Baylor launches NextGen Bears program

Baylor announced a new alumni engagement program called NextGen Bears, offering spirit boxes for children. Photo courtesy of Jordan Oestreich

By Matt Kyle | Staff Writer

Baylor recently announced the launch of a new alumni engagement program called NextGen Bears.

Spirit boxes filled with Baylor gear can be ordered from the program’s website to give to the next generation of Baylor Bears. There are several different boxes to choose from, each intended for a different age group. Each box costs $50 plus tax and shipping.

Jordan Oestreich, assistant director of alumni engagement, said Baylor wanted to reach the younger generation of potential future Baylor Bears.

“We’ve got so many Baylor parents and grandparents that love Baylor and want to instill that in their children and their grandchildren,” Oestrich said. “We want to come alongside and assist that. The goal would be to create big Bear fans and future generations of Baylor Bears through this program.”

Amy Armstrong, associate vice president for alumni engagement, said the NextGen Bears program is similar to past programs, but previous programs were more donation-based. She said NextGen Bears is different by offering tangible items.

“It was a perfect time to relaunch the idea,” Armstrong said. “Our alums are just so in love with Baylor, and they want to share it. And so this gives them a way to do that within their families.”

While much of the communication will be directed to alumni, Oestrich said anyone can order a spirit box.

Spirit boxes for infants include a onesie, a bib and a bear plushie. Boxes for ages 4-6 include a NextGen shirt, Dr Pepper jelly beans, a Baylor coloring book, stickers and a pennant. Boxes for ages 7-12 include the shirt, pennant, jelly beans and stickers as well as a Baylor poster and lunch box. Boxes for ages 13 and up include the same things as those for ages 7-12, but with a duffle bag instead of the Baylor poster and lunch box.

Oestrich said the boxes will be available to order until the end of May and will be shipped in early August. Armstrong said the goal with that delivery timeline is to get the spirit boxes to kids as the school year and football season are starting. She also said that the items in the spirit boxes are exclusive to the NextGen Bears program and that the spirit boxes will be available to order each year going forward.

“You can’t get them in the bookstore; you can’t get them online,” Armstrong said. “These are all special logoed items just for this program. Then the designs change every year, so you won’t be getting the same thing over and over again.”

Armstrong said the alumni engagement office has found that it is sometimes difficult to find Baylor gear, especially for small children, outside of major Texas cities, and the NextGen program is meant to solve this problem. Oestrich said there have already been requests for spirit boxes outside of the U.S.

“I spoke with someone on Friday in London who has ordered a NextGen box,” Oestrich said. “They’re so excited. We’re kind of pulling a few strings to get the box there. There’s a lot of excitement generated, and that was a really neat and crazy phone call to get.”