By Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer
Passing across campus or during brief introductions, questioning where a person is from is common and often expected to be asked, but often the response is simply surface level. Starting in August 2017, The Good Neighbor project extended their work to tell the stories behind the names and faces of people on campus.
The Good Neighbear podcast was created as a platform for sharing stories of hope and healing of people who make up campus. The weekly, thirty minute podcast is in its first season with 16 episodes to date featuring Former Student Body President Lindsey Bacque to Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs Geoffrey Griggs.
Topics outside of the guest’s journey to Baylor range from hyper-masculinity to the transformation philosophy behind studying abroad.
Dr. Joshua Ritter wears a lot of hats as a Baylor Interdisciplinary Core professor with the student spiritual life department as well as the host of the Good Neighbear podcast.
“Working with students I often see them over programming themselves with constantly going to events and programs while also trying to do their studies, especially for students who live in resident halls,” Ritter said. “So, I was trying to think of something that can help reduce the amount of over programming and I thought a podcast would be pretty ideal because a big part of what we do in the good neighbor project is story sharing and so I thought a podcast would be great because we could still invite people to come and share their stories, but then students and others can listen whenever it’s a good time for them amidst all their studying and essay writing.”
Coordinator of Creative Services Maggie Griffin is a lover of puns who joined the efforts with Ritter and created the name. At first she didn’t know what to expect from the podcast, but now is excited for the stories that it’s sharing.
“In listening to the podcast, especially now that several episodes are out, when I listen to it people are sharing their stories of how they got to Baylor and what they’re involved in,” Griffin said. “So many of those stories not just how you got here, but now that you’re here, what are you seeing on campus and what are you seeing in yourself.”
Preparation for each episode isn’t in depth, because Ritter asks each guest for their story and there’s no need for that to be rehearsed. Ritter finds the guests for his podcast in a variety of ways, including recommendations from listeners and volunteers.
“Most of these episodes truly don’t require a lot of preparation, I usually asked them to share their story and most people are pretty good at doing that,” Ritter said. “It’s mostly guided storytelling, I’ll start with how did you come to Baylor and then we go from there. Everybody has a really interesting way that they came to Baylor and then we asked about cultural and religious backgrounds followed by their experiences here at Baylor.”
When it’s a slower day at the office of no puns or graphic making, Griffin tunes into the podcast and gets the chance to relax and listen to stories and encourages others to do the same.
“I think so much of the time, we’re so focused on work, work, work and we don’t really pause to listen to those stories, but it’s just fun to hear where people come from,” Griffin said. “I hope when people tune in they get to hear a story that sounds like their own and maybe a story that they’ve never heard before. By listening I hope they come away with a greater appreciation of the campus community knowing that not everyone on campus all think or look the same.
Take a moment out of your busy schedule, find a pair of headphone, detangle them and listen to the stories of faces you might see everyday. The Good Neighbear can be found on their website and on iTunes.