Jordy Dickey and Kalliyana Tep
Season 5 - Episode 540
Homecoming week is here! Traditions old and new invite the Baylor Family to re-connect with friends and the campus they love. On this Baylor Connections, go behind the scenes at Homecoming. Jordy Dickey and Kalliyana Tep provide both staff and student perspectives. Jordy Dickey serves as Senior Associate Director of Student Activities, and Kalliyana Tep is a junior Double Major in Finance and Marketing who serves as president of Baylor Activities Council. Hear what it’s like to march in the parade, review new traditions and be reminded of what makes Homecoming at Baylor so special.
Derek Smith:Hello and welcome to Baylor Connections, a conversation series with the people shaping our future. Each week we go in depth with Baylor Leaders, professors and more discussing important topics in higher education research and student life. I'm Derek Smith, and today we are talking homecoming. It is homecoming time at Baylor. The university's legendary homecoming celebration began in 1909 and is widely recognized as the nation's first. Again this week, thousands of alumni and friends will converge on campus for the annual bonfire, parade and Pigskin Review. I'll be taking part in new traditions as well, celebrating the breadth of the Baylor family. Jordy Dickey serves as Senior Associate Director of Student Activities at Baylor. And Kalliyana Tep is a junior double major in finance and marketing from San Jose, California. She serves as President of Baylor Activities Council. Jordy and Kalliyana are with us on the program today talking about homecoming from some different angles than those of us who go to the game, or attend the parade, or see it on that side of things, what we experience. Jordy and Kalliyana, really appreciate your time. I know it's a busy stretch for you all, so thanks for joining us on the program today.
Jordy Dickey:Absolutely. Thanks for having us.
Kalliyana Tep:Yeah, thank you.
Derek Smith:Glad to have you both here. And I have to ask Jordy, I'll start with you. If we were to look at your calendars these days, how much of your free time is spent organizing, orchestrating, doing whatever you need to do to get ready for homecoming?
Jordy Dickey:I would say a large percentage of my calendar is dedicated to homecoming right now. Right after our time together, it's back to reviewing the Pigskin Playbill to make sure it's all looking good and set, ready to go. And then from there, a little bit of parade work and who knows what the day holds. But yeah, there's always something that is focused in on homecoming this season.
Derek Smith:What about you, Kalliyana?
Kalliyana Tep:Yeah, our main focus as a BAC member is mainly just how we're going to plan our presence at the parade, so not too much time on a weekly basis. Honestly, we've just had a few conversations of what our outfits are going to look like, meeting times for the parade. Mainly, because that's just the biggest role that BAC has in the parade in homecoming. So, yeah.
Derek Smith:Well, plenty of ways to keep you all busy. Jordy for you, there's a lot of organizations. Certainly, we talked to Kalliyana from the student side, but also the staff side who play a role in this. Who are some of the different places that you partner with and some of the ways... You mentioned a couple of things like Pigskin, but just some of the ways we would find you getting ready for this.
Jordy Dickey:Yeah, so one of the things I love about homecoming is there's a wide variety of participation and I get to sit in a really privileged space of watching all these orgs come together to make this spectacular moment happen. Obviously, there's chamber that is leading out on this initiative, but then we've got student productions that's in Waco Hall helping to oversee Pigskin Review. You've got organizations like Baylor Activities Council that will be in the parade. There's a variety of fraternity and sororities that will also be in that parade as well. You've got global engagement, student organizations that will also be present in that parade. We've got our NPHC community that's doing a stroll off. We've got Vertical Ministries that's putting on a worship night. So when you think about it across the board, students are at the forefront of making this tradition really unique and special.
Derek Smith:Do you enjoy getting to work with the students? Or I should say, what do you enjoy about working with students so much on this?
Jordy Dickey:I just love that homecoming energy that they bring in this season. You know that they're working late nights, early mornings, but they're just bringing this creativity and this dedication to really wanting to welcome back people well to Baylor's campus. And so their energy's infectious and I feed off of that and it makes it all worth it.
