SMU Student Affairs Impact 2022-2023

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IMPACT 2022-2023

Innovation Grants 04 58th Women’s Symposium 06 MLK Plaque Dedication 08 IFC Expansion 10 Welcome our New Faculty in Residence 14 Cultivating Courageous Careers 18 Parent Perspective 20 Multi-Faith Study 22 New Campus Recreation App 24 Wellbeing Commission 24 Pride Visibility Day 26 CONTENTS 07 Caswell Leadership Program 28 Student Foundation Celebrates 50 Years Courageous Change Leader Impact Award Outstanding Newcomer Student Affairs Champion 11 Division Awards 2022-2023

Fellow Mustangs,

It is my distinct pleasure to share with you the 2022-2023 Impact, a report outlining the achievements of the SMU Division of Student Affairs. Impact tells a story, first and foremost of our students, which is why you’ll see two world changers on our cover. Their exuberance is contagious, energizing and igniting our work at SMU. Our student body is exceptional – an enterprising, diverse, and academically gifted group of young people, determined to use their SMU education to do good and change the world. You’ll have the opportunity to meet several of these dynamic Mustangs in the pages of Impact.

You can also follow along with our progress towards our divisional strategic plan, Cultivating Courageous Change. Originally scheduled to conclude in 2023, we chose to extend our timeline to allow a little more pandemic catch-up time and coincide with the conclusion of the university strategic plan. Impact highlights some of our best assessment work, coupled with personal reflections from our students and division staff, showcasing the robust experience we provide for SMU students and highlighting its impact on student learning and development.

As I reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of the past year, I am filled with gratitude for the extraordinary team of Student Affairs colleagues with whom I have the privilege of working. This dedicated team of selfless professionals is unified by our common mission to educate students and support their continued growth and wellbeing. Whether new to the Hilltop or a longtime SMU treasure, these folks are filled with purpose and commitment to our students, and an inspiration to me.

As we look forward to another exciting year on the Hilltop, I hope you feel the energy and enthusiasm of our students and our division. I am excited for all we will accomplish with, and for, our students. The Division of Student Affairs is cultivating courageous change through our shared purpose and commitment to our mission.

Pony Up!

Innovation Grants

Every year, we open the Innovation Grant application processes for departments to collaborate on initiatives that may require seed funding. The goal of the fund is to allow areas to try out new programs or revamp current ones without risking their current operational dollars. Last year, Innovant Grants provided funding for R.I.T.U.A.L. a program hosted by Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, InterSections retreat by Office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement, and the Mustang PEP Talks series for Residence LIfe and Student Housing.


The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life was grateful for the opportunity to utilize funds from the Innovation Grant program towards a new initiative. Given the unique nature of fraternity & sorority life, SMU staff can interact with students at each point in their college development and growth. From new students on campus, to new members, emerging leaders, established leaders, and soon to be graduates, we have an opportunity to provide continuous touchpoints to create gradual training and conversations on diversity, equity and inclusion that builds as students develop. The R.I.T.U.A.L. program is a comprehensive, integrated program that provides education and facilitated dialog to members of the SMU

fraternity & sorority community at different points in the undergraduate experience on issues and topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. R.I.T.U.A.L. stands for responsibility, inclusion, trust, unity, advocacy, and leadership.

Content for this program is integrated into already established FSL programs, such as recruitment/intake meetings, the FSLead emerging leaders’ class, and monthly President roundtables. It will also be added to new initiatives offered during specific times each academic year. This past year we hosted our first DEI retreat for established leaders as well as developed a virtual library where student leaders and

chapter officers can access articles and videos on topics like bias, identity, and privilege. This program is led by the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, but we are grateful for our friends in the Office of Social Change & Intercultural Engagement and The Women & LGBT Center for providing guidance and trainings during several of our programs. This is a multi-year project that will take time to fully develop, and we are excited to review the long-term impact that these learning opportunities will have on the Greek and SMU communities.

Mustang PEP Talks

The Mustang PEP (Peer Education Program) Talk Series (MPTS) is a series of peer-led leadership development workshops offered to the SMU student community. The target audience includes current student leaders with the desire to enhance their skills for their campus student leadership positions, students who are interested in joining the RLSH Peer Leader program, and first-year students who are interested in personal leadership development. The content for the MPTS is derived from the NASPA Peer Educator (CPE) certification program.

The components of the CPE program are designed to grow and expand on

basic peer education skills. The CPE program is administered on campus by professional staff who have been trained by NASPA on the content and certification of the CPE course. Topics include: Understanding the Power, Roles, and Characteristics of Peer Educators, Understanding Change as a Peer Educator, Being an Effective Listener as a Peer Educator, A Peer Educator’s Role as a Responder, Bystander Intervention as a Peer Education Technique, Intrapersonal Applications of Identity as a Peer Educator, Programming Strategies for Peer Educators, and Group Development and Moving Forward. In Fall 2022, we were able to train and

certify eight Peer Leader supervisors. In Spring 2023, the pilot cohort of seven Peer Leaders received the CPE training and certification through a weekend retreat. Starting Fall 2023, the MPTS program will be an approved experience for the Oral Communication and Civics and Individual Ethics proficiencies. As a component of Peer Leader training for the 2023-2024 academic year, we plan to have all RLSH Peer Leaders become Certified Peer Educators. In Fall 2023, the certified students will demonstrate their learning by facilitating the Mustang PEP Talk series for the campus community.

