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Lariat TV News Today: Baylor community’s COVID numbers trend in the right direction, a look into the 2021 Baylor Line and this week’s football preview.

This week on Lariat TV News Today, we give you a look into Baylor University’s COVID-19 numbers are moving in the right direction, as campus returns to normal.

We hear from Director of Student Activities, Matt Burchett about what you need to know to run the Baylor line and spotlight an incoming student with a massive following on Spotify.

In sports, we preview Baylor’s upcoming season opener with Texas State as well as take a look at two international student athletes.

Student Spotlight: Freshman Tryston Obevoen

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor, Video By Brittany Tankersley | Broadcast reporter

Houston freshman Tryston Obevoen has amassed quite a following on Spotify, with over 625,861 monthly listeners. Obevoen, who goes by the stage name Sinoda, said he gained his following mainly by luck.

Obevoen said he started releasing music his junior year of high school after a freestyle battle with his friend during lunch. His friend recorded the video and posted it on Snapchat, where it gained traction. A mutual friend suggested Obevoen start recording at a studio, which helped him gain more notoriety, and he started to take it more seriously.

“[My music] got a little bit of traction and people were like, ‘Oh this is actually not just like a regular Soundcloud high school rapper. This has potential,’” Obevoen said. “I did a little TikTok thing, just to see how it would go, and we offered 100 bucks to anyone who made a good TikTok — with my current biggest song — that blew up three different times. It got eight million streams during that fad, then the anime community picked it up and it blew up with that fad. Then a big TikToker named Poloboy did a trend with it, and that blew up tremendously. Now it’s at like 22 million streams on Spotify, and that’s all thanks to TikTok.”

Obevoen said he has always been into art and sports, but music is where his passion lies.

“The only thing that I have consistently done is music,” Obevoen said. “Since I was about five, I started playing guitar, then I taught myself how to play piano, drums, bass, a little violin and ukulele.”

Obevoen said he has been compared to Ski Mask the Slump God in regards to his voice and the music he makes. He said he considers him to be an inspiration with a couple of the songs he has made. Another major inspiration is A$AP Rocky.

“He does a lot more than just making music. He also is a very artistic person; whether it’s his team or him, the brand of A$AP Rocky is awesome,” Obevoen said. “More so than even wanting to be an artist, I’ve always wanted to model. He does runway fashion, he models, photoshoots, stuff like that. That is really cool to me.”

His biggest inspiration, Obevoen said, is Nirvana, more specifically Kurt Cobain.

“I was watching an interview once about how he makes music and then figures out the meaning behind the lyrics afterward, and I’ve done that for every single one of my songs,” Obevoen said. “I rarely ever have meaning behind the lyrics before I actually say them.”

Obevoen said his name Sinoda is the backward version of the Greek god of beauty and desire, Adonis.

“When I started out, I was [creating] more love songs, more R&B. I always thought the way people look at beauty and desire are backward. It’s very physical; people just stare at someone and is like, ‘Oh that’s a perfect person.’ So true beauty is Sinoda because it’s Adonis backward,” Obevoen said.

Obevoen, who is a finance major, said he has a backup plan just in case music doesn’t work out.

“If it isn’t successful, another goal I have is to open up my own record label,” Obevoen said. “Since I couldn’t become successful with [music], then I want to still be a part of the industry. Having a degree in finance is helpful for just about anything I decide to go into, music related or not.”

But Obevoen said his ultimate goal is “Drake-level stardom.”

“No matter where in the world I go, I could be recognized,” Obevoen said. “Being successful in music, the top dogs have so much influence on the world nowadays that they could pretty much ask for anything and could get it done. I could act, or model, or do anything in that sort of entertainment.”

Rage on: Brothers start Waco Rage Room amid pandemic

By Madalyn Watson | Editor-in-Chief

Even though coronavirus has everyone on edge, the Waco Rage Room gives locals a place to create what comes naturally in times of stress — destruction.

Winston Kail, the president and co-founder of Waco Rage Room, opened this business with his brother, David Stallings, on June 4.

“With just everything going on throughout the year, it just seemed like the perfect time to do it,” Kail said.

Although Kail has been dreaming of opening their business since 2017, the chaos that came with the coronavirus gave him and his brother a unique opportunity.

“As we were building and putting this thing together, things just kept happening and I could tell there was such tension,” Kail said.

A Waco Rage Room player smashes a windshield. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographer
A Waco Rage Room player smashes a windshield. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographer

The Waco Rage Room, located at 1007 Wooded Acres Drive, is a place where people de-stress by breaking as many things as they want within an enclosed room.

“We’re a stone’s throw from Valley Mills,” Kail said. “I love my neighbors. It seems like a very American thing. There’s a gun store, a bar and then a place where you break things.”

With all the tension in the world right now, Kail said he wants the Waco Rage Room to be a safe place for people to work through their emotions rather than taking it out on the people around them.

“It just kind of gives them some focus, it gives them an outlet,” Kail said. “I think a lot of times we suppress all those natural things, and then that’s when we walk around so sad and depressed and angry and frustrated.”

Although the Waco Rage Room provides several different packages, Kail said the most popular is their Date Night service.

“It’s people that would surprise you coming [in], very quiet couples, people who have very normal jobs,” Kail said. “But I think it is from having this very structured, desk job. It builds up inside of them.”

Kail said one couple came to the Waco Rage Room and treated it like couples therapy.

“They kept coming out of the room and they’d be upset, but then they add some more things and go back in there and yell and scream and break stuff,” Kail said. “By the end of it, they were lovey dovey. They were happy.”

The Date Night service starts at $75 for 45 minutes, according to the Waco Rage Room’s Facebook page and its Instagram. Like all of the sessions they offer, you can add more time and items during the reservation. The cheapest option they offer, Bring Your Own Breakables, is $25. You bring the items to be destroyed and they provide the room and the weapons.

Brianna St. John joined several of her coworkers at the Waco Rage Room on Tuesday night to celebrate a birthday and release some pent up frustrations.

“I’ve heard of [a Rage Room] before, but I’d never been to one,” St. John said. “And for the price, it’s really worth it.”

A Waco Rage Room player is smashing things. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographers & Videographers
A Waco Rage Room player is smashing things. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographers & Videographers

St. John and her friends said that where they worked as waitresses, a lot of their customers are not taking coronavirus seriously and even cuss them out when they ask them to wear a mask.

“People are really selfish and they don’t take the time to buy a mask or wear it and they want to make excuses,” St. John said. “And then that puts people’s health and our health at risk.”

The group smashed dishes, bottles, a door with lots of glass windows, windshields and a television to cope with their frustrations.

All of the items that you can destroy at the Waco Rage Room are donations.

“You’d be surprised to how excited people are to give us things,” Kail said.

Because of the stay-in-place orders and social distancing, Kail said he thinks that people were more likely to donate to them.

“[Because of coronavirus,] people were home. They were bored. They were doing little home improvement projects. They were cleaning out their house, they were getting rid of this, getting rid of that,” Kail said.

A decent amount of the items donated to be smashed at the Waco Rage Room include holiday decorations.

“A lot of times we’ll go in the room and then everything will just be smashed to pieces, but they won’t smash the baby Jesus,” Kail said.

The brothers also mentioned a deal they are promoting for Baylor students now that they are in town. If you show your Baylor student ID, you can get $5 off your session, Kail said.

“We don’t have very many rules,” Kail said. “We ask the people to be safe. Don’t go nuts, but have as much fun as you can.”

LGBTQ group sets sights on official charter

Gamma Alpha Upsilon, formerly known as Sexual Identity Forum, rebranded last year with new logos across its social media platforms. Photo Courtesy of ΓAY

By Carson Lewis | Page One Editor

The group is composed of Baylor students, has a president and officer positions and meets weekly for group activities. It functions in the same way as many Baylor clubs with activities like discussions and bowling nights. But this group of students can’t claim to have what other organizations have: an official charter from the university. That’s what they want to change.

Gamma Alpha Upsilon (ΓAY), an unofficial LGBTQ group on campus, is looking to the new semester with hopes of becoming an official chartered organization. Formerly known as SIF (Sexual Identity Forum), Gamma has functioned on campus since 2011 as an independent group with the purpose of giving a home to LGBTQ Baylor students and allies.

Members in the group expressed their appreciation and surprise last year from the support given to a letter sent by three Baylor alumni to administration which proposed acceptance for LGBTQ groups on campus.

“We ask that the university reconsider its exclusion of student organizations that are designed to provide a community for individuals in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (“LGBTQ”) and allied community,” part of the letter read. The letter accumulated over 3,200 signatures from Baylor students, faculty, alumni and supporters who agreed with the message.

Plano senior Elizabeth Benton, president of Gamma, described the group’s positive reaction to the news last semester.

“It’s nice to know that even people outside of Baylor support us… I honestly didn’t think anybody would care about this, really, besides LGBT people,” Benton said. “It’s so gratifying to hear people talk about that and to meet alumni that were LGBT at Baylor and want to help out. It’s absolutely amazing.”

The group used to meet weekly at 8 p.m. Thursdays at Bill Daniel Student Union Building but will meet away from their usual spot this semester, choosing instead Seventh and James Baptist Church.

Despite having a functional home for the group in the SUB next to Common Grounds, several members of Gamma said they’ve found reasons to move their meetings off campus while the group is unchartered.

Searcy, Ark., grad student Hayden Evans, Gamma’s treasurer, described some of the problems that the group had with the location.

“It’s very, very loud. They typically play music, and of course there’s tons of students all around talking and going about their day. It’s very distracting for us the whole meeting, especially when we invite people from outside the university to speak,” Evans said. “Also, people are uncertain about how they will be perceived… some people don’t come because they are afraid of the repercussions of them being seen there. We’re trying to move to a more private area.”

Benton echoed the statement made by Evans, saying that some prospective members of Gamma felt that the location wasn’t as private as they would have liked.

“I’ve talked to some people who have been threatened if they go to Gamma meetings,” Benton said. “There are people I know, people I talked to, who would come to our meetings and they just stopped coming. I asked, ‘Why don’t you come anymore?’ [They] would be threatened. They seemed scared. This happens a lot actually.”

As an official chartered organization at Baylor, Gamma would be able to rent rooms from the SUB for their meetings and events and advertise on campus to prospective members during events like fall semester’s Late Night.

Houston senior Anna Conner, vice president of Gamma, and other group members insist that being official would greatly help them in their mission to provide a safe space for members of the LGBTQ community on Baylor’s campus.

“People have a perception of what we’re trying to do. They think that we’re trying to go in and rip up this tradition that Baylor has and say, ‘No, we’re no longer a Christian university, you have to accept us because it’s 2019 and everyone needs to change,’” Conner said. “What we’re trying to do is create a space where people can have a conversation, maybe learn a few things and meet new people that have different viewpoints. The biggest challenge [this year] will be to get people to understand that.”

In a July 24 Office of the President email, Jerry K. Clements, chair of the Board of Regents, and president Dr. Linda Livingstone expressed that the board seeks to continue discussion about how to best include and provide support for LGBTQ students.

“The Board continued discussions that began at last summer’s retreat about providing a loving and caring community for all students, including those who identify as LGBTQ,” the email read. “This is an issue with which many faith-based colleges and universities – and our churches – struggle. We believe that Baylor is in a unique position to meet the needs of our LGBTQ students because of our Christian mission and the significant campus-wide support we already provide all students.”

Acai bowl, smoothie business to open this summer

Mamaka Bowls, an acai bowl and smoothie business from Fayetteville is bringing it business to Waco this summer.

By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer

Mamaka Bowls, a popular California-inspired acai bowl and smoothie shop from Arkansas, is opening a second location in this summer, and it just so happens to be in Waco.

Mamaka was founded by mom-daughter duo Carrie and KK Hudson, who opened their first storefront in Fayetteville, Ark. In May 2018. Originally from the Dallas area, KK Hudson said she is excited to bring Mamaka to Texas, particularly in a college town like Waco.

“When we realized that we could open a second store, we really wanted to be back in Texas since it’s where my family is from. We love Texas and it’s also where Mamaka first started,” Hudson said. “My dad and I went to Waco back in December of last year and fell in love. There’s so much personality there and it felt similar to how Fayetteville is for us. There are also so many small businesses and the people are amazing—everyone we’ve interacted with is so kind and helpful. We also love the college town world and are excited to be close to a campus.”

Mamaka Bowls sells both acai bowls and smoothies, and Hudson sees the shop’s unique granola recipe and thick base consistency as two factors that make their bowls stand out.

“We are super transparent with all of our ingredients—everything listed on the menu is all that goes into the bowls,” Hudson said. “For our bowls, we use completely frozen fruit and nothing has any added sugar and we don’t add yogurt. The bowls are also super thick—we make them as close to an ice cream consistency as possible so you don’t feel like you’re eating a smoothie. Our granola is also to die for—my mom came up with the recipe.”

Hudson said that the “Mamaka” and “Pipeline” bowls are two of the shop’s most popular menu items, using toppings and base ingredients like strawberries, mangoes, cacao nibs and peanut butter.

“The Mamaka uses our original blend, which is banana, strawberry, blueberry, mango, acai and almond milk in the base, and it comes topped with our homemade granola, strawberries, bananas and blueberries,” Hudson said. “The Pipeline is chocolate almond milk, banana, peanut butter, strawberry and acai, and is topped with granola, banana, strawberry and cacao nibs.”

Despite their storefront opening just one year ago, Mamaka Bowls truly began when Hudson was in high school. She spent summers with her family in Laguna Beach, Calif., and loved the acai bowls and beach culture.

“Starting my freshman year of high school, we spent every summer in Laguna Beach and around that area—I ate acai bowls almost every day I was there,” Hudson said. “We came back to Dallas at the end of summer and felt like there was nowhere that had acai bowls. During the start of my junior year of high school, I didn’t want to go a whole school year without an acai bowl so my mom spent time in our kitchen coming up with a granola recipe and an original base.”

Hudson said that her mom began delivering homemade bowls to her in high school and that her friends and other students began to notice the bowls and request them as well. From there, a small delivery business began during Hudson’s high school lunches, continuing for a year. Hudson restarted Mamaka again while attending the University of Arkansas by making and delivering the bowls from her house.

