SHRL Staff Members Awarded at SWACUHO Conference

Several Student Housing & Residential Life (SHRL) staff members were recognized during the 2021 Southwest Association of College and University Housing Officers (SWACUHO) Conference.

Mackenzie Wysong-Bentley, Student Housing & Residential Life Associate Director for Operations, received the Dan Mizer Facilities Maintenance Professional of Distinction Award. Nominees must have provided new ideas, initiatives, and programs that have enhanced their housing program in the area of facilities, maintenance, grounds, or custodial and have furthered their skills through training, education, and development.

“Mackenzie has also been instrumental in improving facilities for student housing. Since she joined the University in 2012, she oversaw the outsourcing of housekeeping for Student Housing, assisted in the management of countless residence hall renovation projects, and has been critical to the success of the planning and construction of over 2800 new student beds. The role Mackenzie has in the department is complex; with priorities that compete for attention. Mackenzie balances those priorities with an expert level of planning, priority setting, and like Dan Mizer himself … with putting student safety and the student experience first. Mackenzie excels at most things professionally, but her development of a conference and guest housing program, an annual department internship program, strong relationship with university facilities and onboarding, and supervision of staff at all levels that has positively impacted our department daily in countless ways,” said Kenny Mauk, Student Housing & Residential Life Director of Housing Operations and Outreach.

James Aguanno, Facilities Coordinator, received the Bob Cooke Distinguished Service Award. The award, given to five individuals each year, recognizes service, dedication, and significant contributions to student housing. Nominees must demonstrate loyalty and dedication to the residence halls or residence life and have served a minimum of four years at the nominating college or university.

“James has been in service for 21 years to the Student Housing & Residential Life Department. Throughout his tenure, James has consistently provided thoughtful and excellent customer service to both internal and external customers. His longevity has allowed him to utilize his relationships with staff across campus, understand the bureaucracy of a large institution and find creative solutions to problems. He continually strives to improve his understanding of university processes through online and in-person training offered. He works as a true team player sharing insights and processes with other members of Student Housing & Residential Life and with other departments including facilities services, plant operations, and custodial. James' dedication and commitment to all that he does is genuine and a testament to his character,” said Mackenzie Wysong-Bentley, Student Housing & Residential Life Associate Director for Operations.

Megan Hill, Student Housing & Residential Life Graduate Assistant for Outreach, received the Bob Huss Outstanding Graduate Award. Nominees must contribute significantly to the Residence Life program and university community on their campus.

“Megan has been working within Student Housing & Residential Life at the University of Houston as the Graduate Assistant for Outreach since 2019. She began working within our robust summer conference program and has been a standout contributor to our team from day one despite not having any previous experience working in housing! I am confident that anyone who interacts with her will attest to her maturity, positive outlook and hardworking nature. Megan comprehends, acts and produces work on par with full-time professionals.

Megan returned to the University of Houston after working professionally for one year prior and hit the ground running. She quickly became a leader who rolled up her sleeves to learn all that she could about the department and her new position. Megan served as the first graduate student to work solely within operations and while others may have struggled with uncertainty, she chose to embrace the opportunity and challenge herself to gain information each day from staff, experience and observations. Once the summer ended, she enthusiastically attended SWACUHO-U and participated in the SWACUHO annual conference in Sugarland, TX. Upon graduation, Megan will begin a career in student affairs with her sights set on a position directly affecting student retention,” said Mackenzie Wysong-Bentley, Student Housing & Residential Life Associate Director for Operations.

Please join all of SHRL in congratulating James, Mackenzie, and Megan on their accomplishments.