Page 1

SWACUHO News Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

SWACUHO News - Post-conference 2016

From The President Hosting a conference is a huge undertaking that pulls you away from the office; creating additional responsibilities and stress on your staff team. It also creates amazing memories and enhances our skill sets as professionals. Our Golden Jubilee Conference provided incredible experiences and opportunities for the SWACUHO membership. The staff at Baylor did an outstanding job making this event memorable. To the host committee, the committee members, the leadership team and the exhibitors: I truly enjoy and appreciate your efforts in creating this event. The past presidents' panel showcased the talent and history in our region. The programming provided new ideas to bring back to your home campus; and the exhibitors marketed innovative products to enhance our residential communities. For those of you who donated to the ACUHO-I Foundation, you helped us create a banner year for SWACUHO donations. I am thankful for the generous nature of our association members and the work that went into the auction and raffles. I left Waco full of energy and enthusiasm for our profession and the students we serve. Many of our departments are moving into their hiring phase of the year. As we interview students, graduate staff and full-time applicants, let me encourage you. You are creating the next generation of professionals that will one day lead us. This time of year is often stressful if you are traveling, working evenings, and weekends. Remember, your work is valued. You are changing lives

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016

and making a positive impact for the residents on your campus. Your leadership team is actively working on several projects and will continue to gather information on how to move our organization forward. In the upcoming months, we will focus on our commitment to the strategic planning process of the association. This will require input from all of our membership in order to create a valuable and achievable plan. We also want to look at how to create a long term financial plan for the organization and how to engage with all levels of our membership. While our capstone event is the annual conference, we want you to stay connected to SWACUHO throughout the year. SWACUHO will have a presence at the ACUHO-I annual conference in Seattle this summer, but we will also host the Mid Level events, SWACUHO-U, the SWACUHO RA conference, newsletters, research, job postings, community forums and other professional development opportunities between now and our next conference in Little Rock, AR. I wish you well as you finish out your spring semesters and wish every one of us a calm, easy closing!

Tanya Arflin Massey

Assistant Director, Programs and Development Oklahoma State University


2016–2017 Executive Board

Tanya Massey

Janis J. Haney

Kenny Mauk

Ele Luna

Megan M.Witherspoon



Past President



Oklahoma State University

Texas Tech University

University of Houston

Southern Methodist

University of Arkansas


Greg Hladik

Dan Mizer

Adonis Thompson

Chad Martin

Katy Pelton

Technology Coordinator


Arkansas State Director

Oklahoma State Director

Texas State Director

University of Texas

Texas A&M University

Arkansas State University

Southwestern Oklahoma

Sam Houston State

at Arlington

State University



Past Presidents


Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

In This Issue: From The President.......................................................................... 1

Dinner with a Prof........................................................................... 18

2016–2017 Executive Board............................................................. 2

Keep Calm and Keep Networking!.................................................. 19

Past Presidents................................................................................. 2

15 Tips for Workplace Productivity................................................. 20

A Letter From the Editor................................................................... 3

The Mantra..................................................................................... 22

Diversity & Social Justice Committee............................................... 4

Survey Karma................................................................................. 23

Texas State Director......................................................................... 5

Moving Up and Moving Off............................................................. 24

Time and Place Update..................................................................... 6 Exhibits and Display Committee....................................................... 7

Think Quick: A Narrative on My Case Study Competition Experience at SWACUHO 2016............................................................ 26

From the President-Elect.................................................................. 8

Sorority Re-Vamp........................................................................... 28

Words from the Past President....................................................... 10

SMU RAs Give Back........................................................................ 29

Programming Committee............................................................... 12

Creating Spaces for All Types of Learners...................................... 30

SWACUHO 2016 Award Winners..................................................... 14

Animals in the House...................................................................... 32

Placement Committee.................................................................... 16

8 Things to Consider When Deciding to Host a SWACUHO Annual Conference....................................................................... 37

Mid-Level Update........................................................................... 17

A Letter From the Editor Hi everyone. This edition of the newsletter is filled to the brim with interesting articles and enlightening updates. It has been a while since we have had such a large edition. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Look for a new design of the newsletter in upcoming issues. We want to give our publication a fresh face. We also want to have articles about your academic research. If you are a graduate student who needs another published article to put on your Vitae, please submit an article to our newsletter. Most of us only get together once or twice a year in person. Let’s use the newsletter to be that link

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016

of communication that lasts all year in between the conferences. This is everyone’s newsletter, so if you have an idea for an article or you want to see certain information, email. We are here to serve. My email is I hope you enjoy reading the articles.

Jenise Wooten Texas Tech University


Diversity & Social Justice Committee Greetings SWACUHO! I hope you are all doing well and are either returning from a rejuvenating Spring Break or are in the process of packing your bags to head out for at least a staycation! I’m sure your campus is a flutter with activity since the conference wrapped up, and we can all use a little break now and then. A big shout out is in order for everyone who participated in this year’s conference in Waco! I hope that you all took advantage of the learning opportunities scheduled thanks to our Programming Committee. For everyone who attended the Committee Showcase and joined one of the many SWACUHO Committees, go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back to accompany that shout-out. While we are passing out accolades, the committee sends a HUGE high-five of thanks to everyone who participated in our on-sight project. Whether, you made a pack, got someone else to make one, or just gave

the gift of your time to stop and listen, the committee thanks you for playing a part in the success of our project. Because of the generosity of the conference attendees we were able to donate 200 fully formed supply packs to a local shelter operated by the Salvation Army of Waco. These supplies can be used to directly supply and support the members of the Waco community who utilize the services of this shelter. As a committee, we encourage all of our constituent schools to look at their own communities and see what role they could or do play in contributing to the public good. As we strive to provide the best opportunities for our students let us also consider our own best practices and strengthen our commitment to our “town and gown” relationships. Keep Pushing Against Those Learning Edges!

Patrick Miller Chair, Diversity and Social Justice Committee University of Texas at Arlington


Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

Texas State Director Greetings SWACUHO TEXAS We would like to thank everyone who attended SWACUHO 2016. Below is an overview of the Texas State Caucus meeting held on February 23, 2016. We have increased member schools and list serve subscriptions. Please continue to encourage your peers, employees and colleagues to subscribe to the Texas list serve. Subscribe here. Don’t forget about sub accounts! Start here with a video tutorial and inquire with your CHO for needed username and password. GENERAL DISCUSSION during Texas Caucus Interviewing and placement services at SWACUHO: email any feedback you have to Em De la Rosa Kitchen venting: UNT inquired about required venting. Kyle Estes noted that fire marshals are regional so directives may vary. FLSA changes: ACUHO-I provided a webinar regarding proposed changes. Visit the ACUHO-I community to learn more.

UPCOMING EVENTS TPE @ TCU Date: TBD Sponsored By: Texas Christian University Event Information: The program is designed for ACUHO-I interns primarily but we also welcome graduate students who stayed for the summer as well. For each institution that sends graduate students and interns, TCU hopes they also send professional staff and job descriptions that can be used for the mock interviews. Job descriptions and interviews for the following functional areas are welcome and encourage: Hall Director, Leadership, FYE, Student Activities, and Fraternity and Sorority Life. Contact: Miles Oller, ACUHO-I Intern Conference Date: July 8, 2016 Sponsored By: Texas Tech University Event Information: This drive in conference is geared to ACUHO-I interns. There will be no meal or housing cost for participants. Contact: John McAvoy, If you need anything, have suggestions, comments or concerns please contact me.