“I made a website and was going to have my friends start ordering online to come pick up at my house. Two weeks into the summer, I began having moms, daughters, high schoolers, middle-aged men and just a lot of people ordering online and showing up at my door to pick up a bowl,” Hudson said. “Towards the end of the summer my mom and I realized we need to do this legitimately and stop making bowls out of our houses. We began looking for spaces and fell upon our location in Fayetteville.”

KK Hudson said that the new Waco shop will have a similar design and feel as the store in Fayetteville to create consistency between the locations.

“We fell in love with the design of our first space and researched a ton on what we wanted it to look like,” Hudson said. “We want to keep the Waco shop consistent so it will probably look similar. We’ll have garage doors and swings in the front, and keep blue floors with a bar counter where you can watch people make everything.”

Laguna Beach, Calif., sophomore Ashley Shelton is excited for a place in Waco to serve bowls inspired by southern California with healthy ingredients and toppings.

“When I found out another acai bowl place was opening I got super excited—acai bowls are probably my favorite taste of home in California,” Shelton said. “I also love the fact that the idea for Mamaka Bowls originated around Laguna. There are so many delicious and trendy food places in southern California but Laguna is especially known for their acai bowls and small-town health kick.”

Shelton sees Mamaka’s emphasis on quality ingredients and unique toppings as factors that will make Mamaka stand out and be successful in a new second location.

“I’ll always love the original acai bowl, but nowadays many companies are getting creative with serving different bases,” Shelton said. “I’m also a big fan of toppings—I love strawberries, bananas, almond butter, cacao nibs, chia seeds and more. I hope Mamaka inspires the community of Waco to eat and live healthier.”

Hudson sees the people who work at and frequent the shop as the reason Mamaka has been and can continue to be successful, and is grateful for the growth Mamaka has experienced since their first storefront opened in May of 2018.

“Our people are who make us who we are—our employees and the people who come to our store make everything worthwhile for us. The people who work at the store in Fayetteville are like our family and they create the vibe of the store,” Hudson said. “Our lives have taken a complete 180 because of Mamaka—it’s been so crazy but so fun, and it’s still baffling for us to look back on our first trip to Laguna Beach and realize that that had started it all so long ago.”

Mamaka Bowls will be located at 215 S University Drive, on the opposite corner of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

A brutal end: No. 8-seed Baylor baseball run-ruled, eliminated by No. 5-seed OSU

No. 8-seeded Baylor baseball couldn't keep up with No. 4-seeded Oklahoma State University, as it was run-ruled in an 11-1 loss. Photo courtesy of Big 12 Conference.

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

Eighth-seeded Baylor baseball came into the 2022 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship with nothing to lose, looking to prove people wrong in hopes of continuing its season. After being shut down by Oklahoma State University sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Campbell (9-2) in an 11-1 run-rule loss, it’s a bitter end to a season that had potential.

Last Friday, the Bears faced Campbell and had more success amid the 11-5 loss at Baylor Ballpark. Head coach Steve Rodriguez said the group just saw “a completely different guy.”

“He was different [today],” Rodriguez said. “We faced him six days ago, and he was a completely different guy. [His] breaking ball was a little loopy. His fastball command wasn’t where it was as of today. Today, he wouldn’t let our hitters breathe. It was really impressive.”

Baylor was eliminated from the conference postseason tournament Thursday morning at Globe Life Field in Arlington after just two games — the final loss an 11-1 run-rule rout at the hands of No. 4-seed OSU.

The Bears (26-28, 7-17 Big 12) were frozen at the plate by the Cowboys’ (37-19, 15-9 Big 12) Campbell, who hurled the entire seven-inning game, allowing one unearned run on three hits while dishing out 10 strikeouts and walking none.

“Today, we just got beat,” junior infielder Jack Pineda said. “He was really good. He deserves a lot of credit. There were some miscues that happened, but I don’t know how much we were going to get going offensively with the way he was throwing.”

Across the two days, sophomore outfielder Jared McKenzie had a brutal stretch at the plate. He was a combined 0-of-7 with four strikeouts and failed to get on base. McKenzie, an All-Big 12 Second Team selection, struggled in the box, as it was the worst way in his eyes to finish the season.

“[I] didn’t get my foot down on a few pitches that I missed,” the Round Rock native said. “That hurt me. [It] left a sour taste in my mouth for the year, but that’s baseball.”

The first frame was quiet, but OSU scratched across an unearned run in the bottom of the second. Senior righty Jake Jackson (4-5), who took the loss on the day, limited the damage to one and worked out of a bases loaded threat.

The Bears responded in the following side, tying the contest 1-1 after a heads-up play from sophomore outfielder Jacob Schoenvogel. He singled to third base and reached third on a throwing error, and he was plated off sophomore infielder Alex Gonzales’ ground out.

The even tally wouldn’t last long, as OSU posted five runs across the next two innings, highlighted by a 447-foot three-run shot to left center in the bottom of the third. A pair of fourth inning runs brought the Cowboys ahead 6-1.

“I really liked our chances,” Rodriguez said. “If we could get guys on base, get Campbell in the stretch, we knew that we could actually get a chance. We just couldn’t get the offense going. [When the score was] 4-1, that’s nothing, but being able to keep it there, that was our goal. We just weren’t able to.”

Several pitching changes from the Bears filled the next few innings, but OSU maintained pace, posting another five runs. These came in the sixth and seventh innings and would ultimately end the contest, as the 10-run-rule went into effect.

With the early exit and a rough season, Baylor is a long shot to make the NCAA Regionals, likely putting an end to the year. After being the 65th team out of the 2021 tournament, the squad is crushed to not be able to bounce back like it had hoped.

“Anytime you get this feeling, it sucks,” Pineda said. “It is a little bit different this year, knowing that we don’t really have to watch the [selection] show on Monday. I guess everything is motivation in the failure.”

Regarding his job security, Rodriguez said that his job is “to coach baseball” and that it’s Baylor vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics Mack Rhoades’ decision to make.

“That’s Mack Rhoades’ decision,” Rodriguez said. “My job is to coach baseball. His job is to pick coaches.”

No. 8-seed Baylor baseball produces valiant effort, falls to top-seed TCU 4-2

Sophomore first baseman Kyle Nevin's RBI triple was not enough for the Bears, as they fell 4-2 to the Horned Frogs. Photo courtesy of Big 12 Conference.

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

Slated against the No. 1 seed in the 2022 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship, Baylor baseball needed a strong outing in order to take down the regular season Big 12 champs. Holding onto a 2-0 lead through the middle of the sixth, the Bears had their chances, but they came up just short of an upset win.

No. 8-seeded Baylor ultimately fell 4-2 in brutal fashion to top-seeded Texas Christian University Wednesday afternoon at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

The Bears (26-27, 7-17 Big 12) held onto a 2-0 lead through the top of the sixth inning, but the Horned Frogs (36-18, 16-8 Big 12) kept trucking along, eventually busting through the green and gold’s bullpen and scoring four unanswered runs.

“When you can get on a team like TCU early, it’s always a good start for you,” head coach Steve Rodriguez said. “They won the Big 12 conference for a reason; they’re a very good team. There were some opportunities that we gave them, and that’s what good teams do — they took advantage.”

The Bears got a strong outing from junior right-handed pitcher Blake Helton, as he threw 6.1 innings of solid work. Helton gave up two earned runs on five hits, walked four and dished out a career-high seven strikeouts across 90 pitches.

“When your starting pitcher gives [you] an outing like that, it’s a little tough to only muster as many [runs] as we did [on offense],” sophomore infielder Tre Richardson said. “Missing the opportunities that we had, it doesn’t feel too good, but that’s just the game of baseball.”

TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos said his group struggled to get through Helton’s arsenal of pitches, mentioning that they hadn’t seen him this season — something Baylor thought was an advantage going into this game.

“We didn’t face him earlier in the year,” Saarloos said. “He had a really good breaking ball, which we tried to lay off as much as we could, but it’s easier said than done. I thought he did an extremely good job in terms of being a pitcher today.”

Offensively, Richardson finished 2-of-3 with a pair of doubles and scored runs, crediting his success to a consistent plate approach.

“Today it felt the same way as I do any other day,” Richardson said. “Thankfully, the results went my way. It was just [having the] same approach every single game. We do so much work behind the scenes in terms of trying to channel our swings and fine-tune everything.”

Baylor clawed across first, thanks to a left-field double from Richardson, who was brought in off sophomore first baseman Kyle Nevin’s two-out triple.

Things went quiet across the next four frames, thanks in part to Helton retiring nine straight batters from the third through the fifth, but the Bears doubled their lead in the top of the sixth. It was junior designated hitter Antonio Valdez who broke the ice, as he sliced a single down the right side to plate Richardson for the second time.

The Frogs found life in the bottom frame, as a bit of miscommunication in the Baylor outfield gave TCU an RBI double. Following the mishap, the Frogs connected on a sacrifice fly to land the tying run.

“I was throwing some mistake pitches, and they took advantage of it,” Helton said of the inning.

Despite the late slip up, Helton made the Frogs work to land contact, as TCU senior infielder Tommy Sacco gave praise to the Austin native.

“He competed really well out there against us,” Sacco said. “When someone’s in a groove like that, you just have to buy your time. When he shows cracks in his game, that’s when you take advantage, like we did.”

Things stayed level through seven, but TCU broke free in the eighth. After sophomore righty Grant Golomb (0-1), who was charged with the loss, took over on the mound, he allowed a leadoff walk, a single and a stolen base, putting two in scoring position for the Horned Frogs.

Golomb then launched a wild pitch that plated the go-ahead run, and TCU followed that up with a single into left field, extending things to 4-2. The Bears were left with one chance to crack across a couple runs, but they couldn’t muster anything, resulting in the loss.

With the outcome, Baylor has a bright and early 9 a.m. elimination contest May 26 against fifth-seeded Oklahoma State University, who was shut out 4-0 Wednesday morning at the hands of fourth-seeded University of Texas. The loser will be done for the week, as it’s a double-elimination tournament.

The Bears are less than a week removed from a series-loss to the Cowboys (36-19, 15-9 Big 12) at Baylor Ballpark, and Rodriguez is looking to keep it simple in tomorrow’s matchup.

“We’re going to have to score more runs than they do,” Rodriguez said. “We have to play well. It’s just pretty simple. We need a good starting performance. We need offensive execution.”

Eighth-seed Baylor baseball primed for postseason, awaits top-seed TCU

The eight-seeded Bears have made it to Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers, in preparation for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics.

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

In sports, we’ve seen David-versus-Goliath matchups where all the odds are against an underdog team, and it feels like there’s no way the favorite goes down. Baylor baseball is soon to be in that spot, seeking an upset win and giving it a chance to turn a lot of heads.

It hasn’t been the smoothest ride for the Bears (26-26, 7-17 Big 12), but amid their injuries and missed opportunities, they find their place as the eighth-seed for the 2022 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship at Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers, in Arlington.

Baylor will face a tall task, as it’s slated to play regular season Big 12 champion Texas Christian University, with first pitch set for 12:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday. There aren’t many picking Baylor to knock off the top-seeded Horned Frogs (35-18, 16-8 Big 12), but the team is shrugging and thinking to itself: Why not?

“We don’t have anything to lose,” sophomore outfielder Jared McKenzie said. “We can compete with anybody.”

McKenzie, who was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team Wednesday morning, was part of the 2021 squad that failed to notch a win in the conference tournament, thus leading to the Bears being the 65th team out of the NCAA Tournament. The consensus preseason All-American said he knows the team is in a similar position as it was a year ago, but he said he thinks it has a goal to do whatever it takes to win.

“This year, we’re probably not in a better spot, but we can go out there and just say, ‘Hey, we can only win this thing. That’s the only thing we can do,’” McKenzie said. “If we lose it, then it’s over. We’re just going to go out there and win every game — that’s our goal.”

For head coach Steve Rodriguez, the message is quite simple: Take it game by game, and don’t get ahead of yourself.

“The way I’m looking at it, from game one, we have to win; it’s just that simple,” Rodriguez said. “Then we’ll deal with game two the next day. But I’m not going to look for games two and three those first couple days. We need to focus on the first game, deal with that, and then we move on to the next one.”

Baylor is coming off a series loss to Oklahoma State University but managed to snag a 13-11 comeback victory in the series-opener on May 19. Overall, Rodriguez said he thought he saw good plate approaches from his squad, and it will bode well moving into this week.

Regarding this week, the 2017 Big 12 Coach of the Year knows exactly where the key to victory rests. After losing a pair of weekend aces in fifth-year senior left-hander Tyler Thomas and sophomore righty Will Rigney, the starters on the mound will be “the biggest thing.”

“The biggest thing for us is going to be the starting pitches,” Rodriguez said. “Our guys have to play really good defense. Our defense needs to play well. We need to get some timely hitting, and starting pitching is going to be a big part of it.”

The expected starter for Wednesday is junior right-handed hurler Blake Helton, who has battled injuries but has come back in a big way to bolster the rotation. Helton said he knows the squad hasn’t been super sharp on the mound all year, and the “whole staff” has to pitch better.

The Austin native’s early season setback pigeonholed his appearance in the Bears’ regular season series versus TCU, where the Frogs took two of three in Waco. This has potential to be a huge advantage for Baylor, as the Horned Frogs’ lineup has not seen the former Lake Travis High School pitcher this season.

“Hopefully it’s an advantage that they haven’t seen me yet, but I like the matchup,” Helton said. “I think we’ll do well.”

Wednesday’s contest — which can be viewed via Big 12 Now on ESPN+ — is set, with the winner facing the victor between fourth-seed OSU and fifth-seed University of Texas at 4 p.m. CT Thursday on ESPNU. Therefore, the losers between both Baylor/TCU and UT/OSU will also play each other, and that duel is scheduled for 9 a.m. CT Thursday, courtesy of the same Big Now on ESPN+ stream.

For those who prefer to listen, ESPN Central Texas 1660 AM radio will cover all Baylor games for the week, with lead talent Derek Smith on the call.

Rodriguez said the opponent is irrelevant in the double elimination tournament, and “if [the Bears] play well, [they] have a chance to beat anybody.”

Helton and the team are embracing the underdog role and believe they have as good of a shot to win the tournament as anyone.

“We haven’t had a great year, but I know we’re a better team than our record shows, so I think we should be ranked higher,” Helton said. “We’re starting off as the eight-seed, but we can pull it off.”

