Baylor & Beyond takes bite of the Big Apple over the break

San Antonio sophomore Taylor Jerry (left) visits Liberty Island with fellow residents. Photo courtesy of Leia Duncan

By Olivia Turner | Staff Writer

While most Bears go off to have their own adventures during spring break, many North Russell Residence Hall residents stick together for their travels. This year, Baylor and Beyond, the Living-Learning Communtiy at North Russell, will travel to the East Coast for a week in New York City.

The purpose of Baylor and Beyond is to expose students to new experiences to promote engagement in the Baylor community, said Leia Duncan, the program director. Baylor’s 15% international population provides exposure in and of itself, but she said she wants to take it a step further with the New York trip.

“That’s what we do when we go to New York: we learn about all the history, we learn about the different communities that have come through from the world,” Duncan said.

She has planned activities in a narrative order, she said, which will help the students better understand the history of the city and state.

The itinerary starts residents at Liberty and Ellis Islands to learn about the city’s beginnings, then to immigrant neighborhoods to indulge in historic eats, to Broadway for a “Hamilton” showing, a walking tour in Harlem to learn about the Harlem Renaissance and ending at the The National September 11 Memorial & Museum on the last day of the trip.

“It is kind of building a story as they go, too, starting with the history and ending up with learning about the whole world,” Duncan said.

While there are plenty of learning experiences to be had on the trip, Duncan said students are also granted free time to walk around the city. She said she would argue there is learning that happens even during the leisure.

“You are learning when you travel, even if you don’t realize it,” Duncan said. “You’re absorbing all this amazing new information, and that’s what we wanted to create with this trips.”

This trip comes with a price tag. Expenses such as hotels,
food and transportation must be taken into account, which leaves students with a price tag of up to $1,300, Duncan said.

To combat the cost, Duncan said the Baylor and Beyond LLC travels with the Fine Arts LLC for the trip, though they have their own itinerary to align with their arts experiences. Duncan also said the languages department has given them a scholarship to lessen the costs even further, leaving $1,000 for students
to pay.

“This is the best price you could get to be in New York for a week,” San Antonio sophomore Taylor Jerry said.

Jerry is a community leader in North Russell traveling with the Baylor and Beyond LLC, and this will be her second year going on the trip. She said her involvement with the LLC has been the best part of her Baylor experience and the New York trip is a wonderful experience for students.

Jerry said her involvement with Baylor and Beyond and her time spent living at North Russell has shown her that exposure to different people and cultures is significant, especially to students and their futures.

“There are very few places on campus where you can be exposed to so many people from different cultural backgrounds,” Jerry said. “I always believe that no matter what profession we end up in, we all strive to help as many people as we can. And to do that to the best of our ability, we must learn and expose ourselves to other cultures to truly understand their needs.”