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PBS documentary features gospel music from Baylor’s collection

Baylor University journalism professor Bob Darden, founder and director of Baylor’s Black Gospel Music Restoration Project was recently featured on a PBS documentary, “The Black Church.” Photo courtesy of Professor Darden

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

Since Baylor now holds the highest amount of digital gospel music through the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (BGMRP), PBS reached out to borrow music for their documentary, “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song.” From the inspiration behind the project with professor Robert Darden, to understanding the importance behind gospel music, the documentary tells more than just a story.

Starting this journey in 2005 with a letter to The New York Times about how the loss of gospel music will anger future generations, Darden set out to save the genre for future memory. With a high-quality digitization lab and plans for a new listening center, the BGMRP has acquired over 14,000 digitized items.

Darden said gospel music was the soundtrack to his life and has also written two books about gospel music in African American culture.

“When [PBS] called out of the blue, I thought what they were calling about was just providing the music, which they of course wanted, but they were also interested in [my] two most recent books on how black sacred music impacted the Civil Rights movement,” Darden said. “So that ended up being a lot of what we talked about as well. It was about 50/50, half about the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project and half on the research I had done on how the music impacted the movement.”

As the PBS documentary previewed last week, Darden said the four-hour-long special was very ambitious, as it follows the story of African Americans from the very moment they arrived in North America. Highlighting the Civil Rights movement up to the Black Lives Matter movement today, the documentary shows the good and the bad within the Black church.

Darden said the documentary covered how the Black church was created in a close model to the first-century church of Jesus Christ, where it was all about love. The documentary shows its earliest beginnings to the struggles it has being accepted by the white congregations. Darden said it also covers the music of praise that found its roots within the church.

“It spends a lot of time on the music of the Black church, from the spirituals to the gospel, you have the foundation of all American popular music,” Darden said.

Monique Ingralls, a member of the organizing committee for the Pruit Symposium on Black Sacred Music, shared the significance of gospel music. She said the BGMRP has saved countless recordings from the “golden age” of gospel music.

Seeing how these recordings are being used for research purposes in such a broad spectrum, Ingralls said she hopes more students will take advantage of the rich resources that are right on campus.

“Gospel music is fascinating to listeners, believers and scholars because it challenges so many of our preconceived notions about sacred music,” Ingralls said. “Gospel music is both participatory and performative, traditional and innovative, a folk practice and a widespread popular music.”

“The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song,” explains the progression of the Black church and how gospel music played a central role throughout African American culture. Through the BGMRP and Darden’s research, many of the sermons and music within the film helped narrate the powerful story and shed a light on an almost lost genre.

Black student organizations cooperate, strive for similar goals

Lexy Bogney has been a member of Baylor’s chapter of the NAACP since her freshman year and now, as a senior, is serving as the president. Cole Tompkins | Photographer

By Erianne Lewis | Staff Writer

BSU was established in 2017 and made Baylor one of the last Big 12 schools to have a formal Black Student Union. Dallas senior Trey Thomas, one of the co-vice presidents of the BSU, said the organization helps to foster a community for other Black student organizations at Baylor.

“We represent a majority of the Black [organizations] within ourselves,” Thomas said. “We like to collaborate a lot with the other Black organizations that are on campus. We are more like a facilitator and a space for the Black students here that are on campus who want to find other Black students.”

Thomas said he has been apart of BSU since the end of his freshman year and now serves alongside the co-vice president, Dallas senior Tyra Thompson.

Houston senior Lexy Bogney, president of the NAACP Baylor chapter, said she has been a part of the chapter since her freshman year. She said it’s an important bridge between the Black community at Baylor and the Waco community.

“We are one of the oldest and boldest organizations, as NAACP was first founded in New York in 1909 and [we] have been heavily involved on campus in the last decade,” Bogney said. “We also work with other chapters in the state, as well as nationally, ensuring equality for all.”

Holding important leadership positions may come with challenges, but these students have found ways to combat them even with COVID-19.

“I think the biggest challenges, especially during COVID and the pandemic, is that I want everyone to know what BSU is, who we are, and know that we are open for any and everyone. It’s extremely hard because it’s hard to meet a lot of new people,” Thompson said.

Bogney said her biggest challenge as president is making sure that everyone is heard.

“A lot has taken place on campus within these last few months, and as an organization, we’ve tried our best to make sure everyone feels supported and is able to share their opinions,” Bogney said.

Thompson said she hopes the legacy she leaves behind in BSU represents her desires for the advancement of Black students on Baylor’s campus.

“Anything that I do is for the betterment of the Black community here at Baylor. I want there to be more students,” Thompson said. “I want them to stay here and actually graduate, I want Black people to feel safe on campus, I want Black people to feel as if they have people they can talk to about anything. I want us to feel like a family.”

And for Thomas, he said he hopes to convey the importance of having more Black students and organizations at Baylor before he leaves. In doing so, he said he wants to host more events to grow community.

“We are always trying to create things and programs that people actually want to participate in,” Thomas said. “I want us to have such a sense of community that people could enjoy any type of event. I want to make it more normal to participate in something than to not participate.”

Bogney said that she also desires for the Baylor NAACP to be a place for Black students to participate on campus.

“As president, I hope that I can continue to allow our organization to flourish and provide a space for students that want to be involved on campus,” Bogney said.

Lady Bears transfer guard Jaden Owens making the most of surprise season

Baylor guard Jaden Owens drives past Oklahoma guard Taylor Robertson during Baylor's 84-61 win on Jan. 23 in the Ferrell Center. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, pool)

By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

Few places are more different than Los Angeles and Waco. Even fewer people have enough experience with both to make that distinction. Baylor guard Jaden Owens is one of those proud few.

Owens, who committed to UCLA out of high school, spent one season with the Bruins before making the call to transfer. Since arriving in Waco, she’s played a key role for the Lady Bears, shooting over 41% from beyond the three point line. That mark is the team’s highest by over four percentage points. In terms of what Owens brings to the court, Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey knows just how valuable she is.

“Jaden is more of a facilitator (at point guard),” Mulkey said. “She wants to give you the shot before she takes her shot.”

Like a lot of things in 2020, Owens’s transfer process wasn’t made any easier with COVID-19 complications. However, Owens had been very interested in Baylor as a recruit. That prior knowledge made it easier for Owens to return to her home state of Texas for the rest of her college basketball career.

“I was talking to Baylor before I committed to UCLA,” Owens said. “They were really my final two. I was between [them], so I already knew everything about [Baylor]. I knew they were family, everything I really needed.”

As a recruit, Owens was the No. 14 overall player in the nation, and the No. 3 guard. An All-American out of Plano West, Owens had offers from powerhouses like Louisville, Mississippi State and Texas. While the year at UCLA was something new, a return to the Lone Star State brought back some familiar feelings for Owens.

“I’m a huge family person,” Owens said. “I love to be around my family all the time, so that did play a major role in [my decision], just because I know that my family would be able to go and see my games. I would be able to go home and see them. So that did play a major role.”

Family also helped push Owens on the court, as her sisters, Devri and Callie, played college basketball at SMU and North Texas, respectively. In a house with that much basketball talent, things are bound to get competitive. Despite some disagreements along the way, the Owens girls all pushed each other to become stronger players.

“My sister just called me last night, and we were talking about how Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and his brothers grew up playing together,” Owens said. “She was like ‘I wonder if they ever argue. We don’t argue,” and then she was like, ‘Wait, we do.’ Me and my sisters were playing at the park, and we just got into an argument on the court, and we didn’t talk for like a week outside of the court. It’s made me who I am. It’s made me tougher … We all have a relationship where we’re just honest with each other because we want what’s best for each other.”

Initially, the plan was for Owens to sit this season out and join the team for the 2021-22 season. On November 19, the NCAA released a blanket waiver for transfer athletes, granting Owens eligibility for the 2020-21 season. Having Owens on the court has been a huge boost for the Lady Bears, but it’s not even close to what it did for her.

“At first, I didn’t think I was going to be able to play,” Owens said. “Until we heard about the whole blanket waiver and stuff like that … Coach Rice was talking to me about the whole process … We were all in a huddle about to break out, and Coach Rice told Coach Mulkey, and she just told the whole team, and I just started to cry. Normally I don’t cry, but I just felt like I had a breath of fresh air.”

Owens, savoring every moment of a season she didn’t think she’d see, will be on the floor again this afternoon when the Lady Bears take on Oklahoma State at 5 p.m. in the Ferrell Center.

No.1 women’s golf breaks Big 12 record, win fifth consecutive tournament

Britta Snyder, Gurleen Kaur, Rosie Belsham, Hannah Karg and Elodie Chapelet pose with the team's trophy after winning their fifth straight tournament of the season. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Jarrod Leicher | Reporter

No. 1 Baylor Women’s golf placed first by five strokes in the ICON invitational at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, breaking a Big 12 record and becoming the first team in the conference’s 25 years to win five consecutive tournament titles.

The women finished the 54-hole match 24-under-par for a total of 840. They remain undefeated this season at 5-0 in tournaments against 13 top-50 ranked teams and five top 17-ranked teams.

Freshman Britta Snyder had a third place finish, making it her second top-three finish of the season, finishing 10-under with a 206 score. Snyder finished the final round 4-under 68 with six birdies. On Monday’s round, she finished 7-under 65 tying the school record for lowest round, and her 10-under score is the fourth best 54-hole score in program history.