For more information, such as the full bracket or where to get tickets, check out the Big 12 website.

Board of Regents extends President Livingstone’s contract, discusses projects

Baylor's Board of Regents discusses new facilities and more. Photo courtesy of Baylor University.

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | News Editor

Baylor’s Board of Regents had its regular May meeting Friday to discuss contract extensions, the 2022-2023 budget and the Commission on Historic Campus Representations, among other things.

During the meeting, a unanimous vote extended President Linda Livingstone’s contract with the university. The contract states she will serve as Baylor’s president up to 2032.

“What’s been really evident to me from even my earliest days at Baylor back in 2017, was just how deep the love for Baylor is of the Baylor family, whether that’s our alumni or our students, faculty, staff, parents, friends,” Livingstone said. “And that sort of deep love for Baylor, that deep care for this university, is a large part of why we were able to be as successful as we were.”

Additionally, Livingstone said chair Mark Rountree was reelected to begin his third term as the leader of the Board of Regents.

Rountree said the agenda for this month’s meeting was very busy, with part of their responsibilities covering the 2022-2023 budget. The board approved an operating budget of $863.2 million — an increase of 9.3% from last year’s.

Rountree also said one of the most significant items discussed in the meeting was being able to bring to life the recommendations from Baylor’s Commission on Historic Campus Representations.

According to the commission’s website, “In June 2020, Baylor’s Board of Regents passed a resolution acknowledging that during the University’s first decades of operation in the community of Independence, the institution’s three founders, most members of its initial board of trustees, and several early leaders of the institution owned enslaved persons.”

The board approved a four-phase approach that will “address the strategic priorities identified by the Commission on Historic Campus Representations.” The approach will start May 20 and continue for a period of two to three years; it includes a redevelopment of Burleson Quadrangle in which its mission is to create a space for the Baylor community to congregate and build relationships.

Rountree also said the meeting included updates on current university projects. He said the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion expects to open for the basketball season in January 2024. The building is being constructed to create a home for Baylor’s championship men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Additionally, the board approved the next phase of financing for the Fudge Football Development Center. This accounts for $5 million for phase one, which involves the design and early construction activities. The building is being constructed to create an operations center for Baylor’s football program.

Rountree also said that on Thursday, the board had the opportunity to take a guided tour through the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center to view the progress of the construction.

“Fellow regent Paula Hurd was in town for our meeting with us, and it was a very significant, emotional moment to walk through that space with her,” Rountree said. “Seeing that experience with her, to honor her late husband is so critical to that, and to watch her sign one of the beams that will provide support for that spectacular structure.”

Baylor gives sneak peek of Welcome Center

Baylor University hosted a walkthrough of the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center on Thursday, during which the Board of Regents and other important guests signed one of the steal beams. Assoah Ndomo | Photographer

By Matt Kyle | Assistant News Editor

In just under a year of construction, the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center construction has progressed from an empty field to a towering structure visible from I-35.

On Thursday, Baylor hosted a walkthrough of the construction site to share the progress of the building, which Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman said is anticipated to open before the fall 2023 semester.

Assoah Ndomo | Photographer
Assoah Ndomo | Photographer

Members of the Board of Regents also ceremoniously signed a steel beam, beginning with Paula Hurd, a regent who, along with her late husband Mark, gave a gift to Baylor’s Give Light campaign in 2018 that was used to fund the Welcome Center.

Hurd said her husband would have been proud to see the progress on the Welcome Center. She teared up while signing the beam and thanked Baylor for the progress made.

“He loved this university more than anybody I know,” Hurd said. “A few months ago, we were here, and this was dirt and utilities. The progress that has been made is incredible. It’s impossible to feel the scale, and it feels wonderful that they’ve made this much progress.”

Dave Rosselli, vice president for advancement, said Baylor wanted the Welcome Center to be majestic, iconic, foundational and transformational to new and prospective students’ experiences. He said he sees these descriptors “coming to life” in the building.

Assoah Ndomo | Photographer
Assoah Ndomo | Photographer

“Prospective students — the first thing they’re going to do when they come on campus is walk into this building,” Rosselli said. “So it’s transformational in terms of what they experience. Everything’s going to be here.”

At the Welcome Center, Rosselli said prospective students will have a chance to meet with their admissions counselor, see all digital features in its pillars, walk to the auditorium that overlooks campus and observe a memory lane view of Baylor and the future.

The Welcome Center is still over a year away from being completed, but as it stands, the building is a shell that resembles what it will eventually become. The main floor has four pillars spiraling up to the ceiling, which will be outfitted with lights that will mainly glow white but can be changed to other colors.

Inside the base of each of these pillars will be an interactive experience — each intended as a metaphor for the culture and values of Baylor.

“Reflect” will project scenery of the Baylor campus onto the walls of the pillar to virtually put students on campus. “Connect” features a 320-degree video wall that will play videos of Baylor traditions and culture to introduce them to the Baylor experience. “Amplify” will display stories of Baylor alumni and the global impact of Baylor. “Aspire” allows participants to create and display a personalized message on the walls of the pillar.

Just off the main floor are spaces for a 255-seat auditorium, a multi-purpose ballroom, a Baylor spirit shop and a coffee shop. Angie McGregor, director of university operations, said the coffee shop would likely involve a national brand, but a final tenant has not been decided yet. She also said the coffee shop will serve Dr Pepper floats “on demand.”

The Welcome Center will also feature an Alumni Center on the second floor, and it will house the Admissions Department in the future.

Assoah Ndomo | Photographer
Assoah Ndomo | Photographer

Jason Cook, vice president for marketing and communications, said the university wants the building to not only welcome new and prospective students to Baylor but also serve current students and alumni.

“During the day, from 8 to 5, it’s going to be a welcome center,” Cook said. “After 5 o’clock, we hope that this turns into another student space for students where they can meet in student organizations. They can have coffee; they could have Dr Pepper floats. This will also be a place to better study as well, so we really hope that this facility bridges the generations together.”

No. 3 Baylor MTEN’s magnificent season ends in upset by No. 6 Tennessee 4-3

No. 3 Baylor men's tennis fell in heartbreaking fashion to No. 6 University of Tennessee in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics.

By AnnaGrace Hale | Sports Writer

After a hard-fought match, a celebratory dogpile was seen at the baseline of court four. To Baylor fans’ dismay, instead of athletes dressed in green and gold cheering, there was a mass of orange and white.

No. 3 Baylor men’s tennis (29-4, 4-1 Big 12) fell short in a nail-biting 4-3 loss to No. 6 University of Tennessee (26-7, 8-4 SEC) in the Elite Eight, ending the Bears’ journey in the NCAA tournament Thursday evening at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex in Urbana-Champaign, Ill.

“That’s one of the best college tennis matches that we will experience,” head coach Michael Woodson said. “It had absolutely everything. We had chances; they had chances — deep into the third set on so many courts. We won some of them; we lost some of them. And unfortunately, this one didn’t fall our way.”

Much like in February, the doubles point proved to be a battle, foreshadowing the rest of the match. Baylor’s determination was evident as it sought redemption after dropping the point to Stanford the previous week. The No. 3 duo of junior Finn Bass and senior Sven Lah went full steam ahead, claiming the first five games of their match. The tandem attained a 6-1 victory, but the Volunteers responded in similar fashion, snatching a 6-1 win over the No. 9 pair of junior Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi and senior Matias Soto.

All eyes were on court three, with a close duel between the Bears’ pair of sophomore Tadeas Paroulek and junior Adrian Boitan and the Vols’ duo of Johannus Monday and Mark Wallner. The green and gold fell short 4-6, giving Tennessee the 1-0 lead with the doubles point.

Although not the result the Big 12 tournament champs were hoping for, Lah took a personal triumph in the doubles realm. This victory was his 113th doubles win, putting him ahead of Constantin Frantzen’s previous school record.

Now needing four wins in singles, Baylor started strong on courts five and six. After clinching the fourth point for the Bears against the Cardinal on Friday, Grassi claimed Baylor’s first point 6-1, 6-2. On court five, Paroulek followed suit, snatching another point 6-2, 6-4 as the Vols’ Angel Diaz hit the net. The two quick wins gave the Bears a glimpse of hope, hoisting a 2-1 advantage.

Tennessee answered right back as Lah fell to Emile Hudd 6-7(3), 3-6.

Tied at two apiece, the remaining three matches were close, all going into the third set. On court two, Soto dropped the first set 4-6, but this seemed to ignite a spark. He decisively won the next two sets 6-4, 6-3, grabbing another point for the Bears.

“My heart breaks that we’re not going to get out there as a team with Matias and Sven anymore,” Woodson said. “I’m just excited to have had the opportunity and thankful for the opportunity to have worked with them for so long.”

The green and gold then looked for one more win on either court one or court four. Boitan fought until the bitter end but fell short in the third set, as UT took the match 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Knotted at three-all, fate was decided on court four with Bass. He fought hard to recover after falling behind in set three but ultimately could not finish the job. After Bass hit the ball wide, UT’s Shunsuke Mitsui fell to his knees, taking the win 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4.

The Volunteers stormed the court and claimed the victory 4-3, advancing them to the Final Four and leaving Baylor stunned and without a future in the tournament.

“The thing that I’m the most proud of is the way that our guys competed and the way they battled together,” Woodson said. “They just represent the university and the program so well. Our fans, our coaches, our staff just do an incredible job of representing Baylor and showing what we really are about and who we are as people. And that’s so much more important to me than the result.”

Woodson now looks ahead to the future and said he knows the future is bright after yet another successful season.

“I know this one stings, and it’s probably going to motivate all of us to work a little harder moving forward, but the season is defined by so much success — another Big 12 championship, another semifinal run at Indoors, quarterfinals here, 29 wins,” Woodson said. “We’re the best of the best. It just didn’t fall our way today. But that’s tennis, that’s life. I’m just more happy about the way we handled it and how we consistently went through the season. This is a first-class group of guys, and I’m just proud to be a part of it.”

Spring has sprung: A look back at the semester’s hallmark moments

A look back at some of the semester's most exciting moments. Photo illustration by Grace Everett.

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

Baylor sprung into the unknown this spring semester. From the achievement of R1 status and remodeling plans to the success of the Give Light Campaign and new COVID-19 policies, the Baylor Family has witnessed a number of hallmark moments that will go down in Baylor history.

Over winter break, on Dec. 16, 2021, President Linda Livingstone announced Baylor’s achievement of R1 status. Later on, in the Board of Regents meeting held on Feb. 19, plans revealed that after reaching this goal, the university would turn its focus toward improving students’ experience — an endeavor that includes renovations.

Livingstone said renovations for Collins Hall will begin in May after move-out and are scheduled to conclude by summer 2023. During renovations, the 600 women who usually live in Collins Hall will reside in other dorms or at Cityside — Baylor’s first hotel-turned-dorm.

On Feb. 3, Livingstone announced that Baylor’s Give Light Campaign surpassed its goal of $1.1 billion. According to a Baylor press release, the campaign was created in 2018 “to fund the academic aspirations and infrastructure needs to support ‘Illuminate,’ the University’s strategic plan to become a preeminent Christian research university.”

Throughout February, Baylor embraced Black History Month. Between celebrations, Livingstone announced the artist for the statues of Baylor’s first Black graduates, which will be placed in front of Tidwell Bible Building. A sculptor with almost 20 years of experience, Benjamin Victor is working to complete the statues of Robert Gilbert and Barbara Walker by the fall 2023 semester.

After beginning the semester with a mask mandate that required all students, faculty and staff to wear masks in classrooms and labs, Baylor announced on Feb. 17 that it would be lifting the mask policy on Feb. 21. After a year and a half of mask enforcement, students saw their classmates’ and professors’ full faces in person for the first time.

On April 19, Baylor officially chartered its first LGBTQ+ and allies student organization: PRISM. After beginning the process in the fall 2021 semester, Heber Springs, Ark., senior and PRISM president Lor Duncan said they, along with other student volunteers, worked on creating a constitution to begin the chartering process. The goal of the organization is to create an educational space for LGBTQ+ students and allies.

As the semester wrapped up, Baylor also had a record number of students receive competitive international scholarships. Approximately 18 students received prestigious scholarships, including the Fulbright, Truman, Goldwater, Churchill and Critical Language scholarships.

With all of these headlines in one semester, students, faculty and staff can expect next semester to be chock-full of campus improvements and achievements.

From benches to basements, which myths are ingrained in campus life?

Collins Hall is home to many myths on Baylor's campus. Camryn Duffy | Photographer

By Camille Cox | Staff Writer

Myths and superstitions — such as the belief that walking on the school seal will keep you from graduating — have circulated Baylor’s campus for years. Students shared their thoughts on what is Baylor myth and what is reality.

According to student legend, if two students sit on a green and gold bench together, they will get married. There is not a sure source for where this rumor began, but it has spread throughout campus for years.

Denville, N.J., sophomore Ben Rozansky said when he transferred to Baylor, he heard about the benches and knew it was a rumor, but he hasn’t seen many people sit on them.

“I know of course it isn’t true, but I think it’s interesting that students all collectively know about this myth,” Rozansky said. “I’ve heard some of my friends say that their parents who went here used to hear the same rumor about the benches.”

Collins Hall has held secrets for years, with some being true and others being entirely false. While it is a myth that the sixth floor is haunted, it is true that students can use their closet key to access the basement elevator.

San Antonio sophomore Megan Huff said when she lived in Collins, she and her friends went to see if they could go down to the basement. The elevator in Collins requires a key to go down to the basement, so Huff said she used her closet key from her room, and it worked.

“I’ve heard rumors about the Collins basement, so me and my friends wanted to try to see it while we still lived there,” Huff said. “We were able to go into the basement and walk around. The basement itself wasn’t anything crazy — just creepy, smelly and super old.”

While rumors and myths vary across the nation according to each individual college campus, it appears consistent that college students believe that if their roommate dies, they will receive free tuition, an automatic 4.0 GPA or even six weeks off of school.

Wimberley freshman Gillian Guynes said she heard about this myth when she moved into her dorm with her roommate.

“When I first got here, we were told that if your roommate dies or commits suicide, you get six weeks off of school, and you don’t have to do your work,” Guynes said. “I think if your roommate dies, your teachers will be personally nice to you and help you out, but I don’t know where we heard that you would get six weeks off of school completely.”

