Behind the scenes of being a community leader

Baylor's community leaders (CLs) go through a rigorous process to ensure that students living in dorms have a positive, welcoming environment. Audrey La | Photographer

By Cavan Burns | Reporter

Although students living on campus arrived in August, their community leaders (CLs) started preparations for them almost a year in advance.

The process to become a CL started with an in-depth application, which — according to Baylor’s website — closed on Oct. 15, requiring interested students to apply before even finishing their midterms.

Jasmine Jennings, senior coordinator for recruitment, training and advising of CLs, said there are first- and second-round interviews that follow the application and take place in mid-November.

Jennings said the next step is to invite the group of prospective candidates to the CL class they would take the upcoming semester.

“They won’t have a chance to be hired for the spring semester, but with them going through the class, they’ll be able to be hired for next school year,” Jennings said. “When going through the class, we don’t guarantee that everybody gets hired.”

Jennings said the applicants can either be hired or be placed in an alternate pool.

Jennings said since she arrived at Baylor in July 2019, she made it a goal to learn the behind-the-scenes operations of Baylor’s Campus Living & Learning experience. However, within her first year at Baylor, the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Fort Worth senior Austin Gould was a CL at Martin Residence Hall the year prior to the pandemic and in 2019, when COVID-19 sent students home for the remainder of the semester.

“It wasn’t the same with COVID and just all the new rules and everything,” Gould said.

Gould said he became a CL because it was a good financial and ministry opportunity for him. Despite the challenges, Gould said he enjoyed all the connections he made as a CL.

“It’s a lot to work where you live, but I made my two best friends at Baylor,” Gould said. “I was a CL for two years at Martin, and both of my immediate bosses I really enjoyed.”

Gould said he recommends anyone interested in the position weigh all the factors before making their decision.

“If people are thinking about doing it, I wouldn’t make the decision based on solely financials,” Gould said. “You have to actually want to pour into residents and seek it as a ministry opportunity. You have to be passionate about people if you’re going to do the job well.”