Offsite Camp Base for Social Change on Campus

Through the support of the Division of Student Affairs Innovation Grant, Social Change and Intercultural Engagement (SCIE) was able to resurrect its InterSections Retreat in Spring 2023. InterSections took place from February 3rd-5th at Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center in Glen Rose, TX with 23 student participants.

The purpose of InterSections is to help students explore how their identities and values connect to the communities of which they are a part through workshops, small group discussions, and individual reflections.

The retreat is also intentionally named after the analytical framework Intersectionality coined by civil rights advocate and critical race theory scholar, Kimberlé Crenshaw, in the late 80s and early 90s.

Over the course of the weekend, participants engaged in a total of 12 workshop sessions and the overwhelming favorite was the “Life Maps” activity where students were tasked with illustrating on a piece of paper significant events that have shaped who they are as a person.

“Someone may look like they have it all together, but you don’t know what people are going through behind closed doors,” Ruiz said reflecting on the activity. “Every person has a story and that story is very important in crafting who they are and why they may do the things that they do.”

InterSections encouraged students to consider situational dynamics such as power, privilege, oppression, dominant

culture based on identity, and bias that affect professional and social environments as well as people’s ability to find themselves represented or not due to those factors.

“What the retreat helped me to do was navigate the intersections of my identities within the context of SMU, which is different within different contexts,” Ava Hawkins ’26 said. “It was good to also get insight into how other people felt on SMU’s campus as well.”

Hawkins is very passionate about activism and implementing social change on campus but it quickly resulted in burnout and frustration. “I’ve been constantly reminded that I’m a student first and foremost,” she said. “I wasn’t treating myself like a student, I was treating myself like somebody who’s here to engage, diversify, and change things. When I look at other people, I’m like ‘this is unfair – you’re sitting here, you go to class, and you go back to your residential commons and you chill’ – but me, I’m wandering around and I feel overwhelmed.”

Following the retreat, the cohort was invited by SCIE to attend two monthly reunion sessions to assess how the skills and lessons learned were being applied on campus and in the local community. At the conclusion of April’s meeting, all students also received a certificate of completion.

Someone may look like they have it all together, but you don’t know what people are going through behind closed doors, every person has a story and that story is very important in crafting who they are.

SMU’s 58th Annual

Women’s Symposium

On March 1st the SMU Women & LGBT Center hosted our 58th annual Women’s Symposium where we centered the theme of Course Correction together with Jade Mathis. Jade, otherwise known as “The Resilient JEM”, is a non-traditional attorney, motivational speaker, and mental health advocate.

During the Symposium, we also recognized four Women leaders (featured left to right below) Dr. Koshi Dhingra, Founder and CEO for talkSTEM, Erikka Flood - Moultrie, CEO and Principal for ConnectThree, Jennifer (Jenny) Eckund, Partner at Thompson Coburn, and Dr. Chrisette Dharma, Medical Director for Southwest Family Medicine Associates for their outstanding work in the Dallas Fort-Worth Community with the Profiles in Leadership Awards. These four Women are all successful professionals in each of their given fields and have uplifted Women everywhere through mentorship, advocacy, and innovative change. Attendees came from all walks of life and gained valuable insights and truths on the numerous adversities Women face, as well as how to maintain resiliency in the face of whatever life may throw at them.


The purpose of the Dr. Jim Caswell Endowment for Leadership Development and Training is to fund and provide a stream of income to students to support initiatives within the Division of Student Affairs. This program is built to provide students a unique opportunity to acquire the experience and knowledge necessary for them to not only succeed in life, but also to inspire and lead others. As part of this program, students are provided with the resources and necessary support to create a successful and sustainable leadership project and develop their own leadership skills. The Caswell Leadership Program was founded in 2012 and has not only made a large impact on students’ personal and leadership development but has produced notable projects that can still be seen on campus or in the Dallas community today.

Caswell Leadership Program

Aleena Taufiq ‘18 & ‘19 was a 20172018 Caswell Fellow who is the Founder and CEO of the Geared-Up program. This non-profit initiative focuses on engineering enrichment for middle school students in lowincome districts which consisted of guest speakers, engineering design challenges, and field trips.

Lillian Duma

was a 2021-2022

Fellow who created the Language Partners organization on campus. This organization matches SMU students aiming to grow their non-English conversational skills and cultural competency with international students and individuals in the greater Dallas to grow their English language skills and knowledge of American culture.