San Francisco freshman Ryan Catanzarita said he recently heard about the roommate myth.

“Somebody told me that if your roommate dies, you automatically get a 4.0 due to the trauma that it puts you through,” Catanzarita said. “And I kind of believed it at first, but obviously I don’t think it makes complete sense. Yes, professors would help you out, but I don’t think a school can just do that automatically.”

The annual problem for our generation is balancing summer plans

By Tatum Mitchell | Staff Writer

Contrary to what Phineas and Ferb said, we actually have 102 days of summer vacation. As college students, summer is a lot of time that can be utilized in many different ways.

After another hectic school year, it’s the home stretch of finals; most students are staying up past midnight, begging professors to round up a grade and cramming in a few essays. Afterward, I know all I will want to do is sleep and get far away from school.

Going into the summer, don’t let your foot completely off the gas. Yes, summer is meant for fun, so see your friends, sleep a lot and have a good time. However, there’s a balance to everything. We finally have what we always said we needed during the school year: more time.

After many summers of trial and error, I’ve finally cracked the code. Being social and resting all summer doesn’t prepare me for the upcoming school year, and working the entire time leaves me mentally exhausted.

Summer should be a time to de-stress while also getting organized for the upcoming year. I’m a hypocrite, and I love being lazy. However, getting into a solid daily routine and organizing a plan before the beginning of school sets me up for success.

The 102 days we have to ourselves are the perfect time to set a goal or two and complete them. Make your bed, drink more water, go for a walk or read a few pages of a book every day.

Dedicating a few hours a day to routine, organization, cleaning, internship work or self-care makes the transition to fall a breeze. For example, last summer, I got into the habit of making my bed every morning, walking my dogs after lunch and writing my plans on a calendar. In the fall, it was easy to build on those habits.

Here’s my formula for the balancing act of summer: Take a week off. Immediately after the end of school, sleep and spend time doing whatever it is you find relaxing. Then, use the next three weeks to set the tone for the rest of the summer. Possibly try incorporating two new things into your daily routine.

That’s four weeks down, with 10 weeks (74 days) to go. In those days, find a balance of productivity and relaxation. Set aside time each day to clean and do work for your internship or job, but also give yourself time to rest and be social. Two weeks out from the start of school, buy a planner and write down your fall schedule.

Phineas and Ferb were only wrong about the numbers. We have 102 days of summer vacation, and the annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to spend it. In between building a rocket and fighting a mummy, let’s make sure there’s a balance of both laziness and getting stuff done.

Hey incoming freshman, you WILL survive at Baylor

By Michael Haag | Sports Writer

I know how you feel; I was there just over eight months ago.

You’re nervous. You have questions and concerns flowing through your brain. You’re thinking the worst will happen in your first semester of college. But listen to me — I can’t stress this enough. Take a deep breath, kick back and hear me out: You will be just fine.

I just finished my first two semesters of college, so I’m not speaking with upperclassman experience, but I feel like my message may resonate with you on a better level since I was literally just in your shoes. I am only giving you a few points of advice to read, but I guarantee they’ll be helpful.

  • Jot down important due dates (exams, projects, etc.) when you receive your syllabi on the first day of classes.

This may seem obvious, but trust me: A lot of people don’t do it. This will pay major dividends deeper into the semester. Also, be sure to see if there are any extra credit opportunities that can be turned in at any time. Doing these earlier rather than later is crucial, because when finals week comes around, they’re the last thing you’ll want to be catching up on.

  • If you enjoy going to church and partaking in religious activities, sign up for in-person Chapel and seek out a church in Waco for Sunday or college night services.

I know not everyone at Baylor is religious; I didn’t grow up in a church either. However, if you are religious, I highly suggest you take this note seriously. I was told by an alumna that while Chapel is required, she often looked forward to it. I’m not sure if Chapel will be offered in the same way that it was for my class, but there seem to be various options for students to really find what interests them, so I really suggest you take it in person if possible. You’ll get so much more out of it and truly enjoy time with God away from classes. For me, it was a very laid-back hour-and-a-half service once a week where you pray and sing worship songs, and you won’t be put on the spot. Don’t worry, introverts; I’m one too, and I never felt uncomfortable at Chapel.

Regarding a church in Waco, I know you might not always want to wake up on a Sunday to go to church, but there are plenty of great options in the area if religion interests you. There is also Vertical worship every Monday night on campus, and several local churches offer midweek college services too. Do some research, and don’t be afraid to try more than one church.

  • Don’t feel pressured to join a fraternity/sorority.

Just because you’ll feel like everyone is rushing for the spring semester, don’t feel like you must as well. I highly suggest it as an option if you find Greek life to be your niche, but don’t do it unless you feel compelled to for a reason other than it being “the norm.” You’ll know deep down if it’s right, so go with your gut. I didn’t join a fraternity because it wasn’t for me, but I have lots of friends who either knew they’d rush the whole time or found a calling to it later in the fall.

  • If you ever feel like you’re struggling, SEEK HELP.

This one, I cannot call more attention to. Everyone is dealing with something, whether big or small. You aren’t alone, and Baylor has the resources to help you. I’d be lying if I said there were never moments of weakness as a college student. It’s inevitable. Things stack on top of each other, and it feels like too much. But believe me: You’ll get through it and make it to the brighter side.

I could ramble forever, but that’s all for now. Congratulations, you’re about to be a freshman at Baylor. We are so excited to welcome you into the Baylor Family. I hope you took something out of what I said, but in all reality, the main takeaway is that no matter what you face in your near future, you will persevere. That mountain of adversity will not be too steep to climb, and you’ll reach the top. I have ultimate faith in you.

And oh, did I say? Sic’ em Bears!

Top eats, treats in Waco

Waco has a variety of restaurants to try out. Photo illustration by Grace Everett.

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

Butter My Biscuit | 1427 S Valley Mills Drive | Price: $$ | Open Tuesday – Saturday | Southern comfort food

Pivovar | 320 S Eighth St. | Price: $$ | Open every day | Czech food

Franklin Ave. Mac House | 3428 Franklin Ave. | Price: $ | Open Wednesday – Saturday | American comfort food

Wako Roll | 2804 W Loop 340 | Price: $$ | Open Monday – Saturday | Pan-Asian food

Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar | 2501 S Jack Kultgen Expressway | Price: $$ | Open every day | Japanese steakhouse

Slow Rise Slice House | 7608 Woodway Drive | Price: $$ | Open every day | Pizza restaurant

Clay Pot | 416 Franklin Ave. | Price: $$ | Open Wednesday – Sunday | Vietnamese food

Alpha Omega Grill & Bakery | 929 Franklin Ave. | Price: $$ | Open Monday – Saturday | Greek food

The Mix Café and Gifts | 1700 S Fifth St. | Price: $ – $$ | Open every day | American food

Be Kind Coffee | 425 Lake Air Drive | Price: $ | Open every day | Coffee shop

Tru Jamaica Restaurant | 937 Taylor St. | Price: $$ | Open Monday – Saturday | Caribbean food

Whodaq? Daiquiris – Waco | 921 S Ninth St. Suite 310 | Price: $ | Open every day | American/New Orleans-style food

The Blasian Asian | 720 Franklin Ave. | Price: $$ | Open every day | Cambodian food

Waffle Chic | 2223 Austin Ave. | Price: $ – $$ | Open Tuesday – Saturday | Breakfast/brunch food truck

What to Do in Waco: Summer Edition!

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

Oaxacan Gold Exhibit | May 10 – Aug. 13 | Tuesday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Art Center Waco, 701 S Eighth St. | Free with cost of admission | Come view this new exhibit on display at Art Center Waco. It was curated by National Geographic with contributing photographer Greg Davis.

Waco Downtown Farmers Market | May 13 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Courthouse Parking Lot, 500 Washington Ave. | Free | This weekly event includes an assortment of local vendors that provide products such as produce, meats and greenery.

“The Music Man” | May 6 – 8, 13 – 15 | 7 p.m. | Waco Civic Theatre, 1517 Lake Air Drive | $20 for adults, $18 for students | This play follows con man Harold Hill as he convinces the people of River City, Iowa, to support his scam.

Waco Chalk Walk | May 14 – 15 | Saturday: Noon – 8 p.m., Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m. | 900 Austin Ave. | Free | This two-day event celebrates the creativity within the Waco community.

Stand-Up Comedy Showcase | May 21 | 8 p.m. | Brazos Theatre, 7524 Bosque Blvd. | $16.50 | Dallas comedian Paul Smith will host some bright talent from Central Texas.

Main Street Market | May 21 – 22 | Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. | 4601 Bosque Blvd. | $6 admission | Shop at various vendors, ranging from candles to gourmet food, and vintage shops at this local market.

Unmaking a Murderer: A True Crime Event | May 27 | 7 p.m. | Waco Hippodrome, 724 Austin Ave. | Starting at $40 | True crime fans should come out to this first-of-its-kind event, where two infamous cases will be examined by attorney, author and advocate Rabia Chaudry and homicide investigator Sarah Cailean.

Paranormal Experience at the Dr Pepper Museum | May 28 | 8 – 10 p.m. | Dr Pepper Museum, 300 S Fifth St. | $30 | This two-hour tour unveils a different side of the museum to visitors — one that many people will never experience. Museum guides will lead visitors through forbidden parts of the museum to discuss its paranormal past and present. This experience is reserved for anyone 18 years old and up.

Waco Farmers Market at Magnolia | June 1 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Magnolia Silos, 601 Webster Ave. | Free | Join the Silos in celebrating the beginning of the month with this produce, treats and local goods market.

First Friday Market | June 3 | 5 – 9 p.m. | Cultivate 7Twelve, 712 Austin Ave. | Free | Come out to the First Friday Market, which features local artists and music.

Eastside Market | June 5 | Noon – 5 p.m. | Brotherwell Brewing, 400 E Bridge St. | Free | Come out to Brotherwell to check out the Eastside Market with more than 40 vendors, music, art, food and more.

Sir Mix-A-Lot Concert | June 17 | 8:30 – 11:30 p.m. | The Backyard, 511 S Eighth St. | $30 – $40 | Popular American rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot will be performing at the Backyard.

Juneteenth Parade | June 18 |10 a.m. – Noon | Heritage Square, 311 Austin Ave. | Free | This parade is in commemoration of the 1865 emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.

Deep in the Heart Film Festival | July 21 – 24 | 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Waco Hippodrome, 724 Austin Ave. | This local film festival returns for another great year.

The sounds of Waco

Waco offers a surprisingly well-balanced and vibrant music scene. Photo illustration by Brittany Tankersley

By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer

Despite what some may think, Waco has a prominent music scene. From country and R&B to punk and indie/alternative music, here is a glimpse of the sounds of Waco.

Pop

Collin Selman entered the music scene in 2019 with the release of his single “$ellophane.” He has since released seven singles that have specific vibes and make the listener feel like the main character. I went to his first single release party at Brotherwell Brewing, and since then, he has been consistently producing catchy singles.

Alternative/Rock

The Irons are an all-time favorite of mine. They played at multiple venues around Waco in 2018, making stops at Pinewood, Spin Connection, Brotherwell Brewing and even my friend’s birthday party. The Irons have five albums of diverse tracks, including catchy tunes and some songs only holding random sounds. This band now primarily performs in Austin, but they were Waco performers for a brief time.

Punk

Rad Dragon has been producing music on Spotify since 2018. They have performed at Spin Connection — a local record store — many times, and I have seen them in concert here as well. Their music is punk angst and very reminiscent of Blink-182. While this genre is not my favorite, this band knows how to perform. Even in Spin Connection’s tiny shop, there was always a mosh pit that got the crowd hyped up when I attended a show.

Another band that fits this music genre is The Dimaggios. They began playing in Waco in 2015, and they have released two albums. They have also played at Spin Connection alongside Rad Dragon.

R&B

A new band I have discovered is Hi-Five. This band has been around since the 90s, putting out upbeat, moody hits. They are Waco’s very own boy band that probably made the girls go crazy. I could listen to their music all day and not get tired of it.

Country

I am not well-versed in country music, but Wade Bowen and Holly Tucker are the Waco artists who stood out to me. Wade Bowen has had music out since 2011. He even has a music festival called the Bowen Music Fest that fundraises for families and children around Waco who are in need of help. I have to admit: I enjoy Texas country music because Texas is where I’m from, but you can relate to his songs even if you aren’t into the country lifestyle.

Holly Tucker, another Wacoan, competed on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2013. Tucker made it to the top six before being eliminated. I remember watching this season on TV, and everyone in Waco was rooting for her. Tucker is currently on tour around Texas and still performs in Waco.

I’m not sure how Waco’s music scene came to be, but as a Wacoan, I appreciate its resilience and diversity. Organizations and businesses like Keep Waco Loud and Spin Connection foster these bands by opening their doors to host concerts. To listen to these mentioned artists on Spotify, click here.

Your Waco sports tour guide

Baylor students have access to tons of sports-related activities over the summer and during the school year, including museums, stadiums and the McLane Student Life Center. Brittany Tankersley | Photo Editor

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

If you’re a fan of the athletic world, Waco is an underrated sports hub with lots of things to explore. Here is a quick guide to help you delve into all of it.

Texas Sports Hall of Fame | 1108 S University Parks Drive | Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday | $8 for adults, $6 for college students, free for children under 5 and people in the military | There are a number of museums and exhibits to experience, with plenty of sports memorabilia and genuinely cool things to see. One section of the museum includes highlights of each of the schools in the Southwestern Conference.

McLane Stadium | 1001 S Martin Luther King Blvd. | Open every day | Public tours start at $10.52 | Home of the 2021 Sugar Bowl champions, the stadium offers both public and private tours, giving an inside look at the field and unique spots like the Baylor Club.

McLane Student Life Center | 209 Speight Ave. | Summer hours to be announced May 16 | $10 Day Pass offered to guests, full summer passes available | The SLC is many students’ favorite place to go in Waco. There are four basketball courts that hold pick-up games often. There is also a 53-foot free-standing rock climbing wall, a 13-foot bouldering section, a workout facility, a swimming pool with a lazy river, indoor volleyball courts, sand volleyball courts, squash and ping pong tables.

There are many other sports venues that are free to visit — such as the Ferrell Center, the Baylor Ballpark and the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium — but they have limited public access.