Following Snyder, freshman Rosie Belsham finished tied for fifth with 8-under 208 after a final round shooting 3-under 69. Belsham’s 208 tied the ninth best score in program history.

Senior Elodie Chapelet finished tied for 19th place at even-par 216 and also shot 3-under 69 in the final round. Matching their scores of 2-under 70 in the final round, senior Gurleen Kaur finished at 1-under 215 tied for 16th place, and freshman Hannah Karg ended the tournament tied for 26th at 1-over 217.

The five players in the lineup had a total of 25 birdies in the final round and over 57 birdies for the entire 54 holes.

Freshman Nina Lang competed as an individual and tied for 32nd place shooting 3-over 219 after having a final round of 2-over 74. Junior Diane Baillieux tied for 61st at 12-over 228, and junior Jordan Shackelford finished 76th at 29-over 245, both also competing individually.

The Lady Bears will play next on March 1-3 at the Gamecock Intercollegiate at the Columbia Country Club in Columbia, S.C., where they will try for their sixth consecutive win.

Bears squeak past Cyclones in return to play after COVID-19 break

Senior forward Mark Vital leaps for a block as Iowa State's Tyler Harris drives past him in the second half. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, Pool)

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

Baylor men’s basketball overcame a rough start to ward off an upset attempt from Iowa State, beating the Cyclones 77-75 Tuesday night at the Ferrell Center.

Sophomore guard Adam Flagler came off the bench and proved to be the push the Bears needed to win, scoring 22 points. Junior guard Jared Butler contributed as well, scoring 18 points, while senior forward Mark Vital grabbed 15 rebounds.

“[Flagler] was really important,” head coach Scott Drew said. “He’s been working really hard and was excited to contribute and help. He did a great job giving us a spark.”

The Bears had not played a game in over two weeks, and it showed as Baylor was rusty to begin the game. Baylor turned the ball over five times in the first six minutes and only managed to score four points. Drew attributed the slow start to Baylor’s extended break.

“We could’ve gotten real rattled,” Drew said. “That was one thing, talking to coaches, they say it’s so frustrating because you remember how you were playing before the pause, and you want to play just like that, and it doesn’t happen. You can’t get frustrated.”

An increased number of turnovers combined with Iowa State shooting a red-hot 70% from three pushed the Cyclones to a 16-point lead with just 6:24 remaining in the first half. Iowa State was led by the guard duo of Tyler Harris and Rasir Bolton, who combined for 26 of the 37 Cyclone points in the first half and 46 on the game.

The lone bright spot for Baylor came with 10 minutes left in the half, when Vital performed his best Yossiana Pressley impression and spiked Jalen Coleman-Lands layup attempt to the floor.

Baylor began to figure out the offensive side of the game late in the first half and went on a 12-2 run to cut the Iowa State lead to only single digits going into halftime. The Cyclones led 37-32 at the break.

Baylor continued to hammer away at the Iowa State lead throughout the second half, trading baskets with the Cyclones for most of the way. Iowa State cooled off significantly from three in the second half, shooting only 33% from deep.

The Bears took their first lead of the game 66-65 with 4:26 left after senior guard MaCio Teague hit a pair of free throws. Drew said the comeback showed the amount of spirit his team has, especially considering the circumstances leading up to the game.

“I think it showed a lot of heart from our guys,” Drew said. “I’ve talked to a lot of coaches who have had long pauses, and for those who have had it for reasons like us, normally they say three games until you’re normal, minimum. So, to come away, get a win and be able to perform like we did, I was very pleased with that.”

A clutch Vital block and Butler layup helped Baylor preserve the lead and ice the game. With the win, Baylor improves to 18-0, which is the best start in program history.

“Honestly, I think we’ve got to go 1-0,” Vital said. “We’ve got to come in practice and stay locked in. It takes time. Just go 1-0 every day and it’ll happen.”

Baylor will take on Kansas at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Baylor Family helps COVID-19-positive students during winter storm

Quarantined students were moved from their hotel rooms to Arbor Apartments last week after power outages due to inclement weather. Photo illustration by Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Annaleise Parsons | Staff Writer

The Baylor Family pulled together last week to help quarantined and COVID-19-positive students during the ice storm that brought the coldest temperatures Waco has seen since 1989.

Rebecca Kennedy, assistant dean of spiritual life and missions, said the storm “caught everyone off guard,” particularly when it caused a power outage at the hotel where isolated students were housed.

“We had to transfer students back … There’s a lot of moving pieces, and there were people all over campus pitching in,” Kennedy said.

The students from that hotel were moved to the Arbors Apartments with the help of Baylor staff and students who were able to drive on snow and ice.

Polly Flippin, budget associate for the Office of Spiritual Life, along with her husband and son, went to the grocery store three times during the week to buy and deliver food to the off-campus COVID-19 housing.

“She’s a Baylor employee that went above and beyond … She’s such a servant, and I’m very proud and thankful for her service to the students and the university,” Kennedy said.

Atlanta freshman James Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 the Thursday before the winter storm hit and went into off-campus isolation housing. He said students in the off-campus housing were checked on throughout the week regarding their symptoms, supply of water and food, and spiritual needs.

“I had people text me every two to three days through Baylor saying if we had any questions we could ask them, if we had any food, if we were feeling okay…” Jackson said.

Though the wintry week proved a challenge to Baylor and those stuck in quarantine and isolation, Kennedy said she was proud of the work the community did to come together and provide for each other.

“It was a Baylor Family effort to make sure that students were taken care of,” Kennedy said.

Sports Take: NBA All-Star game poses unnecessary risks during pandemic

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James watches during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

According to recent reports, the NBA will be holding an All-Star game on March 7 in Atlanta, instead of Indianapolis, where it was originally scheduled to be held. But this decision has been met with a lot of justified backlash from both players and city officials in Atlanta who see the All-Star game as an unnecessary risk.

There’s a reason that none of the other professional sports, including the NFL or NHL, have held an All-Star game during the pandemic. Having all of the NBA’s best players descend on a single city is a recipe for a COVID-19 disaster, both for the city and players.

While there is an obvious incentive for the NBA to have an All-Star game, that incentive does not apply to the players as well. The NBA stands to make millions off of the All-Star weekend festivities, but the players only risk possible exposure.

LeBron James, seen as a leader among the players, said as much, expressing feelings of displeasure towards the prospect of holding an All-Star game during a pandemic.

“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said. “We’re also still dealing with a pandemic. We’re still dealing with everything that’s been going on, and we’re going to bring the whole league into one city that’s currently open … Obviously, you guys can see I’m not very happy about it, but it’s out of my hands.”

Having your most profitable and marketable player speak out against your planned All-Star game is not a good sign. Multiple other players spoke out and agreed with James, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard, all players who will be All-Star’s this year. But it was Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox who hit the nail on the head.

“If I’m going to be brutally honest, I think it’s stupid,” Fox said. “If we have to wear masks and do all of this for a regular game, then what’s the point of bringing the All-Star game back? But, obviously, money makes the world go round, so it is what it is.”

As Leonard said in another statement echoing Fox’s, the NBA is “putting money over health.” This decision becomes all the more worrying when you consider what Atlanta city officials have said about the impending All-Star game.

“We know Atlanta has the reputation as the place to come and party,” City of Atlanta council member Andre Dickens said. “They [the public] will come, pack the clubs and they may or may not be wearing masks.”

Jon Keen, the top cabinet officer for the Atlanta Mayor, was very adamant the city did not seek out the All-Star game either, but the NBA chose to have the game there.

It’s clear that neither the players nor the city want an All-Star game to happen this season, and ultimately, it is easy to understand why. During a pandemic, certain sacrifices must be made, and all unnecessary events must be cut until after the pandemic ends. It’s disappointing to see the league that was the first to get playing safely in a pandemic right be so wrong in this situation.

Baylor Spiritual Life provides prayer services for Lent season

This year, Baylor Spiritual Life is providing online prayer sessions throughout the season of Lent. Photo illustration by Hyundo Song | Photo Intern

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

As part of its Christian mission, Baylor’s Spiritual Life department is hosting weekly prayer services throughout this season of Lent, along with an online Chapel series for Lent.

These services, which will be held over Zoom on Fridays at 12:15 p.m., will include prayer sessions, moments of confession, readings from traditions, as well as moments of intercession. Carlos Colon, assistant director for worship initiatives, explained that the programs will led by the chapel prayer team and are expected to last 20 minutes.

“The purpose of it is to have scriptures and prayers that go with the spirit of Lent, which is this 40-day period when the church puts an emphasis in repentance and discipline,” Colon said. “Also, where Christians walk with Jesus and make that journey with Him to the cross, so the Scriptures and the prayers will reflect that.”

Andrew Bellamy, a master’s candidate from Tyler who serves as president of Anglican Student Ministries (ASM), shared how highlighting prayer during this time allows for students to reach for the fullness of Lent season. Bellamy also said Lent season brings out a newfound sense of community to ASM and that it is a time to be more disciplined in the church.

For those who may struggle with their faith, Bellamy mentioned how their group is committed to spiritual direction and open communication to be supportive of everyone.

“Our student body has wonderful diversity in denominational beliefs and practices, and so these prayer services are ultimately a great way for Baylor to encourage consistency and intentionality in our Lenten practices, spiritual lives, foster ecumenism and emphasize our shared identity as Christians,” Bellamy said.

Because Lent is a 40-day period prior to Easter, it starts on a Wednesday – this day is celebrated as Ash Wednesday. This year the day fell on Feb. 17, when Waco was blanketed with snow and ice due to Winter Storm Uri. As such, this year’s event looked different due to the pandemic as well as the winter storm.

