By Meredith Howard | Staff Writer, Video by Nate Smith | Broadcast Reporter
BeaRing the Night, a new tradition beginning at Baylor, involves students leaving their Baylor Rings in boxes within the Bear Habitat on campus with Joy and Lady the night before the official ring ceremony.
Jan Dodd, associate director of alumni traditions, imagined and helped develop this new tradition. She said that part of her inspiration was learning about other universities’ ring traditions, and about how schools with live mascots have done something similar.
Dodd said that all official Baylor Rings purchased during ring week will be included in this ceremony. She said the first ceremony, held last year, was a success.
“We partnered with Baylor Chamber of Commerce and they put up a wonderful event for us,” Dodd said.
Baylor Chamber has members that are professionally trained to work with Joy and Lady.
Dodd said students were notified by email that their rings would be included in the ceremony beforehand so they had the opportunity to watch their ring be placed with the bears and see the bears’ reactions.
“The bears were brought in and they interacted with the box for about 30 minutes to an hour,” Dodd said.
Fort Worth junior Sydney Smith said she thinks participating in the BeaRing tradition would be an interesting story to pass down.
“It would be fun; it would be a random fun fact to tell whenever you have the ring and tell your grandchildren, ‘Guess what? This was in a bear habitat at one point,'” Smith said.
Shreveport, La., junior Reagan Luce said she tentatively plans to purchase a Baylor Ring, and she was concerned about the security of the rings during this tradition. The rings are not taken out of the boxes while in the habitat, but Luce said she would still prefer if her future ring was not a part of this new tradition.
“I feel like that is not safe,” Luce said.
McKinney junior Maddie LaLonde also said she was a worried about the rings’ safety.
“They’re really expensive. I’m sure that they would have it figured out liability-wise, but that makes me nervous,” LaLonde said.
Baylor has hosted a live mascot on campus since 1917, but until last year, the bears hadn’t played a part in christening rings.
This semester’s ring week will take place Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. The official ring ceremony will be held on Dec. 10 in Waco Hall.
More information about Baylor traditions can be found on the Baylor website.