Katy Pelton Assistant Director for Residence Life Maintenance Department of Residence Life Sam Houston State University

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


Time and Place Update We are happy to announce the following locations for our conferences

Annual Conference

CHO Drive-in

Spring 2017 – Little Rock, AR

Fall 2016 – Denton, TX

Spring 2018 – San Marcos, TX Spring 2019 – Oklahoma ???? Spring 2020 – Texas ????

If you are interested in hosting for fall of 2017 – please contact Dave Cooper at

RA Conference Fall 2016 – Fort Smith, AR

Dave Cooper

Fall 2017 – Stillwater, OK

Texas Christian University

Fall 2018 – Texas ????

SWACUHO RA Conference Fort Smith, AR

October 28th - 29th

University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas Fort Smith, University of the Ozarks



.S. S.E.A ay the D

Service. Educational. Academic. Social.

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

Exhibits and Display Committee The Exhibits and Display Committee would like to thank all of those who visited the Exhibit Hall and learned about the products and services our exhibitors can offer your institution. We had a total of 51 exhibitors in Waco. We had a great conference and that would not have been the case without a wonderful committee! Thank you so much to this year’s E&D committee:

Congratulations to Transformations Furniture for winning the Best Booth award this year and to Suzanna Stephan from Traka for winning Best New Exhibitor for 2016! We would like to thank our sponsors one last time: • Collegiate Concepts, Opening Banquet • Southwest Contract, Closing Banquet

• D’aun Green, Texas Tech University

• Dickson Furniture, Coffee Break

• Andrea Allan, University of Arkansas

• EYP Architecture and Engineering, Snack Break

• Amanda Bobo, University of Arkansas

• KSQ Design, Tour and Night on the Town Transportation

• Kaytie Farrell, University Texas, Dallas

• University Laundry, Night on the Town Entertainment

• Julia Bales, Baylor University • Melissa Morie, Baylor University

• Mackey Mitchell Architects, Conference Bags

• Miles Oller, Texas Christian University

• CSC ServiceWorks Inc., Conference Bags and Keynote Speaker

• Erin Glenn, University of North Texas • Andrew Arvay, Texas Christian University

• Foliot Furniture, Vendor Drawing Card

• Bill Lacava, University Texas, Dallas

• Apartment Furnishings, Program Rooms

• Billy Roussel, University of North Texas

• SCM Architects, Program Room

• Chance Newkirk, University of North Texas

• Apogee Telecom, Program Room

• Daisy Garcia, North Central Texas College

• Randall Scott Architects, Program Room

• Jeff Alexander, Texas Christian University

• Tandus Centiva, Program Room

• Lisa Pierce, Texas A&M University

• Megan Witherspoon

• Meka Dering, University of Arkansas

• Outgoing E&D Chair

• Michelle Zengulis, University of Arkansas at Little Rock • Stacia Smith, University of Arkansas • Susan Hogan, Southern Methodist University

• University of Arkansas

Megan M. Witherspoon Assistant Director for Residence Education University Housing University of Arkansas

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


From the President-Elect to Sean Duggan for the nomination and to Diane Brittingham and the Executive Board for accepting the nomination. It is my privilege to serve with the Executive Board for the next three years. I have much to learn from Sean, Diane, Tanya and Kenny. Please know that I take this responsibility seriously and I would love to hear from each of you about ideas and suggestions for SWACUHO.

What a great SWACUHO 50th Year Anniversary Conference and Celebration we had in Waco! Thank you to our hosts for all your hard work and great Baylor hospitality. The Executive Board and Committees created a fun and exciting environment that gave opportunity for great presentations and networking with long-time friends and new friends. This year the networking was even more special as we had the opportunity to meet and visit with Past Presidents of SWACUHO. That is an opportunity that I hope will be done again in the future. The years of experience in the housing industry that was on stage for the Past Presidents’ Panel was unprecedented. I heard several Past residents say that they were honored to be there but I think the honor was ours. I would like to say thank you all for your support in voting for me to become President-Elect. Thank you

I would also like to say thank you to the friends that nominated me for the Bob Cooke award. Just to show you how unexpected it was, I wasn’t even in the room when the award was announced. I walked in at the end of the announcement and thought it was for someone else from Texas Tech so I clapped and gave a big, “Woo Hoo!” Imagine how surprised I was when I returned to my table and friends told me what had just happened. I didn’t believe them at first. Pretty hysterical moment. Ok, maybe not as hysterical for Sean (my boss) as it was for me. But for those of you that know Sean, it really was. One more thank you to Susan Strobel-Hogan. Not only is she a Past President, but a good friend of many years. At the end of the conference she presented me with a beautiful handmade quilt with a pattern called Boxed Blessings. How appropriate is that? Not only as an amazing gift between two friends, but it represents the bonds of all of us at the conference who were there because we have common ground and friendship. Please know that I care and respect each and every one of you. It is my joy to take this journey with you over the next three years. See you in Little Rock!

Janis J. Haney

President-Elect Texas Tech University


Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


Words from the Past President Over the last year the privilege of serving as SWACUHO President has been extraordinary. At the conclusion of the annual conference in Waco many people asked me if I was glad my year was over. My resolute answer is an emphatic YES, I am happy my term has ended. Not because of the work and coordination it takes but because our organization is about change and because I am excited to assume the role of Past President. One of my roles as Past President will be to work to recruit members to run for executive office! My experience has been incredibly fulfilling and I am excited to visit with any of you who may be interested


in becoming a member of the Executive Board for SWACUHO. Positions open for election at next year’s conference will be Secretary and President Elect. If you or someone you know has a desire to serve and work with an amazing organization, please talk to me or any member of the executive board and we will be happy to help you in that process. Kenny

Kenny Mauk SWACUHO Past President Student Housing & Residential Life Associate Director for Operations and Outreach University of Houston

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

SWACUHO 2015 – 2016 – Just the Facts One of the great traditions of SWACUHO is for the immediate past president to write a page for the SWACUHO History Book. The History Book can be found on the SWACUHO website and provides a snapshot of each year in SWACUHO History. Below is the snapshot of a year in the life of SWACUHO 2015 – 2016. 2015 – 2016 Executive Board: President.....................................................Kenny Mauk, University of Houston President Elect.......................................... Tanya Massey, Oklahoma State University Secretary...........................................................Ele Luna, Southern Methodist University Treasurer....................................................... Curtis Odle, Baylor University Past President....................................Diane Brittingham, University of Oklahoma Arkansas State Director...................... Adonis Thompson, Arkansas State University Oklahoma State Director............................. Chad Martin, Southwestern Oklahoma State University Texas State Director..............................Maggie Guzman, Texas A&M University Newsletter Editor.................................. Whitney Paschall Texas Tech University Historian..........................................................Dan Mizer, Texas A&M University Technology Coordinator:...............................Rikki Turner, University of Arkansas–Little Rock SWACUHO was well represented at the ACUHO-I Annual Conference and Exposition and hosted a “Friends of SWACUHO” Reception. The SWACUHO President and President Elect attended a Regional President’s meeting held prior to the Exposition. The Mid Level Workshop, Mid Level Mixology, was organized by Katy Pelton, SHSU, and held at the University of Texas – Dallas from June 11 – 12, 2015. SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016

SWACUHO U for New Professionals was organized by Dr. Gennie Lynn, Texas A&M University, and hosted also at the University of Texas–Dallas from September 25 – 26, 2015. The SWACUHO RA Conference was hosted by the University of Texas–Arlington and was held from October 9–11, 2016. The CHO Workshop was hosted by the University of Texas–Dallas and held from November 5–6, 2015. SWACUHO capped the year with 80 member institutions: 17 from Arkansas, 10 from Oklahoma, 51 from Texas, 1 from Mexico, and 1 from Missouri. The 51st Annual conference was held in Waco, Texas and was hosted by Baylor University. The conference theme was “Golden Jubilee” to honor and celebrate 50 years of SWACUHO. 56 Programs were presented. There were 60 member institutions represented and two nonmember institutions represented with 329 delegates in attendance. There were 51 exhibitors; eight of these were new exhibitors. 15 of the exhibitors also served as sponsors and donated $28,000 to support the conference. 17 past presidents were in attendance and special guests included Joanne Goldwater, ACUHO-I Regional Affiliations Director, Mary DeNiro, ACUHO-I Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, and Molly McKinstry, SWACURH Director. Legislation to remove the Newsletter Editor position from the Executive Board was presented at the Business Meeting and was passed.