Colon explained how the original plan was for prayer guides and small crosses to be handed out, but it was quickly changed to an online event. Moving the service online, Colon mentioned how social media became an integral part of getting everyone’s attention.

“It was going to be a unique service already in the sense that they were going to come by and pick up a guide that they could use, you know there was not going to be the imposing the ashes on your forehead as it is every year,” Colon said. “So, it was already going to be unique and then with this added situation where basically the university was closed for almost the whole week, we had to depend again on social media.”

Aurora, Colo., junior Afton Tanner, president of the Catholic Student Association, said, while the services on campus are useful, she also participates in activities hosted through St. Peter’s Catholic Student Center. As she is a part of both Baylor and St. Peter’s organizations, Tanner explained that the midday prayer sessions through Baylor as well as Stations of the Cross through the student center both help members prepare for Easter.

“One aspect that has helped me grow in my faith is that it is not just fasting from food, but also an opportunity to fast from material goods or practices that draw you away from Christ and from the Church,” Tanner said in an email.

For those struggling with their faith this Lent season, Colon explained how the Spiritual Team is open to students if they wish to talk and that, whether through email or phone, the team enjoys talking with students and getting to know them. Colon suggested students keep up with the Chapel series online and read through the book of Psalms if they wish to stay active during this Lent season.

Colon also said the online midday prayer sessions are meant to join together the Baylor community through repentance and discipline throughout the season of Lent. To stay updated with Baylor Spiritual Life, check its website.

Waco residents provide help to community during, after Winter Storm Uri

Local organizations like Caritas of Waco and The Waco Foundation are working to help those in need after the ice storm damage. Christina Cannady | Photographer

By Anne Walker | Staff Writer

Last week, Winter Storm Uri brought freezing temperatures that left many Waco residents without power or water. Throughout the perils of the storm, residents turned to each other for help. Many continue to rely on community support in the aftermath of the storm.

Like numerous Texans, San Diego, Calif., senior David Martinez found himself unprepared for the unprecedented weather event.

“The big issue for me was food — just finding where to eat, what to eat. We didn’t know. We were not prepared at all,” Martinez said.

Martinez and his five other housemates quickly realized that their older house on Speight Avenue was not equipped for below freezing temperatures.

“It was so cold that as the faucet was leaking it would turn into ice and accumulate. And so there was some ice building up from the sink … That’s how cold it was,” Martinez said.

When a pipe burst in the house, Martinez described the conditions of their off-campus residence as “unlivable.” He and his roommates turned to friends for a place to stay through the rest of the week.

Many other Waco residents struggled without water during the storm. Lisa Tyer, Waco utility director, announced around 500 residents lost water Saturday due to pipes breaking and related repairs.

Last weekend, the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. helped meet the families’ needs by donating water for a city distribution event near the Waco Convention Center.

While the winter weather has subsided and temperatures have soared back into the 70s, many in Waco are still facing hardships in the aftermath of the storm.

Alicia Jallah, co-executive director of Caritas of Waco, detailed some of the challenges families are confronting.

“The weather caused many businesses to close last week and some continue their closure due to facility repairs,” Jallah wrote via email. “The other hardship for many of our clients is replacing all the groceries they lost during the power outages. Many already struggle with getting adequate nutrition and acquiring the necessary food for healthy living so to have to replace everything is devastating.”

Natalie Kelinske, director of communications and donor services at the Waco Foundation, confirmed in an email that many families continue to contend with hardships.

“We also anticipate a need for vital home repairs so people can remain in their homes and have running water. We are working with the City to develop a deeper understanding of the current needs and we will learn more in the coming days and weeks,” Kelinske wrote.

Martinez stated that he was still waiting on Tuesday for the water to be restored at his house.

“Thankfully, we have friends, so I’ve been going to the friends that I stayed with most of my time, and I’ve been able to shower there,” Martinez said. “I brush my teeth at the dorm across the street … so that’s why I went this morning to put my contacts in and brush my teeth.”

The Waco Foundation, in coordination with the City of Waco, established the Winter Storm Community Relief Fund.

“During the middle of last week when we began to learn more about the wide-spread damage and severe impact of Winter Storm Uri, we had several conversations with the City of Waco about establishing a way for people to give donations for the benefit of individuals and families in our community,” Kelinske explained. “We are honored to partner with the city to receive these funds and distribute them to our most vulnerable populations who are unable to access basic necessities and home repairs. Waco Foundation’s Board approved a $25,000 gift to the fund to get it started.”

After approving $25,000 to jumpstart the fund, the Waco Foundation designated Caritas of Waco as a nonprofit that will receive grants from the Winter Storm Community Relief Fund. Jallah outlined Caritas’ plans for the funds.

“These funds will allow us to serve more clients that need the financial assistance with their utility and rental needs. The hope is to always keep our families with a safe roof over their heads, running water and electricity,” Jallah wrote. “We have so many families already hurting because of the pandemic that now the added stress of recovering from the winter storm has them at a loss. We are grateful to be here to offer hope and a gracious hand to those in need.”

For community members that are interested in assisting Waco fully recover from Winter Storm Uri, Kelinske recommended they visit wacofoundation.org/winterstorm to learn more about the Winter Storm Community Relief Fund or waco-texas.com/recovery to identify volunteer opportunities.

Historic commission’s work is done, now let’s see the report

Matthew Muir | Opinion Editor

Last week the Commission on Historic Campus Representations’ report was accepted and handed over to Baylor administration. Now it’s time for the university to keep its promises. Forming the commission to begin with was a step in the right direction, but if the report itself is not released to the public in a timely manner, it will vastly diminish the impact the report holds.

The commission was formed to investigate and evaluate Baylor’s historical ties to slavery and the confederacy and to craft a report outlining its findings and recommendations on how to proceed. Though this report is not yet public, it is now out of the commission’s hands. What happens with it next is up to the administration.

According to a press release sent out in an email Friday, the Board of Regents plans to publicly “release the full, independent report of the Commission by the end of March.” In the same press release, President Linda Livingstone said they will develop a proposed action plan for consideration “in the months ahead.”

If we aren’t waiting to release the report until the action plan is formed, then why is there a delay until the end of March? The Commission has delivered it, it has been approved and both the Board of Regents and the administration have seen it. As far as we have been told, we aren’t waiting on anyone else.

The longer the report is withheld from the public, the less time the Baylor community has to discuss its contents before the end of the school year. We are talking about racial oppression — this is not a topic that should be long contained, nor is it one that should be put off until the last minute in hopes that attention will be placed elsewhere. Yet each day the report stands idle, that becomes more likely.

It is understandable to want a better grasp on an action plan before releasing the report, but there will be no perfect plan of action when it comes to moving forward from something as drastic as ties to historical racism. Waiting and brainstorming won’t find magical steps that somehow eradicate Baylor’s past, and that isn’t something we expect anyone to do.

But what we do expect is full transparency and acknowledgment of what is found in the report. We expect efforts that follow the words of repentance and changes that occur in real time to reconcile the maltreatments of the past. And we expect ample time and encouragement to discuss our thoughts and contribute ideas on how to go forward.

So we are eager to read the report, by the end of March at the very latest. The formation of the Commission and the efforts of those on it are appreciated, and the Lariat Editorial Board asks that it will be utilized justly by seeing it through in a timely manner. It is only when the truth of the past is brought forward that proper restoration can begin.

Why TikTok isn’t for me

By Meredith Pratt | Assistant News Editor

TikTok isn’t that great. In fact, I deleted it almost immediately after downloading it.

I know so many people who don’t go a day without scrolling through TikTok videos. Fans of the app cook TikTok recipes and follow TikTok celebrities and are up to date on all of the TikTok trends that I’m not. But I’ll be honest… I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

One reason I can’t bring myself to re-download TikTok is because I know it is a big time waster. Between my job and senior-level classes, I barely have enough hours in the day as it is, and I already spend way too much time scrolling on Instagram. Some people spend hours every night before bed catching up on videos, and, I’ve got to say, I would much prefer getting a few more hours of sleep.

Not only is TikTok good at sucking people in to binge-watch videos, it’s also good at persuading people to buy things. I have heard countless friends say “TikTok made me buy it” or that they were wanting something they heard about on the app. To me, it is dangerous to be constantly fed content that pushes you to buy products you supposedly need.

There are some privacy concerns as well. A few TikTok users have told me they think the app listens to them and adjusts the videos they see accordingly. There has also been some debate on whether or not the Chinese government was accessing data from the app, but that’s a whole other discussion.

TikTok has created a new set of internet celebs as well. Some of these users have capitalized on their newfound fame and sizable audiences and turned it into their full-time career. That in and of itself is strange to me, but, hey, it’s their choice. I have never understood the appeal of becoming a fan of these TikTok celebs, and I could care less about what happens in the “Hype House.” Arguably one of the most famous TikTok stars is Charlie D’Amelio, a 16-year-old girl who makes dancing videos. That just isn’t content I really care to watch. I especially don’t want to recreate any of those dances either.

This leads me to my next point: I feel too old for the majority of the videos on TikTok (or maybe I don’t have the right sense of humor). Either way, I don’t resonate with the jokes or trends that come from the app. I read in an article that one-third of TikTok users are under 14, so maybe that’s why — the audience is comprised of countless young teens.

If I want to watch videos, YouTube is definitely still my platform of choice. I don’t think I will ever get back on TikTok, but I am very interested to see how long the TikTok hype lasts.

