By Savannah Cooper | Reporter and Sarah Asinof | News Editor
While most Baylor students spend their Thursday nights cramming for tests and getting ready for the weekend, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity provides a community whose goal is for students to unload, rejuvenate and celebrate making it through another grueling week, through the fraternities weekly event , Kappa Kool.
Charlotte junior Telvin Haines said he struggled to find something in his community that would refill him week after week. Consequently, he ended up founding Kappa Kool.
“I felt like I was on 2% the whole semester and I didn’t really have anything to charge me up or refill me that would make me feel OK and ready to tackle the week,” Haines said.
Over Christmas break, Haines said he was able to spend time with family and God. During that time, he said he fasted, prayed and listened for his voice, which led him to laying the groundwork for Kappa Kool.
Coming back this spring semester, Haines said he noticed division within the black student population on campus and how many often turn to unhealthy practices to cope. Keeping that in mind, Haines said he knew Kappa Kool needed to be something healthy and wholesome that would rebuild and recharge the “Black Baylor” community, while also showcasing the often unknowingly immense talent of students who otherwise might have not shown off their skills.
During the beginning planning stages, Haines said he thought there’s nothing more basic and universal to relax than a massage. Realizing this event’s potential, Haines drafted an extensive business proposal complete with statistics and analytics explaining how partnering with Kappa Kool will benefit and grow clientele for businesses like Massage Envy and KSpa. Despite the extensive research, companies declined via operators or impersonal front desk personnel, except for one local area massage spa.
Theresa Surely, owner and founder of The House of Therapeutic Healing Massage, said she was slightly apprehensive regarding Haines call because she didn’t want to be sold anything.
“He called me and said that he was trying to get together something for students to be able to relax because he had a very stressful semester, then he went home for California for Christmas break and while he was there, God told him that he needed to start a support group for the students and that utilizing the massage therapy would be a really good thing,” Surely said.
From their meetings, Surely agreed to attend every Kappa Kool session, giving tutorials on stretches that build posture and relieve stress. She also provides a free massage to the raffle prize winner in the audience that attendees have the chance of winning every time they’re present.
Turns out that Surely and Haines both go to the same church, Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church, which solidified their belief that their meeting was divine.
“I give God all the glory for this,” Surely said. “Telvin has worked really hard for this. Anyone who walks through by door, I know God brought. I don’t believe in accidents, I believe in Godccients.”
Haines is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated and with the support of his brothers, he said he was able to further solidify this idea into a reality. Next on the agenda was finding a location to host each session.
The Student Life Center came to Haines mind initially, but through Connect the event, it was approved but using the space was not approved. After a suggestion from one of his fraternity brothers, Haines booked the North Village Community Center and was seemingly signed, sealed and delivered.
On the Tuesday prior to the first schedule Kappa Kool session last Thursday, Haines stopped by North Village to peruse the area where he unknowingly walked into a staff meeting with the director. While conversing, Haines found out that to reserve the space students have to meet with the director in person. With a goal of wanting students to utilize the space more, he offered to reserve the space for dates Haines inquired about for the rest of the semester.
After several seemingly perfectly orchestrated acts revolving the logistics behind this idea, Kappa Kool became a reality on Feb. 7.
Starting at 9:30 p.m., each session of Kappa Kool always opens with a prayer then a tutorial of stretches from Sully before talent took the stage. There are at least two acts of student performers who have the chance to showcase their talent. After the performances end, the free massage raffle winner is announced, followed by a karaoke or just a playlist of crowd-pleaser’s where attendees can be surrounded by friends.
Over the course of three sessions ranging from spoken word and original poems to DJ battles and tap dancing, even a birthday surprise, Haines said he became emotional when looking out into the growing audience week after week from his idea.
“When I saw it, just looking at everything, it almost brought me to tears because this was literally the manifestation, the translation of pain into greatness into something good and that meant so much to me,” Haines said. “It made me feel like I didn’t go through all of that in vain.”
In subsequent semesters, after Haines graduates, he said he hopes for Kappa Kool to continue to grow while still always catering to the Baylor community.
*CORRECTION: The Lariat has amended the Byline to reflect the editing and contribution of news editor Sarah Asinof. Also, the Lariat has corrected the name of the physical therapist mentioned in the story, Theresa Surely*