By Ashley Altus
Instead of the routine approach of writing letters to family and friends asking for financial support for missions, a soon-to-be Baylor student decided to raise the money by releasing an original song.
Jon Burr, Fort Worth sophomore at McLennan Community College, will be joining the Baylor class of 2016 this fall. He plans to travel to Edinburgh, Texas on a mission trip during spring break with the Antioch Community Church College Ministry.
Burr decided to raise the money by releasing an original song that can be purchased on his Bandcamp page, jonburr.bandcamp.com. In his song “Meet Me Here,” Burr plays acoustic guitar and sings. All the purchases of the song will go go toward funding the trip.
As of Sunday, Burr had raised more than $323. The song can be purchased for $1.99, but there is also a name-your-own price option where people can choose to donate more.
“The song I wrote kind of talks about being in this dry place of not finding God, or feeling like he’s not there for me,” Burr said. “ I think for me it’s just trying to find God in a more real and tangible way.”
Burr has been promoting his song through Facebook and word-of-mouth. He said the idea of fundraising by recording a song came about because he didn’t just want to ask for money and not give anything back in return to his supporters.
“I had a song that I had been working on and I also knew that I needed to raise money, and I had the idea of instead of handing out letters and asking people for money, I can give them something in return,” Burr said.
Ninety-two students, faculty and staff will be going on mission trips through Baylor Missions during spring break.
Holly Widick, assistant director for missions at Baylor, said most student raise money through letter writing.
Students write out a letter they can mass produce to send to family, friends and people in their extended network they think might want to help support them financially. The letters explain what type of trip the students are going on, why they need the financial support and how much money they are trying to raise.
“Letter writing is probably the first line of defense that students use, and after that they go to team fundraising activities,” Widick said.
Midland senior Emily Sue Hood has participated in the Ghana community development trip for the past three years at Baylor. She will be going back for a fourth year this summer. Her primary method of raising money for the trip has been through letter writing.
“I usually send about 50 to 60 letters to family and friends and somehow get all the support from that,” Hood said.
The deadline to raise money for the trip is Wednesday. If Burr doesn’t raise the money in time on his own he said he will still be going on the trip and the money will come from his parents or tax refund.
Baylor has an endowment fund to help students who are struggling raising money for their mission trip, but Widick said that money is only for Baylor mission trips.
“We would like to help students in the future with figuring out if you wanted to go on a mission trip with your church or you wanted to do a full summer of service, ways that Baylor can support you, but right now we don’t have the funds to do that,” Widick said.
Along with his solo work, Burr plays lead guitar and sings lead vocals in the band Something Poetic.
Burr and the band performed last year at the Student Union Board’s Battle of the Bands.
The song also features vocals from McLennan Community College audio-engineer student Jericha Price. Price is not going on the mission trip and only contributed backup vocals.
“We went into the studio that morning and I asked her if she would do some harmonies on the song, and it sounds great,” said Burr, “She was nice enough to comply.”
Burr plans to study sociology at Baylor next fall.