By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer
The Oct. 15 deadline to apply to be a community leader is approaching, and Campus Living and Learning continues to call for new students to join the team.
CLs serve students in Baylor’s residential communities by exemplifying and implementing the values and policies of CL&L. They lead by fostering relationships, mentoring residents and facilitating learning.
Rob Engblom, associate director for residential learning, said CL&L typically has about two to three applicants for each available position, although the number of open positions depends on how many CLs return to serve multiple years. He said CLs who are invited back to the position by supervisors do not have to go through the application process again and are given the opportunity to transfer to a different community.
“We have, a lot of times, CLs come back for a second- or even a third-year position,” Engblom said.
Engblom said he encourages applicants to be themselves during the interview process because there’s no “cookie-cutter community leader.” He said the current CLs are a diverse group of students.
“We really believe God gifts people uniquely,” Engblom said. “Each candidate has their own unique strengths that they can use toward the position.”
Apart from religious, academic and course requirements, CL&L seeks out certain characteristics in applicants.
“Some of those traits we would like to see is they really have a heart to serve others and a passion to be in community with others,” Engblom said. “We were looking for people who are ethical, who make good decisions and are excited to make an impact.”
Kari Pakarinen, community leader mentor for North Russell Hall, said the most rewarding aspect of the job has been fostering “deep-rooted connections” with the residents.
“Being there for them and showing them how deeply I love, care for and want to support them has been so special,” Pakarinen said.
Pakarinen also said even though managing time can be challenging, the position has taught her many important life skills.
“From crisis management, people skills, leadership development and more, I feel so blessed to be in a position where I am continually growing as a result of such incredible professional staff that are invested in my personal growth and success,” Pakarinen said.
Andrew Thomas, community leader mentor for the Honors Residential College, said he believes CL&L is looking for servant leaders who are willing to help students transition to college. He said they also look for people who will encourage others to make the most out of their years at Baylor while maintaining a Christian foundation at the root of their work.
Thomas also said the position is one that can be very fruitful but requires intentionality and diligence.
“The days are long, but the memories are worth it,” Thomas said. “The open door we have into the lives of our residents gives us the best platform to be a positive influence. That’s why I love this job.”