Dean Lilly promises to fund SG text service project

Katie Balevic

In its second meeting of the new administration, Student Government approved executive board appointments and passed its first resolutions, including one thanking the dean of students for funding a texting service project.  

Assembly Resolution 1 thanked Soncia Reagins-Lilly, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, for funding an automated texting service called UText, which will connect students with campus resources depending on what kind of help they need. The project has been in progress since Feb. 2017, according to A.R. 1.

“Tonight is really about recognizing her specific contribution to UText and how grateful we are for that and what she’s done as an administrator for the student body,” said Benjamin Solder, speaker of the assembly.

Solder, a co-founder of UText and co-author of A.R. 1, said his team was struggling to find funding for UText before Reagins-Lilly stepped in. Solder estimated UText will cost about $10,000 per year when implemented.  

“We were really surprised and really grateful whenever dean Lilly just decided that she would write the $10,000 check necessary to make this a reality,” neuroscience junior Solder said.

The resolution was a surprise for Reagins-Lilly, who attended the meeting for other matters but accepted the gratuitous gesture.

“It might be my name (on the legislation), but the University supports student initiatives and providing resources to students in a way that this generation can receive them,” Reagins-Lilly said. “Any initiative that is going to make access to information resources a priority is a priority for the vice president’s office.”

While UTexts’ founders and developers are still sorting out details on the program’s cost, the commitment to fund the program is long-term, Reagins-Lilly said.

Texas Convergent, an organization of computer science and business students, is coding the program for UText free of charge, partnerships associate Misha Shaposhnikov said.

“We are aiming to provide a really easy interface to have the fastest way for students to voice their problems and for us to connect them with the people at UT that can help them best,” said Shaposhnikov, computer science and math sophomore.

Separately, the executive board, which is appointed by the president and vice-president, was approved by the assembly and sworn into office.

Business senior Sarah Mockler will be the chief of staff. Business senior Vivianne Tu was appointed administrative director. Kiara Myers, management information systems senior, was appointed financial director. Rajya Atluri, business and Plan II junior, will be the advocacy director. Plan II sophomore Sarah Boatwright will be the communications director.