Nick Fontela ‘21 & ‘22 and Kealey Poole ‘22 were Caswell Fellows in 2019-2020 and together created Caswell Coaches, which is still active on campus today. This program consists of experienced student leaders who work directly with clubs and organizations to guide them through various aspects of operating student organizations. A Caswell Coach is assigned to have oneon-one meetings with board members of the organization to better understand the needs of the organization and find the best ways coaches can help them.

‘24 Caswell

This past February, several Student Affairs staff members and many students contributed to the dedication of a Texas Historical Marker honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s hour long address on March 17, 1966, delivered in SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium.

Read more about this student led initiative.


SMU Interfraternity Council Expansion

The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life completed an expansion process with the Interfraternity Council (IFC) this year to welcome a new fraternity to their community. This process took several months and included feedback from chapter members, student leaders, community partners, alumni, and SMU administration. After the council officially voted to open for expansion, they received a record-breaking 15 applications from inter/national fraternities. From this pool, an expansion committee, comprised of student leaders, alumni advisors, and staff, took great care in selecting four finalists for a full-day on-campus visit and presentation in November.

IFC focused on several factors when determining which organization would make a successful addition to the community based on its current goals and as outlined in the SMU FSL expansion policy. Factors, including an organization’s policies on new member education; chapter management; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and alumni involvement and support were all key components of the consideration criteria. Feedback was gathered after each component of the on-campus visit and presentation, and conversations during the visits provided a well-rounded set of data for the expansion committee and council to review. After carefully considering all the finalists, SMU was excited to

welcome Delta Sigma Phi fraternity to the community this spring.

Delta Sigma Phi fraternity returned to the SMU campus after a severaldecade hiatus. One of their notable alumni is our very own Dr. Umphrey Lee, former SMU Student Body President and University President. The fraternity’s inter/national organization presented a robust plan to support members, student leaders, and campus partners in creating a dynamic and enriching involvement opportunity for the campus. Delta Sig installed their first members this spring, and will continue to recruit during the fall semester. Learn more about Delta Sigma Phi at

11 Courageous Change Leader IMPACT Outstanding Newcomer Student Affairs Champion Courageous Change Leader IMPACT Outstanding Newcomer Student Affairs Champion IMPACT Outstanding Newcomer Student Affairs Champion

Courageous Change Leader

Audryanna Reed

We are excited to announce Audryanna Reed as the recipient of this year's Courageous Change Leader Award! Her dedication to excellence and continuous improvement has had a profound impact on our division, our organization, and the Dallas community at large. Audryanna consistently goes above and beyond to meet challenging goals and inspire those around her to do better.

Audryanna's ability to break down barriers and drive change is evident in her role as Co-Chair of the SMU in 4 Micro assessment committee. Through her leadership, the committee engages in discussions about using data checkpoints and interventions to enhance student success. Her efforts have been instrumental in identifying and addressing equity gaps, ensuring that all students receive the support they need to thrive at SMU.

Audryanna's strong work ethic inspires those around her to achieve their best. Continually striving to raise the bar, she sets goals for her programs and consistently meets or exceeds them. One recent achievement includes securing funding for 10 Engage Dallas summer, surpassing last year's numbers, and ensuring support for students.

Innovative thinking is a hallmark of Audryanna's approach to problem-solving. Advocating for paid positions for all peer leaders, she addressed equity issues within the team and ensured a fair and supportive environment for all. Her proposal for a housing stipend for peer leaders further demonstrates her dedication to supporting the financial needs of our students and enhancing their overall experience.

Audryanna's passion for connecting SMU with the greater south and west Dallas communities has led to transformative service opportunities through Engage Dallas. By fostering cooperative relationships, she not only enables our students to serve the Dallas community but also facilitates personal growth and development. The program's growth in participation numbers and opportunities speaks to her strategic planning efforts and her commitment to bridging academic learning and student affairs.



We are proud to award Amanda Bobo, Associate Director of Employer Relations for the Hegi Family Career Development Center, with the Impact Award for her exceptional contributions to the Division of Student Affairs. With over 5 years of dedicated service, Amanda’s journey from Residence Life to her current role as Associate Director for Employer Relations has made an impact. Under her guidance, the All Majors Career and Internship Fair has thrived, reaching record highs in participation and employer attendance. Amanda’s inclusivity and strategic planning have led to increased opportunities for students of all majors, connecting them with employers in meaningful ways.

In addition to her work in employer relations, Amanda’s leadership on the Staff Professional Excellence Committee has enriched the entire division through guest speakers and growth-focused sessions.


Our Outstanding Newcomer this year is Kaleb Loomis, Assistant Chaplain in the Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life. Since joining us less than two years ago, Kaleb’s professional excellence and commitment to student development have made him a positive agent of change on campus. Kaleb successfully revitalized critical areas of religious life on campus, such as Kairos and Spiritual Life Mentors, guiding them to lead Christian worship and fostering interfaith engagement. His compassionate leadership style and patient demeanor have cultivated a welcoming and nurturing environment within our office, the Division, and across campus.

Beyond his role in the Office of the Chaplain, Kaleb is an outstanding leader in Student Affairs commitment areas. He goes above and beyond to support his colleagues, actively represents Student Affairs on the Staff Association’s Staff Advocacy Council, and contributes significantly to our professional association, ACSLHE.


