From left, Douglas Robinett, Katie Zhu, Quinton Lane, Madeline Howard, Damian Washington, Laurel Spurgeon and Apryl Jackson made up UCA’s delegation for the Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers conference.


The University of Central Arkansas Housing and Residence Life department was recognized with four awards at the 2018 Southwest Association of College and University Housing Officers conference at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

Housing and Residence Life’s Social Justice League won the Institutional Diversity Award, which honors institutions that contribute greatly to cultural diversity, the quality of diversity and inclusion programs and the effectiveness of diversity programs.

Allie Nixon

Allie Nixon, residence coordinator for Carmichael Hall, won the Bob Huss Outstanding Graduate Student award, and Madeline Howard, residence coordinator for Greek Village, was a winner in the Case Study Competition.

The department also came in second place for the Frank Cloud of Excellence Award, which is named after a former director of housing at Sam Houston State University. To place for the award, Housing and Residence Life representatives presented on the management and project improvements the organization has done to impact the campus living experience, advance technology, and provide safe and engaging living environments.

The department competed with other universities throughout Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas.

“It was an honor to represent our department and lead the efforts to build our presentation for the Frank Cloud of Excellence Award competition,” said Apryl Jackson, assistant director for Residence Life, who led UCA’s delegation at the conference. “The award was named after a man who valued servant leadership and holistic development of students and staff in the housing arena, and our leadership team strives to do the same each day.”

Madeline Howard

Housing and Residence Life’s Social Justice League is a student-run organization that aims to use thought-provoking and entertaining programs that educate the campus community on matters pertaining to diversity and social justice. In 2017, the league presented programming such as an open forum called “Finding Common Ground” that explored the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests, and an opportunity for students to support other students affected by DACA.

Nixon is a second-year graduate assistant whose award recognizes her excellence in academia while being a resource to UCA students and advocate for mental health and sexual assault awareness.

Howard, a first-year graduate assistant, participated in the Case Study competition, where she was paired with other graduate students from across the region and given a short amount of time to prepare and present on a scenario.

“It was a great creative process working with two of our first-year graduate assistants. They learned a lot about the details of remodeling a new building and assessing student needs, and creatively and effectively implementing programs and efforts to meet those needs whether in the form of a new building or themed community,” Jackson said.