Throughout Waco, there are also chains to have some fun at, such as Top Golf (high-tech golf), Putters (mini golf) and Main Event (bowling; laser tag; basketball-, baseball- and football-themed arcade games). Another student favorite is Urban Air, which is a trampoline park with basketball and dodgeball.

If you’re a sports fan in Waco who is hoping to see great sights and break a sweat, each of these spots offers the opportunity to make some great memories.

In case you missed it: Year in review

The 2021-2022 Baylor athletics teams have had a remarkable year filled with recording breaking wins. Photo illustration courtesy of Brittany Tankersley

By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor

It’s been quite the year for Baylor Athletics; the 2021-2022 season was filled with plenty of memorable moments, from conference championships to rewriting history books. Here’s one last look at the best sports moments from Baylor Athletics — in case you missed it.

Victory tastes sweet; Bears beat Ole Miss 21-7 to win Sugar Bowl

Baylor history was made on New Year’s Day as No. 7 Baylor football broke the school record with its 12th win of the season, beating No. 8 University of Mississippi 21-7 at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans and winning the Sugar Bowl for the first time since 1957. The Bears also set the school record for most single season wins over ranked teams with five.

MBB finds redemption with victory over Kansas

“College GameDay” came to Waco to watch Baylor men’s basketball avenge its blowout loss to the eventual 2022 national champion University of Kansas with an 80-70 victory on Feb. 5 in the Ferrell Center in front of a program attendance record of 10,628 people. Despite going down double digits early on, the Bears led the entire final 11 minutes to close out the Jayhawks.

Women’s basketball makes program history in WNBA Draft

For the second time in program history, Baylor had three players selected in the WNBA draft. NaLyssa Smith, Queen Egbo and Jordan Lewis each heard their name called during the 2022 WNBA draft on April 11 in New York City. Smith and Egbo were both selected by the Indiana Fever with No. 2 and No. 10 picks respectively, becoming the first duo to be selected top-10 in program history and the first pair to be picked in the first round in 20 years. Lewis was taken by the Connecticut Sun in the second round with the 24th overall pick, becoming the fourth-straight graduate transfer to come to Baylor and get drafted.

No. 1 A&T flips to seventh-straight national championship

No. 1 Baylor acrobatics and tumbling and head coach Felecia Mulkey further cemented their legacy with their seventh-straight national championship, defeating No. 3 Gannon University 273.685-268.965 on April 30 in Eugene, Ore. However, immediately following the victory, Mulkey already had her eyes set on obtaining title No. 8.

Kaci West etches her name into Baylor softball’s history books

Freshman pitcher Kaci West turned in a perfect outing against Prairie View A&M University on March 1 in Getterman Stadium. It was the first perfect game in program history; West pitched all five innings, striking out five, and the defense handled the other 10 outs on its way to a 9-0 victory.

Kyle Nevin’s historic day fuels series-salvaging win for Baylor baseball

On the verge of being swept by No. 9 Texas Tech University after a 7-1 loss followed by a 11-1 loss, sophomore infielder Kyle Nevin lit up Baylor Ballpark on May 1 to give the Bears an 11-7 win. Nevin finished a career-high 5-for-5 at the plate with another career-best three doubles, also tying a program record in a Big 12 game and tying a career-high of four RBIs.

Volleyball pounces on No. 1 Texas

Baylor volleyball took down No. 1 University of Texas in four sets on Nov. 6, 2021, handing them their one and only loss of the regular season in what was an instant classic at the Ferrell Center. Senior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley was unstoppable as she finished with 24 kills on a .302 hitting percentage. Senior setter Hannah Sedwick also had a big night with 41 assists and 13 digs.

Men’s tennis triumphs over No. 1 TCU for Big 12 title

Baylor men’s tennis claimed a 4-2 victory over No. 1 Texas Christian University on April 24 at Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center in Fort Worth to secure its third-straight Big 12 title and Baylor’s 25th overall. Senior Matias Soto cinched the win, beating No. 14 Juan Carlos Aguilar after a weather delay caused the match to be stopped for an hour before being moved inside.

Paula Barañano tips women’s tennis over No. 25 Kansas

Nearly five hours after start time, No. 21 Baylor women’s tennis pushed past No. 25 University of Kansas 4-3 on April 10 at the Hurd Tennis Center for its second top-25 win of the year. With the score tied at 3-3, it all came down to the final contest on court six, where junior Paula Barañano emerged victorious.

Women’s golf blows away field in Rainbow Wahine Invitational

Baylor women’s golf won its 39th team title and its first of the season in dominating fashion, winning the Rainbow Wahine Invitational by 30 shots on Oct. 27, 2021. Senior Gurleen Kaur took home the individual title for the fourth time in her career, finishing one stroke ahead of her teammate, sophomore Britta Snyder. Sophomore Rosie Belsham rounded out the top three, finishing just a shot behind Snyder for third place.

Men’s golf opens spring slate with top-five finish

Baylor men’s golf finished fourth at the Border Olympics on Feb. 15 at the Laredo Country Club in Laredo. The Bears posted a cumulative score of 873, 9-over-par in 54 holes. Sophomore Luke Morgan led the way with a fifth-place finish, while junior Johnny Keefer landed in ninth.

Track and field comes away with 21 victories in Baylor Invitational

Baylor track and field came away with 21 wins, not counting professional athletes, in its first home meet of the season at the Baylor Invitational on April 2 at the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. A major highlight came from freshman thrower Chinecherem Prosper Nnamdi, whose javelin throw was the longest ever recorded at the stadium with 76.08 m for the nation’s top mark before he threw a 81.07 m a few weeks later at the Michael Johnson Invitational.

Cross country opens season with pair of top-five finishes

Baylor cross country started its season at the Aggie Opener on Sept. 2, 2021, at the Dale Watts Cross Country Course in College Station. Two seniors led the way with impressive finishes. Ellie Friesen finished fourth in the women’s 4.1-kilometer race with a time of 14:29.7, and Ryan Hodge finished fifth in the men’s 5-kilometer race with a time of 15:47.0. Both teams placed in the top five, with the women’s team earning third and the men’s team finishing fourth.

Equestrian dominates South Carolina on senior day

Baylor equestrian sent its seniors out in style, notching a 13-5 victory over the University of South Carolina on Feb. 18 at the Willis Family Equestrian Center. It was the Bears’ largest margin of victory for the season as Baylor jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never looked back.

Baylor soccer ties Oregon in thrilling comeback

Baylor soccer drew a 2-2 tie against the University of Oregon on Sept. 13, 2021, at Betty Lou Mays Field. After falling behind 2-0, the Bears flipped the switch in the 81st minute when Oregon’s junior forward Lexi Romero was hit with a red card for unsportsmanlike behavior, giving Baylor an 11-to-10 player advantage. The Bears immediately took advantage, scoring less than a minute later to make it 2-1. Sophomore midfielder Chloe Japic netted the equalizer with just two seconds left in regulation to send it to overtime; neither team was able to gain an edge, resulting in a draw.

No. 3 Baylor men’s tennis seeks revenge against No. 6 Tennessee in Elite Eight

After losing to them in February, No. 3 Baylor men's tennis gears up for a tough battle against No. 6 University of Tennessee. Joshua McSwain | Roundup

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

An Elite Eight appearance is not uncommon for No. 3 Baylor men’s tennis, nor for its upcoming opponent, No. 6 University of Tennessee.

Nearly three months ago, No. 3 Baylor men’s tennis dropped a 4-2 neutral site battle to then-No.2 and current-No. 6 University of Tennessee. Now, just 86 days later, the high-powered teams will duke it out once more in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.

“We took good notes,” head coach Michael Woodson said. “We definitely have done our homework since then. We used that to really improve as a team, and it’s exciting to test ourselves again against that group to see if we can get the job done.”

The Bears (29-3, 4-1 Big 12) are riding high after utilizing their home court advantage in the first three rounds of the tournament. They were pushed to the brink in their last contest, a Sweet 16 duel with Stanford University where Baylor overcame a 3-1 deficit to emerge with a 4-3 win.

Being forced to climb out of an early hole allowed Woodson to find blessings in those high-pressure moments as they head into a tough test versus the Volunteers (25-7, 8-4 SEC).

“Getting pressed early and having our backs against the wall like we did against [Texas] A&M and then against Stanford, it’s going to really serve us well, especially since in those environments, we’re supposed to win,” Woodson said. “The pressure is on us, no matter how talented the team we’re playing is.”

The Big 12 Tournament champs are not only familiar with those high-intensity moments, but in the last five matches, five different players have clinched a victory, showcasing the balance of the group.

“Every single one of our guys has had that responsibility of carrying the fate of the team on their shoulders in big moments throughout the year,” Woodson said. “So it does make us feel good going into Thursday that it doesn’t matter whose name is called; if it comes down to 3-3, we’re going to be in a good spot.”

The squad has made its way to Urbana-Champaign, Ill., and has begun practicing ahead of Thursday’s match. The veteran group is laser-focused, and Woodson said he is seeing a unique type of intensity to his group in preparation for the Vols.

“Definitely focused,” Woodson said. “A lot of these guys know what it’s going to take and know that they need to be on it from start to finish. Their practices leading up and the way they treat their bodies is critical. There’s a little bit of a different edge about the team as we get into tourney time, but it’s a special thing to be a part of and see.”

The Bears now wait until 3 p.m. Thursday at Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex for the highly anticipated match. The contest can be livestreamed on the Tennis One app or website.

Woodson said the team isn’t taking a different approach because it feels it’s “as good or better than every other team.”

With a win over Tennessee, the Bears would be two wins away from a national championship — one the men’s program hasn’t seen since its lone 2004 title.

“It’s all part of the process,” Woodson said. “I feel like these guys know that they’re as good or better than every other team and that we have an opportunity. It’s just about going out and proving it on the match court, day in and day out.”

Baylor senior on track for graduation despite battle with Cancer

By Kaity Kempf | Broadcast Reporter

COLLEGE STUDENTS GO THROUGH A LOT, BUT SOME MORE THAN OTHERS. KAITY KEMPF BRINGS US THE STORY OF ONE BAYLOR STUDENT WHO IS DEFYING THE ODDS IN HER BATTLE WITH CANCER.

Did you hear that? Waco, Baylor’s top haunts

Dr. Beth Barr and Dr. Cindy Little talk Baylor and Waco ghost stories. Photo illustration by Grace Everett

By Sophia Tejeda | Staff Writer

Given the history and age of the two, walking through Waco or across Baylor’s campus almost comes with a guarantee of passing by the site of a supernatural occurrence. Whether based in fact or fiction, these stories have lived on for generations.

Armstrong Browning Library

The first stop on the Baylor ghost tour is Armstrong Browning Library, which is said to be haunted by three ghosts: the statue out front, a bi-vocational electrician/preacher and the library’s namesake, Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Dr. Beth Barr, professor of history and associate dean of graduate studies, said Browning’s ghost now haunts the Armstrong Browning Library since a number of her personal possessions reside there.

There have been several reported sightings of her on the second floor or through the windows. The Armstrong Browning Library Instagram has even capitalized on these stories, moving a cardboard cutout of Browning throughout the library. To see where the cutout has gone, go to the “Live with Liz” highlight on the @browning.library Instagram.

During the library’s construction in the early 1950s, a bi-vocational preacher and electrician was working on the elevator. While he worked in the elevator shaft on the first floor, the elevator plunged from an upper level, crushing him beneath it.

Today, the elevator is said to often stop working because of his death. Dr. Cindy Little, parapsychological researcher, said the construction worker’s “presence” has been reported to be felt in the basement. She said the Armstrong Browning Library staff have even experienced “poltergeist activity” in the basement.

“The big metal gate that closed off the gift shop would open up or become unlocked on its own, [and] the electronics would go crazy, like the cash register,” Little said.

Ghost hunters have also flocked to the library in hopes of catching movement of Pippa, the statue that stands in front of the library. The statue comes from one of Browning’s verse dramas, “Pippa Passes,” which contains the quote, “God’s in his heaven — all’s right with the world.”

At night, Pippa’s arms, which are set by her side, are seen in her shadow raised above her head, but Barr said this might be due to the lighting.

Brooks Residence Hall

Samuel Palmer Brooks constructed Brooks Residence Hall as an upgrade from the male dorms previously located by First Baptist Church in order to attract male students. During the early 20th century, a student frequently played violin on the fifth floor; though the cause of his death is unclear, some believe he contracted the flu and returned home, where he died. After the student’s death, students consistently reported hearing violin music. One night, during a severe storm, students followed the music and claimed to see a mysterious figure on the fifth floor.

“Down the hallway, students saw a man wearing a top hat and a cape and holding a candle,” Barr said. “They could still hear the violin music. Then, [during a large] thunderclap, the window shattered that the man was standing next to. So they ran away afraid, [yet] when they came back the next morning, there was no shattered window.”

During the 1980s, the use of the fifth floor dwindled, and eventually, the reconstruction made the building contain only four floors. Since the reconstruction, there have yet to be any reports of the Brooks phantom.

Carroll Science Hall

During his time as president, Rufus C. Burleson oversaw the building of Carroll Science Hall, but the construction did not finish until after his death. The original building contained a large staircase connected to the front of the building. When his wife Georgia visited after the completion of the building, she claimed she saw the ghost of her husband.

“It upset her so much, she refused to ever go back inside Carroll Science again,” Barr said.

Texas Ranger Museum

The Texas Ranger museum contains Bonnie and Clyde’s guns, and Barr said at night, individuals have claimed to hear the sound of firearms clicking. In the morning, workers reportedly find Bonnie and Clyde’s guns, as well as the gun of the Texas Ranger who caught them, all cocked.

Dr Pepper Museum

During the tornado of 1953, a Dr Pepper museum employee named Shorty volunteered to move trucks in the plaza while the other employees were sheltered. As he was moving the trucks, part of the building collapsed, crushing him under the rubble.

Little said museum tours often use dowsing rods to communicate with Shorty, and people have reported feeling pressure in their chest or a bloody taste in their mouth in the area where Shorty died.

Cameron Park

In today’s Cameron Park, there were once reports that the local Lindsey brothers stole cattle from ranchers on Lindsey Hollow Road. In response to the thievery, the ranchers hanged the two.