Derek Smith:Kalliyana how much of a buzz? It's been a while since I was a student, so for those of us who it's maybe been a little bit, what's the buzz leading up to homecoming among students at Baylor?
Kalliyana Tep:Oh, I just feel like there's so much of it. I mean, I feel like thankfully, a lot of our professors also cater to that. They lighten our load just a little bit right before, so that's helpful that we can take a break from the academic portion. It's just really cool to be able to celebrate a lot of Baylor's traditions, the fact that homecoming is multiple days and there's so many things to do on different days. I also just, it's a season of not a lot of sleep, but I think that just contributes to the experience overall and creating more memories. And I mean, BAC wakes up early as you'll probably hear a little bit more about later in this interview. So it's such a fun atmosphere. People's families come out, alumni come out, and I just think it's such a cool experience.
Derek Smith:Talking with Jordy Dickey and Kalliyana Tep. Talking Baylor homecoming and Jordy, I think a lot of people listening have a decent idea, at least on some level, of homecoming's history, recognized as the first here at Baylor dating back to 1909. From your standpoint, what stands out to you that makes Baylor's homecoming so distinct even beyond those deep roots?
Jordy Dickey:It truly is a welcome home moment that when people arrive on campus, from the moment they step back, you just have that familiarity, but also this sense of pride of just watching how the institution has grown. Baylor does a fabulous job of just showcasing the stories, the impact that it's making globally within the world. And so it's this moment that's this nostalgic, but at the same time, this celebration of what Baylor is continuing to do within this world. And when they talk about catch that Baylor spirit again, you absolutely do that. The whole campus is decked out in green and gold and there is no way that you're not walking away being proud to be a Baylor Bear. And so, it's the energy that you just feel that's unlike anything that you can describe. And when you tell other institutions across the country, they almost would be like, really? And you're like, "Yes." It is so meaningful. It means a lot to our community to have this moment to gather together.
Derek Smith:Kalliyana, I see you nodding there. What about what Jordy's saying here particularly resonates with you?
Kalliyana Tep:I just think her bringing up the point that a lot of other universities are so surprised with the way that we do homecoming is so true. I've had so many of my friends from different universities go, they're like, "Oh my gosh, you guys really take homecoming seriously? It's more than just the football game." I'm like, "Yeah, it's definitely really fun." But I also just think homecoming brings the heart of Baylor together because I see the heart of Baylor as the people. So bringing together students, alumni, faculty, even the Waco community, it just emphasizes a lot of the traditions that Baylor consists of. I also just think it's really cool to see all the alumni who are coming back, all of the line jerseys that are from years ago. I mean, that's always so surprising to me because I'm like, wow, there's not a two in front of that one.
Derek Smith:Now that hits me. That hits me in the heart just a little bit, but go on. Go on.
Kalliyana Tep:Yeah, just seeing all these families reuniting. I also think it's one of the first opportunities in the semester other than fall break for families to see what their students are doing at school and visit their children, see what a day in the life of their school might look like, along with all these really cool traditions. I also think so many people put a lot of time and effort into it. I know a lot of the Greek organizations and people who have floats spend months leading up to it building their floats. People break up shifts, even Pigskin, people practicing for Pigskin on so many hours of the week. I just think that's just such a really cool experience for them to have to put so much time to and then see the final result in this weekend full of events.
Derek Smith:We are talking Baylor Homecoming with Jordy Dickey and Kalliyana Tep. I want to ask both of you this, but Kalliyana, I'll start with you. We know the big traditions, the parade, the bonfire, the football game, but there's some new traditions that are becoming a part of this. You even mentioned one of those. Could you take us inside how we're seeing new traditions emerge and grow that I think are going to be really fun for the Baylor family to be a part of?