We are delighted to announce Timmie Hathorn as the recipient of the inaugural Student Affairs Champion Award. As the Executive Director for Alumni and Career Services at the Meadows School of the Arts, Hathorn’s dedication to creating new learning opportunities and fostering collaborations has significantly benefited the SMU community. This year, Hathorn played a key role in expanding alumni involvement and internship offerings to Meadows students in partnership with the Hegi Family Career Development Center, resulting in exciting new opportunities in the arts for SMU students.

Timmie’s unwavering dedication and partnership have had a profound impact on both Hegi and Student Affairs as a whole. Her efforts have resulted in the creation of new partnerships and opportunities that better serve the SMU community, enabling students to thrive academically and professionally.


Welcome our New Faculty in Residence!

SMU’s distinctive residential experience includes Faculty-in Residence (FiR) living in all of the 11 Residential Commons. Through weekly traditions, intentional conversations, and opening up their home to host events for students, the FiRs create an integrative community and learning environment within the Residential Commons. The FiRs contributions assist students with their transition to SMU and make campus feel a little more like home. The Residential Commons program is entering its ninth year, and we are pleased to announce the appointment of two new Faculty-inResidence, Dr. María del Pilar Melgarejo for Cockrell-McIntosh Commons and Dr. Justin Germain for Lloyd Commons starting their appointment in July 2023.

In May, we celebrated the swervice and contributions of our outgoing FiRs Dr. Alice Kendrick, Loyd Commons (2016-2023) and Dr. Sandra Duh, Cockrell-McIntosh Commons (20182023). We wish to thank Dr. Sandy Duhé and Dr. Alice Kendrick for their remarkable service. We know that each of them made a lasting impact on the students in their respective Residential Commons.


María del Pilar Melgarejo

María del Pilar Melgarejo is passionate about creating heartfelt connections. She firmly believes there is no limit if the heart is at the center of whatever you are dreaming. Born and raised in her beloved country Colombia, she holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. in philosophy and a B.A. in social communication and journalism. She worked as a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee for seven years, and arrived at SMU in 2013. Dr. Melgarejo and her husband, Dr. Ruben Sanchez–Godoy, teach Latin American literature and culture as well as Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Literatures. In addition, their son Antonio and daughter Violeta will be making Cockrell-McIntosh their new home. María del Pilar published a book on Literature and Politics in Mexico and Colombia and has several articles about literature, cinema and culture. She worked in Colombia in Human Rights and in 2020 got a certification in Life Coaching.

Justin Germain

Justin Germain is a Texas native, born and raised in Fort Worth. After completing his undergraduate degree, he served in the Air Force for three years and led two overseas deployments as a Company Grade Officer. Following his time in the service, he earned two master’s degrees at the University of Oklahoma and SMU. He taught English for a year in Tena, Ecuador, and taught Latin for another three years in Waco, Texas. Professor Germain earned his doctorate from The University of Indiana in classical studies and came to SMU in the fall of 2016, where he has shared his passion for the classics ever since. Justin will be joined in Loyd Commons with his daughter Elora and his terrier-mix Diana. When he is not spending time with his little girl or teaching, Professor Germain enjoys writing, working out, and jiu-jitsu.


NAVIGATING SUCCESS Where are they now?

Ryan Thoreson ‘23

Keck Medicine of USC – Newport Beach Clinic, Newport Beach, California

Medical Scribe

Degree: Biological Sciences, B.S.

Activities: CPR Officer for Mustang EMS, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Club Ultimate Frisbee, Hilltop Scholars Program, S.C.I.E. Connect Institute

Megan Wilson ‘23

Texas Women’s University, Denton, Texas

Master’s Student

Degree: Biological Sciences, B.S.

Activities: President of SMU’s Pre-Dental Society, Hegi Career Leader, Hegi Career Captain, and SMU Liberty in North Korea Member


Vashati Silvaz ‘23

University of North Texas College of Law, Dallas, Texas

Graduate School Student

Degree: Political Science, B.A.

Activities: President of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, Hegi Career Leaders, President of First Generation Association, Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Stampede Guide, and student worker at SMU’s College Access Programs

Jihoon Choi ‘23

AT&T, Dallas, TX

B2B Sales & Management Consulting

Degree: Music, B.A.; Business Management, BBA

Activities: Stampede Guide, Resident Assistant, Cox BBA/MS Peer Coach, Hegi Career Consultant, Astrus Consulting, SMU Board Fellows Program, Beta Upsilon Chi, Liberty in North Korea at SMU, and Korean Student Association

Jeada Malin ‘23

PGIM Real Estate, Dallas, Texas

Master’s Student

Degree: Biological Sciences, B.S.

Activities: President of SMU’s Pre-Dental Society, Hegi Career Leader, Hegi Career Captain, and SMU

Liberty in North Korea Member

Maria Knasel ‘23

Naples, Florida

Law Student

Degree: Finance, B.A.

