Building Community During Times of Change

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The stressful events of 2020 and 2021 have undoubtedly taken a toll on our well-being. The drag of the “pandemic effect” prolonged isolation, unstable labor market, mass protests for racial justice, and the great resignation, to name a few, have led to high rates of burnout, anxiety and depression. While we have all experienced these disrupters at the same time, we didn’t all experience it in the same way. With that, the level of support needed varies. We hope that this is the first of many conversations that begin to normalize mental health, making it part of our day-to-day discussions. We are currently planning future gatherings and will post updates as we have them.  

January: Psychology of Spending presented by Cynthia Mayberry and Derion Jackson on 1/19 at 11:30am. Do you ever wonder why you left the mall with $500 worth of clothes when you were not planning to get anything or bought one pair of shoes over another? It is not just personal preference. Psychologists have found that there are several forces that govern our consumer behavior and cause us to make decisions that are not necessarily rational or in our best interest. However, understanding why we buy what we buy can help us make better choices in the future.

February: “The Transformative Power of Joy" presented by Meme Styles, the founder and President of award-winning nonprofit Measure, on Friday 2/16 at 11:30am. "The Transformative Power of Joy" is a compelling speech that explores the profound impact of joy on our personal and professional lives. It delves into how cultivating a mindset of joy can significantly enhance our overall well-being, resilience, and motivation. The speech combines personal anecdotes, inspirational stories, and practical tips to demonstrate how joy can be found and embraced, even in the face of life’s challenges. Attendees are not only provided with insights into the science behind joy and its benefits but are also equipped with actionable strategies to integrate more joy into their daily routines. This presentation aims to leave the audience feeling empowered, motivated, and ready to approach life with a renewed sense of positivity and purpose.

MarchJoin us for a lively event created for staff and faculty, Beats and Bonding: Uniting Through Music and Community', on Tuesday 3/19 at 11:30am. This gathering combines the universal language of music with engaging activities such as 'Name That Tune,' 'Musical Bingo,' 'DJ Trivia,' 'Finish the Lyrics,' and so much more. With a talented DJ curating diverse tunes, you are invited to celebrate the elevating power of music while vying for exciting prizes. It's more than an event—it's a community-building experience through the beats that unite us.  

April: “Moving with Nature: Embodied Mindfulness" presented by Rosemary Candelario, Associate Professor of Performance as Public Practice at the University of Texas at Austin and Dance Studies Association Vice President for Publications and Research, on Friday 4/19 at 11:30am. This workshop introduces UT Austin staff and faculty to an embodied mindfulness experience of the UT campus. We will use all of our senses to open up our awareness to our campus environment and will explore new ways to engage with it. Participants will come away with simple activities they can incorporate into their everyday lives. Come prepared to move outside, weather permitting. 

May:  "Structural Integrity" presented by Gareth White, LICSW & Zac Carter, LMSW on 5/17 at 11:30am. An interactive presentation where we take time to focus on the lived experiences of oppression of fat people, how fat people interact with various systems, how those systems further marginalize fat people, and our own internal biases against fatness.  Talking about bodies is hard but there is no wrong way to have a body, and there is always time to be kind to our bodies.

Building Community Cookbook

Made in collaboration with Building Community participants starting in the summer of 2022, this cookbook represents the most comforting dishes of our UT community. You can view and download the PDF here

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