professionals’ Day with a team lunch.
  • CMHC, NSS, Recreational Sports and VPSA staff participated in the annual 40 Hours for the Forty Acres, a university-wide giving campaign to inspire Longhorns to give to departments.
  • The Let Us Know committee is meeting with department ambassadors and focus groups. The report will be released this month.
  • Department assessment plans are due to the university by May 31. Contact Rita Thornton with questions.

Recreational Sports (RecSports)

Pancakes for Parkinson's

Chris Burnett, former Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Vick and Adrienne MacKenzie at Gregory Gym Plaza

Longhorn Run

RecSports staff at Longhorn Run: (front) Adrienne MacKenzie, Darci Doll, Rhonda Cox, Cecilia Lopez-Cardenas and Ross Rodriguez; (back) Phoebe Wainwright, E. J. Patterson, Colleen Waller, Randall Ford, Jennifer Speer, Chrystina Wyatt and Sarah Bubolz

Whitaker Grand Open

Tom Dison, Soncia Reagins-Lilly, former Student Government President Kevin Helgren and President Greg Fenves cut the ribbon to the new fields.

  • Staff celebrated the grand re-opening of the Charles Alan Wright Fields at the Berry M. Whitaker Sports Complex on April 21. Special guests included President Gregory L. Fenves, Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Gary and Sylvie Crum, the family of Stephanie A. Flores, Frances and Ross Vick, Jr., Custis Wright, and members of the Legal Eagles and the Women’s Rugby Alumni Network. See the photos from the Grand Opening.
Centennial Celebration

Jennifer Speer, Nicole Olmeda and Randall Ford celebrating RecSports’ 100th anniversary at the Centennial Celebration & Reunion.

  • Alumni, students and friends enjoyed the Centennial Celebration and Reunion on April 22. The group celebrated Hall of Honor inductees. Check out the photos from the night. Read more about the department’s 100-year history. 
  • Staff gave 15 scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $4,000 to student staff at the Recreational Sports Scholarship Awards Ceremony on April 28.
40 Hours for the Forty Acres

Chad Zimmerman and Randall Ford at 40 Hours for the Forty Acres

  • RecSports staff and Sport Clubs participants raised funds during 40 Hours for the Forty Acres. 
  • RecSports offices and facilities will close early on May 5 to allow student employees to enjoy an appreciation event.

Texas Parents

  • Staff have launched a new Texas Parents Association membership structure providing a complimentary membership for all families. Families can also sign up for a supporting membership, making a gift to Texas Parents. Supporting members receive additional benefits including access to the Texas Parents closed Facebook group, discounts with local and national vendors and opportunities with Texas Athletics.
Texas Parents Ambassadors Council

Ashley Lawrence and Laurie Alvarado at the Texas Parents Ambassadors Council meeting

  • Texas Parents honored the recipients and finalists of the Outstanding Student Award and Mike Wacker Award at the Texas Parents Ambassadors Council on April 7.
  • Texas Parents is preparing for Family Orientation, a day-long program that introduces families to the university and to resources that support their student’s successful transition to UT Austin. The first session is set for June 5. To promote the program, an informational postcard was mailed to the families of 16,000 admitted freshmen.
  • Recognizing their students, parents purchased 139 brick pavers for the Student Services Building Plaza. Texas Parents laid 16 bricks in honor of students lost in the last year and six for members of the UT Austin community.
  • Texas Parents will mail the New Parent Guide to 8,500 freshman families this month. The magazine is designed to be a resource to introduce them to university resources and policies. 

The Center for Students in Recovery (CSR)

  • Staff held the annual Spring Luncheon on April 15 in the Texas Union. Staff recognized graduating seniors from six UT System collegiate recovery programs. Purple honor cords were given to these students. Speakers talked about the center’s history, the journey of the UT System-wide expansion, and students’ academic and recovery journeys. Check out the photos.
UT System-wide Collegiate Recovery Expansion workshop

John Harris (CSR), Kristina Canfield (UT Rio Grande Valley), Matison McCool (UT Dallas), Cary Tucker (Counseling and Mental Health Center), Sierra Castedo (CSR), Lydia Hernandez (UT El Paso), Kristen McElroy (UT San Antonio), Chris Brownson (Counseling and Mental Health Center) and Connor Smith (UT Tyler) showing their spirit with their school’s hand gesture.

  • CSR hosted the UT System-wide Collegiate Recovery Expansion workshop. Staff shared best practices with colleagues from UT Dallas, UT Rio Grande Valley, UT San Antonio and UT Tyler. The workshop is an opportunity to provide guidance and mentorship to emerging programs at these five UT System schools.

University Health Services (UHS)

Wellness Network Lunch

Lauren White (Counseling and Mental Health Center), Susan Kirtz (University Health Services), Katy Redd (Counseling and Mental Health Center) and Jessica Hughes Wagner (University Health Services) at the Wellness Network Lunch

  • Staff from CMHC, DHFS, RecSports and UHS came together with campus partners for the Wellness Network meeting on April 21. This campus-wide coalition is committed to addressing the health and wellness needs of UT Austin students, faculty and staff. Check out the photos.
  • Staff are seeking expertise to develop strategies to enhance the student experience in UHS facilities and hired a consulting firm to review their funding system. The consultation identified best practices of peer institutions and relevant trends in student health, considering various healthcare reform scenarios and analyzing UHS visit data. UHS leadership and campus stakeholders met with the nationally-recognized experts in college health.
  • UHS has received the highest level of accreditation on each inspection since 1999 from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). Surveyors visited UHS last month for the triennial survey. This voluntary process ensures patients receive quality care in a safe environment. UHS has maintained accreditation since 1957.

University Unions

University Unions Awards Luncheon

Dr. Lilly, Maureen Brown (Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs), Mulu Ferede (University Unions), Chris Burnett (Recreational Sports), Jennifer Zamora (University Unions) and Teryl McFerrin (Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs) at the awards luncheon

  • Staff recognized two students for their contributions to the campus community at a luncheon on April 21. Read about the recipients of the J. “Jake” Pickle Citizenship Award and the Pal — Make a Difference Award. Check out the photos.
Student Appreciation Luncheon

Staff and students at the appreciation luncheon in the Student Activity Center (SAC) Ballroom.

  • Staff hosted an appreciation luncheon for student employees on April 14 as part of National Student Employee Appreciation Week. Students received customized thank-you notes and other gifts. See the photos.
  • Texas State’s Lyndon B. Johnson Student Center staff visited with the hospitality desk team on April 7 to observe, learn and share best practices.
  • A UT Print station is available to students, faculty and staff in the Student Activity Center (SAC) near Taco Cabana and on the Texas Union’s ground level.
DRYBOX® machine at the Texas Union

DRYBOX® machine at the Texas Union

  • DRYBOX® is available to students, faculty and staff at the Texas Union. The automated self-service machine removes moisture from a wet phone in 30 minutes.
  • The south sidewalk in front of the SAC has reopened as of April 17, as Speedway construction moves north.
  • Staff are supporting the university’s sustainability efforts by having Chick-fil-A and Starbucks compost food waste. The Texas Union has enhanced signage about composting and recycling bins.