Activities: Chi Omega Career and Development Chair, DEI Chair, Director of Programming,, Treasurer of Best Buddies Club, Hegi Career Leaders Judicial Board Member, Finance Club member, Delta Sigma Pi member, Women in Investing VP of Operations, Collegiate Consulting Academy


Cultivating Courageous Careers T

he All Majors Career & Internship Fairs in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 demonstrated a return to an impressive attendance both by students and employers in comparison to the previous two years’ Career Fairs.

We hosted 167 employer partners representing 36 unique industries to recruit for open internship and job positions. Over with 350 representatives worked to establish and build their brand on campus and expressed they felt they got what they were looking for by attending and would be highly likely to return to future fairs. Employers overwhelmingly praised SMU students on their preparedness for meeting with recruiters and the talent SMU boasts.

In an effort to create a more inclusive opportunity for students, our team decided to relax the required dress code for the All Majors Career & Internship Fair to business casual to help alleviate any barriers business professional dress may have created for some of our students.

1,096 students attended the Career Fairs this fall and spring, representing all undergraduate and graduate colleges on campus and every academic year. 174 of those students attended both fairs. We are very excited about these numbers and are working to implement feedback from our employers and students to make next year’s Career & Internship Fair even bigger and better!


The SMU Parent Experience

As an alumnus of Cox Business School, I can hands down say I love being a mom of a current SMU student best of all! Volunteering at SMU is my mental health vitamin. Being on the mom side of things, I actually enjoy my daughter’s journey as a student versus being stressed out as a student of the 1980’s. (yes, I am dating myself!) There is a common thread of knowledge of what she is experiencing, and I can share my wisdom should she need my guidance.

She probably will not admit it, but I think my girl likes my involvement at SMU. I am a board member for the Mothers’ and Dads’ Club, involved in recruitment of new students, part of Destination SMU as an alumni and new to Parent’s Leadership Council. I make it a point to go to all the “parent” activities on

campus like Tate Lectures or the MLK Historical Marker event. I even took a self-defense class sponsored by the SMU Police Department! My goal is to go to Taos next July.

My most cherished experience of being here in Dallas with my daughter and LOVING her and SMU so much. I am the “BONUS” mom for so many of her friends and fellow students. They see me on campus, and they actually run to me and demand a HUG from their “Bonus” Mom. They are eager to introduce me to their parents on Family Weekend or a football game. Their hugs and love I receive feed my SMU soul!

#Pony Up

Student: Bree Slay, Class of 2024

Major: International Studies

Commons Affiliation: Mary Hay, Peyton, Shuttles

Having attended much larger universities, we were unsure what to expect from a smaller campus like SMU, and we’ve found that this university fosters the perfect balance of academics and social intelligence that today’s students need to excel. While Triton is a Dallas native, despite scholarship offers from other major universities and our encouragement to consider all options during his college search, he recognized the advantages of making SMU his college home.

SMU’s community atmosphere is one you have to experience, and it’s fostered through relationships with faculty mentors and friends students meet in their Residential Commons, as well as the shared campus traditions like Boulevarding and the beloved annual Celebration of Lights. As a parent, you know that belonging leads to friendships and personal growth, and involvement means the opportunity to shape where they live. For us, we have been pleased to see Triton find his


niche, and a support system. Likewise, we wanted to shae Triton’s college experience while also supporting his new independence. Becoming involved in the SMU Mothers’ and Dads’ Clubs provided the perfect landing spot. Although we are Dallas residents, we have remained far removed from Triton’s social world on campus. Initially volunteers, we have both since taken positions on the Board and have become instrumental in the realignment of our clubs into the SMU “umbrella.” This

transition has our support due to our positive personal experience with the Division of Student Affairs. In our humble opinion, parental involvement has enhanced campus life for students. Perhaps most importantly, we are families’ eyes and ears - an invaluable role for all involved. Ultimately, our involvement has led to a feeling of belonging to the SMU family.

Triton often says, “That’s so SMU!” when referring to something really great happening on campus. From rigorous academics, to social

activities, to new friends from other places, he has found a whole new world at SMU.

Student: Triton Shoup, Class of 2024

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Commons Affiliation: Virginia Snider

As SMU Parents we are grateful for so many things. Most of these can be categorized into two main areas of life on the SMU campus- the Residential Commons and the Academic programs.

Our son was a resident of Boaz Commons for all 4 of his years at SMU. During the early adjustment days of our son’s life on campus, and ongoing through his 4 years at SMU, the Commons model of community structure along with the impact of having Faculty in Residence on the premises always brought us, as parents who don’t miss a chance to worry, a great sense of peace.