Little said that ghostly figures hang from a tree at night and that surrounding residents have said they often hear the sound of boot spurs and screaming. Additionally, Little said women often report being grabbed and pushed at Jacob’s Ladder, possibly inferring the presence of a male ghost.

Oakwood Cemetery

Oakwood Cemetery has been the location of sightings of several ghosts, including a young man wearing a tuxedo who died in a car crash in the early 20th century.

Little also said W.C. Brann, who wrote “The Iconoclast” — a controversial newspaper that criticized Waco elite and Baylor students — has been spotted leaning against a tree near his grave. Brann died in a gun duel with a Baylor parent. An unknown individual vandalized his tombstone by shooting the profile etched onto his grave.

Religion professor brings life to office with bobbleheads

Dr. Doug Weaver has a collection of famous sports and religious figures on display in his office. Camryn Duffy | Photographer

By Rachel Chiang | Reporter

“I’m the bobblehead man,” Dr. Doug Weaver, professor and chair of Baylor’s Department of Religion, said.

Weaver’s office is located in Tidwell Bible Building and features a series of famous sports and religious figures in bobblehead form. Since coming to Baylor in 2003, Weaver has been filling his office with various bobbleheads he has bought and collected, as well as ones he has been gifted over the years.

“I started collecting bobbleheads in the early 1960s as a little boy,” Weaver said. “I started collecting religious bobbleheads probably about 20 years ago.”

Weaver said he started collecting sports bobbleheads because his dad, who was a Baptist pastor, would go to Baptist conventions across the country and buy bobbleheads from various baseball stadiums to bring home.

Weaver began collecting religious bobbleheads as a passion after he came to Baylor. He said he now has about 50 to 60 bobbleheads total, but he keeps his most valuable ones at home.

Among the ones he has displayed in his office, Weaver said his favorites include bobbleheads of Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther and Luther’s wife, Katharina von Bora. He even has a custom-made bobblehead of himself that was gifted to him by a graduate student after she finished her dissertation.

Featured on a bookshelf in the back of his office is a series of Catholic popes. He also said one of his rarest finds is a bobblehead of Phineas F. Breese, who was the founder of the Church of Nazarene.

“They give a little color to the office, you know,” Weaver said. “Offices can be dread and boring, so I’m not a fashion designer, so that is my fashion design.”

Weaver has since extended his hobby past himself, starting a tradition that features retired faculty within the Department of Religion.

“So when someone retires from the religion department, it’s been our pattern to have a party at the end, and we’ll give them a bobblehead and we’ll keep one ourselves,” Weaver said. “And it’s custom-made, so you can laugh. We can think our colleagues are worth at least a couple hundred bucks; it might be $125 apiece. As to whether the retiring colleagues like the bobbleheads or not, I think some of them liked it a lot.”

Weaver said he started the tradition about a decade ago as a fun joke, although it is also nice to have something to remember retired faculty by. He said certain buildings have portraits of some retired faculty or department chairs, but there is not really evidence of other people. The bobbleheads of retired faculty are displayed in a glass case just outside his office.

“It’s always been an interest of his, these bobbleheads,” Dr. Derek Dodson, senior lecturer in the Department of Religion, said. “It’s just sort of the fun things about him, and how he shares that with his department and how he shares that with his students.”

Local restaurants, students chip in with Salvation Army community kitchen

By Junna Miyazaki | Reporter

Diana Barrett, public relations director and volunteer coordinator for The Salvation Army in Waco, said the organization’s community kitchen is a place where any person can receive free meals — 365 days a year, including holidays. The kitchen serves breakfast and dinner every day, and it serves lunch on Mondays and Tuesdays since a local cafe serves on other days.

“We also provide snacks and refreshments, in addition to meals, during times of extreme weather or crisis, such as during winter storms or heat waves,” Barrett said. “We continued serving throughout the entire pandemic, even switching to take-out when needed to ensure the safety of all.”

The food the kitchen serves comes from a variety of sources but is mostly purchased directly from food vendors, thanks to donations and grants. Cargill donates meat to the kitchen, while the Shipley’s Do-Nuts establishments in Woodway and Robinson donate their leftover doughnuts.

“The community kitchen has a tremendous impact on this community by helping address hunger,” Barrett said. “Those coming to our kitchen can be a mix of those who are homeless or those who have housing but are simply unable to afford meals.”

Panera Bread, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Uncle Dan’s BBQ, Longhorn Steakhouse and the VA Medical Center also donate leftover food to the kitchen. Additionally, Baylor’s Bearathon and Kappa Omega Tau (KOT) donated cases of water.

Barrett said that while at the kitchen, attendees can learn about their other services, including showers, shelters, clothing vouchers, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and long-term rehousing programs that help people move from homeless to home.

“For some people, coming to our kitchen is the first time they will seek help,” Barrett said. “It may be the first place they go, before ever knowing about other services we offer. A meal from us may be the only meal they have had that day — or many days.”

During the school year, volunteers from various Baylor organizations help serve meals. Each group reserves a different day and serves week after week. These Baylor groups include Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), Alpha Phi Omega (APO), Future Nurses Association (FNA), Multi-Cultural Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) and Red Cross. Baylor’s Medical Student Organization (MSO) serves twice a week: Friday dinner and Sunday breakfast.

“It may be appealing to students because of the flexibility of being able to serve any day of the week,” Barrett said. “This coordinates well with class schedules, as most volunteering is during the evening or weekend nights or mornings. We are also located near campus. Each group has a date reserved only for them, which helps students know they can always volunteer. Serving meals gives students an opportunity to do something as simple and yet meaningful as feeding a neighbor.”

Barrett said that with so many groups volunteering from a health background, students are bearing witness to the relationship between the physical and spiritual person.

“The experience that students can expect when volunteering is one of gratification and hospitality,” San Antonio senior Kalton Tran said. “At the community kitchen, students will work in various tasks around the shelter. Primarily, volunteers will serve food to those who need it. Men, women and children come through the kitchen, and a great sense of fulfillment comes when we get to serve these individuals and families.”

Tran said he has always enjoyed volunteering at the kitchen and went as often as he could.

“When the position for leadership presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity,” Tran said. “I always aim to encourage the individuals in my organization to step out and serve in the community so that they get to know the people outside their bubble.”

Baylor Global Missions relaunches trips after being suspended by COVID-19 for two years

Baylor Global Missions is a program that allows students to serve across the globe. Photo courtesy of Baylor University

By Sarah Wang | Reporter

For the past two years, Baylor Global Missions’ operations were suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions with international travel. With restrictions being lifted, its trips will relaunch, providing services around the globe.

Baylor Global Missions is a program that gives students, faculty and staff a chance to incorporate their faith into service, providing more than 40 discipline-specific mission trip opportunities to serve in more than 20 locations across the country and around the world.

Codie Robinson, project coordinator for missions with Baylor Missions and Public Life, said the last two years were especially challenging for the program because of the need to be very cautious to protect students from COVID-19.

“We’re still in the process of rebuilding and slowly rolling out more programs,” Robinson said.

Robinson said global politics is also something coordinators keep in mind when planning international trips. She said they always do safety and security checks to make sure they are sending students to safe places.

“If there are political tensions that pose a threat or risk of getting worse or deteriorating, we keep that in mind,” Robinson said. “We wouldn’t send students into anywhere that would potentially be harmful.”

Mission trip locations are decided through a proposal process by Baylor Global Missions and the student organizations and departments it works with. Robinson said they look into local partners to make sure they are doing work that is suitable for students and that impacts the community in a positive way.

Although there are no restrictions on majors or faith and anyone is welcome to apply, the core of the mission trips is faith-based service. Baylor Global Missions serves as a conduit to educate students for worldwide leadership and service, according to Rebecca Kennedy, assistant dean of spiritual life and department head for Baylor Missions and Public Life.

“We’re called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the imprisoned,” Kennedy said. “And we’re called to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. [Baylor Global Missions] is a way for us to share God’s love to the world by meeting immediate needs … whether there’s clean water, or to be an advocate for social justice or to provide education and training.”

Right now, there are only a handful of trips that still have spots open for May and the summer.

Robinson said students who are interested in going on a mission trip in May or over the summer can email missions@baylor.edu, and Baylor Global Missions will see if it can place them on one of the teams that has open spots.

“If this summer or May is just not the right time, I definitely suggest being on the lookout for something in the fall,” Robinson said. “We’ll announce all of our new trips again. We’ll find a way to have them.”

According to Kennedy, Baylor Global Missions has donors who have given funds that can cover some of the costs for students, allowing them to participate without paying — at least for local and domestic opportunities.

“We’re excited to launch more local and domestic opportunities for students to get involved,” Kennedy said. “For example, we’re going tomorrow to Jacksboro, Texas, where a tornado hit, and we’ll be taking some students on a day trip to help serve [the city].”

Apart from doing service and practicing faith, Robinson said she believes Baylor Global Missions enables students to learn about different cultures and different people, along with allowing them to meet some of their Baylor peers. Students usually form deep bonds and relationships on the trip, according to Robinson.

“They get to learn so much about themselves [on these trips],” Robinson said.

Future male nurses share positive, challenging experiences

Future male nurses share their experiences and motivations. Photo courtesy of Baylor University

By Tatum Mitchell | Staff Writer

Men are nursing the numbers to new heights. About 12% of registered nurses are now male, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Southern New Hampshire University’s website, the percentage of men in nursing is projected to grow in future years.

The male students of Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing said they see this growth and have had positive and challenging experiences. Gatesville senior Connor Barrows is a level-four student in the nursing school. Originally, Barrows said he had different plans for his future before he witnessed male nurses in the emergency room when he got sick in high school.

“Something clicked that was like, ‘OK, this looks like something maybe I can do with my future here,'” Barrows said. “And I know I’m helping people; I get to see it on an everyday basis. After that, I [thought nursing] was something I was going to be doing, and here I am.”

Barrows said that in his experience being a man in nursing school, there have been positive and challenging aspects. He said it has not been bad on the academic side of things to be one of few men in class; when professors notice him more, it serves as an opportunity for mentorship, Barrows said.

A lack of men in leadership positions has been a challenge, Barrows said. He said the representation is “not quite there yet,” since significant numbers of men going into nursing is still relatively new.

Kendra Campbell, senior coordinator of academic success at the nursing school, said she tries hard to create a safe and welcoming space for all students with a variety of needs. Campbell said there are good staff resources for students.

“We treat all students the same,” Campbell said. “So much of what they talk about in their nursing education is that they are serving a diverse patient population, and you have to take care of the whole patient the same way we take care of the whole student.”

Campbell said the student body of the nursing school is about 9% male, and the nursing school has been intentional about department growth. In terms of finding support on campus, Barrows said the other men in the program have been a great source.

Waco senior Connor Wright is a level-four student in the nursing school. Wright said his mom is currently a nurse practitioner and was a pediatric nurse for a long time. Growing up, Wright said his interest in science and watching the work his mom did drove him to attend nursing school.

“I really have felt super strongly that helping people is something that God sent me here to do,” Wright said. “I’m really lucky that gets to take form in a lot of things that I’m really interested in.”

Wright said in his time as a man in the nursing school, his experience has not been changed in any significant way. He said it was easy to make friends and connect with others because he stood out.

“Everybody I go to school with is amazing,” Wright said. “I am around the nicest, most sweet, caring and loving collection of men and women that you can find. Sticking out in a group of amazing, beautiful people made it really easy for me to kind of grow more into myself, into who I am now.”

Trumbull, Conn., sophomore Nick Jack is in the pre-nursing program. He said his main draw to nursing was to change the medical field and the world. Growing up, he said he was in the hospital a lot and felt it was his calling to become a nurse.

Jack said it has not mattered to him that nursing is female-dominated. He said he’s been able to acclimate well to the program and has felt welcomed. One of the resources Jack said he utilized is the Future Nurses Association, which provides community and support in the nursing school and for pre-nursing students.

Sahr Mbriwa, chaplain and coordinator of student ministries at the nursing school, said he does a lot of spiritual formation and pastoral counseling for students. He said that when he can create a space for men to come together, it allows them to be more welcomed and transparent with their needs.

“One of the reasons why I have a soft spot for the male nursing students is because I know what it’s like to be in the margins; I know how hard it is to ask for help,” Mbriwa said. “You’re already a nurse, and your job is to go help other people, not ask for help. Even though we know that’s not true, it’s still hard to get out of your head sometimes.”

Mbriwa said he reaches out to male staff to see who the other male instructors are so that he can give students a name to connect with. He said two students reached out in the fall to create a men’s Bible study group, and he is there to encourage them and provide resources.

There is a need for more men in the nursing population, Mbriwa said, and there is an importance for patients to connect with whoever is treating them.

“When you’re serving a group, you want to have it so the people serving can reflect the population in some way,” Mbriwa said. “I mean, you don’t have diversity just for diversity’s sake; you do it so you can more effectively serve the community.”

Jack said gender roles may play a role in the female and male nursing populations. He said the percentage of men in nursing will grow more as time goes on because people should begin to see how distinct the roles of a doctor and nurse are.

“It’s a duo on the same playing field,” Jack said.

Every environment gets better with diversity, Wright said, and God calls people to nursing if they are meant to be on that path.

“I think nursing is so much more of a calling than a profession, and really not something that I think anybody could do,” Wright said. “It’s a crazy thing to sign up for if you don’t feel like God has chosen you to do that, led you to do that. So whatever that looks like is exactly how it’s supposed to be.”

Waco Downtown Farmers Market abuzz in community

The Waco Downtown Farmers Market has formed a unique community over the years. Photo courtesy of Waco Downtown Farmers Market

By Kaylee Hayes | Guest Contributor

Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., a hub of people can be seen in a parking lot across from the Waco courthouse at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, which has made a name for itself over the past 10 years. The farmers market is located at 500 Washington Ave. It operates year-round and has totaled $1.5 million in sales.

Bethel Erickson-Bruce, the market manager, said she works hard to keep the farmers market thriving. Ten and a half years ago, she started the market with 14 vendors. Now, the market offers food incentive programs and hosts 50-plus vendors.

Being a market manager consists of many different skills, all of which Erickson-Bruce said she learned when she got the job. She said she spends her time attending meetings concerning food and hunger in Waco, planning special events, recruiting vendors and more.

“I go in and inspect all of our farms so I can verify that they actually grow what they are bringing to market,” Erickson-Bruce said.