Kenny Mauk SWACUHO Past President Student Housing & Residential Life Associate Director for Operations and Outreach University of Houston


Programming This year was one of the best conferences we have had. The Programming Committee would like to say thank you to everyone who participated. Our gratitude goes out to each of you. I’d like to congratulate the top programs: Best Display Academic Support Initiatives – Sarah Hazel Harrison from Texas A&M University. Top 5 Programs Top Program – Ain’t No Party like a Late Night Party – Olivia Miller & Alycia Pruitt – Oklahoma State University Golden Opportunities – Sean Duggan, Texas Tech University You’ve Been on the Grind, Now it’s Time to Shine – Adonis Thompson, Arkansas State University

Best Overall Program representing SWACUHO at ACUHO-I: Ain’t No Party like a Late Night Party – Olivia Miller & Alycia Pruitt – Oklahoma State University Congratulations to all our winners! We look forward to all the many wonderful program submissions for next year’s conference! The Program Committee would like to also thank everyone who utilized the online evaluation forms during the conference. This was a great addition and we will continue to utilize this service for all conference attendees.

Brett Manley Assistant Director Residence Life Navarro College

Go from Mock to Mach 1! – Marietta de la Rosa, University of Texas – San Antonio Making an Impact on Residents through Conduct – David Cooper & Jeff Alexander – Texas Christian University


Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

Committee I would like to welcome our new committee members who joined at conference! • Sarah Amberson - University of Texas Dallas

• Sunita Nayani - Austin College

• Sadaf Anet - University of Texas Arlington

• TJ Pegg - University of North Texas

• Vik Arunkumar - Texas Woman's University

• Katy Pelton - Sam Houston State University

• Charlie Baum - University of Tulsa

• Roman Peterson - Oklahoma State University

• EmmaLe Davis - University of Arkansas

• Carlos Pinkerton - Texas A&M University

• Nick Fink - Oklahoma State University

• Michael Prestin - University Central Arkansas

• Brandon Harris - University Central Arkansas

• Leigh Prouty - Texas Tech University

• Sara Harrison -Texas A&M University • Christina Herrera - Austin College

• Jason Riley - Arkansas School for Mathematics Science & the Arts

• Michelle Hunter - University of Tulsa

• Kevin Sanders - University of North Texas

• Eric Johnson - University of North Texas

• Natalie Smith - Arkansas State University

• Alexandra Kytan - Texas State University

• Ashley Socia - Arkansas State University

• Brett Manley - Navarro College

• Olivia Stankey – Oklahoma State University

• Shaquelle Massey - University of North Texas

• Sakina Trevathan - Baylor University

• Sky McClure - University of North Texas

• Jose Valenciano - Texas Tech University

• Dakota McKee - University of Texas Dallas

• Corey Wheeler - Texas State University

• Catherine Molenzo -Lamar University

• Andreya Williams - University of Tulsa

• Michael Moore - University of North Texas

• Cassandra Winland - University of Texas Dallas

• Floyd Nancy - University of North Texas

Welcome, New Members! We have a lot to do and we can’t wait to work with each of you!

Eric Johnson Residence Life Coordinator for Leadership Development University of North Texas

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


SWACUHO 2016 Award Winners CONGRATULATIONS to those who were recognized in Waco! Below are the 2016 SWACUHO award winners: Gene Ward Outstanding Student Leader Award • Molly McKinstry University of Arkansas

Bob Cooke Distinguished Service Award • Maria Honey University of Houston

• Almicia Dunson Texas Tech University

• Katy Pelton Sam Houston State University

• Mario Navarrete University of North Texas

• Janis Haney Texas Tech University

Bob Huss Outstanding Graduate Student Award • Jordan Habenschuss University of Central Arkansas • Olivia Miller Oklahoma State University

• Coleman Sulak University of North Texas Nancy Murphy-Chadwick New Professional of Distinction Award • K. Mary Cahill Oklahoma State University

Individual Diversity Award • D’Andrea Young Texas Tech University Institutional Diversity Award • Texas Tech University


Frank Cloud Award for Excellence • Texas Tech University Presidential Service Plaque • Kenny Mauk University of Houston

• Jen Sommers Texas Tech University

• Jaclyn Stelmaszczyk University of Houston

• Carmen Garza University of North Texas

*The winners of these awards are eligible to have their registration covered for SWACUHO 2017, in Little Rock, AR. Don’t forget: keep watching the website, listservs, regional social media (Facebook – SWACUHO and Twitter - @SWACUHO), and the next issue of the newsletter when we will be announcing the selected topic for next year’s Frank Cloud Award for Excellence.

Beth Eppinger Recognition & Awards Chair University of Arkansas – Fort Smith

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

ACUHO-I Foundation I am honored to be representing the SWACUHO region on the ACUHO-I Foundation Board, thank you for this professional opportunity. The ACUHO-I Foundation is the platform for most everything that ACUHO-I does as a professional organization, providing the necessary funding for multiple programs and opportunities for learning in the housing profession. No matter where you are in the profession, I would challenge you to look at supporting the foundation. It can be $5.00 a month, or a one-time donation of $25.00; as Housing and Residence Life professionals, each and every one of use benefit from the money raised through the ACUHO-I Foundation. We, SWACUHO, were VERY SUCCESSFUL at fund-raising for the ACUHO-I Foundation while in Waco. DRUM ROLL PLEASE. . . I am VERY excited to report that we raised over $12,800 at the SWACUHO 2016 conference for the ACUHO-I Foundation. THANK YOU to everyone who supported the Silent Auction by either donating items or “doing a little shopping!" I would also like all those who made annual and one time donations to the foundation as well. On a SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016

very special note, I am pleased to share that two of our colleagues supported the Foundation by giving as Major Donors. To be a Major Donor you are committing to give $5,000 over a five year period, Diane Brittingham, University of Oklahoma, extended her Major Donor committed, and Monica Roberts, of KSQ Architects committed as an individual Major Donor. I am already thinking about ACUHO-I 2016 and how we, SWACUHO, will be represented for Foundation donations, and of course I am making a list of ideas for fund-raising for SWACUHO 2017. If you have ANY questions about the ACUHO-I Foundation, please feel free to contact me a

Cindy Spencer SWACUHO Regional Cabinet Member ACUHO-I Foundation Senior Director of Residential Living West Texas A&M University


Placement Committee Trying something new in Waco, the Placement Committee (PC) decided to focus our energy on the teo programs that were accepted for the conference. The mock interview session and the resume review session were a hit. We even won Top five Program! Special thanks to JR Chiodobe (University of the Incarnate Word), Gloria Allen (University of Texas-Austin), Susan Dudolski (Texas State), Ele Ford Luna (Southern Methodist University), Stephanie Box (Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi), and Raechel Kepner (Texas State University) for providing those in attendance with invaluable insight and feedback. Special shout-out to JR for doing both sessions! The 2016-2017 Placement Committee will be: • Travis Hardwick - Stephen F. Austin University • Corey Wheeler - Texas State University • Trent Moore - Texas Tech University • Raechel Kepner - Texas State University • Laura Glasgow – University of Central Oklahoma • Roman Peterson – Oklahoma State University • Michael Prestin – University of Central Arkansas • Cequinta Robinson – Texas Woman’s University • Gabe Barrientez – Schreiner University

Marietta Em de la Rosa

• Susan Dudolski- Texas State University • Gloria Allen – University of Texas- Austin

Placement Service Chair

• Kyle Ashton- Sam Houston State University

I’m looking forward to an amazing year with y’all!!


Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

Mid-Level Update Thank you for joining us at the Mid-Level Reception! This year we switched things up and held an early evening reception. Thank you to all who came out and enjoyed nachos and great conversation. We have received positive feedback and I hope we have found a new tradition. How can the Mid-Level Committee Serve you? The mid level committee met during SWACUHO and shared several ideas on how to grow professionally, support each other and best serve the organization. Couldn’t make it? We want to hear from you! Please contact me with your ideas and suggestions for midlevel activities this year. Upcoming Events Summer 2016 Mid-Level Mixology Drive-In Conference Date: TBD

Jasmine Iris Wilson Assistant Director for Resident Learning Baylor University

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


Dinner with a Prof

Dinner with a Prof is a monthly program sponsored by the Academic Support Initiatives area within Residence Life at Texas A&M University. Dinner with a Prof brings in a different professor on the first Tuesday of every month at 5:30pm to have dinner with students. The professor then shares his or her life story and discusses experiences, advice, and anything that may be specific to what that professor is particularly passionate about. The purpose of this collaborative event is to help students feel more comfortable approaching faculty members and developing relationships with them. Professors frequently share a theme surrounding their discussions that are advertised to students. These themes have ranged from “How to Start Every Day so as to Realize the Best Possible Outcome” to “How the Sea Turtle Got a Straw Up Its Nose.”

The event itself is very laid back and conversational in tone. Attendees gather around the fireplace in our newest traditional residence hall on campus, Hullabaloo Hall. A delicious, hearty dinner is served, and students, faculty, and staff enjoy the fellowship. Attendance averages around 30 students, from first year to graduate students. Students are able to ask the professor questions and partake in conversations with each other. It has been great to witness the level of engagement from our students and our faculty members! The conversations last for upwards of two hours, leaving the faculty members fulfilled from personal student interaction outside the classroom and leaving students believing faculty members are real people with real interests. It’s not often, at an institution the size of Texas A&M, that students and faculty get to share a meal and time outside of class with each other. Our area is excited to be working to bridge the gap between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs as we strive to provide our students with a seamless experience.

Sara Hazel Harrison, M.Ed. Coordinator for Academic Support Initiatives Texas A&M University


Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

Keep Calm and Keep Networking! Let’s talk about networking. Yes, SWACUHO is over and many of us almost feel caught up, but the connections you made at the conference should be re-connected and not forgotten. I know it’s easy to get caught up with issues on your campus, but chances are we are all experiencing the same types of situations. There are many opportunities for collaboration and idea sharing. Why re-create the wheel when you can steal someone else’s?!?

on our webpage to post your position, and encourage staff to post their resumes there, too. Better yet, use the connections you made at SWACUHO to make a personal referral.

Another networking outcome is what I like to call “staffswapping.” Sounds scandalous, but it’s not. We have some amazing graduate and professional staff in our region that may be looking for different opportunities. I saw many of you at TPE, so I know we are all looking for talented folks. Please use the SWACUHO Career Center

Placement Service Chair

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016

How have I used connections made at SWACUHO? Reconnect with me, and I’ll tell you!

Marietta Em de la Rosa


15 Tips for Workplace Productivity Have you found yourself in a workplace rut? Have you continued to put off that big project day after day? Do all days of the week feel like a Monday morning? Feeling in a rut happens to everyone from time to time, but doesn’t keep the projects off your desk or the students or coworkers from your doorway. That deadline still exists, that coworker still needs your help, and that student still has a concern to voice. Here are 15 quick tips to help you enhance your workplace productivity… and perhaps your positivity and energy along the way! Start the day out right, get a good night’s rest. Your outlook on the day is framed from the moment you open your eyes in the morning. Make sure you put your best foot forward by getting the appropriate amount of sleep for your body. That season on Netflix will still be there tomorrow… Black out background browser tabs and notifications. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and email just because it shows up. Turn your phone to silent and off turn off vibrate mode. Disconnect instant messaging if you can. Email, messaging, spam, and notifications quickly become distractions from your more important work. Get them off your place in order to get bigger tasks done in a reasonable amount of time. Clean your desk/be organized. If you allow your work space to be neat and tidy, your brain can focus on the task at hand. Its hard to be 100% productive when other projects are staring at you from the other side of your desk.


Make a list and sort tasks by Must, Should, and Want. Organize a to-do list notebook with everything you need to get done–long and short term. Then, create a to-do list for each day, picking the three–five most important things that must be accomplished by the end of the work-day. Break big tasks into bite-sized pieces. Some projects loom because of the time, effort, or resources needed in order to complete them. Breaking the project into more manageable chunks can make the task seem less daunting. Keep task lists short and attainable so you’re able to make progress and feel accomplished. Bribe yourself with a reward. Congratulate your big and small successes. Did you finish five pages of the 20 page report? Yes! Great work. Know what rewards will keep your motivated and engaged in the work your doing. Whether it’s taking a five minutes break for fresh air, a candy bar, or a social-media break to brag about your hard work… recognize your accomplishments in order to motivate yourself (and others) to keep pushing! Plan your week in advance. Unplanned items come up from time to time, but adding discipline to your routine will help prioritize what’s important. Use your Outlook or Google calendar for more than meetings. Schedule specific time on your calendar to get projects done, especially the ones you may not enjoy. Many of us are prone to keep putting off the tasks we enjoy least but by “forcing” them on your calendar, you can commit the chunk of time needed to complete and move on to more enjoyable activities.

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

Eat consciously and commit to healthy snacking. Starting your date with a big breakfast is proven to energize you and make you more productive throughout the day. Healthy snacking boosts stamina! Walnuts increase reasoning and blueberries improve short term memory. Take breaks. Use this time to surf the web or social media. This can help your mind from becoming too saturated, can keep your eyes from becoming sore from looking at a computer screen for too long, and can double by keeping you updated on world news or your friends lives (Check with your department on your social media-use expectations). Be realistic and remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Odds are good that 20% of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80% of your results. Your work assignments never stop and there is always more work to be done. If you are having trouble completing all your assignments, ask for help. Plan and prioritize. Plan for interruptions, last minute requests, and changes to your plan. Find an accountability partner. It can be natural to get burnt out on a big project or your day-to-day tasks. Ask a coworker, friend, or student to hold you accountable. Choose someone who you can trust to be honest with you. Share expectations on how you’d like them to hold you accountable, how you like to receive feedback, how direct they can be, and when you may need some slack.