When we dropped our son off at SMU as a freshman, perhaps our biggest hope was that he would readily find a community with whom to share his day-to-day life. Boaz Commons proved to be the perfect place for our son to get his start at SMU, thanks to the intentional efforts of the staff and team. The upper classmen in Boaz quickly became his mentors. The Faculty in Residence (FIR) and his family treated all the residents as if they were part of their own family. As parents, we loved knowing that there were adults in our son’s orbit who not only knew him, but who knew him well and cared about his wellbeing. Simply put, our son felt a sense of belonging, and so he thrived. And because he was thriving outside of the classroom, he was also able to thrive inside the classroom as well. The supportive structure and community of the SMU Commons Model helped to establish a stable foundation for our son’s successful college experience.

In his later years at SMU, the Commons model provided an incredible opportunity for growth and leadership development. Our son was an RA his junior and senior years and through his training and experience he developed interpersonal and leadership skills that will last a lifetime. The leadership confidence he built as an RA eventually translated to other leadership roles on campus. We are grateful that our son had the opportunity to be an RA and have a positive impact on the lives of his Boaz Commons residents.


Multi-Faith Study

The Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life, rooted in the University’s United Methodist identity, values religious diversity and seeks to nurture a sense of belonging for all people, irrespective of their confessional or religious traditions. This year, OCRL crafted a survey to gauge student experience of Methodist values, with a particular focus on a sense of belonging.

Administered across students from various faith traditions (i.e. Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Christian), one of our primary questions was: “SMU offers high quality education to everyone regardless of religious belief.” The results to this question were overwhelmingly positive as 96% of

surveyed students agree that SMU welcomes people of diverse religious beliefs. What is more, when looking at the positive responses more closely, 74% of students responded “strongly agree” to this statement.

The remainder of the survey asked SMU students about various aspects of their experience at SMU. Students responded affirmatively to questions about religious hospitality at SMU, perceptions of all faiths being valued, and feeling supported by campus religious leaders. Quantitative responses were supported by positive qualitative responses with students noting that:

“[My] Experience has been very positive overall, the Muslim community has

a presence at SMU and people are generally respectful and kind,” “[My] overall experience at SMU with regards to religion has been wonderful,” and “I greatly appreciate the prevalent atmosphere of respect and intelligent dialogue that is fostered at SMU. I have learned to listen more attentively to those who do not share my convictions, and I have been able to discuss points of disagreement with mutual respect and openness. I think this is a huge achievement by SMU and must be fostered and protected, because it is so rare in our society”.

Ultimately, OCRL is delighted that students of diverse religious traditions experience a strong sense of belonging at SMU.


Student Reflection

Nathan Pupko Ginsberg is a junior double majoring in Finance and Political Science and the President of Hillel. Throughout his life, three things have always been important to Nathan: Judaism, family, and community. After conducting research about SMU, he found importance placed upon Judaism through Hillel, Jewish Studies, and AEPI. Nathan also found a sense of family through the Jewish population at SMU.

Attending a school called Southern Methodist University was daunting, since he was a Jewish student. Since attending SMU, because of the

“Methodist” portion, not despite it, he was able to get out of his bubble and join the greater community. SMU is unique in that it offers a multi-religious faith and community. For instance, Nathan is the Jewish President of Hillel and joined a non-Jewish fraternity, Sigma Nu. He also partnered with the Muslim Student Association to raise money for the American Heart Association. This shows the great work and progress that the Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life and that Reverend Garvin have done to foster a growing community, welcoming to people of any religion.

As Vice President last year, and current President of Hillel, Nathan and the

Hillel community focused on expanding their outreach to the greater SMU community. For instance, Hillel hosted events such as Roots and March of Remembrance. Roots was an event where Israeli and Palestinian speakers converged around the common topic of peace and coexistence. March of Remembrance encouraged the community to remember the Holocaust so that it may never happen again.

Hillel has also focused on more Jewishspecific social and religious gatherings in addition to their support for other religious communities on campus. Nathan has done excellent work on campus bettering the multi-religious community while attending SMU.


Campus Recreation Unveils a New App

SMU Campus Recreation introduced another resource to aid students and members of the Dedman Center for Lifetme Fitness on their wellbeing journey: the Campus Recreation app. Since 2018, SMU Campus Recreation has endeavored to increase their online presence beyond social media in order to keep up with modern technological trends to better meet student’s needs.

In 2019, SMU Campus Recreation launched the Dedman Center Online Member Portal which provides access to guest passes, group exercise class registration, Outdoor Adventure trip registration, group exercise schedule, locker renewal, membership enrollment and renewal, and personal training services. Finally, in 2021, SMU’s Campus Recreation Intramural program launched Fusion IM making the portal a single location for all Campus

Recreation services. This member portal is now improved with the addition of the Campus Recreation app.

The SMU Campus Recreation app allows a student or member access to many Campus Recreation Online Portal features plus building and facility hours, sport club information, outdoor adventure trip registration and rental shop equipment reservation, and schedule of facility reservations and events occurring in the Dedman Center. It also allows users to tag their favorite group exercise classes or programs and quickly access to Campus Recreation social media sites. Push notifications allow users to receive updates to building hours, program registration, cancellations, and upcoming events.

The app went live in March 2023, and the department is preparing a Fall 2023 download campaign. As of Summer 2023, over 150 students and members of the Dedman Center have downloaded the app and have SMU Campus Recreation conveniently on their mobile device and at their fingertips.

