Community Summit Provide Insight Into Waco Service Opportunities, Creation Of The CIC

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    (L to R) - Baylor Student Body President Mark Laymon; Baylor's Director of Leader Development and Civic Engagement Ramona Curtis; Waco Mayor Virginia DuPuy; and Student Body External Vice President Allan Marshall.
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Oct. 16, 2006

Contact: Ashley Lintelman, Office of Press Secretary of Student Government, (214) 458-5310

The recent community summit - "Beyond Leadership: Transforming Leaders Into Lifelong Servants" - proved to be a huge success, as Allan Marshall, Baylor University's external vice president for the student body, brought together Baylor students, faculty, and administrators, with Waco community leaders to discuss meaningful ways to get involved and strengthen the Baylor-Waco relationship.

"I want us to reach beyond Baylor University and the surrounding Waco community to touch and genuinely improve the lives of those around us. In order for this to occur, Baylor and Waco must become one - one in vision and in passion. My prayer for this year is not just to develop students of service, but to develop young leaders dedicated to a life of service," Marshall said.

Marshall proposed the creation and development of a Community Involvement Council (CIC), composed of community, business and university student leaders, which will meet monthly to continue the dialogue of community involvement and strengthen the ties between Baylor and Waco. The CIC is designed to provide an open line of communication between the university and the city that will ultimately affect the lives of not only university students, but the lives of those in and around the community.

The first session of the Sept. 28 community summit - "Meaningful Community Involvement" - allowed Baylor and Waco representatives to discuss ways for Baylor students to actively participate in the Waco area and empower them to serve the community.

John Alexander, executive director for Waco Habitat for Humanity, said what makes his organization successful is that it brings the community together. Habitat for Humanity provides classes for the future homeowners and gives them the opportunity to help build their own house.

Session two - "A Community Strengthened by a Mutual Relationship" - started with a presentation on the Waco Community Visioning Project by Cooper Foundation representative Elizabeth Smith. Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce representative Stacy Maness gave advice to attendees about being involved with the Waco community.

Ramona Curtis, director for Leader Development and Civic Engagement at Baylor, reiterated that Waco has much to offer. Curtis recalled Baylor students helping out in a science classroom. "The children's eyes light up and they shouted 'I want to go to Baylor!' This is the type of inspiration Baylor wants to give to young children--the ability to follow your dreams."

Roland Hernandez, the new superintendent of the Waco Independent School District, echoed Curtis's remarks that Baylor and the Waco community must target and touch the students at an early age, because "if we don't get to them soon enough, they won't make it."

Waco I.S.D. serves 16,000 students and provides open enrollment to surrounding districts to help keep children in the education system. Hernandez expressed appreciation to Baylor students who have put in time to tutor and become a part of children's lives. He encouraged students that their time does make a difference.

Mayor Virginia DuPuy was optimistic about future Baylor-Waco relationships. "We already have a wonderful relationship," DuPuy said. She told those present that Waco is a great city to get plugged into and that she supports creative suggestions for change.

Baylor President John M. Lilley agreed with Mayor DuPuy, wholeheartedly supporting the importance and need for service in the Waco community. Lilley was confident about the positive outcome of the summit and the future Baylor-Waco relationship.

The summit ended with a few words from Mark Laymon, student body president. Laymon summed the meeting up with "every great movement has started with a small group of people."

For more information about the Community Involvement Council, contact Allan Marshall, student body external vice president, at (254) 710-4703 or Allan_Marshall@baylor.edu.

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