Influencing the Longhorn Life Staff Newsletter, May 2023

How We Are Influencing the Longhorn Life

Published: May 2, 2023

Our team packed the remaining weeks of the spring term with finals events, fun activities and energy as the university adjusted to the new academic calendar. We maintained a focus on our strategic priorities and are headed to the finish line. Kudos for all your hard work!

Maximizing the Longhorn Experience

Fuel Up for Finals Staff
Kayleigh Spaulding, Angelique Karditzas, Cayla Palmer and James Butler (Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services) at Fuel Up for Finals

From food truck pop-ups to craft and study nights to healthy sleep tips and giveaways, our Division team hosted a variety of events to help students prepare for finals. See photos from events that our staff in these departments hosted: Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services, New Student Services, Office of the Dean of Students, Recreational Sports and University Unions. Events were listed on our Division Events Calendar. And in a special collaboration with University Marketing and Communications, the food trucks provided complimentary snacks during study days. 

New Student Services’ Off-Campus Living Resources team continues to educate students on living off campus as well as help off-campus residents feel more connected to campus. They hosted a series of Zoom information sessions with their student leaders and a Commuter Happy Hour with the College of Natural Sciences on April 3. 

At the end of its first year, New Student Services staff worked with Assessment Data Analytics & Planning Team (ADAPT) to conduct focus groups to garner qualitative feedback from Bevo buddies and Bevo Buddy Leaders. Bevo Buddy!  pairs a student leader with an incoming freshman or transfer student to help them transition to campus life. 

Sorority and Fraternity Life staff at the awards
Sorority and Fraternity Life staff at the awards ceremony

The Sorority and Fraternity Life team in the Office of the Dean of Students recognized outstanding leadership at the annual Sorority and Fraternity Life Awards Ceremony. They supported the National Pan-Hellenic Council Campus Professionals Mixer. The team is also gearing up to support the University Panhellenic Council’s Primary Recruitment Process, August 15-20.  

The Office of the Dean of Students recognized 12 students with the Dean’s Dozen Award on April 21. This award celebrates graduating seniors, masters or doctoral students who are committed to and involved in enhancing the quality of student experience. 

Virginia Luehrsen Terry Scholars, Office of the Dean of Students
Virginia Luehrsen (Office of the Dean of Students) interviews Terry Foundation Scholarship applicants in Dallas.

The Office of the Dean of Students will welcome the largest class of Terry Scholars to the Terry Scholar Student Organization this summer. These 56 incoming students from across the state received this scholarship for their academic excellence and leadership. 

RecSports staff at Longhorn Run
RecSports staff at Longhorn Run

RecSportsLonghorn Run 2023 on April 1 was the biggest race ever with 5,662 students, faculty, staff and Austin community members. Virtual runners also participated in the 5K and 10K races from as far away as Seattle, Washington, and Land O Lakes, Florida. Proceeds benefit Student Government and Recreational Sports Excellence Funds which support student programs and initiatives.  

RecSports Scholarship Recipients
 Ian Overman (Recreational Sports, second from left) with student Scholarship Award recipients (from left to right) Owen Kiszka, Destiny Martinez and Caleb King

Thanks to benefactors helping us influence the Longhorn life, RecSports presented 17 student staff with scholarships totaling $37,500 at the annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony on April 14. The scholarships, gifted from the Recreational Sports Endowment Fund, enable RecSports to recognize deserving students for their outstanding service and dedication to the department. Watch this video to hear from the recipients

President Hartzell (back, center) mingles with attendees at the Family Weekend Celebration Kick-Off Event
President Hartzell (back, center) mingles with Family Weekend attendees

More than 3,000 students and family members celebrated living the Longhorn life during Texas Parents’ Family Weekend, April 14-16. President Hartzell gave welcome remarks then mingled with families at the Celebration Kick-off Event during this cross-campus effort with colleges, schools and units.

Celebrating campus-wide sustainability efforts, University Housing and Dining hosted the Forty Acres Earth Day Fair on April 20. They partnered with the Office of Sustainability, Landscape Services and other university offices that work to support sustainability on campus. 

Together with the President’s Office and the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, University Housing and Dining launched a pilot housing scholarship program. The new program addresses student success by helping offset on-campus housing costs for an estimated 3,500 students.  

UHD Staff Brew Bus
Marilyn Tyus, Autumn Battis-Flores and Mynor Rivera at the 512 Brew Bus launch on March 29

President Hartzell got the first look at the 512 Brew Bus, University Housing and Dining’s new food truck serving beignets, coffee and more – and the scoop on the family recipe behind the truck’s beignets courtesy of Chef Joshua DeDeaux. Since its debut in front of the Tower on March 29, the bus has been rolling around campus and you can catch it weekdays at 23rd St. and San Jacinto. 

University Unions Awards
Brian Shivers (University Unions Advisory Council), Student Awardees Leland Murphy, Evelyn Haskins and Katherine Ospina, Amy Welborn (University Unions Advisory Council), Mulugeta Ferede (University Unions); Hiba Soba not pictured.