Nostalgic trends for revisiting simpler times

By Siegrid Massie | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

We see them all over social media. Trends from decades ago rising to the tops of our feeds, and we ask ourselves, “Wait, this is back in style?” At the risk of stating the obvious, we are living in the wake of a year of chaos.

During a time of utter confusion and uncertainty, we crave that which is familiar, secure and comforting. Nostalgia is a powerful idea that creates positive associations between us and the memories of what we think were “simpler times.” There are times we all need a mental vacation from the present, and one great way to escape is with a walk down memory lane. With that being said, here are some vintage pop culture trends to participate in when you need a mental comfort blanket.

Polaroids and Disposable Cameras

There has been a drastic increase in the number of people using film instead of digital cameras over the past few years. For many, the convenience of taking instant digital photos on your phone doesn’t compare with having a physical reminder of a special moment with friends, family and loved ones. There’s something special about being able to hold the photo in your hand and getting to display it on your wall.


Not only is it great for the environment, and in many cases great for your wallet, but you’re also able to find one-of-a-kind of pieces that will have all your friends asking where you got them. There’s also an added component to the experience of thrifting of feeling like you’re on a treasure hunt where you never know what you what you’ll find. Who knows, the next time you’re hunting for vintage band t-shirts or the perfect pair of mom jeans, you might just stumble across a piece of clothing that will make you a trendsetter amongst your friends.


The music industry is a great example of how vintage never really goes out of style. The newest component of this idea is the resurgence of vinyl record players. What was thought to be a dead medium to listen to music has become repopularized with the new appreciation for analogue devices and the desire to experience music in a new way for younger generations. The appeal is in cultivating collections of records and listening to records that have personality and character due to the slightly imperfect sound quality.

Retro Haircuts

Sometimes we crave a more permanent change in our lives, and one of the best ways to do that can be a new haircut. With many of us unable to get into hairstylists’ salons over the past year, easy do-it-yourself hairstyles like curtain bangs for girls and the textured natural look for guys are easy ways to change up your look.


One of the most obvious examples of the power of nostalgia is the number of rebooted movies and TV shows that have been produced over the past five years. Shows and movies like “Fuller House,” “Ghostbusters” and “Queer Eye” are a great way to capture the feelings of the past with a twist of the present. Even shows that aren’t reboots like “Stranger Things” and “WandaVision” do a great job of cultivating nostalgia by capturing the essence of the decade they’re set in.

Nostalgia can be a great way to take a mental break from the craziness of the world, but no matter what, always remember there are great memories ahead and to stay present in the moments as they come.

Three takeaways from Baylor baseball’s opening series

Jared McKenzie loads up to swing against UTRGV during Baylor's season opener Sunday in Edinburg. The second-year freshman was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after going 7-for-10 with two home runs and five RBI. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

It only took 347 days and an ice storm, but Baylor baseball is back in action. The Bears opened the 2021 season with a three-game series against UT Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, splitting a double header on Sunday and dropping the series finale on Monday 7-4.

Baylor took the opener 12-7 and was up 8-0 in game two before the Vaqueros completed a 9-8 comeback win. Although it’s not the result the Bears would’ve liked, there were a lot of positives to come out of the series. Here are three takeaways from Baylor’s first three games of the season:

Jared McKenzie is GOOD at baseball

If hitting .406 during the 2020 shortened season and being tagged a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball as well as making the Big 12 All-Rookie Team didn’t give it away that the Bears’ center fielder is a talented kid, then maybe going 7-for-15 with two home runs and five RBI’s as well as keeping a perfect fielding percentage in the opening series sure will.

The Round Rock native was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and is currently hitting .467. Although he’s a second-year freshman, McKenzie qualified for the award because he had yet to complete a full collegiate season and did not have the opportunity to earn it last year due to the cancellation of spring sports as a result of the pandemic.

McKenzie has proved to be consistent both at the plate and in the outfield. He also has the potential to be one of Baylor’s leading players. There’s no doubt he’ll be a high draft pick whenever he becomes eligible.

Power Packed Lineup

The state of Texas might have been without power, but the Bears certainly were not. Baylor blasted five homers on Sunday: two by McKenzie, one by fifth-year catcher Andy Thomas, one by senior third baseman Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo and one by redshirt sophomore first baseman Chase Wehsener.

Honestly, this lineup is stacked. You’ve got McKenzie in the leadoff spot and a proven and consistent veteran in Thomas batting clean up. And just because Wehsener hits at the bottom of the lineup doesn’t mean he can’t pack a punch when the team needs him. Then you have guys like Cardoza-Oquendo and right fielder Davion Downey who have already proven themselves to be clutch at the plate.

Sprinkle in a series of freshmen young guns in shortstop Tre Richardson, utility player Kyle Nevin, as well as a couple of JUCO transfers in second baseman Jack Pineda and designated hitter Antonio Valdez, who totaled multiple hits and RBI against the Vaqueros, and you’ve got a pick-your-poison offense going.

Shaking off the rust on the mound

For the most part, Baylor’s pitchers gave solid performances to open up the season. Fourth-year Tyler Thomas probably had the best outing of Baylor’s starters this week with a career-high six innings pitched. He only gave up two runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

Redshirt reliever Jacob Ashkinos also earned his first career save with three scoreless innings and second-year freshman Hambleton Oliver earned his first win of the season with 1.1 innings in relief of redshirt sophomore Blake Helton.

Freshman reliever Grant Golomb impressed with a scoreless two innings Monday with only two hits and a strikeout.

All in all, the spring is still young and there’s a long way to go, but Baylor baseball has all the tools necessary to be successful in 2021 and beyond.

The Bears will next hit the field against Texas A&M Friday in Round Rock to open the Round Rock Classic.

Baylor Buddies mentors find ways to continue serving during pandemic

Serving K-12 at-risk students is a continued priority for the Baylor Buddies mentorship program. Photo courtesy of Baylor Buddies

Erianne Lewis | Staff Writer

Baylor Buddies is a student-led organization that mentors local at-risk elementary, middle and high school students. The organization was founded in 1984 by a Baylor student named Buddy Norman.

Allen senior Adrianna Mims, co-director of Baylor Buddies, said the main focus of the group is to be a friend and trustworthy adult figure in a child’s life in order to lead them on the path toward success.

“We are just added support and we just seek to create meaningful relationships between mentors, mentees and Waco organizations,” Mims said. “We just want to see every child meet their full potential.”

According to the Texas Education Agency, 70.7% of Waco ISD students were considered at risk of dropping out of school in the 2018-2019 school year.

Shiner junior Greta Grosenbacher, communications chair, said the dropout risk is one of the biggest problems Baylor Buddies works to combat.

“The main goal is to provide at-risk students with a positive relationship and to really be a friend to these amazing kids,” Grosenbacher said. “We work with Communities in Schools (CIS) to match Waco ISD students with Baylor students for tutoring or mentoring.”

To do this, Baylor buddies meet their mentees once a week at their respective schools to talk, play board games, draw, color or play sports with them. Unfortunately, the organization has been greatly impacted by COVID-19 guidelines because of their reliance on in-person schooling, Grosenbacher said.

Grosenbacher said the meetings for Baylor Buddies have been converted to an online format and visits to schools are no longer an option.

Mims said, however, that Baylor Buddies members have still found ways to continue forming relationships with their mentees, despite social distancing guidelines.

“Our mentors have been so awesome and proactive in finding unique solutions to still engage with their mentees,” Mims said.

Still adhering to Baylor COVID-19 restrictions, members made holiday goodie bags for their mentees and have delivered small gifts to the students.

Though, Grosenbacher said, ultimately the health of the mentees is of utmost importance.

“There are a lot of at-risk kids that are also very at-risk for COVID-19 complications because of various demographic factors, and we do not want to exacerbate this issue,” Grosenbacher said. “Because of this, most Baylor Buddies members have not been able to meet with their mentee in person for a while.”

Grosenbacher said she is most concerned about how the mentees are coping with not being able to contact their mentor during this time.

“For some of them, it can be a really important relationship, especially during stressful times like these,” Grosenbacher said. “I’m hoping that CIS can at least figure out a consistent virtual option for continuing mentoring during Covid sometime soon.”

Baylor HEAL seeks to educate future law students about victims of abuse

A new student organization plans to bring awareness and education about sexual assault and misconduct to law students. Kristen DeHaven | Photo Editor

By Mary Watson Vergnolle | Reporter

The following article contains information relating to the subject of sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment. If you or someone you know is struggling with this, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673, available 24/7, or the Baylor University Title IX office at 254-710-8454.

Baylor HEAL, a new student organization created for law students, seeks to help educate students to advocate for victims of sexual abuse, assault and harassment in a legal setting.

The organization, co-founded by law students Tanner Scheef and Kristopher Ruiz, held their first meeting Monday at 4:30 p.m. The officers said they are eager to create a safe space for students to learn how to bring awareness to this important topic.

A first year law student from Friso and president of Baylor HEAL, Scheef said she wanted to help law students be better equipped with knowledge on such topics for their future career.

“HEAL stands for help, educate, advocate and learn. Those are our four main goals: to help victims, educate law students on how to better prepare ourselves to deal with victims, advocate for victims and advocate for change and ultimately learn from victims to better understand where they are coming from,” Scheef said. “A lot of us either know victims or have our own experience and a lot of the reason victims don’t come forward is because the legal process can be so traumatic. I think that we as future attorneys can lay the groundwork to make the legal pathways that victims have a safer space for them.”

