Student Activities looks forward to a more normal semester

Baylor Student Activities hosts a weekly Dr. Pepper hour which gives students an opportunity to meet new people and grab a treat after class. Photo courtesy of Baylor Photography

By Tori Templet | Staff Writer

The Department of Student Activities is attempting to get back to normal this semester after a challenging year of navigating the pandemic. The organization is focused on moving forward as it works to bring the Baylor community back together through the return of its well-known events and traditions.

Matt Burchett, senior director of Student Activities, said that everyone involved is excited to return back to normal after a year and a half of not being able to enjoy some of the great traditions that make Baylor such a special place.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring back our traditional events,” Burchett said. “We have the opportunity to support student organizations and our programming boards, to create a vibrance around campus and we are excited to be able to cultivate that experience once again.”

Student Activities plans to put on many events this semester, from Pi Beta Phi’s Howdy, to Chili Cook-Off and Bed Races with Chi Omega and Alpha Tau Omega, to Pigskin Revue during Homecoming. However, along with the well-known traditions on campus, be on the lookout for Staycation Weekend that will take place throughout Labor Day weekend with the first Sundown Session of the semester, free farmers market vouchers and much more.

Student Activities has partnered with the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce to put on the Stars and Stripes Music Fest on Sept. 4th at McLane Stadium. They are offering a Baylor student discount where tickets are $15, which includes admission and dinner. This event will be packed full of music, food and fun.

Burchett said that the challenges Student Activities faced last semester allowed the organization to be open to new ideas and look through creative lenses.

“We learned how meaningful the Baylor experience is to our students and alumni and how important that sense of connection and belonging to this community is for our undergraduate students,” Burchett said. “I know when the pandemic first hit, we immediately became committed to the idea of not allowing some of our traditions to die or not exist, but more importantly to be deeply committed to cultivating a sense of connection and belonging for our students.”

San Antonio junior Veronika Hoelscher, current Baylor Activities Council president, said the pandemic brought the council a lot of opportunities to be innovative with events.

“There are things with COVID-19 that we never thought to expect, but we were able to turn it into something great,” Hoelscher said. “I think it allowed everyone to bring out different aspects of themselves. It was challenging, but I think we made the most of it.”

Hoelscher said last year brought the opportunity to come up with many different ways to make students feel included in the Baylor traditions and the council is feeling really optimistic for the future of events and traditions at Baylor.