By Sarah Pinkerton | Staff Writer
Dia Del Oso has been an annual tradition at Baylor since 1932 and this year is no exception. In light of social distancing rules, the university re-adjusted this year’s Dia with a day-long lineup of interactive and virtual events. For the first time in 88 years, Baylor students are not on campus for the day’s activities.
With over 75 Instagram story posts along with many more re-tweets and Facebook posts, many members of the Baylor family got involved.
The day was began at 9 a.m. with an official welcome and an at-home fun run and hosted by members of the Baylor Chamber. Participants were inspired to get outside wherever they are by running, walking or biking in their Baylor gear.
Lindale senior Kelsi Kilgore, Dia Del Oso general assistant for the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, said the event planning had to start from scratch with the new change.
In a video posted to Twitter and Instagram with over 270 views, Dr. Linda Livingstone welcomed the Baylor Family to the virtual series of events as she stated that this was a chance to bring the Baylor family together in community.
“We always start Dia with a fun run, first thing in the morning,” Livingstone said in the video. “So you can do that today as well as start your day with some kind of physical activity.”
Participants then posted photos of themselves running their own at-home fun run to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #BaylorDia. These photos were then re-posted on Baylor’s accounts and featured student selfies after their run, an alumnus running a half-marathon, an alumnus taking a walk with her daughter and more.
In addition, throughout the day, a virtual Super Smash Brothers Tournament was held between prospective and current Baylor students, with John Holcroft taking first place.
This was a free event with the winners receiving a Dia Del Oso prize pack including items from Common Grounds, Magnolia Table, Dr Pepper and Dia merchandise.
Hideaway senior Corban Sorrells, chairman of Dia Del Oso, said that while there were many engaging activities, unique animals and rides planned originally, they’ve gotten to include some old traditions in this year’s version.
“Dia Del Oso is a great event because it is so unique,” Sorrells said. “It’s not necessarily as bound to tradition as Homecoming might be so Dia is just a fun and unique experience. It looks different every year.”
At noon, around 300 to 400 people joined the Facebook Livestream to watch Lady and Joy eat their annual Noon Meal from campus. Commentators provided information on the bear’s daily diets and exercise routines.
Judge Lady was served a plate with the Dia letters spelled out with Maraschino cherries, prunes and blueberries and a fake TV remote formed out of meat, blueberries and mandarin oranges.
Commentators also gave viewers more information on the black bear species, the history of Joy and Lady’s names, information on the habitat they live in on campus and even an update on Lady’s Tomotherapy and health.
At 2 p.m., First Gentleman, Brad Livingstone and his dog, BU, held a virtual dog show. Participants sent in a 10-second video of their dogs in Baylor gear or doing tricks.
A 5–minute video was then posted from outside of the Albritton House on Instagram TV with clips and pictures from over 30 submissions. A dog named Noodle and even a submission from a rabbit won honorable mention.
The top three entries were named “Pesto”, featuring photos of her with pictures of the First Gentleman edited next to her, “Bella” as she played “Duck Duck Bear” and “Sunday” taking first place as he ran the Baylor Line.
Dr Pepper Hour, a Tuesday tradition at Baylor since 1953, was then hosted at 3 p.m. as Baylor accounts re-posted photos of different people’s Dr Pepper floats from home.
A scavenger hunt list was also released on social media around 5 p.m. Participants were given one hour to collect a list of items such as a Baylor shirt, Dia shirt, items from local businesses, tickets from sporting events, hand sanitizer and more.
They were told to search for them in their own homes and post a picture of them to social media to be eligible to win one of five prizes.
People posted photos to their Instagram stories, Instagram pages, Twitter and Facebook. The first five received a prize with objects from local Waco businesses such as Dr Pepper and Magnolia Table.
“So we partnered with the Dr Pepper museum here in Waco and they have given us some of the commemorative national championship bottles from the Women’s National Championship,” Sorrells said. “They gave us some commemorative Dr Pepper bottles that will be included in there. They gave us some Dr Pepper flavored jelly beans.”
To finish off the day, contemporary Christian artist, Phil Wickham performed a private live stream concert from San Diego on the Virtual Student Programs page.
“I’m so sorry that the things you’re excited about have changed but I do, if anything, want to remind you about the God who can take the disappointments and the negativity, the darkness, the bad,” Wickham said in the livestream. “He can take the hard seasons and create something so beautiful and so worthwhile that you look back and say thank you for that.”
He sang songs such as “Great Things”, “Living Hope”and “ and “’Til I Found You” and answered 10 questions sent in by Baylor students such as what he remembers most about the last time he was in Waco and what advice he has for students as they finish the semester.
Frisco sophomore Victoria Rhodes said it was a good time of reflection for her and it felt just like Phil Wickham was interacting with viewers.
“Normally, the people around you are what make a concert so fun, but I think that by having a worship artist this year made it a really sweet experience even though I wasn’t with other people,” Rhodes said.
While many things certainly had to change, virtual Diadeloso brought a sense of togetherness for many members of the Baylor family.