Listen to ambient music. It’s proven to relax, help with focus, and drone out simple distractions. Use free-music sources like Spotify or Pandora so you don’t have to focus on your playlist. Use headphones if you need extra help droning out everyday noise! Set up a work routine and stick to it, your body will react. Think about everyday items that affect your productivity. For example: EMAIL - Consider when to reply to all, when an email usurps an in-person discussion and vice versa, keeping email content concise (think “on scroll”), put the most important topic in your first paragraph, and use descriptive titles in your email subject. START TIMES – Arrive several minutes early to meetings, budgeting times it may take to walk across campus. Use those extra minutes to catch up on correspondence during the day. Stop multitasking – according to science this makes us less productive. Do things in batches. Most tasks require a specific mindset and once you are in that mindset you should stay there and finish. Just do it. Start the task. Quit whining. Prolonging the inevitable will only add stress to your schedule and to your life. Take on what you perceive to be the most difficult or challenging task first and just do it!

Jackie Stelmaszczyk, Residence Life Coordinator Adapted from a Presentation by Jackie Stelmaszczyk & Mackenzie Wysong Student Housing & Residential Life, University of Houston

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


The Mantra I sat in a warm room with people I didn’t know and was careful not to break my Golden Jubilee mug when I put my string backpack down. I was informed that this stuff is called “swag” and I couldn’t help but chuckle a little bit because the term seemed like a misnomer. I couldn’t immediately figure out why. The word seemed too new, I think. It all did. Young people, many a lot younger than I am, were chattering about their own colleges and universities. They were enthused and excited and a sort of buzz came across the room unfazed by the growing heat. I sat next to my colleagues, mostly quiet. It was my first housing conference. I watched as I often did when I was new to something. There were people lined along the walls like they were defending something. Then with a quick rally, one by one the members of the executive staff for SWACUHO introduced themselves. They smiled, they joked, and the whole thing suddenly seemed a bit less serious than I expected it would be. That was a good thing. It wasn’t that the organization didn’t take housing seriously. Everyone at SWACUHO takes housing seriously. But we were having fun, we were networking and learning from each other. The event was about growing friendships

and gaining knowledge about some of the best housing practices. The question that resounded was: How can we make things better for our students? Janis Haney, the new President-Elect for SWACUHO and my direct supervisor, said, “We’re dealing with people’s lives here in housing.” And it’s true. Students are leaving their homes for the first time, are meeting new friends, some that may be lifelong. They’re beginning a path toward their future and the whole thing is channeled through the conduit that is housing. There’s something pretty serious about that. The air conditioner kicked on. We were ushered to one of the walls for a newcomer’s photo and we each were hesitant about getting too close to one another. When we wouldn’t fit in the camera’s frame, we were told, “If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not close enough.” I think in retrospect that maybe that command was a bit of a housing conference mantra: If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not close enough. Because the closer we are, the greater our potential. The more uncomfortable we’re willing to make ourselves, the more open to new ideas we are. In the end, it just works. We make things better for the students, together, and that’s what I took away from my first SWACUHO.

Josh Crook Newsletter Committee Lead Advisor Texas Tech University


Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

Survey Karma As I reflect on the past SWACUHO Annual Conference, I cannot help but think of two conversations I was fortunate to be a part of over the last ten or so years. First, I will always remember hearing “if we even spent only 10% of our resources assessing and ensuring the success of the other 90% of our resources, surely that would be a wise investment.” The other conversation I had is one I mentioned briefly at the Newcomer’s Meeting at the Annual Conference, and believe it is worth repeating. I was once told to operate on the 60-30-10 rule. Spend 60% of your time on current issues, 30% of your time planning for the future, and the remaining 10% of the time reviewing the past. In the hustle and bustle of our daily operations, all too often it is easy to forget (or neglect) that remaining 10%. I can almost hear the voice in my head: “Are you leaving enough tracks for others to follow?” Ten percent. It is almost eerie how two very different conversations occurring a decade apart overlap in this one aspect. In our professional world, research and assessment play critical roles in documenting our past while simultaneously preparing us for our future. That 10% is where the SWACUHO Research, Assessment, and Information (RAI) committee comes in. During the RAI Committee meeting at the Annual Conference, we discussed several ongoing and upcoming initiatives: • We are currently collecting regional data on both Resident Assistant (or equivalent position) and entry level, live-in staff remuneration and benefits; • Over the past semester, collaborating with SWACUHO’s Placement Committee, we collected 19 sets of first and second-round interview questions for entry-level, live-in staff interviews. We have begun to code the questions into thematic categories, which

will inform us of what our values are as a region when considering candidates. In the coming months, we will also be producing an interview question bank, organized by category, for membership use.

• Starting in the next newsletter, RAI will be submitting a research article spotlight to be considered for inclusion in each newsletter. Not only will RAI be featuring scholarly work informing our professional work (hopefully by authors in our region!), but committee members will also inform and educate our membership on research methods; thus making research more palatable for all. • The proposed SWACUHO Research Grant has been approved. A few of the details are still being ironed out, but this is a great opportunity to receive some financial assistance on your own research that will benefit our region. Applications will be due in at the end of the calendar year. More information to come soon. These are just a sample of the projects the RAI committee will be working on. You can truly fill up 10% of your time with a lot of stuff. RAI is going to be doing a lot this year and we need your help. Participate in research activities. If you get a survey, complete it! Volunteer to be interviewed for a research study! People throughout our profession are investing 10% of their time to leave tracks for us to follow, but they need our help. What you put out into the world is what you will get back (with increased responses to your programmatic assessments). Cause and effect. Things have a way of coming back around (to boost your survey response rate). Such is karma. Survey karma.

J.C. Stoner Assistant Director for Apartment and Residence Life University of Texas at Arlington

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


Moving Up and Moving Off Some Housing professionals begin their careers with the belief that they would live-in for a certain number of years. Others just sort of play it by ear; they live-in for as long as they feel they need to. Nevertheless, chances are, the time will come for all live-in staff to move up and eventually, to move off. Moving off campus for the first time can be both exciting and scary, especially if you spent your entire undergraduate, graduate, and the beginning of your professional career living on campus. I moved off campus at the beginning of this academic year for the first time since I lived with my parents in high school. I lived on campus all four years as an undergrad - we had a three year live-on requirement, but many students chose to stay for the 4th, too. I lived on as a Graduate Hall Coordinator for grad school, and I started my fulltime career as a Community Director, living on campus at Texas A&M. I lived in a residence hall for eight years, and I know that’s still nothing compared to some professionals I know. When it came time for me to move into a new, live-off position, and move off campus, I had no idea where to start. I thought that I would live-in as a Community Director for three, four, maybe even five years. That quickly changed when a dream position opened up at A&M last summer, right after my second year here. I wound up moving into that position pretty quickly last summer, which also meant that I moved off campus without much time to prepare. Here are two tips to consider to help prepare you to move off campus, whether that’s soon or eventually.


