BU Parent Engagement ‘helps build a better Baylor experience’

Baylor student and her parents watch the football game against Texas State University during Family Weekend. Photo courtesy of Katherine Beach.

By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer

In August, Baylor was ranked No. 2 for most trusted universities by Morning Consult. The university has gained support from students’ parents on all aspects, and Baylor Parent Engagement has played a role in that.

According to its website, Baylor Parent Engagement ensures parents are actively involved in their children’s journeys by connecting them with information, resources and events on campus.

Through the office, parents have the opportunity to get connected by planning events like parent prayer meetings and care packaging parties. These events can be held both in state and out of state, and they provide philanthropic opportunities for parents to donate a gift to the university.

Gail Offringa, director of Parent Engagement, said there are many different programs that benefit all students, and parents can help by donating.

In the past, Parent Engagement has funded projects such as installing the outdoor fitness court, updating library furniture, piloting the financial literacy program and helping finance the canopy that keeps students in the shade during football games.

“People love [the canopy],” Offringa said. “They can’t imagine what it was like before that was built because it was really, really hot. Parent fund helps build a better Baylor experience, and its funds go beyond tuition and fees.”

According to Offringa, 20% of parent donors are Baylor alumni. She also said the average gift size is about $3,500, but most people give a $50 gift.

“We also have people of Parent Engagement who deal with the larger gifts,” Offringa said. “No matter how large or modest their gift is, it really pulls together [the Baylor family].”

Offringa said donors get to choose which branch they want their gift to fund, given the options of general parent fund, university libraries or student activities for student life. In exchange for their donation, they receive an impact report and a Baylor shirt.

According to Offringa, parents’ giving isn’t just about money. She also said parents can volunteer to lead parent prayer meetings, host send-off parties for incoming Baylor freshmen and mentor students to be successful.

“We also say that parents give their time, their talent or their treasure,” Offringa said. “All of those three are equally as important, [and] all of them work together.”

Monica Von Waaden, a parent of recent Baylor graduates, said it has been a treasure to invest in Baylor as a family.

“From participating in all of the carefully crafted programs like send-offs and parents in prayer, to working with the development team through philanthropy, we have become part of the Baylor family — a part of the sweetest of gifts,” Von Waaden said. “We encourage you to also live the best of Baylor. Together, we are able to leave a legacy for future Bears and their families to come.”

Von Waaden also said Baylor is an abundant blessing that is “too good not to share.”

Offringa said she does not know which students are aware that their parents have given gifts to Baylor, but those who do know are always happy about it.

“Students love knowing that their parents are giving to Baylor and that all students are benefiting from it,” Offringa said.