Joined in Service: Baylor and Kansas State aim to start Big 12 tradition

Baylor students and Kansas State students package bags of Produce at the Shepherd's Heart Food Pantry. Claire Boston | Multimedia Journalist

By Maya Butler | Reporter

Before game day, Baylor and Kansas State are temporarily putting their rivalry aside.

Representatives from both universities are participating as one group Thursday and today in the first-ever Big 12 Leadership and Service Days, where they are working together to provide service for the local Waco community.

Baylor and Kansas State students took a tour of Waco Thursday before lending a helping hand at Shepherd’s Heart Food Pantry. Today, they will work in the World Hunger Relief Farm, visit the Silos downtown and later serve at Doris Miller YMCA. Other parts of the leadership and service days included a catered dinner for both groups and a bowling social in the Bill Daniel Student Center bowling alleys.

The idea for a Big 12 tradition founded in service began when Kansas State contacted Baylor about a possible collaborative project between both schools.

Lamar Bryant, director for student leadership and development at Baylor, revealed why Baylor accepted the opportunity to partner with another Big 12 school.

“I think it’s an opportunity for us to learn from them and their students, but also an opportunity for them to learn from us,” Bryant said. “It just fits with our mission of worldwide leadership, so for us, it was just a natural thing for us to do.”

Baylor representatives were chosen from students currently involved in the Academy for Leadership Development, Greek Life organizations and the Office of Community Engagement and Service. All Kansas State representatives were selected from the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows program, a program created in honor of Kansas State head football coach Bill Snyder, whose 16 Goals for Success “have been embraced by many as guiding principles for success in life.” Students picked for the program are undergraduate seniors who exemplify commitment to growth and development, commitment to service, commitment to community and the ability to serve as an ambassador.

Ashley Anderson, resident fellow for the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows program, explained the reason for reaching out to Baylor.

“We wanted to create a precedent to encourage other Big 12 schools to work together across service lines because there’s so much value that can happen in building those bridges,” Anderson said. “Our program is really focused on giving back to the community and developing leadership skills for our students.”

Kansas State Omaha, Neb., senior Anna Siggers explained the unifying quality of service.

“I think service is something that can definitely bring people together,” Siggers said. “Having a common ground where we can all stand and get together on one level is something that’s really unique.”

The Woodlands senior Morgan Bruce, president of Panhellenic Council at Baylor, echoed Siggers’ statement.

“I feel like when you’re uniting for a common goal or common cause, you’re able to kind of put your differences aside and work together to achieve that goal,” Bruce said. “I feel like service is a great opportunity to give back within but also kind of building community with [Kansas State] that way.”

Bryant explained the importance of Big 12 schools forming a camaraderie with one another.

“When we think about Big 12 schools, we think about it from a competitive standpoint,” Bryant said. “We want to beat them and those things are fine, but we also are striving for the same thing. We all want to make a positive impact as well,” Bryant said.

Marcia Hornung, director of the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows program, revealed her vision of Baylor visiting the campus of Kansas State next year, and other schools joining in what she hopes will become an annual tradition among Big 12 schools.

“We got other universities as well,” Hornung said. “Baylor, I hope, is just a starting point.”

In an email sent out to Leadership & Service day participants Thursday night, Bryant said when Baylor plays Kansas State at home, Baylor will be making the trip to Manhattan to do this same thing.

To cap off the weekend of serving, Baylor and Kansas State will meet at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium for the football matchup. The leadership and service group from both schools will be featured on the field during halftime.