By Carson Lewis | Page One Editor
I can remember when I first arrived on Baylor’s campus. The visitor center had a wonderful video to welcome me, with bright, sunny depictions of the campus and images of friendly students going to class and sitting in conveniently beautiful areas around Baylor.
It’s something I’d seen before. I toured colleges across the nation during my high school years and had visited 20+ by the time I graduated. It seemed that most of the methods of enticing students to come to college were shared across the board.
Schools would show a short video over breakfast or lunch, then student tour guides would emerge and introduce themselves and their major. They would then lead visitors on a tour of the school’s most recently renovated dorm and well-equipped sports facilities while listing off statistics and services available for students.
By the time I visited Waco, I had seen this over a dozen times. But something about the campus atmosphere stood out to me. While many schools prided themselves on tradition and university spirit, I felt like that claim was most authentic at Baylor. Part of that was due to the Baylor benches, which I felt brought a unique feeling to campus and provided much more for students than just a place to sit. While lovely, I fear they’re falling into disrepair and neglect.
The benches and swings of Baylor are painted with the lovely school colors of Baylor: green and gold. However, now they seem to look faded and worn. When walking around campus last week, I noticed that several benches had several planks missing and broken from it. There was no way to sit down on one, as the boards were missing entirely! Even if some benches are functional, often their paint is chipped, and they look aged and uncomfortable. I think that this is a massive issue for the university and the way it tries to market itself to outsiders and construct a home for current students and faculty.
With official University efforts in recent months to unify the Baylor brand, I think that a redecoration and, perhaps, replacing the benches could be key to the Baylor marketing strategy. With a fresh coat of paint, and perhaps a more sleek and comfortable design (perhaps with a more ergonomic design to complement the shape of the back when sitting), the Baylor benches could once again be the pride of campus.
The benches and swings today are very frequently used by students and serve as a great photo opportunity for guests to campus to remember Baylor. This can only work, however, if they are comfortable and well kept. They can be one of the highlights of tours, rather than an unfortunate eyesore.