June 3, 2004
Photo by Cliff Cheney
Your homework is playing in the park and perfecting handstands to make people laugh. Sound like a typical day in the life of a college student? It is for Martin Davis, who doubles as Bruiser the Bear, Baylor's athletic mascot.
Davis, a recreation and leisure services major in the School of Education, transferred to Baylor from out of state his sophomore year. He was impressed by how welcoming students and faculty were. "At first, it seemed pretty lonely, and I didn't have any connections here with students. I quickly became very comfortable because everyone I interacted with went out of their way to talk to me."
Hoping to help other new students feel as welcomed as he was, Davis, who graduates in August, became involved with committees planning new student orientation and Baylor Line Camps, offered to incoming freshmen and transfer students each summer. "I'm trying to reproduce the environment I came into as a transfer student," he says.
It was while promoting a Line Camp event last fall that he first donned the bear suit, which he had borrowed from the athletic department. He wandered around campus, hamming it up for students, and even barged into some classrooms --"just me in the fur being silly," he says. Folks began to notice his "fur-reaching" talents, repeatedly asking him to be the bear until October, when he officially became Bruiser, who entertains throughout the year at athletic events.
A positive outlook on life is a natural gift Davis uses both as the mascot and in his academic field. "The RLS degree teaches that you can have more positive experiences than negative through recreation, as well as how to facilitate that," he says. "It is unique at Baylor because you can develop your spiritual life through recreation and interaction with people."
Even though he transferred into Baylor, it didn't take Davis long to find his place. "Anytime I am away from campus and come back, as soon as I see the Baylor skyline, it feels very much like home."
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