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Grab your passports and prepare for an adventure with the Baylor student government. Destination: Waco, Texas.
Starting next semester, students will once again be able to participate in a program from student government called Passport Waco. Late last semester, former external vice president Angela Oliver began the program with positive reception, but did not have the chance to develop it due to a lack of time.
Current external vice president Briana Treadaway has revamped the program in hopes of bridging the gap between the Baylor and Waco communities.
The program enlists the help of several local businesses to get Baylor students into the Waco community. Students involved in the program will receive passports and get stamps as they visit participating businesses and make a minimum purchase.
Community relations’ coordinator Grant Taylor said he hopes the involvement of Waco’s distinct establishments will encourage students to step outside of the “Baylor Bubble” and embrace the community they live in.
“The goal of the program is to encourage students to actually get out of the ‘Baylor Bubble’ and actually experience Waco,” Taylor said. “All of the businesses that participate in our program are privately owned. They’re not chains or franchises around the nation. They are grass-root kind of places that are made just for Waco.”
The benefit of the program, Taylor says, is two-fold: students get new experiences and local businesses receive vital support and exposure. The benefits to students do not stop at intangible goods and foods, however. Students who fill a predetermined amount of their passport books will be eligible to receive prizes throughout the duration of Passport Waco.
At the conclusion of the program, an iPad will be given to the student with the most stamps in his/her book or the winner will be selected from a drawing of all the students who filled their books, depending on participation.
Despite the prizes, Treadaway maintains that the most important aspect of the program is connecting Baylor students with Wacoans.
“Being in Waco, even if you’re only going to be here for two or four years, it’s still important to meet the locals and see where they got started and see what this community is about,” Treadaway said.
Passport Waco will begin in February and last until mid-April. Planning for the program is ongoing. For more information, follow student government social media sites where updates about the program and special contests will be posted.