By Bradi Murphy | Arts & Life Editor
As homecoming begins, there is a small, select group of students that has worked behind the scenes to orchestrate Baylor’s traditional festivities. Founded in 1919, Baylor’s Chamber of Commerce works hard months in advance to plan Baylor’s homecoming festivities.
The group of 45 members devotes itself to Baylor, accomplishing any tasks that needs to be done. The members of Chamber take pride in the love, service and accountability of being a Chamber member.
From commemorating the Immortal Ten to celebrating floats at the parade, Baylor Homecoming is a time to reminisce about Baylor’s past, present and future in the tradition that brings the Bears home.
“The spirit of a chamberman… It’s about service, and so what we do is out of a deep love for Baylor,” said Joy Dafoe, a Centennial Co., senior and Baylor Chamber of Commerce marketing coordinator for Diadeloso. “As a senior, I’m starting to look back a little bit, and serving this university in the Chamber capacity has been one of the most wonderful honors I think I’ve had as a human thus far.”
From her first walk on the Floyd Casey field, Chamber has influenced Dafoe by teaching her how to laugh through difficulties, act with integrity, look at the world from different perspectives and give her trust to God, she said. In order to make Baylor events such as homecoming possible, Chamber members learn, soon after joining, the value of time management, leadership roles and qualities of effective service.
“The spark kind of happened for me when I visited Baylor for the first time as a senior in high school. It was actually a football game against Kansas State, and we were supposed to lose, but we won. Watching that happen was just an incredible situation. I’m watching the football game, the fans are going crazy, and I look over to see a guy in a green jersey picking up his hand to lead a Sic’ em. Realizing there’s something intangible about this university makes it special.”
Tomball senior Alex Plott, general assistant for homecoming, has also experienced personal growth through his time in Chamber.
Plott has found a love for finding problems, solving them, then improving upon them in the future. He has also found a joy in guiding others.
Plott spoke during Mass Meeting, which was held Thursday in the Ferrell Center. Mass Meeting is a time to commemorate and reflect on the Immortal Ten, the Baylor students who died in a bus-train accident on January 22, 1927, while traveling to an away basketball game.
“Clyde ‘Abe’ Kelly died so he’d get three or four people out of a bus window. It’s amazing that people our age were able to do that back in the ’20s and help other students survive. There’s still students out there like that today,” Plott said.
As a senior, Plott is also looking forward to sharing all he has learned during his time at Baylor with others.
Chamber members focus on giving to Baylor without asking for anything in return, and homecoming is just one event they are involved in. Chamber also puts together the Baylor Line, Family Weekend, Diadeloso, the Bear Mascot Program, Spring Premiere, John Clifton Memorial Scholarship and the Traditions Rally, as well as events inside the organization for members. It is the small details, though, that make these big events memorable for some.
“We really like to pay attention to details. During homecoming parade, we’ll spend a lot of time blowing up balloons with helium so that we can give a balloon to a little kid, and hopefully that makes their day,” San Antonio senior and Family Weekend chair Marianna Arana said.
It requires the help of every Chamber member to make these Baylor traditions possible. A focal point of Chamber is their camaraderie and passion to help.
“My fellow members inspire me every day. Everybody in this club has a relentless work ethic. To watch people from all different walks of life come together to accomplish a goal is awesome,” Cypress senior Caleb Mann said. “Often, I come across situations that seem difficult to solve on my own, but our membership always finds an innovative solution.”
Chamber devotes its time and effort to the welfare of Baylor and its students. This homecoming weekend is a way for Chamber members to celebrate Baylor’s past, present and future students.
“I hope that [families] get to come back to their alma mater and re-experience the Baylor spirit. We do a lot with reaching out to the alumni to get them back. As soon as you graduate, we want to keep them roped in,” Dallas senior and Chamber member Drew Alleman said.