Save money Save all of the monies. People told me this (in various ways, some more direct, some more passive aggressive…), and I did save to an extent, but then life happened a few times, and life can get expensive, y’all. I didn’t save nearly as much as I’d wished I had when it came time to move off. Someone once told me to put away money for rent into a savings account when I live on. (I didn’t listen to this advice as well as I should have.) I was also told that when I paid off my first truck, to keep making the same amount of payments and put the money in a savings account instead. (Again, I didn’t listen to this advice as well as I should have, either.) Curb your habits now so that you aren’t living above your means. It can be a rude wakeup call, even if you move to another live-in position that doesn’t provide you with a meal plan. Learn how to cook rather than eating out for every meal. Learn how to be efficient with your money. Remember that you may not be able to afford super high end things that all match all at once; if your furniture is pieced together from family members and resale shops, that’s okay! Just live life and remember that having a matching bedroom set doesn’t depict your worth. Research Start gathering an idea of what it takes to rent a place or to even buy a house if you’re going to take that leap. I remember one of the program requirements for upper-class students as an under grad was about learning how to go through the leasing process. Did I pay a lick of attention to any of that? Nope. So take

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

into consideration all of the “things” you’ll need to get approved for a lease, including: proof of income (some places require you prove that you make at least 3 times the monthly rent), good credit, positive rental history (yeah, you have to prove that you’re good at paying rent before you’ve had to pay rent… BUT, don’t fear, if you paid to live on campus as an under grad, you can get proof of rental history that way, just like our students do when they move off campus. If you’re living on as a grad/full-time professional, the part of your Housing Department that manages assignments should be able to provide you with a letter), and money (applications, deposits, first/last month’s rent, etc.). Be sure to read up on City Ordinances wherever you wind up living and see how they apply to you. Last month, I got a parking citation (luckily just a warning) for parking in my front yard on the grass. Our driveway is short, and we both drive trucks, so it’s hard to fit both of them in. I usually park along the side of the driveway partway in the yard. Apparently, that’s a huge violation. I was so frustrated when I walked out the door to go to work one morning to find a parking warning on my truck in my own yard. There may also be rules on how long your grass can be (so if your mower breaks, find a friend, or you’ll get charged for that…), where you can store things outside, etc. Just read up on the ordinances just like we tell residents to read up on the policies! I recommend doing it as early as you can.

is like. Check the school systems if you have kids. Look at the police blotter for recent activity. I found myself in place where I’d thought there would be more time to save, more time to prepare, but then, life happened! I’ve also realized that I’m a country girl living within city limits for the first time, and there are different rules in these parts. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, and I’ve learned a lot. However, if I can share a little bit of advice to make the road a little easier for future professionals moving off campus, then wonderful. If you want to talk more about the nuances of moving off campus for the first time, moving up within your current department, or anything like that, you can reach me at: or on Twitter @SaraHazel42. I’m by no means an expert, but I can share some more of the realities I’ve discovered in this process.

Sara Hazel Harrison, M.Ed. Coordinator for Academic Support Initiatives Texas A&M University

Learn about the area you’re looking to move into. Drive by on different times of different days to see what traffic

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


Think Quick: A Narrative on My Case Study “Would you like to participate in the case study competition?” I read this question for SWACUHO 2016 Conference registration with great interest mixed with a bit of trepidation. I recalled a TED Talk Video titled, “How to stop screwing yourself over.” Blunt, but really captivating. Radio host and life coach Mel Robbins, asserted that you need to marry your impulse to an action within five seconds or you’ll talk yourself out of something that you desire, but that takes you out of your comfort zone. I am constantly in search for ways to step out of my comfort zone because it’s so refreshing, but the fear of failure is real. On the contrary, I don’t like looking back and imagining “What if?” With that said, I clicked yes and continued on to confirm my conference registration. I didn’t want to overthink it, something I easily do. Fast forward to the Case Study Meeting, one day before the conference, I walk into a room full of vibrant graduate students and new professionals. I was the only one there from my institution, so my introversion sparked a bit of unease, but quitting was not an option. So, I scanned the room and sat next to my would-be case study partner Wendy Wells (who is awesome by the way) from the University of North Texas. We received instructions for participation and signed up for a time to present. Wendy said to me, “Okay, we have to win this. I’m really competitive,


are you?” Competition is nowhere near my top five in Strengths Quest. I respond frankly, “No, but I know my stuff.” Wendy: “Okay, that works for me!” The next day, we had about 30 minutes (which really seemed like three minutes) to read over the case study, create an action plan, and complete a run-through of our presentation. The case study was about a Hall Director faced with rising racial tensions that resulted in residents feeling silenced, being unfairly targeted, and vandalizing common spaces. Wendy and I decided to incorporate student development theory with a bottom-up approach. We talked about the importance of meeting with the residents involved face to face, processing the incidents with supervisors, connecting with campus partners to help intervene and consulting with executive leadership to better shape response and campus policy on issues dealing with diversity and inclusion. Fast forward to the closing banquet: Dr. Lynn from Texas A&M University (Whoop!) announced Wendy and I as the case study competition winners. I was super excited, but stuck in place. Eventually, I made my way to the stage to receive my award. I was happy and grateful. This was a first time experience for me and something that I nearly talked myself out of. In that moment, I was settled in knowing that I didn’t have to ask myself, “What if?”

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

y Competition Experience at SWACUHO 2016 In reflection, my experience with the case study competition taught me two things. The first is to not hit a mental emergency brake when it comes to doing things that I want, but may seem intimidating. Just do it. Don’t wait. Seize the opportunity in order to grow personally and professionally. The other thing I learned was something that is relevant to all of those within our field. It is to never discount the issues that our nation faces and that other institutions have to respond and work through. Student bodies across the country are similar in many ways. At any point in time, you may be the one to have to respond to a something that could potentially cause an uprising. It is crucial to always stay abreast of current issues and critically think about steps that you would take if confronted with an incident that could be the source of campus policy change and a cultural shift. Overall, the case study competition was educational and invigorating all in one. As a burgeoning new professional, I cherish it as a learning experience and something that goes into my Smile File, a collection of notes, cards and honors from my career that make me‌smile. I would absolutely recommend it to graduate students and new professionals. Many great things to those who have participated and I’m a testament.

Shaniqua S. Johnson University of Houston

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


Sorority Re-Vamp A new set of students come to college every year. Whether they are freshman, transfer students, or returning students, most of them have one thing in common: the desire to fit in. One place on campus that recruits for students every year, if not every semester, are sororities and fraternities. These places have very positive actions associated with them, along with many negative actions associated with these groups. In the article “It’s Terrifying to do Something Like This’: Ex-sorority Member Broadcasts Concerns about Greek Life” (Fernandes, 2016), a senior student, who recorded a video message, talks about negative actions that were taken in her sorority and her own personal experiences. Even more important to her negative statements was her call to action to change the culture of these Greek organizations. This call to action was to change how women treat each other in organizations, and I believe it will have a positive impact in higher education. If this movement took place, I think that the positivity would have a great impact on the campus climate as a whole. In sorority settings instead of focusing on the vanity that is physical appearance, sororities could focus on their volunteer work and building one another up instead of tearing them down. A lot of this positivity is already ingrained in many sorority chapters across the nation, but according to this Syracuse senior, it is not in every chapter. Ultimately, this change in action could affect more than just the sororities, since many women are involved in other activities outside of their sisterhood. Then the ripple effect of positivity could happen across the registered student organizations, including Residence Hall Association (RHA) and hall councils. Both of these organizations are an integral part of developing a positive college experience for students who live on campus, and ideally these are the students that I will be working with. If this positivity sweeps the nation, our students will be able to make positive impacts on one another and help in their selfauthorship throughout their collegiate experience. My hope is that sororities and other organizations take this message


to heart and start making changes in their respected organizations for the better. Unfortunately, I am also a realist. I understand that this message may get ignored by many people who view their current organization as perfect without viewing it holistically. Some students may say demeaning phrases to one another and laugh about the experience stating, it was only a joke; but what students do not realize is that one moment, jokingor not, could be detrimental on a student’s psyche, their development, and their selfesteem. Personally, I believe that we can send students down a positive path by adjusting their viewpoint about the language that they use. This is my call to the student affairs professionals that are working with these different groups on campus. We are only as good as the students that we interact with. We are a part of their development as people, whether you want to be or not. We are here to help the leaders of tomorrow make a difference. Do you want leaders that can uplift their colleagues or leaders who demean their fellow people? I know I want to work with student leaders that will not only be making positive impact on my campus community but eventually their world. Therefore, I believe that this change could have a great impact on my current or future department, but only if the professionals in the department make a commitment to educate their students about the impact words and actions can have on one another. If I had one vote, I would vote for the positivity movement to sweep the nation, #sororityrevamp, but really, #worldrevamp would make an even larger change.

