Originally a campus tradition established in 1922 for recognizing student leaders and a symbolic gesture of transferring leadership from one class to the next, the Swing Out Awards are presented annually by the Office of the Dean of Students to recognize student organizations that have demonstrated excellence in leadership on campus.
This year, Texas Ballroom, one of RecSports’ 48 Sport Clubs, placed in four award categories. The club received the Best Recreational Organization and Healthiest Organization titles. In addition, the club earned RecSports Senior Assistant Director for Sport Clubs, Chad Zimmerman, the award for Most Outstanding Advisor with their nomination. Texas Ballroom was also recognized as one of seven student organizations to achieve Exemplary Status in the Pillars of the Forty Acres recognition program for embodying the University’s six Core Values.
“Texas Ballroom’s attention to detail in all the important areas of student organization success provides a top-notch membership experience: recruitment and retention, organized leadership with transition processes, service and volunteerism, inclusivity, and highly dedicated sport training. I am honored to serve UT students like our Ballroom club and their drive and enthusiasm keep me eager to continue our work together.” — Chad Zimmerman, Senior Assistant Director for Sport Clubs
From their ongoing efforts to provide an approachable and affordable outlet for students to enjoy dance classes and social events to their creative approach to continue bringing dance to its members in a safe manner during the pandemic, Texas Ballroom continues to show why they’ve experienced success at UT and in the dance communities over the years. Read further for excerpts from Texas Ballroom’s application for the various award categories to learn more about the organization’s efforts that earned them these various awards this year.
Best Recreational Student Organization
Awarded to an organization that promotes and provides recreational outlets for its members.
“Our competitive team gives students a chance to find a dedicated team of fellow dancers brought together by a common passion, while our beginner classes give members the chance to make new friends and have fun. Many of our members develop an appreciation for social or competitive dancing that persists long after they graduate, while others enjoy our dance lessons as a break from their usual routines and a chance to learn a unique skill that they will remember fondly. Sick dance moves aren’t the only benefit to joining Texas Ballroom, though. We are just as dedicated to bringing students together to form strong social connections built around fun and friendship.” — Texas Ballroom
Awarded to an organization that creates a social environment that helps members be active and healthy. The winning organization is a leader in providing enjoyable programming that establishes healthy activities as a core part of having an outstanding Longhorn experience.
“The pandemic has put a strain on everyone, and it has interrupted many people’s exercise and fitness routines. For our members, weekly dance classes were an important part of their health and wellness, both physical and mental. It was critical for us to find a way to provide that outlet to students at UT, without contributing to the spread of COVID-19. We faced a multitude of challenges when redesigning our classes to accommodate for the necessary safety precautions. Perhaps most obvious, we couldn’t dance with a partner while socially distancing! Beyond just the changes to our classes, we also took other steps such as masking and eventually double masking requirements, attendance tracking, limited people per room, switching to outside or online events where possible, and Proactive Community Testing requirements. All of these changes, along with a culture of honesty and respect, resulted in us having no known COVID cases among our members. We are so proud of the work we have done this year to stop the spread of COVID-19, while still providing an engaging physical activity. This year more than ever, it was so important to stay active, for our physical and mental health.” — Texas Ballroom
Most Outstanding Advisor
Awarded to an organization advisor who has gone above and beyond the call of their duties with the organization. It is given to an advisor who exhibits outstanding qualities and provides vital services for the organization. This advisor exceeds expectations on all fronts and is nominated by the organization with which they work.
“Chad is always behind the scenes, advocating on our behalf. He makes a real effort to learn about our sport, our club, and our members, and is always patient, kind, and personable. Without Chad, our organization would be incredibly lost trying to manage a pandemic response, finances, UT paperwork and regulations; we would likely be in violation of about twenty different rules and would become a shadow of the organization we are now. Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but the essence of the sentiment remains: Chad keeps our organization in good standing with the university and helps us maintain a professional approach to every situation we encounter. His advice and encouragement this year has been so helpful, and his passion for us and all his sport clubs has clearly been on display throughout this difficult time.” — Texas Ballroom