Community leader application process begins

Community leaders Waco senior Hope Larson and LaGrange, Ky. sophomore Heidi Keck perform room inspections in Heritage House, which occur once a semester. Photo credit: Bailey Brammer

By Bailey Brammer | Staff Writer

Being a community leader at Baylor University is about much more than enforcing rules and doing routine room inspections.

“I would hope that I’ve been able to be a bridge between students and their university,” said La Grange, Ky., sophomore Heidi Keck, a Heritage House CL. “It’s important for students to have a personal interaction with the face of Baylor, and I think a lot of times that’s what the CL provides.”

Aspiring CLs for next fall are required to attend an informational meeting and then submit an online application. Applications are due next Monday, through the Baylor Campus Living and Learning website..

After submitting the application, prospective CLs go through multiple interviews in the beginning of November where they discuss situations that may come up while leading a residence hall.

According to Ian Philbrick, North Village residence hall director, more than 300 students applied to be a CL last year, and 100 of those potential leaders were selected to take a three-credit class titled Community Leadership in the Residential Community during the spring semester.

“A CL helps students transition to college and helps them make connections with people and resources so that Baylor can start to feel like a home,” Philbrick said. “I think it’s a real privilege to get to do it … it is a long process, and it can be challenging but very rewarding.”

Near the end of the spring semester, students will take part in another set of interviews with the directors of their possible residence halls. Letters notifying students whether or not they have been selected are released toward the end of April.

While CLs are responsible for upholding campus rules and maintaining safety and order in their residence halls, a majority of their job focuses on forming connections with their students.

“At the core of this job, you are building relationships with the students that live on your floor,” Philbrick said. “And as you build those relationships with individual people, you build a community.”

Although any Baylor student can take part in the process to become a CL, Philbrick describes an ideal leader as someone who possesses honesty, a strong work ethic and a desire to serve others. Aside from these qualities, however, a CL can come from any background.

“One piece of advice we give our applicants is to just to be themselves,” Philbrick said. “A big part of a CLs job is connecting with students on campus, and we have a lot of different students who have different needs. We want to hire a group of CLs that are different and themselves.”

Claremore, Okla., freshman Emily Messimore began thinking about becoming a CL next year, after attending a dinner with her current CL and seeing her interact with the other students on her floor.

“I think my CL gives me a sense of stability, and she’s someone that I can go to and ask questions, kind of like an older sibling,” Messimore said. “I want to be a CL because I’ve seen her foster a sense of community, and I love the idea of doing that, and helping people grow spiritually.”

Keck said although being chosen as a CL is considered a privilege and can be extremely gratifying, it is still a job. There are quite a few benefits to the position, such as free on-campus housing, 11 meals a week at dining halls and a $200 per semester stipend, which can go up if a student continues as a CL for multiple years.

“I think this is a job you can’t do well unless you love it,” Keck said. “If you do have this calling, the things that a CL is responsible for come easily and are fun. I find that I don’t notice how long things take just because it is something I love and feel prepared for.”