By Meredith Howard | Staff Writer
While some Baylor students eat, bleed and breathe green and gold, others find themselves constantly making jokes about our Baptist university, but we all have something in common. While we all benefit from the many opportunities Baylor offers, most of us have also been frustrated with some university policy or stance at some point in our Baylor careers.
It’s important to balance school spirit with recognizing Baylor’s faults and wanting to fix them. Constantly bragging about Baylor’s No. 12 football ranking — sic ’em — and rising status as a research institution seems like it would uplift the Baylor community, but praise alone can’t improve a college. In contrast, it’s also unhealthy to only focus on the things of which you disagree with at Baylor. A balance is needed to become the kind of student Baylor needs — one who will mourn with our community over tragedies and mistrials and truly want our school to not only succeed athletically, but also to hold our students accountable for their actions.
As with many things, balancing a will to improve Baylor and a feeling of commitment and belonging is easier said than done. Here are a few simple ways to get started.
The first habit to establish is following Baylor in the news. It’s not possible to have an informed opinion on your institution if the only information you receive about it is from its PR department. Engaging in meaningful discussions about Baylor’s scandals can actually be constructive because blindly accepting Baylor’s mistakes isn’t showing love to the school. The only way to truly give back to the university is by leaving it better than you found it, and that improvement can’t be achieved if you don’t acknowledge it’s necessary to improve Baylor in the first place.
An easy way to help develop school spirit is by attending athletic games and multicultural events on campus. Another way to feel a sense of belonging is by developing relationships with both faculty members and other students. This will not only help you build a community at Baylor but will also assist in networking opportunities for future jobs.
Another point to balance the scales is to write a letter to the Lariat when you disagree with something Baylor has done, or when you appreciate what it is doing. Letters can be sent to Lariat-Letters@baylor.edu, or they can be submitted online.
Contacting administrative officials is another option to make your voice heard, and it’s a good opportunity to try and create tangible policy change. If you have a disagreement about a specific academic policy, consider reaching out to the dean of the department in question. However, it’s important to call out Baylor’s shortcomings out of love. It’s not good to complain without the driving force of improvement.
Overall, it’s vital to Baylor’s health for its students to hold it in check and celebrate its successes. It may be easier to simply decide whether you like Baylor or not, but this way of thinking perpetuates large stereotypes about the university and is generally unhelpful in improving our institution.