Download now on the App Store and Google Play! App Store Google Play

The Wellbeing Commission: Fostering a Culture of Wellbeing at SMU

In the spring of 2022, the Office of Wellbeing was established to enhance the discourse on wellbeing within the SMU community. Initially, the office sought to establish a solid foundation by researching other campuses and adopting best practices. Drawing upon frameworks inlcuding the Socioecological Model, US Health Promoting Campuses/Okanagan Charter, and the American College Health Association’s Healthy Campus Framework, campus stakeholders across Student and Academic Affairs decided to establish a comprehensive Wellbeing Commission at SMU, utilizing a Steering Committee/Taskforce structure.

The US Health Promoting Campuses/ Okanagan Charter serves as an inspirational document, advocating the integration of health into all aspects of campus culture. The American College Health Association’s Healthy

Campus Framework provides campuses with a roadmap towards achieving the goals outlined in the US Health Promoting Campuses/Okanagan Charter. It encourages campuses to adopt a systematic, structural, and organizational approach to address complex wellbeing challenges and foster social change. This approach necessitates a shift from exclusively programming to embedding wellbeing into campus policies and culture. To truly accomplish this, the University seeks to build systems and policies through collaborative work and assessments across various sectors of the campus.

For SMU, key components to facilitate the Wellbeing Commission’s progress towards a culture of wellbeing include the establishment of a high-level Steering Committee that will guide and support the Taskforces. The Steering Committee will establish and monitor

measurable campus-wide wellbeing outcomes. These outcomes, or campus health priorities, encompass areas such as sexual misconduct prevention, mental health outreach, substance use prevention, and hazing prevention. Coled by Dr. Mmeje and Provost Loboa, the Wellbeing Commission Steering Committee will guide priority-specific taskforces in developing strategies that directly impact the wellbeing outcomes set by the Steering Committee and create opportunities for a transformative culture of wellbeing.

After officially kicking off in Spring 2023, the Wellbeing Commission Steering Committee in subsequent meetings will formulate measurable wellbeing outcomes tailored to SMU. In the fall of 2023, the Taskforces will commence their meetings and develop an organized, well-informed, and measurable plan to achieve the wellbeing outcomes outlined by the Steering Committee.

Healthy Campus Framework


A coordinated approach for access and commitment to students’ basic health needs.

Medical Services

Mental Health Services

Health Promotion Services

After Hours Emergency Care

Public Health and Safety

Basic Food and Shelter


A systematic, structural, and organizational approach to achieving social change for complex wellbeing challenges. Shift from programming to wellbeing embedded in policy culture and organization.

Core Structure

Shared Agenda

Evidence Informed Tools

Student and Staff Wellbeing

Data to Set Strategic Priorities

Human and Monetary Resources


A history of building systems, programs and policies through assessment and collaborative work across sectors.

Embed Core Structure

Institutionalize Shared Agenda Monitors Data Over Time

Academic Infusion

Wellbeing policies

Commitment to JEDI, sustainability, and the built environment


Pride Visibility Day

Starting the planning process for Pride Visibility Day (PVD) 2023 was easier than it was in 2022, because I essentially had no idea what I was doing the first year in 2022 and got to learn an incredible amount about being a Performance Chair. Something that was super helpful in starting to plan PVD 2023 was that at our turnover meeting in 2022, our Event Director, Liana Forss, had us create a list of all the key tasks we carried out and when we completed them by. This definitely served as a strong guide for me while planning performances for PVD 2023.

The biggest struggle is definitely figuring out the vast network of people you have to communicate with. Because we’re working in a university setting, there’s a lot of proccesses we have to figure out so we can actually make the event happen. I don’t know if everyone knows this, but we work with so many organizations for this event-

organizations I never knew existed! The number of organizations that go into planning this event is insane, and it really does take everyone to make it possible. The team learns constantly and uses each other for support when planning gets difficult! That’s actually how I overcame a lot of difficulties I faced during planning—there were so many people to support me when I had questions or was struggling with something.

My favorite part of the event last year and this year is always getting to see all the queer people from all over campus come together. I know that a queer network exists at SMU, but sometimes it feels like people are very spread out, and we haven’t been a very visible community (until really incredible and dedicated queer students created PVD). What’s so cool about Pride Visibility Day is it puts all of those networks and people in one place, on the most visible spot on campus. It makes SMU feel less like my school and more like a home, and makes me proud to be a Mustang.

People have already asked to be involved on the performance side next year, so I’ll have a cool team of people to work with and also be able to train someone to be the Chair after I graduate! Compared to last year, I feel like this year’s Pride Visibility was a much more streamlined event. We cut down on the event length and number of performers which made it much more manageable to plan, and honestly made it a better event overall.

It’s hard to balance planning something like this while being a student, I’m not gonna lie! It really helps to have student leaders like Claire Janssen, Liana Forss, Guadalupe Roman, and Kaylee Dorough who set such amazing examples for me and kept me accountable throughout the planning process. I’m so thankful for their leadership and passion for this event, along with the leadership and passion of so many other queer and ally students, faculty, and alumni who contribute to this event every year.