University Unions recognized four students for their impact on the Longhorn life at the Advisory Council's spring meeting. The awards honor Longhorn alums, Jaspreet Singh Pal and Congressman J. J. "Jake" Pickle, and the department’s former director Andy Smith. 

Health and Wellness 

Horns Against Hazing
Horns Against Hazing Panel: Justin Carter (Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services), Albert Perez (student panelist), Erika Bellingham (Title IX Office), guest speaker Rasheed Cromwell and moderator Abby Burke

Helping equip students with tools to prevent hazing, the Office of the Dean of Students hosted Horns Against Hazing for 45 students from various student organizations. They heard from a panel of staff and guest speaker Rasheed Cromwell (founder and president of The Harbor Institute) who talked about hazing prevention and intervention. 

The Longhorn Wellness Center expanded the lineup for Mental Health Promotion Weeks, extending the event series from one week to almost two weeks, March 27-April 7. Staff and students hosted 20+ events focused on prioritizing mental health by recharging, connecting with others and learning about campus resources. 

The Longhorn Wellness Center team also facilitated the Healthy Student Organization Program where 22 groups laid a foundation of well-being for their members. The Austin City Council recognized the students on April 13. The program began in 2015.

In closer collaboration, the Title IX Office, Student Emergency Services and Voices Against Violence marked Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April with the signature event, Take Back the night on April 6. The event gives survivors a safe space to share their story 150+ students, faculty and staff attended the event. 

RecSports Recharge Staff
Sarah Bubolz (Recreational Sports) takes her turn tossing the corn hole bag with Bridget Jones and Andy Lemons at RecSports Recharge

The RecSports Recharge on April 26 brought together 408 faculty and staff (and 624 who RSVP’d) from across campus to unwind at the close of the spring term. View the event photos that show the movement-based activities including disc golf, cornhole, pickleball, meditation, walking and more. This revamped approach to the “Poker Walk” campus tradition included a complimentary lunch and giveaways. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

The Office of the Dean of Students hosted a Link-Up event to celebrate the strength and community of culturally-based Greek letter organizations. Students learned about healthy community building and hazing prevention.

New Student Services’ Longhorn TIES (Transition, Inclusion, Empower, Success) expanded their lineup of events for Autism and Neurodiversity Celebration Week, April 10-14, to have events for faculty and staff in addition to students. More than 350 students, faculty and staff attended five events throughout the week. 

University Health Services and Counseling and Mental Health Center making packages of non-perishables for community for Ramadan

The University Health Services and Counseling and Mental Health Center Diversity, Access and Equity Committee marked Ramadan on April 12. During this community gathering, staff created packages containing non-perishable food and toiletries for unhoused community members. 

Talent Investment and Staff Support 

RecSports Indoor Satellite Staff
 Valeria Ortega (Recreational Sports, front row, third from right) with her student staff at the Student Staff Appreciation event. 

The RecSports team celebrated their student-staff members at a Team RecSports appreciation event at Wright-Whitaker Sports Complex on April 25. RecSports gifted Class of 2023 grads with a RecSports graduation stole, and all students received a commemorative RecSports t-shirt.  

The Vice President for Student Affairs office is hosting the “Meet the Press” professional development program on May 17. This event is for media-trained spokespeople, communicators and other staff who are not media trained but interested in learning more about today’s journalism environment. Please RSVP by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 12.  

Technology and Resource Management 

UHS Accreditation
Stephanie Lei and Kathy Mosteller (University Health Services) and Ginny Maril (Counseling and Mental Health Center) at the accreditation visit  

University Health Services and the Longhorn Wellness Center completed their triennial accreditation processes with the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) on April 26 and 27. The Counseling and Mental Health Center completed their first accreditation process with AAAHC on April 26 and 27. 

To showcase the new gaming technology and esports spaces for students, University Unions invited Tre Jones (San Antonio Spurs) and SypherPK (professional gamer) for an event and tour of the Alienware Longhorn Esports Lounge. The event on April 7 also inspired students to pursue careers in esports with a meet-and-greet and Fortnite game. 

Division Influencers

Our Division team members have a rich history influencing the Longhorn life on campus! We celebrated 58 team members with a combined 1,125 years of service and one leader receiving a top university award for Outstanding Supervisor. Others were recognized as innovators and thought leaders on campus and beyond.

Jess, Alma and Heather
Jess Cybulski, Alma Garcia and Heather Miller (Vice President for Student Affairs Office) at the CASE Conference

Brooke Bulow, Jess Cybulski, Alma Garcia and Heather Miller (Vice President for Student Affairs office) developed the “Rising above the Noise: How We Reimagined Our Identity” presentation for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District IV Annual Conference. Cybulski, Garcia and Miller presented on April 17. 

Lilly Ettinger (Center for Students in Recovery) co-wrote the first ethical considerations for the Association of Recovery for Higher Education. These guidelines create a common set of standards for collegiate recovery professionals across the country.

