By Corrie Coleman | Reporter
This week the Center for Global Engagement and Baylor Athletics partnered to give international students a tour of McLane Stadium. The students were shown the stadium’s locker room, recruitment room and media room. At the end of the tour, they were led onto the field, where football players waited to lead them in football warmups and practice drills. The event was planned to help international students learn more about football and encourage them to attend games in the fall.
Ryan Eklund, assistant athletic director of fan engagement at Baylor, said he hopes this event can help international students feel more connected to Baylor football.
“We’ve been wanting to put something together that can connect a new segment of the student population,” Eklund said. “I hope they have an enjoyable time, get to interact with our program and players. Our players will get a chance to get to know the student body and students who might not have been to football game before and teach them a little about the game.”
Bordeaux, France student Margaux Pedron attended the event because she hoped to learn more about the rules of football.
“In France, football is not a big thing so I always wanted to know more about this sport,” Pedron said. “I want to learn more about the rules of football because I watched the Super Bowl, but I did not understand anything.”
San Juan, Argentina, student Juliana Espin chose to attend the tour to learn more about American football, see McLane Stadium and meet the football players.
“We have fútbol in Argentina, but it is different. My football you call here ‘soccer.’ I want to know how you play American football,” Espin said. “The stadium is amazing from the outside and I will love to meet the football players.”
Taichung, Taiwan, freshman Ting Chen Wang attended football games in the fall. Although she does not understand the rules of football, she enjoyed the feeling of unity at the games.
“I think it will be really good to know football because it’s a really big sport here,” Wang said. “[Attending games] makes me feel like Baylor is a big family. I really like the atmosphere there, and although we lost some games, everyone is still cheering for the team.”
Chad Klempnauer, director of fan engagement for Baylor Athletics, said he enjoys introducing international students to football, a sport they have often never watched or played.
“A lot of [international students] might not have seen American football where they’re from. It’s a new thing,” Klempnauer said. “It’s fun to introduce them to a new sport.”
Klempnauer hopes that, through this event, international students can become more involved in Baylor Athletics.
“We want all Baylor fans, no matter where they’re from, to be a part of [Baylor football]. It’s a unique experience. We have something special here,” Klempnauer said. “We all love Baylor and we all play a different part but, at the end of the day, we’re all one.”