How We Influence, April 2024

Published: April 1, 2024

How We Influence

Our health and well-being team members celebrated major milestones and increased efforts to support the whole student. The spring season also created many transformative opportunities for fun, enriching and rewarding events and experiences. Check out the updates below highlighting our partnerships, student support and well-being initiatives. 


CSR Group
Pictured left to right: Ellie Morris (Student), UT System Executive Vice Chancellor Archie Holmes, Lilly Ettinger (Center for Students in Recovery), UT Austin President Jay Hartzell, Lori Holleran Steiker (School of Social Work), Richie King (Center for Students in Recovery), Associate Vice President for Health and Well-being Chris Brownson at the luncheon

The Center for Students in Recovery celebrated 20 years on March 23. In 2004, it was the nation's fourth collegiate recovery program (today there are 162). Through a UT System partnership, other campuses modeled this program, including UT Dallas, Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio and Tyler. President Jay Hartzell and UT System Executive Vice Chancellor Archie Holmes spoke at the luncheon. 

The Office of the Dean of Students partnered with Texas Student Media to host UT Marketplace on March 6. For more than 20 years, the bi-annual event has showcased Austin businesses and featured hiring opportunities, free giveaways and prizes. This year, there were 80+ booths.

The Longhorn Wellness Center, Center for Students in Recovery, SHIFT and the Office of the Dean of Students partners to organize 17 West Fest Ready workshops. The workshops, led by 14 staff members, focused on harm reduction with the sorority and fraternity community ahead of West Fest, an annual weekend of philanthropic social events in West Campus.

RecSports partnered with the Longhorn Wellness Center for a Mindfulness and Camping weekend trip to Inks Lake State Park. Peer support specialists from the Longhorn SHARE project joined RecSports trip guides to engage students with mindfulness activities focused on stress management while experiencing nature. In addition to mindfulness activities, students enjoyed hiking, relaxing and exploring the lake.

The Longhorn SHARE Project partnered with the Disability Cultural Center (DCC) and Disability Advocacy Student Coalition (DASC) to host a series of workshops for students. The three-session workshop discussed education funding, job search inclusivity and financial literacy. 

University Unions partnered with the Office of Admissions and the Interfraternity Council on the 31st annual Forty Acres Fest on March 23. This day-long music festival featured student bands ahead of headliner X Ambassadors. Admissions used the stage for an admitted student event and Interfraternity Council included the concert as part of West Fest. 

The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs hosted the UT Austin Reception at the 2024 NASPA Annual Conference. The team shared information about our innovative programs, spaces and resources with national and UT Austin colleagues, alumni and former Division staff. See the event photos.

Student Support 

The Counseling and Mental Health Center, Longhorn Wellness Center and University Health Services supported the Student Health Advisory Committee during the "Meet Healthyhorns” event. The event invited students to speak with providers and staff about services, and health and well-being resources.

New Student Services revamped the New Student Orientation registration process by staggering registration by college or school over three days. This change better supported the technology infrastructure, providing a better registration experience for students. Family Orientation registration also opened on March 20, with parents being encouraged to register for the same orientation session as their student.

The Office of the Dean of Students hosted the second annual UT Outpost Outside on March 26. The UT Outpost Student Leadership Board helped organize and coordinate the donation drive and field day event for 73 students. New and returning volunteers facilitated potato sack racing, cornhole and bracelet making, and students had the opportunity to win prizes. 

Risk Management Summit
Rachel Brinkmann (Longhorn Wellness Center, back right at podium) and Marina Montemayor (Title IX Education and Prevention) present to students at a Risk Management Summit workshop.

More than 180 students from all six sorority and fraternity councils attended the Risk Management Summit hosted by the Office of the Dean of Students. The event educated chapter and council leaders about risk management and building a safer sorority and fraternity community. Facilitators from across our Division and the Division of Campus and Community Engagement led workshops. 

RecSports hosted Texas THON’s annual Dance Marathon on March 3 culminating a year of fundraising efforts benefiting Dell Children’s Medical Center. The student-run philanthropy announced that their year-long fundraising efforts amounted to more than $102,0000 to provide pediatric patients with essential medical treatment and serve all families regardless of their ability to pay. Check out the photos

The Texas Parents Ambassadors Council convened on March 22 with President Jay Hartzell giving university updates. Associate Vice Presidents Chris Brownson and Celena Mondie-Milner discussed health and well-being programs and resources, and student and family orientations. Learn more about the Outstanding Student Award recipients and finalists recognized at the luncheon, and which student athlete received the Mike Wacker Award.

Supporting student life and traditions, University Unions’ Campus Events+Entertainment hosted Texas Revue, the longest running talent showcase on campus on March 2. The event was hosted in the newly-renovated Hogg Memorial Auditorium. E+E recognized these student winners


CSR Retreat
Staff and students at the Texas Collegiate Recovery Retreat

With support from H-E-B Foundation Camps, the Center for Students in Recovery organized the inaugural Texas Collegiate Recovery Retreat, March 8-10, in Leakey, Texas. Staff teamed up with eight other Texas colleges and universities: UT San Antonio, UT Dallas, Texas Tech, the University of Houston, Texas Christian University, Austin Community College, Baylor University and Rice University. Take a look at the photos.

In Spring 2024, the Longhorn Wellness Center became a department in the Division of Student Affairs, underscoring the University’s ongoing commitment to student well-being. This evolution brings together three departments under the Healthyhorns brand: Counseling and Mental Health Center, Longhorn Wellness Center and University Health Services. 

Operation Naloxone, run by the SHIFT initiative, conducted a comprehensive naloxone training session on March 4 at the Center for Students in Recovery. This was the fourth training for this academic year, with another coming up in May. They trained 27 students, faculty and staff on how to detect the signs of an opioid overdose and administer Naloxone.

Students enjoyed nostalgic fun at the RecSports Recess Field Day event held March 28. The event featured a variety of field day games, an inflatable obstacle course, popcorn, popsicles and complimentary Nike t-shirts. See the photos.

Event registration is now open for RecSports Recharge, an event designed exclusively for faculty and staff on April 24, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Gregory Gym. Participants will enjoy movement-based activities, giveaways, a complimentary lunch and the chance to build community. Registration is free and closes on April 17.