Enthusiasm Starts Here

August 15, 2023

Hi Team!

Where did the summer go? That was quick! I hope you found some time to take a breath, relax and recharge. For our teams who put their heart and soul into making our June and July new student and family orientations the successes they were, thank you. Up next: August Orientation and Longhorn Welcome, another enterprising and creative approach that provides enriched, rewarding and fun opportunities to maximize our students’ Longhorn experience.

It’s all part of the work that we — the Division of Student Affairs — do collectively for every student — undergraduate, graduate and professional — as the hub of student life and well-being at UT Austin. The hub is where enthusiasm starts on our campus, especially as we begin to welcome students back for the fall term.

Your enthusiasm makes it clear that you are ready to make it a great academic year.

I can see it. I can feel it. So I know our students, families and partners do, too.

Through our three key Division functions –– partnerships, student support and well-being — each of you help clear the path for students to excel personally and academically, setting them up for future success.

You may directly work with students to create intentionally-designed, student-focused programs, spaces and resources. Or you may provide the financial, human resources, information technology or administrative support that powers our programs, spaces and resources, helping make it possible for your colleagues to directly support students.

Whatever your job, we all have an important role in student transformation! Each of you influence our students in living the Longhorn life. We collectively instill in our students that they belong here. We collectively help them explore who they are and whom they want to become. And we collectively create the foundation of belonging and well-being so our students can truly change the world. It’s a team effort!

This foundation is also built through partnerships outside our Division, both on and off campus. As the hub, our Division is horizontal and holistic, so partnerships are a key element in our work. We reach outside the borders of our Division departments and units as we focus on the whole student: physically, mentally and emotionally.

So for the fall term, I have a challenge for each of you: renew and strengthen your partnerships — and create new ones — to explore new possibilities for our students.

Our partners rely on our unique expertise for cross-functional support and guidance on belonging, well-being and student life best practices. Our “all students, all the time” mindset and spirit of cooperation helps us quickly respond to emerging student needs and concerns. Through this work, we create the ecosystem to support the whole student — healthy minds, bodies and lives — by collaborating to share our expertise. We lead the way.

And while students are at the center of our world, always on our mind, it’s not all work and no play for us! Stay tuned for details about our Division of Student Affairs Welcome Back Brunch in September. This come-and-go event will be a great time to reconnect with your colleagues, share your summer adventures, and enjoy some sweet and savory treats. I can’t wait to see you!

For Students, We Will!

Soncia Reagins-Lilly
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students