Kalliyana Tep:Yeah. I'll specifically talk about an internal tradition that happens with Baylor Activities Council. Because the parade happens so early in the morning, we have to be there even earlier than when it starts so our call times are typically around four in the morning in this very brisk, cold morning. But it's just one of those experiences that you really love to look back on. And it may not be the most enjoyable when you're trying to wake up, but after sharing breakfast with your team, I mean last year we stuffed bears in the cars that have heaters on. There's just little traditions like that, that I feel like a lot of different organizations tend to create, and some of us know them, some of us don't. But I remember the morning so vividly and I don't know, I just think it's a really cool experience to, I guess, share with your organization members that early in the morning in the parking lot of downtown Waco.
Derek Smith:Yeah. Yeah. Wonderful. Well, Jordy, I want to ask you, we mentioned some of the big ones, but there's some official events that are new that are really becoming new homecoming traditions. Could you share with us about some of those?
Jordy Dickey:Yeah, so I love that Vertical Ministries partners now with our homecoming schedule to kick off the week with a worship service that evening on Fountain Mall, which I think is just a beautiful reflection of our faith. And then, we've got on the following day that Tuesday, the dinner with the Livingstones, and that is a free meal out on the lawn of the President's home and that's always just really a great treat for our students to come spend time with Brad and Linda and maybe Shelby and Boo and they just really look forward to it. It almost feels like a perfect kickoff to the homecoming season. I love the step show that has become ingrained in the homecoming program that takes place right before extravaganza and Barfield drawing room. So I encourage people to come see that. Just a beautiful reflection from our NPHC community. And then of course, the parade traditions. Each year, you probably have seen a new parade float introduced into, and it's great, whether it's a Baylor tradition that we're showcasing or something within the city of Waco. I just really love seeing the parade grow just a little bit bigger each year. And so those are just some of the traditions that have been introduced and really continue to enhance the program overall.
Derek Smith:You mentioned with NPHC and the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, we've got the Royal and Pure Homecoming Stroll Off, and that'll be the Friday night at seven o'clock. I know people will be making their way to campus anyway, might want to check it out. What could you tell them about what they might expect if they attend the stroll off?
Jordy Dickey:Expect high energy. Expect celebratory nature. It is so fun. It really just gets you pumped and energized and then right after, you can head on out to the bonfire and just keep the celebration going. But yeah, I highly recommend seeing it just because it's a great showcase from our students and it will really energize. We've also got on the first floor, Friday Night Flashback, which is always a great historical nod to homecoming over the year. And so there's a lot of buzz taking place in the heart of the student center that I would highly encourage people to come check out.
Derek Smith:This is Baylor Connections. We are talking about homecoming with Jordy Dickey, Senior Associate Director of Student Activities and Kalliyana Tep, a junior double major in finance and marketing from San Jose, California, who serves as president of Baylor Activities Council. And Kalliyana, the title gives us a little bit of a clue, but Baylor Activities Council, what is it and what do you all do, not just during homecoming, but throughout the year?
Kalliyana Tep:Yeah, so I would say Baylor Activities Council is an organization that fosters community memories and relationships. Internally, we have two positions other than the exec board, which are program managers and marketing coordinators, and they'll work with other organizations on campus to create a vision that eventually comes to life. Sometimes a lot of these organizations either have an event that they've already been working on that they've had just limited to their members and they want to expand that to all university, or they don't have an event yet, but they would love to create an all university event. And our goal is to help them achieve that vision or create an event from the ground up. I think it's just a really cool opportunity for all Baylor students to come regardless of what major they are, regardless of their background, what positions they have in different organizations that can come and enjoy a part of Baylor's tradition.
Derek Smith:That's good. Well, and you have a parade float and something you do each year. Have you marched in the parade before?
Derek Smith:So you've been a part of this in past years. Now, I don't know if we should ask about, I know that particularly the fraternities and sororities, there's a lot of secrecy around surrounding what they do, their parade floats. For you all, how much secrecy is there? How much stays the same each year and what's different each year?
