Who We Are
New Student Services (NSS) is one of the nine departments in the Division of Student Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. The department coordinates student orientation, autism spectrum support, and outreach, foster care alumni student support, first-generation student support, off-campus living resources, and support, plus various other transition support initiatives.
What We’re Fundraising For
New Student Services supports several program including the following:
Horns Helping Horns (HHH), a program for financially independent students and foster care alumni who arrive at UT Austin with little or no family support and very limited resources. The program provides students with advocacy, community, and support through their time at UT Austin.
First-Generation Initiatives NSS supports various initiatives related to first-generation students including representation on the First-Generation Commitment Working Group, facilitating the First-Generation Living Learning Community, and providing welcome sessions at student orientation.
Autism Spectrum Support Program NSS manages the Longhorn TIES (Transition, Inclusion, Empower, Success) initiative for students who identify as being on the autism spectrum or who have other neurology-related conditions through advocacy, connections, and training.
Horns Helping Horns Program :
The Horns Helping Horns (HHH) Program strives to help retain and graduate our student members by supporting them socially, professionally, and financially. One way in which the program is able to accomplish those objectives is by providing emergency aid. Students in HHH can be only one financial hardship away from being unable to continue on in their degree, and HHH does its best to lessen the financial burdens on our students.
In the past, HHH has been able to provide students with emergency funds to help cover medical expenses, groceries, car repairs, and technology needs. In particular, HHH has been focusing on helping students to access healthcare since some members have not had the ability to have regular checkups until arriving at UT Austin. Funds donated to HHH would be used for expenses such as eye exams, dental visits, hospital bills, and prescription costs.Last year HHH spent approximately $2,200 on healthcare aid alone and an additional $6,400 on emergency funding.
When students were asked about how HHH helped them achieve their goals they said:
"HHH has given me the financial means to get supplies needed for class. Also the support of my HHH mentor has helped me get motivation for this pass semester."
"Being in this [organization] has given me the confidence to pursue my professional goals and feel secure in my potential beyond college."
"HHH has helped me a lot. The staff and the members always provide resources such as scholarships that can help toward my overall education."
First-Generation Living Learning Community (LLC)
The First-Generation Living Learning Community provides students with an inclusive and welcoming community with their first-gen peers. Students involved engage in community builders, regular meetings, and involvement in a first-gen faculty/staff mentorship program, and are given multiple tools to become strong, resilient students.
We would love to use gifts from donors to fund an emergency fund for students to apply for in case they need financial support for housing and/or other financial needs. First-gen college students are more likely to come from lower-income brackets than their continued-generation peers (https://www.collegegrant.net/first-generation/); therefore, donations towards housing/dining scholarships can be very beneficial for our students.
We would love to have the opportunity to continue to grow and expand from year to year. To do this, would require increasing our programming budget to meet the needs of all students (e.g., care packages, school supplies, annual events, and programs). FG LLC
“I had a great support system from the LLC. I learned a lot about resources on campus that I hadn’t heard of, and it helped me to get a steady foundation to be set for the next three years.”
“Before resuming campus last year in the fall as an incoming freshman, I was not really confident in my ability to do a lot of things. Like all freshmen, it was a scary process leaving home to an entirely new environment. Nevertheless, signing up for the First-Generation Living Learning Community allowed me to reduce some of my anxiety about adjusting and meeting people in college.”
“I was able to be a part of a welcoming community that pointed me to numerous resources across campus.”
Autism Spectrum and Neurodiverse Support Program:
Longhorn TIES (Transition, Inclusion, Empower, Success) seeks to improve the student experience for UT-Austin undergraduate students who identify as being on the autism spectrum or neurodiverse through advocacy, connections, and training. The program which launched in 2020, provides support to students which begins with new student orientation, and extends through graduation. Longhorn TIES provides various support services such as weekly and bi-weekly coaching meetings to address student’s academic, social, and career-related goals. Students participating in Longhorn TIES engage in monthly meetings, social events, professional development, and additional skill development training.
In order to sustain this wonderful, exciting growth, we need assistance. Currently, the program only has one full-time professional and needs additional resources to sustain and expand its services. We are hoping to raise money to hire and train additional academic coaches and peer mentors to support the needs of our students. By increasing our programming budget, we will be able to adequately train coaches and student mentors to support this growing initiative.
Longhorn TIES has made an immediate impact on the students who are currently a part of the program and wants to expand its services to provide support to not only students who identify as being on the autism spectrum but all of our neurologically diverse students on campus.
Hear from our students:
“Longhorn TIES means a lot to me as a source of support, encouragement, and connection to resources to reach my goals. It’s a new program and at first, I wasn’t sure what to expect. One thing that I appreciate about Longhorn TIES is how personalized the experience is. Ashley listened to my needs, helped me explore new paths, and offered me the tools that I needed – and in many cases didn’t know existed – to work on my goals. I left every meeting with my advisor feeling empowered and ready to take on anything.”- May 2020 graduate and Longhorn TIES student
“I've only been here (Longhorn TIES) for a semester, and despite always having something on my schedule that would keep me from going to the regular socials/meetings, it did not stop me from enjoying my monthly meetings with Ashley, who gave me social skills advice that genuinely improved my social life. She helped me get past anxiety about my voice and about whether or not I am worth others' time, discussions that I often never get to have with other counselors or trusted adults.”