Baylor Boost club fosters community for fully online students

Abhi Puppala, co-president of the Baylor Boost Club saw the need for a supportive, online meeting space. Christina Cannady | Photographer

By Erianne Lewis | Intern

The push for virtual education due to the pandemic, students at Baylor are able to opt-in to take classes fully online. Student-led organization Baylor Boost was created at the end of the fall semester with a dedication to facilitating connections for these online-only students.

Kingston, Jamaica freshman Kyra Potter, co-president of Baylor Boost, said it started off as a way for incoming freshmen to feel more connected with the Baylor community despite not being on campus.

“It was mainly geared to be a platform for freshmen because we were new to the Baylor community in general. [It started as a place] where a few of us could just meet, get to know each other and socialize in general,” Potter said.

Potter, along with six other students, was contacted by Dr. Jeff Doyle, associate director of planning and assessment, to put together a group of students for the organization, Potter said.

“He asked us, ‘Is anybody interested in meeting on Zoom, getting to know other freshmen at Baylor [experiencing] the same problems as you?'” Potter said. “It started off with about seven of us and it just grew after a while. People really wanted a place where we could get to know Baylor better and get to know each other better.”

Aldie, Va. freshman Abhi Puppala, co-president of Baylor Boost, said that early on, it was apparent that this club had the possibility to be great.

“We saw so much potential in this club, so we really took advantage of it and rose it up,” Puppala said.

At the end of last semester, Potter said the members began to realize that their club was growing.

“The little meetings we were having were not enough to keep up with everything that we had planned for the organization. So, it all came up to voting amongst ourselves and recommending who would be best for [leadership] positions, based on what we were doing before,” Potter said.

Puppala said it was not difficult choosing which students took on which leadership position. Each student’s unique talents were taken into account when selecting roles.

“As co-president, not only do I engage with other students in the chat, but I also make sure my leadership team is communicating with each other. I make sure everything is running smoothly,” Puppala said.

As the semester advances, Puppala and Potter said they urge students to hop on Zoom and check out what Baylor Boost has to offer.

“We have tons of socials each week and anyone can join. We have a link on our website and on Baylor Connect,” Puppala said. “[Each] week we always talk, play games and communicate about our lives and school sometimes. It’s a fun, all-around get-to-know-each-other event.”

The club recently has an informational social where students were shown different online resources and activities that the university offers that students can access.

“We also have our weekly social, where we just gather and chill and talk. That happens every Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CST,” Potter said.

Baylor Boost’s mission is to provide inclusivity to Baylor’s online-only students during this challenging time.

“It’s mainly a place where we students, who are online-only, feel included in the Baylor community. We feel like we are not alone and we are still able to get to know each other,” Potter said.