Baylor extends reach to D.C.

By Maleesa Johnson
Staff Writer

Baylor seeks to establish a greater presence in Washington D.C. through a multiphase series of events.

“Our mission statement says that we educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service,” said Dr. Karla Leeper, vice president for board and executive affairs and chief compliance officer. “One of the most effective places to have impact as a leader or a servant-leader is in Washington, D.C.”

Baylor is starting the second phase of the what Leeper is referring to as the launch. Leeper said the end goal of phase two is establish a physical presence in Washington. In order to do so, there are several events taking place this month to announce Baylor’s existence in D.C.

“Phase two is about a broader public announcement of what we’re doing and starting to expand the actual physical presence of what we are going to do in D.C.,” Leeper said.

For the past few months, the first phase was being carried out, including creating a relationship with the Berkley Center at Georgetown University and the Gallup Poll.

The Baylor Gallup Poll on Religiosity is in the field and data is expected back at the beginning of this month.

The poll surveys what effect religiosity has on global happiness.

According to Gallup’s website, the company has built its reputation on delivering relevant, timely and visionary research on what humans around the world think and feel.

The Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion is partnering with Berkley at Georgetown in various religious research endeavors.

Student regent Taylor Hoogendoorn said Berkley expressed its appreciation of the partnership with Baylor during the time he was in D.C. this summer.

“They said that of all the academic institutes they work with, they have enjoyed partnering with Baylor the most,” Hoogendoorn said.

Phase two will feature a breakfast hosted by Baylor in Washington on Feb. 6 for the National Prayer Breakfast. Leeper said they are currently looking for a venue, as many Baylor affiliates will be unable to attend the actual breakfast.

Leeper said a series of events is planned for that week. On Monday, there are plans to present the results of the Gallup poll. Also that week, there will be a watch party for the men’s basketball game against Kansas State University. On Thursday or Friday of that week, Leeper said there will be an academic program at Burkley.

“Our hope is that every month after that, Baylor can have an event showcasing research or activities in D.C., but this is really just a big launch to say ‘we’re here, we’re in D.C.,’” Leeper said.

Leeper said the push to establish a presence in D.C. is to provide opportunities for students and to promote research that Baylor is taking part in.

“Baylor wants to contribute to the national conversation on important issues,” Leeper said. “We want to do that through our students, research, president and alumni. So they can help influence where this nation is headed.”

Hoogendoorn said he is excited for what is taking place with the launch and encourages students to get involved in Washington. This can happen in a variety of ways.

“The things you can do is one, start to explore possibilities for your own time in D.C., whether that be a summer internship or semester in D.C.,” Hoogendorn said. “I would encourage students to look into their own research as well and see how it ties into things in a national scope.”