When she is not at meetings or out recruiting, paperwork is the other half of what she does, she said. Part of Erickson-Bruce’s duties are writing up reports, looking at applications and working on permitting paperwork.

“It’s a lot of paperwork, more than people expect,” Erickson-Bruce said.

According to Erickson-Bruce, the people are her favorite part of the market. She said her relationship with the vendors is family-like.

“Another vendor and I were pregnant at the same time, and now our kids are best friends,” Erickson-Bruce said.

The market follows the 80/20 rule; this means 80% of the vendors are produce-related and 20% are artisan. According to Erickson-Bruce, the market is nonprofit and is funded primarily through booth fees.

“It limits us so we don’t become a flea market,” Erickson-Bruce said.

Jill Boman is an artisan vendor at the market and the owner of Happy Stuff. She said she sells natural alternatives to commercial products, including soaps, hand sanitizers, room sprays and various personal care products. All her products are preservative-free and made without water-based ingredients.

Boman said she initially made her products for fun, but after her children graduated, she decided to turn it into a business. She said she “challenged” herself to not purchase any personal care items, which encouraged her to delve deeper into learning about how to make products.

“If I couldn’t figure out how to make something, then too bad for me,” Boman said.

Boman said she has been a vendor and consumer for 10 years; she said the community is what makes the farmers market so special, and supporting local businesses and farmers is something she loves. She also said she has a very solid customer base, with customers who have purchased her products for years.

“I love the community,” Boman said. “It’s happy. It’s friendly. It’s so different than going to the grocery store.”

Rianna Alvarado works with the Master Gardener booth to educate the public about gardening. The Master Gardeners act as a resource for individuals who are interested in planting, backyard gardening or just growing their own herbs. She said they consider themselves a really important resource for the community.

Alvarado said the farmers market is the reason she stayed in Waco, with some of her greatest friendships having been created there. She said she participates in the market to stay involved in the community, and she thinks the market can be life-changing for people. Alvarado said the farmers market is like life for her, with it being a home for her and her children.

“It’s their community too,” Alvarado said.

Before the farmers market opened, Alvarado said she would drive to Austin to grocery shop. Now, Alvarado and her husband love to shop locally.

“I’ve been at the farmers market almost every day since it started 10 years ago,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado said a large part of what makes the farmers market important is how it provides a space for individuals who are looking to start a business. It is an inexpensive alternative where ideas can easily be tested and connections can be made, she said.

Richard Seitz owns Long Branch Farm in Prairie Hill, Texas. The farm offers chicken, pork and eggs that are sourced from “pasture-raised” animals. It promises non-soy and non-GMO products. It also sells various spices, coffee and bone broth. The farm has been a vendor at the farmers market since December 2019, Seitz said.

Seitz said he originally began raising chickens for his family. After giving out eggs to friends, he said he realized he could make a business of it, and there was a need for clean meat in Waco.

Before joining the farmers market, Seitz operated his business through local farm pick-ups. Since becoming a vendor, business has improved significantly, he said. Now Seitz offers both local and national deliveries.

“We can ship coffee or even a whole chicken to you later,” Seitz said.

Frisco senior Meg Lewis said she frequently attends the farmers market and enjoys having one-on-one conversations with the vendors she buys from. She said she is eco-conscious and likes to support local farmers, with some of her preferred vendors being Long Branch Farm and Little Foot Farm. Lewis said the farmers market is close-knit, sustainable and welcoming.

Chris Hennard said he goes to the farmers market every Saturday for the experience. He said he enjoys the community and gets about half of his produce there. He also said the farmers market has products and produce that cannot be found anywhere else in Waco, in addition to many good foods and options.

“It’s one of the best outdoor events that Waco has to offer,” Hennard said.

Hennard said the vendors are what make the Waco Downtown Farmers Market special. There is an abundance of parking, vendors, and consumers, he said, but it is not overwhelmingly busy either. He also said being close to the river and in a pleasant downtown area is a nice perk.

“It’s just a perfect environment really,” Hennard said.

Faith, growth and hoops; Pastor Wible’s journey with Baylor basketball

Baylor men's basketball chaplain Mark Wible has been with the team since Scott Drew took over as head coach. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By AnnaGrace Hale | Sports Writer

Finagling his way into the position as volunteer chaplain for the Baylor men’s basketball team, pastor Mark Wible has worked with the program since head coach Scott Drew took the helm. Home games are his opportunity to minister to the squad, and his position has allowed him to not only build relationships with the players and coaches, but also provide support in areas other than basketball.

“I have the opportunity to be an interested, but detached person,” Wible said. “It’s someone who [the players] know is interested in them, but also I’m not at coaches meetings. So, if there’s anything going on, they know they’ve got somebody with the program.”

Although his full-time job is associate pastor at Highland Baptist Church in Waco, Wible has always had a heart for basketball. Being a longtime Baylor fan, and coaching one year for the program, Wible happily took on the role of home game chaplain.

He received a call from his friend Bryon Weathersbee, who was applying to be Baylor’s university chaplain at the time, who had a vision of adding volunteer sports chaplains to every sports team. However, later in the process, Weathersbee was unsure if he would receive the position, so he told Wible that the new coach, Drew “doesn’t know any different, so just show up tomorrow and introduce yourself as the chaplain and see what happens.”

Wible did just that.

“So, Scott’s first day on the job, I walk into his office and knock on his door and say, ‘Hey, Scott. I’m Mark Wible and I’m the chaplain of the Baylor men’s basketball team.’ And Scott goes, ‘Great. Come on in,’” Wible said. “So [I’ve] been with him since the start.”

Wible has not only built a strong relationship with Drew over the last decade, but also created connections with the players on a deeper level.

“What makes [Wible] special is the spiritual connection and the relationship he is able to have with our guys,” Drew said. “Does not matter if they play, don’t play, score, don’t score — it’s all about trying to improve them spiritually and grow them spiritually … and what to do to be the best husband, father, man that they can be.”

As the home game day chaplain, Wible brings a 15-minute message to the team before each game in the Ferrell Center. Each season has a different focus and builds off the theme of the last season. The 2021-2022 season was “hand me another brick.” After bringing the national championship back to Waco in 2021, the team focused on the opportunity to continue to build the program in basketball and faith.

“I would go through a different character trait, so the brick of unexpected, and I just said you have to be ready to deal with the brick of unexpected,” Wible said. “There’s going to be unexpected things that happen on the court. There’s going to be unexpected things that happen in life. How do you build the character of Christ into your life with unexpected things?”

The goal is to develop the athlete as not only a basketball player, but also as a person.

“Pastor Wible has such a great, gentle spirit and way about him,” Drew said. “Players really feel comfortable sharing with him and that allows the relationship to grow and have such an impact on their lives.”

Finals don’t measure success

Morgan Dowler | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

As we near the end of the school year, many students will find themselves stressed, spending hours in Moody Memorial Library fueled by espresso and vending machine snacks. Occupying a quiet space, students open their laptops to consult every inch of information they “learned” throughout the entire semester as they begin to prepare for the ultimate feat: final exams.

Final exams are meant to measure the amount of information that students have retained over the last 16 weeks of classes. However, these tests induce frantic studying and stress, which has been shown to not really reflect how well a student may understand the class content. Cumulative finals are not an accurate way to measure our classroom experiences.

Not to bash on those who will be able to score an A next week, but most students who do well on finals do so because they are able to memorize large amounts of information in small settings — and not everyone is built to learn the same way. Finals consist of long research papers, projects, presentations and sit-down exams that test how much regurgitation students’ brains can handle. An increased amount of stress, anxiety and depression is often common during the last two weeks of the school year as additives to academic performance on finals.

Many professors propose tests the week before finals, adding another layer of stress on students. And after those assignments are done, students are given one “study” day in between classes before finals start on Saturday. Finals shouldn’t start on the weekend, and students should have more than one day in between to prepare for these large exams and/or projects. Additionally, professors will bump up their finals to try to “help” and “get it out of the way,” but in reality, that typically only causes more problems. So, as many professors get a jump-start on grading and get to begin their summer break, students are crunched for time while deadlines jumble together.

As Baylor students finish up the spring semester next week, they will be looking at the grades they receive on these finals to define their worth and success as a student. Most final exams are weighted between 10% and 30% of a final grade, heightening the importance of doing well on them.

However, on average, a full-time student has six to seven classes with individual exams and projects; each student is asked to complete and do well on these items in a significantly shortened timeline compared to during the semester. Students have lives outside of finals week of school, and they don’t magically find 12 more hours each day to study and work on homework.

Whether or not you decide to put in the time, energy and stress to study for these tests, sometimes it doesn’t always pay off. Finals focus more on how well you can perform in high-stress situations than on applying your knowledge from the course. Nevertheless, Baylor students, let’s finish strong in our final week and try our best on our finals. Remember that your grades don’t define the value of how hard you work or the person you are.

Women in Computer Science strives for community, professional growth

Baylor Women in Computer Science (WiCS) back in 2018 when it was first chartered. Photo courtesy of Baylor WiCS

By Audrey Patterson | Reporter

Dr. Mary Lauren Benton, assistant professor in the department of computer science and co-faculty adviser for Baylor’s Women in Computer Science (WiCS), said the organization aims to build community among women, encourage professional growth and develop mentoring relationships within the club and with the outside community.

“We have some informal mentoring relationships between the older and younger members of the group and between the faculty mentors,” Benton said. “I know that this year’s officer group has been really active and trying to build up the club. And so they’re interested in building a more formal mentorship program that would help connect younger undergraduate students with more senior upper-level students and with graduate students potentially.”

The organization’s events range from professional development to social events. Benton said they’ve had discussions with companies about job opportunities and resume help.

Cupertino, Calif., junior and WiCS president Sneha Shah said they also play JackBox as an activity to encourage teamwork.

“[It] is good because those skills are essential for the workplace, and starting to build even those soft skills are really important too,” Shah said.

Shah said men are welcomed in the organization and are critical in developing their community.

“I really think there’s no better way for the field and the men in the field to help women feel empowered and supported than by coming and joining and saying, ‘Hey, it’s important to see you here. We appreciate your voices. We appreciate your presence,’” Benton said. “And so their participation, I think, is vital to understand some of the challenges that women face.”

Shah said the organization’s priority is creating community and building close relationships.

“I’ve heard of a lot of girls who start out doing computer science, and then a lot of them drop, especially at Baylor,” Shah said. “And so only a few girls actually graduate with a computer science degree.”

Benton said she thinks it will take more female role models in the field to encourage other women to believe that computer science is a viable choice for them. She said breaking down the stereotypes about what a computer scientist is and looks like would highlight the variety of applications computer science has.

“There’s been some research that shows that women tend to gravitate toward applications of computer science that are seen as helping society or building up the community,” Benton said. “A club like this can help to connect women not only to other women who are doing interesting work but other applications of computer science, such as improving the environment or working to combat climate change — computer science and health care and computer science and nonprofits.”

Benton said the computer science field is here largely due to women and the work that they’ve put in. She said foundational figures like Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper have made huge contributions to the field and left behind a legacy of programming and innovation.

Shah said she hopes to leave a legacy of a kind environment so that the community is more open to helping each other out.

“I want to foster more opportunities for women and for the girls at Baylor to be encouraged to do computer science and data science,” Shah said.

Benton said she would love her legacy to be a presence of encouragement, whether that’s in her department or in her career.

“To people who are starting out or people who are trying to figure out what they want to do, there are a lot of options, and some of them feel more nontraditional but are equally rewarding,” Benton said. “If they’re interested and want to do it, they should go for it.”

Baylor professor collaborates with Roman Catholic priest on first telepsychology initiative in Haiti

Counselors for the telepsychology initiative. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jocelyn McGee

By Jenna Fitzgerald | Copy Editor

There may be over 5,000 miles between Waco and Rome, but that didn’t stop Dr. Jocelyn McGee, an assistant professor in the Garland School of Social Work, and the Rev. Dr. Wismick Jean-Charles, a Haitian-born Roman Catholic priest, from collaborating to implement the first telepsychology initiative in Haiti in response to COVID-19.

In 2010, the seeds for the initiative were sown as Jean-Charles founded the Center for Spirituality and Mental Health (CESSA) in Haiti in response to the magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

“Haiti is a diverse and culturally rich country; it’s the first Black republic in the Western Hemisphere and the first independent Caribbean state,” McGee said. “Haiti has experienced numerous natural disasters as well as sociopolitical upheaval. As many people know, in 2010, there was an earthquake that resulted in the deaths of almost 300,000 persons, numerous injuries, and almost a million people lost their homes. CESSA was developed by Father Wismick in response to the earthquake to offer psychological services to traumatized people, marginalized groups and disadvantaged communities affected by natural disasters, violence, insecurity, social exclusion and poverty.”

In 2014, McGee established what would become a long-standing relationship with Jean-Charles, CESSA and the people of Haiti, supporting their spirituality and mental health educational mission and offering a workshop at their annual summer conference. Then, with the onset of the pandemic and the introduction of a whole new set of obstacles in 2020, Jean-Charles reached out to McGee about creating the multi-stakeholder initiative.

“Father Wismick contacted me in March of 2020 to let me know that the counselors and psychologists from his organization were extremely concerned about the degree of stress and emotional impact that the COVID-19 pandemic was having in Haiti,” McGee said. “He asked if I would collaborate with him and our Haitian colleagues to develop and pilot telepsychology services for the purposes of safely giving out information and providing emotional support to the people of Haiti.”

While planning took place from March to April of 2020, McGee said the actual case study ran from May to November of 2020. During the six-month period for which they received funding, they had 12 counselors who provided services from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, offering a confidential place people could call into for emotional support and up-to-date information on the pandemic.

“All of the counselors chosen to participate in the telepsychology initiative were professionals with excellent technical training and cultural and emotional competence,” McGee said. “Everyone was Haitian, and most of them had been serving as counselors since the earthquake, if not before. Before they went into the field, we worked closely with the counselors to provide information on best practices for telepsychology and had many discussions about ways to adapt these best practices for use within the unique Haitian context.”

McGee said services were open to anyone, although they were primarily geared toward front-line health care workers and community members. She said they publicized the opportunity through grassroots efforts and communication.

“CESSA got the word out about the telepsychology services by posting flyers at churches and temples and schools,” McGee said. “In talking to Father Wismick, it seems like word of mouth is how people started to feel comfortable participating in or receiving services.”

According to Emerald, the counselors provided 701 sessions, with 193 of those being for front-line health care workers and the other 508 being for community members. McGee said the community members who received services were largely teachers and women.

“We found out that community members were more likely to ask for help than front-line health workers, and the reason is probably pretty obvious,” McGee said. “The front-line health workers were having to rally to meet the needs of the community because of the pandemic, so it was really hard for them to allow themselves to break away to get the support, even though I would say they probably needed more support than anybody.”

McGee said services dealt with a wide variety of needs. Topics included information on how to prevent COVID-19, ideas for self-care, techniques for empowerment and strategies for how to reduce fear, stress and anxiety. McGee said services were also uniquely tailored to Haitian culture, particularly regarding the difficulties of dealing with social isolation.

“In Haiti, it’s a collective society, and people are around each other much of the time in community,” McGee said. “All of a sudden, you are being asked to be isolated and alone, and it’s so counter to their culture that there was a lot of suffering over social isolation.”

However, McGee said they faced several barriers when implementing the initiative, such as the initial reluctance of people to be vulnerable and ask for support.

“There’s a stigma around asking for psychological or emotional support, and I think that was another issue,” McGee said. “But what was remarkable is that week after week, more and more people called, and they kept calling, so people really were hungry to have counselors listen to them and provide them support.”

Above all, McGee said the initiative taught them that the service was culturally acceptable and logistically feasible. She said using a multi-stakeholder approach — which involves members of local and international governmental and non-governmental organizations — was a vital part of its success.

“It has to be the community, the people, who are developing the services in the ways they think will be most helpful within their context,” McGee said. “It is important that services be based on what the community states they need, rather than someone coming in from the outside and telling a community, ‘This is what you need help with and what’s going on in your community.’ Although outside organizations can walk alongside communities, in order for services to be effective and sustainable, the community needs to be intimately involved with all aspects of project development.”

The findings of the initial case study were published in the Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice in February of 2022. McGee said the initiative was able to reach people who had never considered mental health services before — something she said she hopes can be further implemented in Haiti and even adapted to other countries.

“We think that this case study provides some valuable lessons for mental health training and program development in other countries that have limited mental health resources,” McGee said. “However, it is very important that careful work is carried out that is context-specific for each country and the diverse people groups within a country.”

Q&A with author, professor Beth Allison Barr

Baylor professor and author Beth Allison Barr wrote a novel criticizing the mistreatment of women in the Christian church. Photo courtesy of Beth Allison Barr

By Emily Cousins | Guest Contributor

After causing a huge ripple in the evangelical community, author Beth Allison Barr Ph.D., of “The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth,” reflects on the public’s response one year after her book’s release.

Barr, professor of history and associate dean of graduate studies, argues in her book that the church has long upheld the patriarchy, but it’s not biblical. She pulls historical examples of women leaders in the church, and how the Christian belief to treat women as subordinate to men has been upheld today. She also intertwines her personal story of her husband being fired from his youth pastor job for questioning their former church’s stance on women leadership in the church and complementarianism.

Did you always plan on writing this book?

It was not something that I’d ever considered until I was asked to write this book. However, I’d been writing on Patheos on the Anxious Bench, which is a religious history blog by religious historians throughout the U.S. I had been tackling some of these issues that I ended up writing about with more substance in “The Making of Biblical Womanhood.” That’s what began to get a lot of attention, and ultimately led to me being asked to write “The Making of Biblical Womanhood.”

I’ve seen a lot of negative critiques and comments on social media about your book. Have any of those negative comments affected your life?

The good thing about social media is that it mostly does stay on social media … I haven’t really been afraid. I really haven’t had much changes for my day-to-day life. However, one of the attacks inadvertently raised money for our church … I think the investment in responding to people was bigger than I had anticipated. As an academic, you’re not prepared for that much investment after writing a book, because most of our books don’t go very far. Our audiences are usually our own field, and not that broad, so I’ve been playing this by ear.

Throughout the book, you go back and forth between your personal story and the history, but I also saw some people online criticizing that. What would you say in response to those people?

My goal was to get people to listen and to read, and it clearly has gotten people to listen and to read. Readers liked the going back and forth between my personal story as well as the historical evidence, and using my personal story got people to pay attention to the historical evidence in a way that they haven’t been paying attention to, as most of the research I put out there wasn’t really new research. This is stuff that scholars have known for years, for decades, sometimes some even longer, but people aren’t paying attention to it. What I was trying to do with “The Making of Biblical Womanhood” was to get people to pay attention to it. I think at the end of the day, it worked.

The church that you go to now, what does that look like?

It’s a very small, ordinary Baptist church. We went to that church in 2017, after we spent some time in between. It was a very different place than what we had been used to in ministry, but we were up to do something different. The church is in an area that needs a strong church … It’s a pretty traditional small Baptist church that actually is extremely refreshing to be at, because it is outside of the noise of social media. I get to teach my Sunday school class without really referencing very much else that is going on.

Do they uphold the ideas that you wrote about in your book when it comes to women and the patriarchy?

This tiny little Baptist church has had women in the pulpit for a long time since the 1930s. We just ordained our first female deacon there, so no one’s concerned when we have women in the pulpit or when we have other female pastors come in from the area. Those aren’t really concerns at our church, and so it’s really great. It’s really nice that people just get to do what they are called to do.

I saw a critique talking about how this book only related to American Christianity. What do you think about that?

Yes, it is about American Christianity. I’m an American in the modern evangelical church, and so I was writing about a very peculiar phenomenon. Complementarianism, which is an American phenomenon, however, it’s an American phenomenon that has quickly been exported. It has gone into the United Kingdom, and it has also gone to Australia. I’ve found that Australian evangelicals are interesting. They, I don’t want to say too much, but I don’t think their brand of complementarianism is as different as they want to try to say it is from American complementarianism. Not to mention the fact that I think they’re still missing my overall point that it’s the systemic oppression of women. Even if you do it differently, you’re still arguing that women can’t be pastors or leaders of your church.

Looking back on this year, is there anything that you would go back and do differently in your book if you had the chance?

I would have liked to have drawn more attention to race. The problem with that was that it did change the focus of my book a little bit. I think I would have liked to have gotten maybe in the title or something that I’m telling a white evangelical woman’s narrative. There were a couple of places in the book where I paused and drew attention to that, but maybe have highlighted that earlier. There may be some things that could have been developed more, but at the same time … my endnotes tell you where you can go to find out more.

Do you see yourself writing about race related to patriarchy in future projects?

One of the things I’ve also learned through this project is that there are a lot of people out there working on different parts, and not everyone is gifted or has the skills to write about everything. I think really what I’ve decided is I know where my gifts are, and where my passion is, and where my voice matters. I think maybe the better thing for me to do is to highlight other people’s voices who are writing really compelling narratives, especially about race. Like Anthea Butler, she’s an incredible historian; Jemar Tisby; Angela Parker had that really great book, “If God Still Breathes, Why Can’t I?” which is just an amazing book.

Speaking of future projects, do you have anything firm and decided? What’s going on?

I signed a two book deal with Brazos to turn “The Making a Biblical Womanhood” into a trilogy. So, I’m really excited about it. It’ll allow me to develop themes that I just didn’t have the time to develop in “The Making of Biblical Womanhood.” The first book will be called “Becoming the Pastor’s Wife,” and it is going to tackle the history of how we got to this really peculiar role of a pastor’s wife, which is the only role in church history that you attain through marriage, which is really strange if you think about it, and how it also coincides with a decline in conversations about female ordination – it’s going to be a mix of personal narrative, as well as the history. Then the final book is called “Losing Our Medieval Religion,” and this is something that I’ve been writing about for a long time, about how I think a lot of our problems in the evangelical church is how we are so short sighted, and we have such a short grasp of history, and that if we had a longer view it could help us.

What do you see for the future of the church in America?

Historians don’t like that because we look at the past, not the future. However, one thing that I do know is that history doesn’t change overnight. If we look at the past, history takes time. I think that keeps me from getting discouraged, because I know that in order for change to happen, people have to be willing to change, which means they have to start changing their minds on issues. What I see right now is the evangelical church sort of waking up and reconsidering a lot of things that they had taken as gospel truth, and rethinking them. So that gives me hope that there is going to be future change.

President Livingstone said your book was one of her favorite reads. How did that make you feel?

It made me feel really good. Baylor is a very supportive place to work as a faculty member, because Baylor supports our projects and puts our work out there. Even the provost has had this “Meet the Author” series where they buy books of faculty authors and invite people to come hear them, and they interview them. It’s really a supportive and great thing to do … Fabled had done a thing where they asked 22 people in Waco to tell them their four favorite reads of the year, and so President Livingstone chose mine as one of her four favorite reads, and they highlighted it at Fabled.

What advice do you have to young Baylor students who are evangelicals?

Baylor students always give me hope, because they’re always asking questions, and they’re willing to think through hard questions. I would encourage them to think about what the position is at their churches on various issues, and to think critically about that and to ask questions about it. If the church is going to change, it’s going to be with the younger generations that are going to help make this lasting change as they move to make new churches. So I would encourage them to ask questions, and instead of accepting that this is the way we’ve always done it, ask why. Why do we do it this way? Is it possible that maybe we are just following cultural norms rather than what the Bible actually teaches? Be curious.

Missing the mark at Met Gala: Best, worst looks from this year

Celebrities gathered on Monday May 2 to attend the Met Gala. Photo courtesy of Associated Press

By Emma Weidmann | Staff Writer

Earlier this week on the first Monday of May, everyone from A-list celebrities to social media influencers gathered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to celebrate the annual Met Gala. Although it’s widely considered to be fashion’s biggest night of the year, the Met Gala also gives attendees the opportunity to miss the mark wildly, which they consistently do.

Being deemed the best dressed at the Met Gala comes down to how well an attendee has stuck to the theme and if they look good doing it. This year, the theme was Gilded Glamor, in homage to the Gilded Age of America which spanned roughly from the 1870s to the early 1900s.

It was a period marked by intense cultural change and the building of new commercial empires, as well as waves of immigration from Europe and the fashioning of a new national identity.

The fashion of the Met should’ve reflected this, but some, like Olivia Rodrigo, skipped a few centuries and rocked a Y-2K inspired look — an iridescent, slim-fitting gown complete with butterfly clips and a smokey eye more reminiscent of Paris Hilton than anything else. It was undeniably gorgeous, but made little sense for the theme.

But, nobody could top the worst-dressed and least on-theme celebrities of the night being Kylie Jenner and Sebastian Stan. Jenner caused a complete meltdown on Twitter by wearing a baseball cap to the Met Gala, which is unacceptable no matter the theme, and was made only more confusing by her pairing it with an actual wedding dress and a mesh top.

Sebastian Stan forewent the theme entirely, donning his brightest highlighter-pink, head-to-toe Valentino outfit. It was as if he lived in an alternate reality in which themes are suggestions and sneakers can be gilded and glamorous. Valentino matched him with actress Glenn Close, who dressed in a hot pink cape paired with a hot pink blouse and pants.

An annual source of disappointment, there was no end to the amount of men who showed up in simple black suits or tuxedos. Anyone from Pete Davidson, Jacob Elordi and Jack Harlow to David Harbour, who looked like he searched up “Monopoly man” on Google and ran with it.

As always, however, co-host of this year’s event Blake Lively executed the theme perfectly. Her look started out as a beautiful copper gown with little cracks of green creeping through, but unfurled and transformed into an almost entirely green dress with a long train covered in subtle copper constellations. Lively’s look was a direct homage to the Statue of Liberty, rooted in the time period itself and as over the top and dramatic as a Met Gala look should be.

One of few others who followed the theme was “Bridgerton’s” Nicola Coughlan, who wore a pink satin Richard Quinn gown whose silhouette mirrored the fashion of the 19th century precisely. Actress Laura Harrier wore a custom H&M gown (yes, really) that proved even fast fashion can outdo established designers when it comes to staying on theme. If H&M can do it, so can Dior.

What to Do in Waco: May 6 – 8

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

First Friday Market | May 6 | 5 – 9 p.m. | Cultivate 7Twelve, 712 Austin Ave. | Free | Come out to the First Friday Market which features local artists and music. This event is open to the public.

Cornucopia: An Abundance of Fellowship & Memories | May 6 | 5 – 9 p.m. | Susan L. Sistrunk Fine Art Gallery, 2120 Washington Ave. | Free | Come out to the grand opening of this new exhibit at the Sistrunk Fine Art Gallery.

“The Music Man” | May 6 – 8, 13 – 15 | 7 p.m. | Waco Civic Theatre, 1517 Lake Air Drive | Tickets are $20 adults, $18 students | This play follows con man Harold Hill as he convinces the people of River City, Iowa into supporting his scam.

Brazos Nights: La Engergía Norteña & David Beck’s Tejano Weekend | May 6 | 7 – 11 p.m. | Heritage Square, 300 Austin Ave. | Free | Brazos Nights return to Waco with a free concert, food trucks and more.

Waco Downtown Farmers Market | May 7 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Courthouse Parking Lot, 500 Washington Ave. | Free | This weekly event includes an assortment of local vendors that provide products such as produce, meats and greenery.

The Edison Marketplace Vendor Fair | May 7 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | The Edison, 2601 Franklin Ave. | Free | This event is family-friendly and will include music, a bounce house, face painting, food, craft vendors and more.

Dr Pepper Museum Birthday Celebration | May 7 | 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Dr Pepper Museum, 300 S. Fifth St. | $2 admission all day | Come out and celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Dr Pepper Museum.

Feels So Good Showcase Fest | May 7 | 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. | The Backyard, 511 S. Eighth St. | Free | This event will include live music, vendor market, live screen printing and much more.

Kite Fest | May 7 | 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | HOTMAC Airfield, 3400 Overflow Road | Free | Come out to witness kite flying, live music, games, bounce house, a miniature aircraft flying exhibition, prizes and more.

Paranormal Experience at the Dr Pepper Museum | May 7 | 8 – 10 p.m. | Dr Pepper Museum, 300 S. Fifth St. | $30 | This two-hour tour unveils a different side of the museum to visitors, one that many people will never experience. Museum guides will lead visitors through forbidden parts of the museum to discuss its paranormal past and present. This experience is reserved for anyone 18 years old and up.