Being a new organization, especially in the midst of a pandemic, has proved no easy task, but as future lawyers, the officers of Baylor HEAL are passionate about removing the stigma around the conversation of sexual misconduct and are hoping to help other law students steer away from being desensitized to the topic.

Wylie second-year law student Bridgett Meyer serves as Baylor HEAL’s treasurer and said she is excited about being able to offer an enriching experience to members.

“In law school, we read cases, and it can be easy to disassociate from that actual person who really went through something,” Meyer said. “Having an organization like this to help you bring back your humanity and to not detach yourself [from an experience] and to get back into the shoes of the victim is already so powerful.”

Baylor HEAL officers plan to host meetings in which they bring up these important topics, invite guest speakers and fundraise for local Waco organizations in order to expand their impact beyond the classroom.

“We also are going to try and work with the Waco Women’s Shelter as well as provide a bank of resources for members or even people who aren’t in our club and for those going through it,” Scheef said. “We also are going to be aware of possible trigger warnings and make our club a safe space as well.”

Fayetteville, N.C., first-year law student Rachel Hales, the club’s secretary, said she values the opportunity to connect online with other students.

“We have an Instagram where we post updates about meetings,” Hales said. “We have also done a couple polls about what the student body wants from us, and we are hoping to continue that. Ultimately, we want to serve our student body in a way that best educates them and works with their schedule.”

Round Rock second-year law student Kristopher Ruiz said he agrees the club’s main goal is to educate. Serving as vice president of Baylor HEAL, Ruiz said he remains dedicated to educating not only law students, but also providing a comfortable environment for the future clients they’ll serve.

“As lawyers, we have a responsibility to properly communicate with our clients,” Ruiz said. “We aren’t really taught how to talk with victims of abuse and harassment, and we really wanted to educate Baylor lawyers on how to do that.”

The officers of Baylor HEAL also seek to learn more about how to advocate and listen to victims and their stories.

“This education is so important in so many ways, and I know that I am grateful that we [as officers] are able to serve people and meet law students where they are at and make it relevant to their future,” Meyer said.

Scheef said the resources offered and the conversations had are not only relevant to law students or college students but all people.

“No aspect from people’s lives is going to be free from this unfortunately,” Scheef said. “We want people desiring to learn and be better. Having the resources that are going to be in our club for all students is going to be so important.”

Follow @baylorlawheal on Instagram for all up-to-date information on the importance of sexual misconduct. Feel free to provide relevant resources and information to baylorlawheal@gmail.com

Baylor catwalk goes on screen with fashion show

Student co-directors Alex Merkelz and Kaleigh Merriweather are working together to produce the annual spring Baylor Fashion Show. Despite the show being virtual this year due to COVID-19, they hope to create a relatable and worthwhile experience. Photo Courtesy of Apparel Design & Merchandising Department

By Avery Owens | Staff Writer

Showcasing the works of apparel design, product development and apparel merchandising students, the annual spring Baylor Fashion Show will take place virtually this year. Plans for what the virtual experience will look like will soon be announced.

Houston junior Alex Merkelz and Houston senior Kaleigh Merriweather are the co-directors of the 2021 spring show.

“It’s a curated space for Baylor apparel students to show off their work,” Merkelz said.

Early in the event’s history, the fashion show was led by faculty and staff. Today, the students are in charge.

“In the past 3 to 4 years it’s been student run,” Merkelz said. “I think it’s better when the students are allowed to create a space for their counterparts to work within, and show their work.”

Merriweather said she and Merkelz produce the entire show by hand from top to bottom. As co-directors, the two are jointly involved in planning the event.

“We work together on a team to come up with ideas on what the setting is going to look like, layout, camera angles, overall theme [and] presentation styles,” Merkelz said.

The two are faced with something different this year though, how to get creative with the virtual format.

“The idea is to make it as personal as it can be in a space where you really don’t have any audience at all,” Merkelz said.

Merriweather said she hopes that the virtual experience can be relatable.

“We are trying to make sure that this is an experience because we can’t have people come and sit and watch,” Merriweather said. “We do want to be able to do something online where you can relate to it over your computer screen.”

Though the presentation of the show will be different for the first time in a while, the content is different every year.

“In my opinion, this is probably the most diverse group of designers that we’ve ever had,” Merriweather said. “It’s also the highest number of designers that we’ve ever had … The people are very talented, and their styles vary so much.”

In her role, Merriweather said she plans to accommodate each designer to the best of her ability, so the show is worthwhile for them.

“My main goal would be to help [the designers] present what they have done effectively, across all their different styles,” Merriweather said.

Dates and details are tentative, but expected to be sometime in late April. In case you’re eager to hear the announcement first, follow Baylor Fashion on Instagram.

Softball splits Cowgirl Classic

Taylor Ellis hit her eighth career home run in her first at-bat of 2021. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

No. 18 Baylor Softball opened its 2021 campaign in Lake Charles, La., Sunday with a 7-2 loss to No. 25 Arkansas and a 3-2 victory over the host team McNeese at the Cowgirl Classic.

“It was great to compete again,” head coach Glenn Moore told Baylor Athletics. “I’m proud for the girls as they’ve been through so much to get to this point. If you subtract one bad inning (against Arkansas), we leave Lake Charles with two wins. Although we split today, the important thing is that we are better now than we would be had we stayed home.”

Second-year freshman Aliyah Binford was a star at the plate for the Lady Bears, going 4-for-6 over both games as well as picking up a win in the circle, throwing three innings of relief against the Cowgirls.

After 348 days since hitting the field, Baylor got off to a quick start when super senior Taylor Ellis crushed a two-run homer over left center, the eighth of her career. Binford led off the frame with a single and scored on Ellis’s home run.

The Lady Bears held a 2-0 lead until Arkansas put up six runs in the bottom of the second to take a lead for good and added another run in the sixth inning to seal the win. Sixth-year senior pitcher Gia Rodoni took the loss, and freshman Maren Judisch pitched 4.1 innings out of the pen, giving up only one run with four strikeouts and no walks.

Baylor bounced back in game two, getting off to another early lead. Sophomore outfielder Ana Watson led off the second inning with a single and advanced to third on a double by sophomore outfielder Josie Bower. Freshman catcher Zadie LaValley reached on an error by McNeese’s second baseman, which allowed Watson to score.

McNeese tied it up at 1-1 in the third and the score remained the same through the sixth inning when Watson scored on yet another error. The Cowgirls once again tied it in the bottom of the inning.

The Lady Bears threatened in extra innings but didn’t score until the ninth. Second-year freshman utility player Emily Hott reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a double by Watson.

Third-year junior Sidney Holman-Mansell pitched the first five innings against McNeese, giving up only one run off four hits with six strikeouts.

Baylor will be back in action in its home opener at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Getterman Stadium. The Lady Bears will face UT Arlington in the rescheduled contest which was originally set for last Wednesday but was postponed due to inclement weather.

Utilities should be a public good

Summer Merkle | Cartoonist

Last week in Texas was an unequivocal nightmare. And it was mostly preventable.

As millions of Texans went without power, heat, water or access to food, many people started to look for who was at fault. Some pointed to reports of wind turbines freezing over as the problem, though that has been thoroughly debunked. Others pointed to ERCOT — a nonprofit (led by a board of directors with 13 members, five of whom don’t even live in Texas) charged by the state government to manage Texas’ power grid — having not prepared well enough for the weather, and there seems to quite clearly be some blame to share on their end.

Obviously, the winter weather wasn’t preventable (though maybe Texans, especially conservative Texans, will start taking climate change seriously), but according to Karin Gleason, a climate scientist at the National Centers for Environmental Information at NOAA, meteorologists could see this cold snap coming for weeks. So why didn’t the power companies and ERCOT adequately prepare if they had been told that this was going to happen?

Simple. The privatization of the Texas electric grid does not incentivize power companies to adequately prepare for extreme weather, especially in the winter months in Texas. In fact, ERCOT says that their four primary objectives are to maintain system reliability, facilitate a competitive wholesale market, facilitate a competitive retail market and ensure open access to transmission. When two out of the four responsibilities of this organization who manages Texas’ power grid are to cater to the market as opposed to fully focusing on providing reliable service to citizens, it’s no wonder that electric companies’ bottom line would drive operations and preparation for extreme weather.

As Texans have seen with our electric bills this month, when there is more demand for electricity than the power grid can provide, the price of power shoots through the roof. All over the state of Texas last week, electricity prices peaked over $9,000 per megawatt per hour. On average, the normal price per megawatt per hour is about $26. Now that people are being hit with astronomical electricity bills, this begs the question: why is electricity (and all basic utilities for that matter) not a public good provided adequately to all?

The Texas energy grid that we use today was formed to operate separately from the other two major U.S. energy grids in response to the 1935 Federal Power Act. This was an attempt to sidestep federal regulations. ERCOT was formed in 1970 to make sure the Texas power grid maintained reliability, and about a decade ago, the organization was tasked with more responsibilities as the Texas energy system became more deregulated.

However, that deregulation is simply not serving the public well, as was evidenced dramatically in the last week. Instead, Texas should move toward integrating itself onto the major U.S. electric grids to ensure greater reliability. And most of all, the state and the United States as a whole should move toward making electricity, water and other utilities available to all as a public service as opposed to setting up the electric grids to serve individual corporations.

