By Clara Snyder | Staff Writer
The Student Foundation, or Stu-fu, is an organization dedicated to serving Baylor’s past, present and future. Nicole Ma, the co-president of the foundation, said Stu-fu is one of the big three university-sponsored organizations on campus and is the only club at Baylor with its own building.
“This is our 53rd year of service, and we get to continue to build off of over 50 years of legacy of people who came before us to do really wonderful things on campus,” Ma said. “We are one of the most unique student groups not only on campus but throughout the nation to do the things we do.”
Ma said the organization is unique in a number of ways, from working with the university, to partnering with administration, to allocating money for fellow students, to networking with alumni.
“Being a part of one of the biggest organizations on campus and one of the three university-sponsored organizations (others are chamber and student government) has been one of the most transformative and rewarding opportunities I’ve had in my college career,” Ma said.
Jessica Ford, chief of staff at Stu-fu, said the leadership and communication skills she has gained from the foundation will benefit her life beyond Baylor when she enters the work force.
“To be a part of this organization is so special … the friendships that you make with the other general members as well as the relationships that you build with prospective students and alumni,” Ford said. “[There is] just so much joy in serving the way that we do … It’s so special to know so much of the Baylor family.”
According to the Student Activities website, the foundation has three positions: campus promotions, alumni relations and student recruitment. Ma said the foundation looks for upperclassman students as members.
“We know that by then, [students typically know] the inner functions of the campus and are already super involved,” Ma said. “In our organization, across our nine officers, all of us could probably cover every part of campus just based off of what we’re involved with. Fraternities or sororities, other ministries or just sporting clubs — no matter what you’re involved with on campus, it will not hold you back from joining the organization.”
The Student Foundation organizes several events for the Baylor community. Among those events is Bearathon. According to Ma, the Bearathon has been quoted as the toughest half marathon in Texas.
“400 people signed up so far,” Ma said. “That’s a wonderful milestone to hit — a yearly average of $290,000-$300,000 in scholarships donated out to student scholarships.”
Another Baylor tradition, All-University Thanksgiving, is organized by the Student Foundation in partnership with Baylor Dining and student government. This past year’s Thanksgiving extravaganza served the Baylor family with 100 gallons of hot cocoa, 2,878 lbs of turkey, 1,969 lbs of ham, 2,000 lbs of mashed potatoes and 8,160 slices of pumpkin pie.
“Doing All-University Thanksgiving is something that’s so special because we’re all gathering around the table and just being in thanksgiving together for the things that we’re able to do and the things that we have,” Ford said. “Especially as students enrolled at Baylor and getting the education that we are, there’s so much to be thankful for.”
Ma said the tradition goes beyond the food served and that there is an impact that cannot be explained in numbers.
“We know that not everyone gets to go home to a family or even a stable household sometimes, or maybe they haven’t even experienced Thanksgiving at all,” Ma said. “We just want to serve our campus and serve our [fellow] students.”
The events serve the students in more ways than one, Ma said, and the money they spend and earn is allocated to best serve the students.
“Anything we do in the Student Foundation is geared toward serving others and serving students,” Ma said. “All the proceeds [from our events] go toward student scholarships, and anyone at Baylor can apply for these scholarships.”
Ma was also the first Asian-American homecoming queen at Baylor. She said to her, this experience did not define her accomplishments; it was just an honor to represent the school she loves that has challenged her to grow.
“Especially because of the things that are happening in the U.S. with a lot of these miscued stereotypes and things like that are very hurtful, it was a pretty big feat,” Ma said.
Ford said the Student Foundation is an invaluable part of Baylor’s campus because it serves three facets of people: students, faculty and prospective students.
“A lot of the outreach that happens to prospective students on college campuses is through a job,” Ma said. “But we talk to prospective students at college fairs and are able to share our experience in a way that is volunteering and service rather than an admissions job.”
Additionally, Ford said the organization is crucial to connecting with alumni. She said when people graduate, they want to feel connected to their past, and the foundation works to keep that connection alive.
“All we want to do is love the people that came to Baylor before us and made it what it is today,” Ford said. “Being able to serve them and love on them and welcome them back when they visit is something I would want to be done for me when I graduate. Because of the legacy they left, there’s so much to celebrate in that and thank them for.”
Ma said the future of the Student Foundation and Baylor has her nothing but excited. Students interested in joining the Student Foundation can apply any time before March 20. Interest meetings will take place from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 and March 1 at the Ed Crenshaw Student Foundation Center.