People who attended Pride Visibility Day were asked to fill in the phrase “I feel proud...”. Responses were displayed in a tent on Dallas Hall Lawn.


Student Foundation’s Golden Anniversary

Student Foundation at SMU has been a central part of the University’s community for fifty years, hosting a variety of cherished events that bring together students, alumni, and families alike. Student Foundation now proudly proclaims that it turns the Traditions into Memories for those who currently call SMU home and those who roamed Dallas Hall Lawn over the last half century.

At SMU, Student Foundation has the privilege and great joy to plan and host the University’s most beloved and well-attended events. Homecoming is one of the organization’s most wellknown, where students and alumni come together to celebrate their love for SMU, cheer on the football team, and reconnect with old friends. Celebration of Lights, our shining holiday event, is another beloved tradition where campus is illuminated with festive lights and holiday cheer, bringing joy to students and the community during the holiday and finals season. Family Weekend is yet another highlight of Student Foundation’s annual calendar, where families come to campus to spend time with their students and experience the vibrancy of campus life. And don’t forget about Peruna’s Birthday, the annual celebration in honor of SMU’s mascot, which has become a beloved tradition that brings together students and community members of all ages. These are just a few examples of the impact that Student Foundation

From the moment I walked onto SMU’s campus, I knew that I wanted to be part of Student Foundation. I applied on the first day of school and never looked back!

has had at SMU over the past five decades. The memories and traditions created by the organization have left a lasting legacy that will continue to be cherished for many years to come. Student Foundation is so excited to be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Here’s to many more years of fostering community, creating memories, and bringing joy to SMU and beyond!

SF has brought me my best friends and given me a place to be a leader on campus through producing some of SMU’s most valued traditions.

Staff Highlights

The Division of Student Affairs strategic goals include many measures, processes, and actions designed to improve the student experience and develop staff within our division. The objectives associated with each goal are focused action items that contribute to the overall advancement and accomplishment of the goals. The goals are as follows:


Foster a sense of belonging and promote student success through the development of a comprehensive student experience.


Cultivate understanding of & respect for diverse perspectives.


Develop strategic partnerships –divisionally, institutionally, locally, and beyond.


Promote comprehensive well-being as a priority and crucial component to the personal development of a healthy student.


Increase data-informed decision-making by implementing intentional assessment and responsible fiscal stewardship.


Advance professional excellence as an expectation and commitment when recruiting, retaining, and advancing talent in the division.

In continued progress toward achieving goal six, these staff highlights are examples of professional excellence and representative of the immense and varied talent in our Division.

Continuing Education

Dr. Jennifer “JJ” Jones - Ed.D. in Higher Education from SMU

Bonnie Hainline - Master’s of Business Administration from SMU

Camille Allam - M.Ed. in Higher Education from SMU

Rylea Wertzberger - M.Ed. in Higher Education from SMU



Brooke Richardson, Assistant Director for Parent and Family Programs

“It’s About Damn Time: White Women and Women of Color, Let’s Chat” (United Collegiate Women’s Leadership Conference)

Dr. Jennifer JJ Jones, Executive Director for Student Development

“It will Take All of Us” (Alpha Phi Alpha Regional Conference)

Brandon Kitchin, Social Change Coordinator

“Vetting the Blue Checks: I’m not your Spokesperson” (Social Change Conference)

Dr. Dawn Norris, Chief of Staff

“The Sophomore Project” (ACUI National Conference)

Adam Joiner, Assistant Director for Fraternity & Sorority Life

“Barbershop Talk: Authentic Conversations for Fraternity Men of Color” (AFLV National Conference)

Laura Shwarts, Coordinator for Student Advocacy and Support

“The Greeting Before the Meeting: Being Proactive in a Reactive Office” (HECMA National Conference)

Bonnie Hainline, Director of Campus Recreation

“The Power of Intrinsic Motivation” and “What’s Your Strategy” (NIRSA Region IV Conference)

Sheila Price, Nurse Practitioner

“Overview of the Veteran Student Coalition on Wellbeing” (ACHA Annual Conference)

Dr. Monique Marsh-Bell, Director of Counseling Services

“Managing Student-Athlete Mental Health in the Wake of A Global Mental Health Crisis” (Big 12 Sport Medicine Conference)

Dr. Kim Nelson Pyror, Director of Assessment and Analytics

• “Reframing interdisciplinary buildings: University leadership through the Four Frames”

• “Mapping hierarchies and categories: A case study of changing academic borders of striving universities, Win-win?”

• “Mapping convergent institutional logics in the framing of tenure”

• “Interdisciplinary faculty hiring as successful interdisciplinary collaboration: Factors and markers”

(Association for the Study of Higher Education Annual Conference)

Division of Student Affairs (214) 768-2821 Perkins Administration Building 6425 Boaz Street, Suite 203 Dallas, Texas 75205
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