Baby Bears share how homecoming creates community

After Baylor scores, members of the Baylor Line run across the field with flags spelling out Baylor as the crowd gets hyped. Kristen DeHaven | Multimedia Journalist

By Sophie Acebo | Reporter

Baylor homecoming is a long-standing tradition that holds special meaning for current students, faculty, alumni and Waco residents.

For Baylor freshmen, homecoming represents what they have to look forward to in years to come and showcases Baylor community and spirit.

Little Rock, Ark., freshman Ellie Fuller experienced homecoming for the first time and was in the parade, a moment that she said she will remember forever.

“My first Baylor experience was awesome,” Fuller said. “I always expected myself to be an observer throughout the parade; I never thought I would have the opportunity to be in it.”

Compared to her high school, Fuller said that Baylor’s large homecoming parade was like nothing she had experienced in the past.

“If I could describe it in one word, I would say ‘extravagant,’” Fuller said. “My high school was very small, and our floats did not compare to those that are found in Baylor’s homecoming parade.”

All are welcome to attend the homecoming festivities, and this strong sense of community was something Fuller said resonated with her.

“I love how many people come to watch the parade; it reminds me of how big and welcoming a school Baylor is,” Fuller said.

Plano freshman Bethany Kula also said that she reminisced on her high school homecoming and how it differs from the transition into Baylor’s collegiate homecoming celebration.

“Homecoming in high school was more about the dance, over-the-top mums, who was going to ask you to the dance and the football game,” Kula said. “Baylor’s homecoming is more focused on community, getting connected to alumni, and, of course, the football game.”

Many alumni come back to visit Baylor’s homecoming festivities long after they graduate, which is a part of the tradition that sticks with many freshmen like Kula.

“Having alumni on campus made me more connected than ever to Baylor,” Kula said. “I grew up hearing about it and actually attending the activities made it that much better.”

The Friday night bonfire on Fountain Mall was Kula’s favorite event and was one example of the homecoming festivities that she said help strengthen the feeling of community.

“As I was standing there watching the fireworks go off and seeing them light the bonfire, I had this sense of calmness and knew that I picked the right school for me,” Kula said. “The bonfire was something that I’ll remember forever.”

Frisco freshman Zachary Garcia said he will never forget the intense football game Saturday afternoon against Texas Tech University in which the Bears were able to keep their undefeated streak alive in double overtime.

“The game was probably the most exciting part of this homecoming,” Garcia said. “Being able to win that in overtime was a lot of fun; the energy was great and I had a really fun time running the Line.”

Being an out-of-state student can make the transition into college challenging, but for Seattle freshman Jade Franklin, the sense of unity that homecoming brings gave her a comforting feeling that will last for years to come.

“With homecoming, it’s a lot about unity, and coming from out-of-state, it can be hard to feel welcomed; but this homecoming felt like a welcome home,” Franklin said. “With every passing year, I feel like that will be more ingrained in me that this is a family.”