Alexis George (Vice President for Student Affairs office) received a Student Success Acceleration Program Implementation Grant (SSAP-IG). As part of the grant, George will attend the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity and submit a proposal with eight other colleagues in the Curriculum, Enrollment Management and Undergraduate Studies portfolio for the Fall 2023 Student Success Symposium.

Brandon Jones (University Housing and Dining) presented on how to use assessment results to inform continuous improvement during “Closing the Assessment Loop” on April 13. The recording of this  professional development webinar is available on the Assessment, Data Analytics & Planning Team (ADAPT) Canvas Resource Hub.

RecSports: Andy Lemons Award
Randall Ford, Andy Lemons and Jennifer Speer (Recreational Sports) at the St. Edward’s University event

Andy Lemons (Recreational Sports) was inducted into the Recreation and Wellness Program Hall of Honor at St. Edward’s University on April 22 for his leadership and commitment to its Club Sports Program. 

President’s Staff Awards

Pete Schaack Headshot
Pete Schaack (Recreational Sports)

President Jay Hartzell honored Recreational Sports’ Pete Schaack with a President's Staff Award for Outstanding Supervisor on April 10. Read more about Schaack’s dedication to mentoring and supporting students, student employees and staff for more than three decades. 

Staff Service Awards

The awards event also included a celebration of the Staff Service Awards. Our Division has 58 staff members with a combined 1,125 years of service. 

Cheryl Pyle, President Jay Hartzell, Soncia Reagins-Lilly
Cheryl Pyle (Office of the Dean of Students), President Jay Hartzell and VP for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly at the awards celebration

The university gave a special shout out to the Office of the Dean of Students’ Cheryl Pyle – one of three university employees celebrating 50 years of service.  

“It was February 1972 when I walked into my first job in the Division of Student Affairs … Six positions, two departments, a lifetime of experiences and untold opportunities with absolutely no regrets. Thanks for the memories…” noted Pyle.

Melinda, Mary and Marvin
Melinda McMichael (University Health Services), Mary Rhodes and Marvin Mackey, Jr. (Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services)

Additionally, two staff members in University Health Services and Counseling and Mental Health Center celebrated 45 years – Marvin Mackey, Jr. and Mary Rhodes – and one marked 40 years – Melinda McMichael. Meet these three team members and hear their stories. 

Congratulate your Division colleagues below!  

Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services

  • Marvin Mackey, Jr., 45 years
  • Mary Rhodes, 45 years
  • Melinda McMichael, 40 years
  • Mitzi Henry, 35 years
  • Kevin Jones, 35 years
  • Andrew Mendoza, 30 years
  • Robert Reed, Jr., 25 years
  • Mark Zentner, 25 years
  • Ginger Bloomer, 20 years
  • Ericka Holms, 15 years
  • Nicole Lackowski, 15 years
  • Michael Andorka, 10 years
  • Monique Cortez, 10 years
  • Luisa Gutierrez, 10 years
  • Karen Hickey, 10 years
  • Sherri Knight, 10 years
  • Alyssa Ramirez, 10 years
  • Jessica Sanchez, 10 years

Office of the Dean of Students  

  • Cheryl Pyle, 50 years
  • Bob Vargas, 35 years
  • Melissa Jones-Wommack, 10 years

Recreational Sports

  • Peter Schaack, 35 years
  • Sarah Bubolz, 30 years
  • Derek Knight, 25 years
  • Lisa Sova, 20 years
  • Dixon Hankins, 15 years
  • Quincy Hodges, 15 years
  • Ruben Ramos, 15 years
  • Ryan Becerra, 10 years
  • Cecilia Lopez Cardenas, 10 years

University Housing and Dining

  • Alma Reynoso, 30 years
  • Michelle Thompson, 30 years
  • Juston Hairgrove, 20 years
  • Virginia Jaramillo, 20 years
  • Jeff Reed, 20 years
  • Dina Bricker, 15 years
  • Blanca Garay, 15 years
  • Christie Jenner, 15 years
  • Lucero Torres, 15 years
  • Monica Bacon, 10 years
  • Rudiger Bernard, 10 years
  • Calvin Kirts, 10 years
  • Tiana Lindberg, 10 years
  • Julia Matamoros Martinez, 10 years
  • Melinda Mendez, 10 years
  • Crystal Simpson, 10 years
  • Aaron Voyles, 10 years

University Unions

  • Robert Waters, 35 years
  • Gloria Munoz de Ramirez, 25 years
  • Steven Cook, 20 years
  • Bobby Veail, 20 years
  • Isaac Gutierrez, 15 years
  • Nick Parras, 15 years
  • Jeff Sladcik, 15 years
  • Bill Welford, 15 years
  • Sean Morrogh, 10 years

Vice President for Student Affairs office

  • Carol Longoria, 10 years

Texas Parents Association

  • Susie Smith, 15 years