CHIS Defies — Baylor Service Sorority Volunteers in Baylor and Waco Communities

Photo courtesy of CHIS

By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer

Service opportunities and social events are two important components of Baylor CHIS, an all-girls service sorority on campus.

CHIS, or Clasped Hands in Service, meets weekly and participates in service projects every Saturday and on various days throughout the week, which include partnerships with Campus Kitchens, Habitat for Humanity and Shepherd’s Heart.

“In the spring of 1955, a group of interested girls met with the dean of women to discuss the possibility of forming a girl’s service organization with the purpose of giving coeds the opportunity of having an active, organized part in campus service activities,” the CHIS website reads.

CHIS prides itself as being the oldest all-girls service group on campus, and for making a difference in not just the Baylor community, but also in the larger Waco area.

Houston junior Karin Simpson said she was hesitant about joining CHIS at first, but after attending interest meetings, she knew the group was the perfect fit for her.

“We’re just a small group of girls who are really passionate about volunteering,” Simpson said. “Seeing and helping people is incredible — it feels great to have the opportunity to shape the lives of others.”

Karin said she loves the opportunity to serve the community around her and lend a helping hand to those in need. She has participated in variety of impactful service organizations including Habitat for Humanity and World Hunger Relief Farm.

“You feel a sense of giving back to the community — it’s great to see people’s faces when we help them out,” Simpson said. “It’s knowing that you changed someone’s life and knowing they have a memory of something you helped create.”

Center junior Chloe Gipson also had meaningful experiences with her service in CHIS. She joined as a freshman after connecting to some of the girls at Late Night and ultimately going through recruitment in the spring. Her favorite aspect of CHIS is how the group connects the Baylor and Waco communities.

“We do things all throughout the Waco community — if there’s something we can do to help out, we will,” Gipson said. “Freshmen normally don’t get up early on a Saturday for any reason, so getting up at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. and serving in the community with friends while helping out people I didn’t even know or probably won’t ever see again is important. That connection is what matters, even if it’s only for a few moments or a few hours.”

Along with weekly service throughout Waco, CHIS helps out at Baylor events like the Bearathon and Steppin’ Out and partakes in social activities like formals, mom’s/dad’s weekends and intramurals.

This year, CHIS hopes to continue growing and making themselves known on campus, so girls interested in serving the community know they can find a welcoming community in CHIS. They also plan to become more active with their network of alumni, hopefully hosting them at events and sending out a newsletter.

Simpson said the best way to get involved and learn more about CHIS is to speak to recruitment chairs Sydnee Acosta and Taylor Collins and follow the group’s social media for updates — @Baylorchis on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Most importantly, CHIS seeks to always place service as the primary goal and activity of the group.

“I think the benefit of a service organization is that you don’t lose sight of your morals and your purpose,” Gipson said. “When service is the foundation that your organization is built upon, then you always find your way back to that, and you become a better leader.”