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Student leaders ready for year

Aug. 23, 2004

By MARION HIXON, entertainment editor

Student government officers have been spread among the nations for the majority of the summer, but have still found a way to focus on upcoming events at Baylor and plan for the beginning sessions of Student Congress.

Student Body President Jeff Leach, a Plano senior, has been interning in Washington, D.C., while External Vice President Kristen Kan, an Arlington senior, was active with Baylor in Argentina. Internal Vice President Brandon Anderson, a Grapevine senior, studied abroad in Spain.

For students who have spent the summer away, returning to campus may take some adjustment. Several parking lots have been removed, including those situated near and in between North and South Russell Residence Halls.

"Campus will develop more to the east of us," Anderson said. "We are wanting it to become a pedestrian campus. People will have to walk a few more places but there will be compromises for that."

These compromises include the opening of newly created buildings, such as The North Village and the East Campus Parking Facility.

One issue student government constantly deals with is Baylor 2012 and the divided opinion among students.

Kan said she especially supports the imperatives of the vision that tie directly to students, such as improving the residence halls and learning to understand "life as a stewardship and work as a vocation." "We want students to be able to apply their classes to real life, like using something from their political science class to understand voter demographics in Waco," Kan said. "This means working with professors and encouraging them to help students connect their talents and their academic interests."

Leach stands behind the vision as well, though he makes a point that ultimately, students should be focused on enjoying their college experience.

"It's time for us to move forward from the controversy," Leach said. "No matter where students stand on Baylor 2012 or President Sloan, we should be united and enjoy together becoming part of the Baylor legacy."

According to Anderson, there have already been allocation requests made to Student Congress for the upcoming school year.

Last year, Student Congress focused on gaining student input and improving the draining and lighting systems on campus. It allotted $80,000 to student organizations, according to Anderson. However, that doesn't dismiss the need for fresh energy and motivation this year.

"Every year is a building year and we learned a lot last year," Anderson said. "I think there's still room for improvement -- we're looking for ways to be more innovative and creative with how we allocate money."