In the wealthiest nation on the planet, all of our citizens should have access to basic necessities. When people flip their light switches, the bulb should come on regardless of their ability to pay an electric bill, and when people turn on their faucets, clean, drinkable water should come out regardless of their ability to pay a water bill. Not only will this provide necessities to those who don’t have access, but with every person (poor, rich, politicians and constituents) on the same system, reliability of service will naturally come with it.

Pitfalls of dorm laundry

By Annaleise Parsons | Staff Writer

Baylor dorms often have just a few washers and dryers per floor in the dorms or have a room of about 10 to 15 washers and dryers for about 300 students. The washers and dryers don’t hold a large amount of clothes and require students to bring their own detergent and dryer sheets. However, laundry is included with the housing costs at Baylor and doesn’t require an additional fee.

Issues found in the communal laundry rooms include stolen clothes or face masks, students taking out others’ clothes and students taking a washer or dryer for multiple cycles when there’s a line of students waiting for a washer or dryer.

Stolen clothes and face masks from laundry rooms have been reported across campus this year and has also been a problem for Baylor in the past. While the washers and dryers fortunately lock during the cycle, students will often take out other people’s clothes right after the cycle finishes and put them on a dirty floor, a nearby counter or on top of the machines.

The clean clothes become dirty again and during a pandemic, touching other people’s clothes could possibly spread germs. Some students may not feel comfortable with others touching their belongings as well. Yet, some students leave their washed clothes or dried clothes in the washer/dryer for hours after the cycle has ended because they forget to set a timer.

It’s important for students to remember that they are not the only ones who are doing laundry. Set a timer, don’t touch other people’s clothes — especially in a pandemic — and be respectful of other people’s time and materials. If you have four loads of clothes or bed sheets to wash and dry, wait for a time when there aren’t a bunch of students waiting to do laundry: either late at night, early in the morning or on a weekday.

Being respectful of others is needed in campus laundry rooms and in life.

Cartoon magic doesn’t die with adulthood

By Nate Smith | LTVN Sports Director

Most of us spend our entire childhood thinking about how great life is going to be when we’re “grown up,” but what happens when you actually grow up? More often than not, we realize that being “grown up” is not all that it is cracked up to be, and we reminisce about a time when we had less responsibility.

While growing up definitely has its perks, I think we can all agree that there is something to be said about staying young at heart. In my eyes, one of the best ways to do that is by watching cartoons.

Whether you’re 5 years old or 50 years old, the serotonin bomb that a good cartoon watching session can hit you with is unmatched. The way creators can illustrate entire new worlds through animation makes a good cartoon an incredibly impactful method of escape from the real world.

Cartoons are also a great way to learn and teach life lessons, no matter your age. Some cartoons, like Johnny Bravo, have messages that are better suited for older viewers, honestly. Watching Johnny fail over and over again in gaining a woman’s affection due to his relentless, and frankly annoying, flirting teaches a lesson that a lot of people definitely need to learn. Constantly nagging someone until you get the answer you’re looking for is not the way to get that special someone to go out with you. If anything, it will probably have a totally opposite effect than what you were looking for.

There are also cartoons that are just downright fun to watch. I can’t say that I’ve ever learned anything about life from watching Spongebob Squarepants, however, I can say that Spongebob and his friends have entertained me for hours on end and still do upon occasion. Phineas and Ferb, just like Spongebob, is a cartoon that is without a doubt made for adults and children alike. Between the sight gags and sly jokes that are directed toward adults, cartoons like these almost seem like they not only carry the nostalgia factor that we typically associate with cartoons, but they seem as if they get better and better as you grow older and notice more of the nuances within these shows.

No matter where you are at in your life, you’re never too old to sit in front of the TV with a bowl of cereal and take your mind away from some of the more difficult aspects of your life. Whether you’re looking to teach someone a lesson about life, or you just want to be entertained for a while, never be ashamed to turn on your favorite cartoon.

Sports Take: G League path hurts college basketball’s one-and-done strategy

Duke's Wendell Moore Jr. (0) pressures North Carolina State's Jericole Hellems (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)

By Marquis Cooley | Reporter

Baylor and Gonzaga have been dominating college hoops so far this season, being the only two undefeated teams with less than a month until the NCAA tournament. While those two teams have flourished this season, the blue bloods of college basketball have been struggling.

Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina are historically the four best programs in college basketball, yet as we near the NCAA tournament, none of them are ranked in the top 25. While things such as COVID-19 are a factor for their struggles, the biggest reason for their downfall this season is the NBA’s new G League pathway program which allows the top high school prospects to play against NBA level talent in the G League for one season while getting paid before entering the NBA draft.

In the past decade, to help stay ahead of the competition, blue bloods have embraced the one-and-done philosophy in which they recruit the top prospects out of high school and get one season out of them before they go on to the NBA. Some of the most notable in recent years have been Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving and Zion Williamson. Now these high school players who feel as though they are destined for the NBA can get paid a year earlier than they would if they went to college.

In only its first season, we have already seen the effects of the new pathways program. Headlined by Jalen Greene, four of the top 20 recruits from the 2020 recruiting class turned down offers from blue bloods to join the G League Ignite team along with draft prospects from overseas.

This trend will continue if the NCAA continues to not pay their student athletes. For top prospects, the perks of playing in the G League outweighs those of college. They get to play with and learn from NBA veterans as well as receive coaching and training from an NBA-level staff.

On top of that, they can focus solely on basketball and getting paid instead of going to classes and the stresses of being a college student. This doesn’t mean they won’t be able to get an education. Through a partnership with Arizona State University, the prospects will receive scholarships to attend the university online if they decide to get their degree or go through a graduate program.

While the G League pathway program won’t be the end of college basketball, it’ll definitely change who the top teams are. As more players that are NBA level talents straight out of high school bypass playing in college, teams that rely on the one-and-done philosophy won’t be nearly as successful. The new top programs will be those that retain and develop their talent for three or four years, which we are witnessing this season.

The current top three ranked teams, Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan, are all known for keeping their players for multiple seasons. Michigan and Gonzaga only have one freshman in their starting lineup while Baylor doesn’t have any. The majority of the roster for each of these three schools is made up of upperclassmen.

There is a new era emerging in college basketball, and this era will be defined by the schools with experienced players, not the one-and-dones.

Student Government to implement feminine hygiene product availability across campus

Student Government passed a bill to provide feminine hygiene products in buildings across campus. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Matti Pennington | Reporter

After Student Government’s hygiene product bill was passed in April, feminine hygiene dispensers have now been installed in the Bill Daniel Student Center with plans to get more installed across campus.

Class of 2020 alumna Maggi McClanahan and Springfield, Mo., senior Katie Groves were the brains behind getting feminine products available to the Baylor community for free.

“This is an issue no guy ever has to deal with, so this means a lot to me because this is one step closer to equality,” Groves said.

During her time at Baylor, McClanahan researched period poverty in her Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC) classes and knew she wanted to help the female population at Baylor.

“This has been a passion of mine since freshman year,” McClanahan said. “I knew I wanted to help out women even if it was on a small scale at Baylor.”

With graduation on the horizon, McClanahan knew her time left on campus was limited, so she would need the help from an underclassman who could put in the time and effort needed to get this bill passed.

“I hit up Katie, my confidante, my senate ride or die, my senate daughter, and asked her if she would be interested in working on this with me,” McClanahan said.

McClanahan and Groves started their research in June 2019 by looking into which companies worked with universities as startups to begin Baylor’s program.

“Essentially we were put in the middle of a rock and a hard place,” Groves said. “Baylor was coming to us saying they won’t fund this full-time unless you can prove that it is needed, so they wanted us to do a test run. While on the other hand, Student Government said we won’t fund a test run unless Baylor will pick it up after and fund it full time, so this was our biggest frustration while trying to get the bill passed.”

McClanahan and Groves started working with Aunt Flow to figure out how many dispensers would be needed based on Baylor’s population. Aunt Flow works with schools and businesses in providing menstrual products for their employees, students and guests.

“We found out that Baylor’s student population is 59.09% female, so essentially 60% female,” Groves said. “These numbers alone show that this is a need on campus. Based off of our student population size, Aunt Flow gave us a rough estimate of how many products were typically used at other schools and how many we would need.”

Based on those numbers, they took their results to the finance committee and it ended up failing. Then, McClanahan and Groves started to alter the bill, so that they could please the finance committee and get it passed.

“The dispenser we wrote the bill for has a 10-second delay mechanism, so that people wouldn’t be taking a handful of them and leaving which was a concern they had,” Groves said.

Last spring when COVID-19 hit, they went back to the finance committee to re-pitch the bill. Groves said she was nervous that people would not see this as necessary anymore because students would not be on campus as much.

“Knowing that we did not have a lot of events to fund at this point putting up these dispensers was the best use of the money,” Groves said. “They ended up passing it.”

In April, the final agreement was 12 dispensers spread out across campus and 9,000 products. They had hoped to get them up on campus in August, but with the pandemic still in full force the delivery was delayed and they did not get them delivered until November.

“I felt really relieved when the bill was passed,” McClanahan said. “A lot of people before us had wanted this and had fought for this and with Katie’s and I efforts combined with all of the efforts before us we finally did it.”

Right now, the dispensers are available in the women’s restrooms throughout the SUB and they are working on getting more up across campus.

“I know the feeling of being without when I need a tampon,” Groves said. “No one should have to be so dignified that they have to use toilet paper instead, go without or skip class and go home. Even if this just helps one girl, we made a change.”

