Office of the Dean of Students          

Pillars of the Forty Acres - Frequently Asked Questions

General Program Questions | Student Activities Specific Criteria | Special Criteria Guidelines

General Program Questions

   How do I get my organization involved in the Pillars of the Forty Acres?

Visit our Pillars Instruction page to learn how to get involved.

   Is there a deadline for enrollment in the Pillars of the Forty Acres?

Yes. Student organization are only permitted to enroll in the fall. To enroll, an officer must attend a Pillars Information Session by Thursday, December 2, 2021. Organizations will not be permitted to enroll after that date.

   When is the deadline for enrolled student organizations to complete the Pillars of the Forty Acres program?

The deadline to complete and submit all criteria is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, February 28, 2022.

   How long does the Pillars of the Forty Acres program last?

The 2021-2022 cycle of the Pillars of the Forty Acres program runs from March 12, 2021 to February 28, 2022. Listed criteria completed during that time frame can be submitted for credit.

   Can my organization backlog completed criteria?

Yes, the organization can count all criteria completed during the 2021-2022 cycle as long as it was completed following criteria specific guidelines outlined on the Pillars site and/or via the campus partners.

   Is the organization expected to complete all six Pillar categories in order to receive recognition?

No, you must earn six points in at least one category to receive Distinguished Status and complete the program. However, you may complete additional categories and receive Distinguished Status for multiple categories. If your organization achieves Distinguished Status in five of the six categories, you will receive Exemplary Status.

   Do all of my organization's members need to be listed in HornsLink?

Yes, all active members should be listed in HornsLink. Each organization defines what an active member is. Note: If your website, social media, HornsLink page etc. indicates that you have 100 members but your roster only has 31 members, then your HornsLink roster is not up to date.

   Will I be able to alter the roster for my student organizations from semester to semester (since the program is year-long)?

Yes, HornsLink rosters can be updated by the officers of your organization at any time. When logging points, you will often be required to list the names of members who participated in completing certain criteria. These members must be listed in your organizations HornsLink roster. Student Activities will refer to your HornsLink roster when verifying submitted criteria. If these members are not listed, then no points will be awarded.

   My student organization is very large, and it will be difficult to achieve the required 75% membership at each meeting for some of the criteria. How can we participate in the program?

If membership attendance is an issue, your student organization can focus on a category requiring criterion that involve more individual efforts (such as workshops and trainings) rather than the larger presentation criteria. We would also encourage you to utilize the "submit your own criteria" option available in every category.  If you have any concerns, contact Student Activities at awards@austin.utexas.edu.

   There are several criteria that require a consultation with Student Activities. Can I discuss multiple criteria in one meeting?

Each criterion that requires a 30 minute consultation to ensure that there is enough time to discuss the topic. If there are multiple criterion that you would like to discuss, you will need to schedule a separate consult for each. You may schedule back-to-back consultations if schedules allow. Please use our Bookings page to schedule a meeting with a staff member using Microsoft Teams. For more information on completing these criteria, see the "Student Activities Specific Criteria" at the top of this page for more details.

   I am the Pillars Contact for my organization. Am I required attend all required consultations with Student Activities?

No, any officer can complete a consultation for program criteria with Student Activities, but we will communicate directly with the Pillars Contact for any updates or concerns regarding your organization completing the program.

   My organization applied for a Swing Out Award last semester and won. How many points do we receive?

If your organization won a Swing Out Award in May 2021, it will receive two points. If your organization applies for a Swing Out Award in February 2021, it will receive one point. These are the only Pillars points that will be awarded for Swing Out Awards.

   Can we receive multiple points for the same criterion?

No, an organization may only be awarded points for each criterion once. For example, if your organization won multiple Swing Out Awards in May 2021, only one of the Swing Out Awards could be used by your organization to receive points. Similarly, you cannot earn points in the Leadership category for criterion that is listed in a different category.

If you have any other questions regarding the Pillars of the Forty Acres recognition program, please contact awards@austin.utexas.edu.