By Audrey Patterson | Reporter
Teal Residential College houses engineering, computer science and nursing students of all classifications. According to the residence’s mission statement, Teal “is a Christ-centered fellowship that fosters the pursuit of wisdom, academic excellence and meaningful relationships with students and faculty for the development of diverse, innovative leaders.”
Teal program director Sarah Miller said a strong support system is achieved when you immerse yourself in a community.
“There’s something to be said about this mindset that our students have to have because they really do have to work hard,” Miller said. “What that creates in our community is this idea of work hard, play hard. And it’s all this healthy negotiation of wanting to be really committed academically, but we also want to engage in all these other aspects of our lives. So doing that together, I think that’s what’s really special.”
Ponder junior Spencer Stinson is a biomedical engineering student who lived in Teal for the first two years of her Baylor experience.
“Teal’s really dedicated to having community with the people around you,” Stinson said. “I definitely felt that, especially freshman year before COVID-19 hit, we constantly were doing events that were all appealing to community. And so you just got to meet everybody that was around you.”
Miller said she believes everything at Teal is intentional and catered to students.
“We really try to take a holistic programming model, and so that means giving them the space to grow spiritually and to reflect on those things,” Miller said. “That means giving them opportunities just to have fun together because they need a break from all the studying that they’re doing.”
Stinson said she had multiple experiences in which she was able to collaborate with students who had studied similar things, leading to collaboration outside of class time.
“Whenever I needed help with my homework, and it was in the middle of the night, and I was just struggling to get it done, I could literally walk down to the lobby, and there would be like three or four people there that had taken the classes that I was struggling with,” Stinson said. “And they would just help me out for a couple of minutes and explain the problems to me.”
Teal is intentionally designed with its specific students in mind, Miller said.
“So a real point of convenience is that the classrooms there, that we have a library where you can check out textbooks for free if the textbook you need is there, and the dining hall is in our front yard,” Miller said.
Teal has an engineering lab on the first floor for freshman engineering courses and other late-night creations.
“There’s also just a lot of wooden PVC and other supplies in there that you’re free to use,” Stinson said. “So if you ever would just want to make something, you can just go down there and chill in there, and there’s a bunch of tools that are for us.”
Teal has many special traditions, ranging from cardboard boat races to a formal dance.
“One of the other traditions that I really love that happens this time of year is called Love and Cookies,” Miller said. “We bring in a panel of faculty and staff who are somehow connected to our community to talk about love and relationships and marriage and answer students’ questions about that. And so that shows you the example of, ‘Hey, we’re doing some things that are really catering to this part of your life and growing and developing in that way.’”