Monthly Social Hour brings business school community together to celebrate faith

Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the Christ-Centered Diversity and Belonging Council's Monthly Social Hour to socialize and celebrate a faith theme of the month. Photo courtesy of Cindy Wu

By Rory Dulock | Staff Writer

The Christ-Centered Diversity and Belonging Council hosted its Monthly Social Hour from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday at the FOS Atrium. The event was a come-and-go meeting where faculty, staff and students were invited to socialize and celebrate the faith theme of the month.

Dr. Cindy Wu, professor of management and associate dean of diversity and belonging at the Hankamer School of Business, said the Monthly Social Hour is a way to bring the school together.

“The first event was in November 2023, and then the second event was in this past January, and then [this is] our third event,” Wu said. “So we’re hoping to make it a constant, just a regular offering on a monthly basis. It’s for everybody within the business school, … so it’s just a fun way for people to come together.”

Wu said the idea for creating the Monthly Social Hour came from students’ responses to a survey she conducted when she first arrived at Baylor.

“Students expressed the desire to have more things in the atrium and more opportunities to get to know the professors and other fellow students and staff members, and just a greater sense of who we are in this big community,” Wu said.

Wu said the Christ-Centered Diversity and Belonging Council decided to create the routine gathering on the last Thursday of every month, pointing people to Christ and focusing on related virtues from Colossians 3:12-14.

“[Colossians reads,] ‘Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly beloved, close yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity,'” Wu said. “So we thought this is such a good summary of what virtues we need to hold.”

At the Monthly Social Hour, there are activities for students, faculty and staff designed to make people think about the virtue of the month.

“We also have three prompts along with each virtue,” Wu said. “So this is something that my council and I discussed to think about, first, the definition of the virtue — how we can define a virtue in such a way that’s authentic to its own meaning. But at the same time, it’s understandable, it’s approachable, it’s easily understood, but at the same time concise for the public.”

Wu said the council had to come up with creative ideas to get conversations started.

“We also sort of informally recruit faculty, staff or whoever has the heart to engage people in the conversation,” Wu said. “So we made little buttons for people to wear, and on those buttons, it says, ‘How can I pray for you?’ ‘How can I encourage you?’ or ‘Jesus changed my life. Ask me how.’ So we have these little things just for people to wear as a way to remind us we are engaging people.”

Dr. Stephanie Kunst, assistant professor of management, said the activities that deal with the faith theme of the month are meant to let members of the business school community bond with one another.

“Despite how different we may be, how different we may look, the different roles that we have within the HSB, these are supposed to be anchoring questions to help us kind of think about, how do we relate with one another and how do we belong in this community?” Kunst said.

Since the event is unstructured, Kunst said it allows for more mingling among faculty, staff and students.

“Sometimes you’ll see people share what could be prayed over, and some people will pair off in twos or threes to pray real quickly for a particular student or particular faculty member, and then others will just spark conversation,” Kunst said. “Anyone in the HSB can benefit from this event.”

Wu said the Monthly Social Hour stands out from other events at the business school due to its fun environment that allows everyone to come together.

“I think [Monthly Social Hour is] unique and important in the sense that we don’t have many such casual events that includes everybody, that encourages everybody to attend,” Wu said. “Usually it’s student activities, or it’s a career event or the company info session, or it’s a faculty development workshop. So we don’t really have something that’s social, but at the same time, that’s meaningful and also fun. So this is one of those things that we design, and hopefully, it will carry out in the future.”