With more than 17,000 students typically from all 50 states and 86 foreign countries, Baylor is more diverse than ever before. Minority enrollment in fall 2017 achieved a University-record at 35.3 percent, which was matched for fall 2018.
With students coming from so many backgrounds, it is essential, but sometimes a challenge, for each student to immediately find community at Baylor. Key in making this happen is the University’s Department of Multicultural Affairs (MA), led by Pearl Beverly, MSEd ‘01, since its inception in 2005. MA is crucial to fulfilling Baylor’s mission of “educating men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”
MA staff wear many hats, from facilitating and supporting events and activities for 50 student organizations to providing cultural humility training for faculty and staff groups.
Among the highlights for 2018, Baylor served as a first-time host for the 41st Big XII Conference on Black Student Government. MA also moved to new offices on the first floor of the Bill Daniel Student Center, a more visible and accessible location for students.
“MISTER (Males Inspiring Success Through Education & Relationships) is important because men of color often don’t have spaces to comfortably discuss issues that specifically affect them. It’s easy to feel like an ‘other’ when you don’t see much of yourself represented on campus or within a given space. That carries over to MISTER’s work with Connally Elementary (near Waco), where we give students the chance to interact with successful men of color in college, which often can be seen as a predominately ‘majority’ space.”
Reggie Singletary, BBA ’18, special assistant to the provost
“One of my most memorable experiences has been preparing a roster for the first Latino Alumni Network for Baylor and helping reactivate LULAC—the League of Latin American Citizens. Our tagline is ‘A Place for Everyone,’ and I believe that we embody exactly that. We encourage students to expand their circle of friends and meet people from different backgrounds. We have the privilege and power to make the most of our Baylor experience.”
Jennifer de la Fuente, sophomore Latin American studies and environmental studies major from Mission, TX
“One of the most rewarding moments involves being able to see students you have invested in going through the Kente ceremony. Whie watching them give their elegant speeches, I can't help but be reminded of how they were as freshmen. Now they know who they are and what they want.”
Sharyl Loeung, MDiv '11, senior coordinator of MA, cultural celebration, leadership and competency
“The Mosaic Mixer at the start of each school year attracts roughly 2,000 students. It has continually grown, and I met many of my good friends on campus at the event. From the cultural showcase to the display of all of our organizations, Mosaic Mixer has made a big difference in my life and was one of the main reasons I felt like I belonged at Baylor.”
Samuel Lin, senior political science major from Gilbert, AZ
“Alumni might find it surprising how much diversity is on campus as well as the voice that minorities have now. Baylor encourages every person to express how they feel about topics in a productive way, which fosters discussion about current issues that are not only on campus, but around the world.”
Zephyr Straus, junior child and family studies major from Austin
“Multicultural Affairs fulfills the core of the University’s mission statement—to prepare students for worldwide leadership and service. We’re providing experiences that are going to help prepare students for life after Baylor. Students want a sense of belonging and a place to develop themselves, and our department does a good job of providing opportunities for everyone.”
Geoffrey Griggs, assistant director of Multicultural Affairs
“One of the best things that happened to us in the last three years, when you start talking about getting students plugged in, is that New Student Programs invited us to be part of Orientation. We were able to introduce our department to an audience of 3,000 students before they started school. Our goal is to create something that students will want to be part of as they take ownership of their Baylor experience.”
Pearl Beverly, MSEd ’01, director of Multicultural Affairs
“Dialogue and difficult conversations are encouraged through this department, because you cannot find solutions to problems if you do not address them. The most important thing that many don’t realize about Multicultural Affairs is that anyone can participate. You can be a part of a cultural organization that does not match your personal identity, and that is sometimes how the greatest impacts can be made. Multicultural Affairs gave me the foundation to be comfortable enough with myself, regardless of what anyone says or does, to collaborate and initiate conversations with people all over campus.”
Shevann Steuben, sophomore corporate communication studies major, poverty studies and social justice minor (pre-law) from San Francisco
“My Freshman year was the first year of ‘Better Together BU,’ an organization which seeks to provide a space for students of different faiths to discuss their tradition and learn about other people’s religious experiences. Since then I have learned so much about different communities and made friends from all across the globe. I have seen tons of other students experience that same learning and connecting process.”
Noah Ward, senior political science major from Springfield, MO