Katherine Johnson Graduate Hall Director Texas A&M University

References Fernandes, R. (2016). ‘It’s terrifying to do something like this’: ex-sorority member broadcasts concerns about Greek life." Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

SMU RAs Give Back

Every semester, the RAs at Southern Methodist University begin their training with a service project. This January, the department partnered with Stop Hunger Now to prepare dehydrated rice and soy meals fortified with vitamins and nutrients. As with all of the RA service projects, the Stop Hunger Now Meal Packaging Event was planned by the two RAs for the SMU Service House. This year’s Service House RAs, Priya Chowdhary and Paul Lujan, had a clear vision for the project. “One in every nine people on our planet go to bed hungry each night, but Stop Hunger Now recognizes that it doesn’t have to be that way,” says Chowdhary, who had the idea to bring the organization to campus. Instead of using funds for busses to a service location, the department was able to purchase the meals that were prepared and donated. After learning some hard facts about the world-wide hunger epidemic from facilitator Jeff Jones, the staff

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016

of 92 RAs along with their supervisors worked to scoop, measure, and package meals. One of goals of having a semester-long service project is to raise civic and global awareness amongst the RA staff so that knowledge might be passed on to residential students. RA Chowdhary shared, “I have a vision for every SMU student to be passionate about service and to discover his or her role in edifying the community. By having RAs see first-hand that service can be innovative, dynamic, and impactful, we can start the conversation on every floor and in every building.” The SMU RAs and Residence Life professional staff prepared an impressive 10,584 meals in under two hours. Those meals will be sent to those in crisis both locally and abroad.

Ele Luna Assistant Director of Residential Life for Training and Development Southern Methodist University


Creating Spaces for All Types of Learners When I first arrived at Oklahoma State University and began my role as Resident Director for Academic and Wellness Initiatives, I was tasked with putting together our Academic Development Center (ADC), since it had moved locations over the summer. I was given the freedom to choose paint colors, furniture placement, desk operations, and more. Running the day to day operations and management of this facility is one of my primary responsibilities. I come from an Elementary Education background and we were taught to provide opportunities for all types of learners. Throughout my program, I was able to apply what I was learning in class to many of my experiences in Student Affairs and Housing, such as how colleges and universities are not built for Kinesthetic Learners. The three main types of learning styles are Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. The first and second of these are catered to often in college, through PowerPoints, Lectures, and more. But the latter, Kinesthetic, is not found much outside of labs and shop courses. So how

can we support these learners who need to move around and work with the material when they study? There was an additional room in our new Academic Development Center location that no one knew what to do with. I pitched that we should turn it into a Kinesthetic Study Room so the ADC would cater to all types of learners. Thankfully, leadership and my direct supervisor let me run with the idea. As a result, we have distinct spaces in the ADC for all learners, as pictured below. The Kinesthetic Study Room is stocked with small white boards to walk around with, a large whiteboard on the wall to write on, low lighting for those who are sensitive to fluorescent, alternative seating options, and white noise machines. Since it’s opening in August 2015, the ADC and its new Kinesthetic Room have been a success. Every time I walk by when our center is open, there are students using the Kinesthetic Study Room and it makes me proud to have been able to serve students in this way, providing access for all types of learners to study in a university setting.

Olivia Stankey Residence Director for Academic and Wellness Initiatives Oklahoma State University


Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

The ADC Front Desk

Overview of the ADC (Nearest is the section for learners who need quiet study space and prefer to study alone. Farthest is more lounge furniture for students who prefer to study in groups and prefer a space with more noise)

Kinesthetic Study Room (Provides a space for learners who need to move around, need their own space, want lighting other than fluorescent lights., and more)

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


Animals in the House Over the last several years, the number of emotional support, service, and service in training animals living in on campus residence halls and apartment communities has increased noticeably. These are multifaceted issues. The mandates governing the allowance of these animals to live with their trainers and masters is part of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act, though the guidelines are evolving as challenges arise and are resolved. One of the fastest growing populations for Texas A&M is those students who are training service animals or socializing these puppies to enter into service. Here at Texas A&M, we have two student organizations on the campus – Patriot Paws (PPs) and Aggie Guide & Service Dogs (AGSDs) – that work with parent organizations to take on puppies and socialize them for use as service animals. The average training period with an individual student is one year for Aggie Guide Dogs and three months for Patriot Paws before the animals go to prisons to be further socialized. These organizations have structured programs to orient and train handlers and have guidelines for the care and training of the animals. Students in the program interact with all animals to increase the interactions with trainers and share puppy-sitting. The student organizations working with service dogs in training go through an approval process with the Associate Directors within Residence Life. Currently, there are approximately 12 animals in training across the on campus communities among about 15 handlers. Residents with service animals are not required to go through an approval process, but they must provide proof of vaccinations. Interestingly, in Texas, service animals in training have the same rights as those animals in service. This is not the case in all states.


So animals in training are able to and do go with their handlers/trainers anywhere service dogs are permitted. For emotional support animals, Disability Services requires documentation from a medical professional (doctor or therapist) stipulating the need for the pet (a particular pet) as it relates to the disability and/or improvement of symptoms for support and service animal. There is no need to declare or reveal the disability, only to demonstrate the need for the animal to live with the student. As with most ADA accommodations, the standard is “reasonable” accommodation. “There is no official certification or training for assistance animals.” http://www. There is no additional deposit required for the animals to reside with the students. The documentation requested details the animals’ records and vaccines from a veterinarian. The students’ rights and responsibilities are detailed and provided to the students. In the case of training animals, puppies need room for a kennel, cord and electronics need to be monitored and minded, and cleaning standards and/or responsibility for damages need to be taken into consideration. There is also a record of roommate/suitemate assent to the animal’s presence in the room/suite/apartment. Additionally, the trainers, or handlers, are encouraged to attend a hall council meeting to introduce the animal and educate the community about the service training program. During this meeting, there is the chance that students can identify as being terrified of dogs. If that happens, community concerns are taken into consideration. Handlers are then encouraged to use entrances and exits that don’t go by those rooms, for examples. Sometimes our custodians are afraid of dogs, too, so

