By Will DeWitt
As Baylor begins to look forward to a time after Baylor 2012, it is beginning to further plan the future direction of the university. Student government will help produce the goals of this new strategic plan by collecting student opinions and passing on the reports to the strategic themes committee, which analyzes the responses to determine major themes.
These strategic plans will play a role in the university's development over an extended amount of time; the Baylor Sciences Building, The Stacy Riddle Forum, the remodeling of Sid Richardson Science Building and line camp all came about as a result of Baylor 2012. With that finally coming to an end, the administration is trying determine the future of the university.
"This is kind of a new model of going about and developing the strategic plan, of really opening the doors to any and all feedback from different constituent groups and just as many individuals as possible," Houston senior Michael Wright, student body president, said. "And then taking that and finding the overarching themes over all the discussions and using that to develop the next plan."
Student government is collecting the suggestions of students through input sessions held around campus where students can write or voice their opinions on camera, via "government graffiti" chalkboards in the Bill Daniel Student Center and through reports from different student groups. If students can't utilize any of those options, they can go to the strategic plan website and make their voices heard. Once student government gathers all the input, it will create a report to present to the strategic planning committee as well as give the information to the strategic themes committee.
"Really this is a once in a decade opportunity, so it's exciting that we get the chance to speak into this and that students' input is being so actively sought for," Houston senior Cristina Galvan, student body external vice president, said. "Changes from this might not occur while they are at Baylor but they have such a great chance to impact future students' experience."
Student government has already begun staging input sessions across campus; the first was held on Feb. 16.
"We would like to see as many people as possible provide their opinion on the matters because the more voices we hear from the better representation of the student body's voice we can provide," Oklahoma City junior Luke Womble, student government communications director, said.
Students will have another chance to be heard today when student government hosts two events. The first is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Fountain Mall, where students can record their suggestions on video cameras while grabbing a free hot dog and Dr Pepper. The second event will be from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bil Daniel Student Center and will feature Dr. Elizabeth Davis, executive vice president & provost, discussing what the new strategic plan means for the university [PDF]. Representatives from student government will be present at both events to help students record their suggestions.
"This is an awesome opportunity that students have, to offer their input on the future of Baylor University, that will effect not only the next 10 years of the university, but well beyond that," Wright said.