Students take interest in nutrition, supporting immune system

Registered dietician Taylor Beard has found that the pandemic has brought more interest in personal health. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Annaleise Parsons | Staff Writer

With Baylor opening up the fall semester of 2020 with COVID-19 restrictions, one of the major areas impacted were the dining halls. More options for to-go meals, cutting self-serve buffets and food stations and limited seating in dining halls have been changes made to allow for social distancing.

Taylor Beard, the registered dietician for the Baylor community, found that in her work, the pandemic brought more interest into personal health.

“There’s been a huge uptick in interest in nutrition and health in general, especially in regards to things that would be able to boost your immune system,” Beard said. “A lot of interest in eating healthy and getting enough vitamins and minerals.”

Beard said about 40% of the students’ questions she answers on a day-to-day basis are about building the immune system in order to help fight COVID-19.

“I definitely think a diet could have an impact [on fighting COVID-19]…it will help you feel better and sleep better,” Beard said. “You’re going to get the most vitamins and minerals from plants, so obviously a diet high in plants…[along] with healthy proteins, eggs, meats, fish, chicken are going to have immune-supportive minerals.”

In a study published in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, researchers found that “a balanced diet will guarantee a strong immune system that can help withstand any assault by the virus. There is currently no evidence that any supplement can ‘boost’ our immune system and treat or prevent any viral infections, except Vitamin C.”

Beard said she has also noticed that students are more interested in the plant-based options in the dining halls now, particularly the plant-based stir fry station at Penland Dining Hall.

Tulsa, Okla., freshman Rachel Gurley said that Penland Dining Hall has been the best option for plant-based foods.

“[Penland] has a vegan meal for every meal right by the pizza … It’s really good,” Gurley said. “There’s definitely more options than I realized coming into Baylor.”

Dining hall menus, meal plans and locations can be found online. For Baylor students, faculty and staff who would like to take the next step in creating a balanced diet, Beard is available via email for free nutrition counseling.

Board accepts Historic Campus Representations commission’s report, passes it to Livingstone

The Board of Regents passed a resolution allowing the administration to take action regarding the Commission on Historic Campus Representations. Christina Cannady | Photographer

By Emily Cousins | Staff writer

The Baylor Board of Regents accepted the report of the Commission on Historic Campus Representations at its quarterly meeting on Friday. The regents unanimously passed a resolution charging the administration to take action.

It was the regent’s first chance as a group to discuss the report, which was commissioned last summer to review the historical record of Baylor and its founders, including connections to slavery and racial injustice. The resolution on the final report thanked all 26 commission members for their work and passed the torch to Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone and her team for the next steps in response to the commission’s recommendations, which were not specified.

“The Board of Regents charges the University Administration under the direction of President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., to develop a proposed action plan regarding the Commission’s recommendations, as feasible and in accordance with existing Board policies and procedures,” the resolution stated. “The Administration will provide a briefing for Board consideration and action in accordance with existing Board policies and procedures, prior to the implementation of any recommendation.”

Member of the Commission on Historic Campus Representations and Baylor NAACP President Houston senior Lexy Bogney said it feels great that the report has been accepted.

“We all worked really hard, and I believe that this is a great first step in Baylor acknowledging its past and taking the time to listen to their students and faculty,” Bogney said

Chair of the Board of Regents Mark Rountree said changes made on campus in response to the report will take time.

“The nature of observations and recommendations of commission involve a whole number of things for the Board consideration,” Rountree said. “A lot, if not most of those, require some additional information and information for the Board to consider, which is part of what Dr. Livingstone and her team will do. I think it will be a period of time where we engage in different decision points along the way, and make those decisions that the Board believes are appropriate to make that are consistent with and an expression of our Christian mission and at the end of the day, make Baylor a better place of belonging for our students, faculty and staff of color.”

Livingstone said she and her team will begin to create a plan of action.

“The board has to approve anything having to do with new monuments, naming of buildings, those sorts of things,” Livingstone said. “But we are going to work on a specific action plan and specific recommendations to take back to the board at upcoming meetings that they can consider.”

Rountree said the Board is committed to releasing the full independent report of the commission to the public by the end of March. In the meantime, Baylor will be continuing its conversation series.

“The University will hold three forums as part of the ongoing ‘Baylor Conversation Series: Perspectives on Our History’ on March 2, March 9 and March 16,” according to the Board of Regents news release. “Hosted by Ronald Angelo Johnson, Ph.D., The Ralph and Bessie Mae Lynn Chair of History at Baylor, each respective forum will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom and include panelists from universities in Texas and other experts to discuss slavery in the United States, slavery in Texas and among Texas Baptists and the historical findings of the Commission and the framework for the recommendations.”

In addition to the resolution regarding the Commission on Historic Campus Representations, another resolution was passed recognizing the work of Baylor Dining and Facilities teams this week during the freezing weather.

“The men and women of the Baylor Dining and Facilities teams are vital members of the Baylor Family, providing services essential to the successful operation of the University and contributing their spirit and valued talents to the campus community,” the resolution stated.

Livingstone also updated the Board on COVID-19 protocols and weekly testing, Illuminate progress, and the continued goal to strive to be a Research One and Tier One University. She also told regents that student applications, acceptances and deposits for next fall are tracking in line with the previous two years in spite of the virtual recruiting environment.

“Although we had a challenging week with the weather, we had great discussions with the Board in a virtual setting. Baylor remains strong and resilient, despite many challenges from COVID-19 to this week’s record-breaking cold temperatures,” Livingstone said. “We continue to move forward aggressively with Illuminate as we pursue our aspirations as the preeminent Christian research university.”

Common grounds donation allows student to appreciate “the little things”

George Schroeder | Broadcast Reporter

Monday morning San Antonio Senior Julianna Comstock, an off-campus resident, woke up along with no power due to the winter storm sweeping through Waco.

Comstock and her roommates decided to take a walk to campus that morning in order to warm up, but also to see what was going on outside. When they got on campus, they decided to see if the student union building was open.

“We were freezing and we couldn’t boil water at our house, like nothing at our house was working or on, and the SUB was open, which was such a blessing” Comstock said.

Along with the student union building, the Common Grounds inside was also open. Before Comstock arrived, an anonymous donor had donated enough to cover over 400 drinks for any students who came

“In the moment, I was just like wow,” Comstock said, “and I think it was just a really sweet moment of a way that Baylor really does care for their students.”

Comstock said she felt relief walking into the SUB and finding a business that was open, and said she was grateful for not only free drinks, but also for Baylor’s kindness opening the Student Life Center and Library for students during the harsh weather.

The student union building was closed Wednesday due to a water line break and will remain closed until further notice.

City of Waco urges water conservation while students experience burst water pipes

Grace Smith | Broadcast Reporter

The City of Waco sent out a press release Tuesday urging the community to work together and conserve all water usage during this extremely cold weather.

Lary Holze, City of Waco Municipal Information & Communication Director, said they realize how important water and electricity are right now.

“We are asking people to conserve water every day they can, even up to including not taking showers or baths for maybe a day or two,” Holze said. “Don’t wash clothes and don’t do things you normally would use a lot of water for.”

With freezing temperatures every day causing power outages and pipes to burst, social media rumors quickly started circulating that the city had plans to turn off the water supply.

Holze said the rumor is “absolutely not true at all.”

Because of the quickly spread rumor, people started hoarding water and collecting buckets in their homes.

“That rumor was having the opposite effect,” said Jonathan Echols, City of Waco Public Relations Coordinator. “It was causing people to basically use more water to try and store up.”

With the water supply now barely meeting demand, the city asked the public to consider using a sponge or basin bath, not to use washing machines or dishwashers, to only drip faucets that are located on an outside wall, to not store water by filling large containers (which could lead to a mandatory boil water notice), and to only fill one gallon of water each day for every person in the household.

Holze said he is afraid that there will be a lot of people whose pipes break. He explained what to do if a pipe does burst.

“The number one thing you are going to do is shut off the water at the meter, then call a plumber and have them find out what the problem is and they will get it fixed,” Holze said. “If you have a leak or you see a leak that’s in the street call 254.299.2489 and let us know where the leak is so we can immediately go out, fix it and save the water that is coming out.”

Many students who live off-campus are experiencing their pipes breaking–leaving damages throughout their whole house. The girls who live in the Judge Baylor House experienced one of their pipes bursting, in the middle of the night, which led to their ceiling falling through.

Missouri City senior, Kendall Bohny said she was sleeping and heard “something that sounded like a shower.”

Cypress senior, Claire Stanko said the water was “gushing” out of the ceiling for about 45 minutes.

“It was coming out of our chandelier and going through the light fixtures above our island in the kitchen,” Stanko said. “We were trying to figure out how to turn the water off and we couldn’t find the water meter in the front yard because it was under all the snow.”

Bohny said she found the water meter after they searched for about an hour. Water meters are generally located in the front yard by a sidewalk.

Virtual classes to resume Friday as some students and faculty have no power

After some students have struggled without power and water for the entirety of the week, the university has announced the return of online instruction for Friday. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Anne Walker | Staff Writer

Baylor announced just after 3 p.m. Thursday that remote instruction and telework would resume Friday. The decision came less than three hours after President Livingstone sent out an email to the Baylor community acknowledging many students and Waco residents continue to struggle without power and water.

“Nearly half of homes in and around our city are without power, both from lines that have fallen and rolling outages to ensure the stability of the state’s power grid. Some areas are without water due to main lines breaking under the extremely cold temperatures and substations without power,” President Livingstone wrote.