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

those aspects are also taken into consideration, and we work with the staff to accommodate. The impact on hall communities seems to be positive. Although these animals are in training, and while being handled they cannot be distracted or petted, these puppies live in and among others in the halls and can be given permission to interact with other students (being petted, for example). Overall, our students seem to enjoy the presence of animals in the halls. In the future, this trend will only increase. Right now, we are working with two organizations specifically for trainers. However, the number of students providing documentation and having service or comfort animals is growing. Whether it is a veteran with PTSD or another student with a disability, these animals are a part of the fabric of the community. One example of the impact on not only our community but on our country comes from one of our Resident Advisors, Marine Cole Thomas Lyle. Cole is working with Congress on the “PAWS” (Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members) Act to expand access to service dogs for veterans. Cole’s dog, Kaya, is an active member of our community, and she provides an incredible service to Cole. Here is a video and an article with more information about Cole’s work! http://video. id=930909787001#sp=show-clips

class, class is dismissed. How fun is that?! [From the A&M Residence Hall handbook (2015-2016), p. 51] Pets and Service/Assistance Animals. The only animals allowed in residence halls or apartments are fish living in an aquarium (20 gallon maximum), service animals (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act), assistance animals (as defined by the Fair Housing Act), and the official university mascot. Assistance animals (as defined by the Fair Housing Act) are only allowed in a student’s room or apartment after a request has been submitted and permission has been granted by the Department of Residence Life. Requests for assistance animals must be approved in writing before the student brings the animal into the hall or apartment. Requests for assistance animals should be directed to the following individuals: Residence Halls & Corps of Cadets - Jeff Wilson, Associate Director, Housing Assignments Office University Apartments - Kate Kiernat, Coordinator of Apartment Services, Community Center Office.] Animals can and do make our communities feel even more like home for many. After all, Texas A&M’s First Lady (mascot) is Reveille and she gets to go everywhere and lives with her handler in the Corps Dorms. In fact, she gets the bed. Practice is that if she barks while in

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016

Reveille VIII, Texas A&M University’s First Lady. Her handler is a member of the Corps of Cadets and she resides in the Corps Dorms with him and his roommate.


be individually trained or certified. Assistance animals are animals that work, assist and/or perform tasks and services for the benefit of a person with a disability or provide emotional support that improves the symptoms of a disability. Some examples of assistance animals: • A cat who can detect when a person with a seizure disorder is about to have one and alerts the person so that he has time to prepare. • A dog who alleviates a person’s depression or anxiety. • A cat who reduces a person’s stress-induced pain. • A bird who alerts a person with hearing issues when someone has come to the door. How do I demonstrate that my pet is an assistance animal? Trooper with Patriot Paws (16 weeks old). His handler is a live-in staff member in Residence Life. [The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law that prevents discrimination against tenants in their homes.] Under the FHA, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment which significantly limits a person’s major life activities. Even if a lease says “No pets” or restricts pets, landlords are required to make what is called a “reasonable accommodation” to allow pets who serve as assistance animals, which includes animals who provide emotional support. Assistance animals are in a different legal classification than pets who are not assistance animals, which is why pet restrictions and fees are waived for them. They also do not need to


You should provide your landlord with a letter from your doctor/therapist stating you have a disability, and explaining how your pet is needed to help you cope with this disability and/or improves its symptoms. Attach a brief letter from you explaining to the landlord that you are asking for “a reasonable accommodation to keep your pet who functions as an assistance support animal.” There is no official certification or training for assistance animals. What’s the difference between a service animal and an assistance animal? Service animals are categorized as animals trained to do a specific task for their owner. The most common example is a guide dog. Service animals are allowed in

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

public accommodations because of the owner’s need for the animal at all times. An assistance animal can be a cat, dog or other type of companion animal, and does not need to be trained to perform a service. The emotional and/or physical benefits from the animal living in the home are what qualify the animal as an assistance animal. A letter from a medical doctor or therapist is all that is needed to classify the animal as an assistance animal. The fact that the term “service animal” is often used by landlords and public housing authorities to refer to both service dogs and assistance animals often creates confusion. Assistance animals are allowed in all housing, with the exception of the types of housing mentioned above.

Christine Thoorsell Associate Director of Residence Education

Kate Kiernat Assistant Director

Jeff Wilson Associate Director

Carol Binzer Director of Administrative & Support Services Texas A&M University resources/tips/assistance-animals-tenants-rights. html?referrer=]

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016


8 Things to Consider When Deciding to On behalf of the 2016 Annual Conference Host Committee, we want to thank the Association and all who attended this year’s conference in Waco, TX. It was our absolute honor and delight to celebrate fifty years of SWACUHO here at Baylor University. Hosting a conference was a great experience for us and one we would encourage others to consider. Though it can sound intimidating, proper planning, staffing, and execution can lead to a successful conference. These are our suggestions on what to ponder before taking the hosting plunge! Staffing There are many elements to plan for when hosting a conference, but they all have one thing in common: your host committee. Depending on the size of your staff or partnering institutions, there are many ways to “divide and conquer” the different aspects of hosting. It also helps if your committee chair(s) have previous leadership experience within the Association. Finally, make sure your senior level departmental leadership are supportive and invested in hosting. Time Commitment From bidding to host to the final dinner of your conference, it takes a minimum of two and a half years to pull off a conference. Realistically, it is closer to three. The first year will be researching the feasibility of hosting, gathering institutional support, and making contacts with conference centers, hotels, and so on. Armed with that information, you make a bid to the executive board at the midyear business meeting two and a half years prior to your intended host year. Once accepted, you essentially have two years to get everything ready! Make sure your chair(s) and the core of your host committee are in place for that length of time. Work Ahead As mentioned above, you have two years to properly plan for your conference. That being said, two years goes by quickly! Whether it is registration, social media, swag, thematic elements, special events,


scheduling, food, hotels, facilities, or budgets, there is no shortage of things to do. Breaking these responsibilities into easily manageable pieces and intentionally completing tasks ahead of time is a smart way to plan. Communication It sounds silly, but constant communication is key to a successful conference. Be it within your host committee, the Association, or your business contacts related to the conference, constant communication ensures seamless processes. Seek feedback from the SWACUHO executive board as your plans begin to solidify. Maintain regular meetings with your hotel and/or event center to make sure expectations are being met. If possible, have members from your host committee serve as liaisons on the Programming and Exhibitors and Displays committees. Understand the Expenses SWACUHO prides itself in providing a financially viable option for professional development within the region. As such, you have to strive for an affordable experience. There are numerous hidden costs associated with hosting a conference. Food is a prime example. When zeroing in on a final budget, factor for an extra 20-25% increase in hidden taxes, service fees, and so on. Similarly, leverage connections at your home institution for better rates with local vendors. They might not know who “SWACUHO” is, but chances are, they like maintaining business with your school. We got our home institution rate for some of the bus transportation we used, which saved the Association a nice chunk of change. Leverage Your Location If you are hosting, feel free to make it your conference! What are the local attractions, traditions, and opportunities unique to your host site? What new conference features can you introduce that have not been seen before? We had a lot of fun in Waco highlighting local elements you could not experience

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

o Host a SWACUHO Annual Conference elsewhere. Participants do not want a carbon copy experience from the year before. Variety is a good thing! Let your conference theme provide direction in this area. Serve the Association When was the last time your school or city hosted SWACUHO? Volunteering to host, in many ways, is an altruistic necessity for the growth and advancement of our profession. One of the reasons we chose to host in 2016 was because it was over thirty years since the last time we had! With a smaller region like SWACUHO, we cannot afford those kinds of gaps. You owe it to others and yourself to take a turn. Besides… …It’s Fun!!! I spent my entire professional career claiming I would never host a conference. I am glad my colleagues talked me into it! Not only is it personally rewarding, you also form great bonds with the folks you

SWACUHO News | Post-conference 2016

work with and make all kinds of connections across the Association. Everybody should do it at least once! SWACUHO is a wonderful region, and our Annual Conference is the time we come together to celebrate, learn, grow, and be reenergized for the tough careers we chose. None of this is possible without conference hosts! Baylor University was more than happy to do its part in 2016, and we are happy to help the next schools in line to volunteer!

Rob Engblom Associate Director for Resident Learning, Baylor University 2016 Annual Conference Co-Chair


Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers


Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

Profile for SWACUHO

SWACUHO postconference 2016 Newsletter  

SWACUHO postconference 2016 Newsletter  

Profile for swacuho

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded