Baylor external affairs promotes local businesses

Jessica Dugan, general manager of Luna Juice Bar, pours a smoothie for a customer. Mireya Sol Ruiz | Multimedia Editor

By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer

Local businesses are partnering with Baylor’s Go Gold! Program under the Solid Gold Neighbor initiative city growth pillar to encourage local shopping by offering discounts.

The goal of the city growth pillar is to keep students and staff in Waco after their time at Baylor. By partnering with local businesses, Krista Brinser, external affairs assistant director of community relations, said she hopes the initiative will foster relationships between the campus community and Waco so they want to call the city home.

The Go Gold! Program has partnered with over 60 businesses since last summer, and the list continues to grow. The program also hosts events on campus for the Waco community, organizes cultural events at the Mayborn Museum Complex and has special events and other activities in addition to driving campus traffic their way.

“Everything we do is built on the power of collaboration and partnership,” Brinser said. “We partner externally, but we also have incredibly strong internal partnerships. We wouldn’t be able to do any of the work that we do without the people that we link arms with, and it wouldn’t be valuable unless those partners were to pick it up too.”

Not only do their business partners offer discounts on dining at local restaurants like La Fiesta and Torchy’s Tacos, but they also offer them for gym memberships, museums and leisure activities.

There are five pillars to the Solid Gold Neighbor initiative along with city growth: economic development, health, education and cultural wealth.

Holly Burchett, external affairs director of community growth, focuses on the health pillar to bring awareness to good healthy habits in the community.

“Through the health pillar of the Solid Gold Neighbor initiative we hope to provide connection, coordination and engagement to bridge resources between Baylor and Waco,” Burchett said.

Currently, the program is planning the Gil Taylor Behavioral Health Symposium in collaboration with local health entities. Burchett hopes the event will create a greater awareness around depression, anxiety and addiction.

Brinser is also looking forward to an upcoming project with Creative Waco called Chalk Waco. The night before the Silos District Marathon, professional artists will be creating chalk murals the size of parking spaces on Austin Avenue. Each mural will represent a different local business or supporter.

“To get this out, not only as a service to the campus community, but as a service to those local businesses knowing that the easiest way that Baylor can support the Waco community is by spending our money locally, makes a huge difference,” Brinser said.