The university acknowledged that some students would not be able to attend online classes due to power outages and associated internet connectivity issues. While Baylor did not require professors to make arrangements for these students, the university said “[f]aculty may provide accommodations for students who still may be without power/Internet.”

Dr. Leslie Harkema, associate professor of spanish and division director of Spanish and Portuguese, noted that while many Spanish students carried on with their course work throughout the week, professors provided and would continue to offer accommodations for students impacted by the weather.

“Flexibility is the name of the game,” Harkema said. “We’re all willing to work with students to make sure that everyone is okay in a place where they can continue with their work … I can’t say what that’s going to look like for every other course, but certainly from my course that was just moving things back at least a week.”

Both Harkema and Dr. Patrick Farmer, professor and chair in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, noted not only students but also many professors and faculty experienced hardships this week.

“This has been a very hard week on all of us at Baylor … students, faculty, staff. My house was without power for two days during the worst of it, then off and on since; we broke up old patio furniture to burn in the fireplace,” Farmer shared via email. “I know of faculty who have yet to get power back.”

The university hopes that holding virtual classes on Friday will limit the need for additional make-up class days. Citing the already “compressed” academic calendar due to COVID-19, Baylor committed to revealing a revised academic calendar in the future.

Harkema said she does not expect the university to extend the academic calendar, but confirmed that the Spanish department was prepared to adjust their course syllabi whether or not the university adds days to the semester.

“I think if [make-up days] were to be added, Spanish courses could adjust. We can certainly use the time, but at the same time, a lot of courses have more or less continued, and we’re willing to adapt and work with students to do what we can to finish the semester,” Harkema said.

Farmer emphasized the need for students and faculty to maintain a broader perspective.

“To be honest, I’m much more concerned about how my students have fared than how my syllabi will be effected. I and my faculty are certainly modifying expectations and due dates, but courses must go on, and students must progress and graduate,” Farmer wrote.

Baylor anticipates proceeding with on-campus instruction on Monday, but warned “some building operations may be impacted due to weather-related issues.”

Several buildings across campus suffered weather-related damage. Impacted buildings include the Bill Daniel Student Center, the Baylor Science Building and various dorms.

Harkema encouraged students to give faculty grace as they adjust their courses to an altered academic schedule.

“I would just say this is a difficult situation on top of what was already a difficult year, so we’re very aware of that. And I just emphasize again … that faculty have been going above and beyond, many in very difficult situations, to keep up” Harkema said.

Farmer said he views the severe weather and pandemic as an opportunity to strengthen the Baylor community.

“I think we all went through worse last spring. At least this time we’re prepared for going online when needed,” Farmer wrote. “So, fingers crossed, we get through this rough weather and do our best, both teaching and learning, we outlive the pandemic and go on to bigger and better lives having made it through together.”

Waco food truck enterprises continue to grow

Food trucks continue to pop up in the Waco area and may be more viable during COVID. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Brennen DiMarzo | Reporter

Food trucks have become an increasingly popular and convenient way for Waco citizens to get food quickly. The Route 77 food park located down La Salle Avenue has a multitude of food trucks for people to experience. Ranging from tacos to seafood, there is a large variety of food nestled in the trucks of this park.

“We have the freedom to be creative with our food. We get to be able to think outside of the box,” Joey Carrion, owner of Between the Bunz, said.

Carrion said that he believes some of the draws of Route 77 and food trucks in general is not only the food, but also the atmosphere surrounding the park.

“We want you to think of us as a place to sit down and enjoy good food,” Carrion said. “We have a healthy variety of college students and families. Our lunch has a lot of construction and office workers looking for something quick and good to eat.”

In addition to the environment, the main attraction is food. Many customers, like Midlothian senior Grace Scott, go to Route 77 for the different kinds of food they are able to pick from.

“If you are going out with friends who can’t decide or agree on what to eat it makes it easier,” Scott said. “It gives us a variety, plus it has a nice outdoor seating area, especially during Covid.”

Mt. Vernon senior Elizabeth Stoner said she thinks the location of Route 77 contributes to its popularity.

“This place is definitely set up for success,” Stoner said. “It is on La Salle and right next to Baylor. It is really convenient for students.”

While restaurants may have suffered during the pandemic, food trucks were able to keep afloat due to their ability to change location.

“The pandemic definitely had some positives for us because we were able to go to neighborhoods where people were working from home,” Carrion said. “Us and other food trucks all were able to feed the neighborhood.”

The food trucks that occupy Route 77 all pay rent on the spot and they may rotate in and out throughout the year. According to their website, there are five different food trucks at all times, including a Mexican, BBQ, burger, comfort food and seafood truck for patrons to enjoy.

TopGolf Live comes to McLane Stadium

The TopGolf Live group is beginning a stadium tour to create an immersive experience for Baylor students to get involved in the game. Kristen DeHaven | Photo Editor

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

Starting a stadium tour to take the TopGolf experience to new places, TopGolf Live is hosting an event at McLane Stadium that is open to students and the Waco community from Feb. 25-28. With tickets sold online and at the gate, this event will promote the new TopGolf arena being built in Waco.

With this event being new and different for the Waco area, Joshua Beardson, director of operations at McLane Stadium, explained how him and his team are always looking for events to host that’s open to Baylor, Waco and everyone in between.

Beardson said this process of hosting the event has been in the works for awhile between timeline issues and COVID-19 regulations. While Covid-19 took its toll on many stops throughout the tour, Baylor is set to be one of the first events since January 2020 for TopGolf Live.

“We’ve been working on this since January of 2020, so it’s been a long time coming and we’ve had tons of phone calls, tons of meetings, the group of TopGolf have come down three times for site visits and done all their measurements,” Beardson said. “So that’s kind of how it all came to fruition, just me on a computer and reaching out.”

To put it in perspective for students, Beardson said it’s like a normal game at TopGolf, except you are shooting out of the endzone onto the Baylor field. RevelXP, a company that focuses on elite fan experiences, played a large role in coordinating the event, as the company works with TopGolf Live and Tailgate Guys, which is an official partner of Baylor. Greyson Williamson, the account manager for the event, said it was a unique idea.

“18 bays, six people per bay and with tee times all day from that Thursday to that Sunday, you’re getting that chance to shoot that ball onto the field where there would normally be a football game,” Williamson said.

Since COVID-19 has played a role throughout this tour, Beardson said that TopGolf Live allowed the stadium to use their own protocols concerning sanitizing and social distancing. While following typical McLane Stadium safety rules, such as clear bags and metal detectors, an added layer of precaution is taken between each group coming into a bay by sanitizing each station.

With the event taking place outdoors, Beardson said how the little details like masks and sanitizer dispensers are ways his team and TopGolf Live wanted this event to happen safely.

“TopGolf has kind of gone through every possible thing and working with us and saying, ‘We’re going to do this event, but we’re going to do it right and we’re going to make sure everybody feels safe,’” Beardson said.

Another key aspect to this event is how TopGolf is using this tour stop to promote the new arena being built in Waco planning to open in spring 2021. Williamson said when TopGolf Live does tours like this, they typically in places occur where there are no TopGolf locations. He said having this event occur prior to the opening date of the new arena is quite interesting from previous experiences.

Baylor Club is providing concession stands and live music, Beardson said he’s very excited for the event because it’s something very new for McLane Stadium.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Williamson said if students are interested in the event and have questions, they can contact him at Greyson.williamson@revelxp.com.

With inflatable targets across the field, students can enjoy a fun activity during a time where those opportunities have been limited.

Weekly testing put on hold due to extreme weather

On-campus testing, which is currently on hold due to the winter storm, is expected to return in the next few days. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Rachel Royster | Staff Writer

Baylor’s weekly COVID-19 testing, along with the city’s testing and vaccinations, paused this week due to the winter storm. The testing and city vaccination rollout is expected to as resume as soon as possible.

According to the Waco COVID-19 website, the free city testing was “suspended through February 19th due to inclement weather.”

Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman said the university is “currently working through the logistics of resuming COVID-19 testing on campus and will notify students, faculty and staff when regular weekly testing resumes.”

Dr. Benjamin Ryan, clinical associate professor in the Baylor Environmental Health program, said “everything is expected to start operating as normal come Monday.”

“We haven’t been able to do any testing this week just because of the power outages and for safety reasons due to the weather,” Ryan said, “just like how the city hasn’t done any of its testing or rolled out any of its vaccinations either.”

Although a full week has gone by without any testing done, Ryan said he is unsure if it will effect the COVID-19 results in next week’s testing.

“We really don’t know the effect this week will have on the test results” Ryan said. “It’s hard to speculate what will occur. What we saw this week was unprecedented, where we needed to provide the basics for people’s health and well-being, and that’s been consistent around the state as well, but we have the systems in place to deal with whatever happens next week with our COVID-19 numbers.”

The university is pushing for students, faculty and staff to honor their responsibility to follow the mandatory testing.

“When the testing tents reopen, it is extremely important that students ensure they complete their weekly appointment,” Fogleman said. “That is key to mitigating the spread of the virus on our campus and allowing us to potentially unlock more normalcy. Until testing resumes, please continue to wear your face masks, practice good hygiene and monitor your symptoms.”

If anyone experiences symptoms while the tents are closed, they should call the health center at (254) 710-1010 to schedule a telemedicine appointment.

“I think the key thing is that if anyone has any symptoms, to contact the health center, who will work out a telemedicine appointment with them and work through the processes,” Ryan said. “I encourage people to maintain face covers, good hygiene, hand washing, and social distancing to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading.”

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