Springing Forward

February 1, 2022

Hello Student Affairs Team,

The winds continue to change, and we’re making the most of them. Like you, I’m thrilled to see students resume in-person learning on campus, as we keep a watchful eye on the pandemic. Thanks for continuing to chart a course forward.

You — and your colleagues and teammates across the Division of Student Affairs — continue to impress the entire Longhorn community with your hard work, passion, creativity and stick-to-it-iveness. You’re part of the finest group of professionals I’ve ever had the pleasure of leading. Thanks for adjusting your sails.

Three Cheers!

Last week at our Division of Student Affairs Team Appreciation and Celebration, we announced the recipients of the 2021-22 Texas Parents Staff Merit Awards. These people have gone above and beyond — influencing our students in Living the Longhorn Life®, exemplifying the power of storytelling, presence and empathy.

Jess Cybulski
Assistant Director of Communications, Vice President of Student Affairs Office

Jess Cybulski created and hosts the Division's first podcast on the university’s Texas Podcast Network, Living the Longhorn Life (listen here), which is the only program focused on the student voice. Jess manages to create connection and shine light on the Division — and our countless programs and services and innovations — that influence our students in positive ways. Be sure to subscribe to Living the Longhorn Life on Spotify, Apple and Google to discover why we’re so lucky to have Jess’ creativity and tireless work ethic on our team.

Marcus Mayes
Assistant Director of Student Activities, Office of the Dean of Students

Marcus Mayes ensures that every single one of our 50,000+ students have the opportunity to express their opinions and exercise their First Amendment rights — and to do so safely, constructively, and as part of our larger Longhorn community. Day after day, Marcus has his “boots on the ground,” talking with students, appearing at pop-up demonstrations, attending town halls, communicating campus policies, and coordinating with staff and faculty. He reduces tension and expands opportunity. Marcus’ commitment to keeping campus vibrant, dynamic and intellectually curious is a powerful reminder of why our university remains one of the finest in the world.

Kelly Soucy
Director of Student Emergency Services, Office of the Dean of Students

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the winter storm that shook the Longhorn community. That week was filled with inspiring stories of service, grit and community — including the work of Kelly Soucy. Working nearly around-the-clock for days on end, Kelly stayed in nonstop communication with her staff at Student Emergency Services and emergency responders multiple times a day. Kelly also worked with City of Austin officials to respond to power outages and facility management, and she had free hot meals delivered to hundreds of students sheltering at the Texas Union. Kelly’s commitment to students is unwavering.

What’s Next?

Lots. We’ll continue to support our students through the remainder of this semester as we always have. We’ll think of new, innovative ways to keep the Forty Acres vibrant, connected, safe and rewarding as part of university’s Strategic Plan. And together, we’ll find a thousand ways, both big and small, to take care of each other.

Finally, please know I want to hear from you and connect.  We have our next Vice President for Student Affairs Office Hours on Feb. 7, 11 a.m. via Zoom, and I hope you will join. Thank you all for your contributions to our incredible team!


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