By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer
Student Learning and Engagement launched the very first student-led Baylor History Tour Friday, engaging its guests in the rich history of a university older than the state of Texas itself.
Baylor History Tour’s route starts at the bear habitat and moves through some of the oldest areas of Baylor’s campus, including Fifth Street, Carroll Library and Burleson Hall.
Tours are offered on Fridays and those interested can register on the Student Learning and Engagement website.
Sacramento, Calif., senior Kaitlynn Plaskett and Warsaw, Ind., Ph.D student Jeff Strietzel serve as co-coordinators for Baylor History Tours.
“We’re not just the oldest, continuously operating university in Texas. There have been some really cool things that have happened here and there’s so much that people just don’t know about,” Plaskett said.
Strietzel said his favorite Baylor history fun fact is that the Bill Daniel Student Center opened with a shooting range built in the attic. The shooting range had wood frames and a piece of lead so when students would shoot through the paper target, it would hit the lead and then fall into sawdust. Even though Baylor stopped using the shooting range in the ’60s, all of it is still up there.
“We’re not using it anymore, but there’s a shooting range in the attic of [the Bill Daniel Student Center],” Strietzel said. “There’s still some targets with people’s names and dates on there.”
Plaskett said her favorite Baylor history fun fact is that an all-female literary society is the reason football started at Baylor. Georgia Burleson, Burleson Hall’s namesake, had a literary society that was the first to sponsor a football team at the university in the late 1800s.
“So the Georgia Burleson literary society, who the hall was named after, basically started football fever here, and look at where we’ve grown to and how big the program is now,” Plaskett said.
Strietzel said Dr. Jeff Doyle, dean of student learning and engagement, came up with the idea for Baylor History Tours, and it was a project he had been thinking about for a time. Plaskett and Strietzel then came on board, along with another student, Glen Rose first-year law student David Anaya, who created the tour’s script.
As of now, Baylor History Tours are offered at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Fridays. Plaskett said this is because there are currently only two tour guides — Strietzel and herself. However, there are plans to grow the team and Baylor History Tours is currently hiring students to serve as tour guides.
Strietzel said in order to apply, students can email Baylor History Tours at BUHistoryTours@baylor.edu to receive the application.
“This was the idea of Jeff Doyle, but this is a student-led organization,” Strietzel said. “We hope students will catch on to it and continue to engage with Baylor’s rich history.”