Kalliyana Tep:Yeah, so we don't build any floats. We have a balloon that's the Christmas on Fifth ornament, one of Baylor Activities Council's biggest event. We have the highest foot traffic for that event. People are just so excited for it every year, but we don't have any secrecy. Things that tend to change, at least this year, we have outfits this year that are going to cater more to the Christmas experience. Last year, we were Santa's and we had a Santa in the back of Jordy's truck throwing bears, and all of us were holding the balloon and passing out peppermint candies. But this year, we wanted to up that experience and bring a little bit more of the Christmas spirit to better represent Christmas on Fifth and just to show what Baylor activities is really about and it's cultivating that environment for the campus.
Derek Smith:Well, Kalliyana, I needed to ask you, having marched in the parade and doing so again, it's not as simple, it's not just a walk down this the street. Could you take us inside that experience, what it feels like? Or even just what you're having to think about as you're out there?
Kalliyana Tep:Yeah, I'll start with the morning of. So again, like I said before, we have a very early call time. We all meet at the sub and we typically carpool over to downtown to where we then retrieve our giant balloon that's being held down by sandbags. The balloon is a lot. It's not heavy, but I mean it's heavier than you would expect and has a lot more control over you and the strings than you think.
Derek Smith:Well, momentum probably with the balloon.
Kalliyana Tep:Yes, yes. Just having breakfast in that parking lot. Ideally, this year, we're going to be trying to fill the bears prior to the morning of to prevent working that morning and being able to just cherish each other and cultivate conversations while enjoying our breakfast. But during the parade, I just think it's so cool to see all the kids faces lighting up. We have peppermint candies that we throw out, and I just think it's so cute when they run up and they're trying to call for our attention so that we can throw candy at them. But not only seeing the Baylor community come, I just really like seeing the Waco community. I feel like this is one of our events that brings a lot of the Waco community as well. And I don't know, it's cool to see new faces. And one particular part of the parade that stands out to me is when we turn that corner onto Fifth Street right when we hit campus, it's just, I don't even know how to... I'm speechless talking about it, but that's when we start throwing out one of our bigger prizes and just the crowd goes wild. That's typically when you start seeing your friends, your family, friends, family, people from other organizations that you share. So it's just such a cool experience that I could not, the smile did not wave my face last year, and I just remember coming out of the parade so much happier. And I don't know, it was just such a, I didn't expect anything from it, I didn't have any expectations, but I definitely came out super happy and my heart was definitely full from seeing everyone's face and just enjoying the experience.
Derek Smith:That's wonderful. No, that's a great picture. You paint a great picture for us of what it feels like to be in that. And I was going to ask if anything surprises you about the experience of being involved? And Kalliyana, I think you just told us that at least in part, being overwhelmed by just turning onto campus. I don't know if you have any other things like that, or Jordy if you do, just things that have surprised you about getting to be involved and experiencing it in a new way.
Jordy Dickey:I think Kalliyana said it really best. Man, when you turn that corner down Fifth Street, it just becomes even more real. You're going downtown and it already feels real and you feel this connection to your city, to the university, but man, something coming down Fifth Street, the energy becomes electric. Those are the moments that you just cherish, because you see just generations of Bears lined on the curb, just enjoying. Their eyes are a glow and that's just a really cool experience. And the crowds are pretty deep as well with alumni, future alumni. So it's just a really special moment that I think, again, Kalliyana said it really well. It puts that pep in the step that you're like onto the game, let's cheer on the Bears. So that's something that we would just want people to know. Look for those moments during the parade because they're absolutely beautiful and they just remind you again that Baylor is really unique, really special, and it's the people that make this place one of a kind.
Derek Smith:Well said, well said. That's great. Well, as we head into the final couple minutes, Kalliyana, before we move on from that, from the parade party, I'll have to ask you one thing. Have you learned any good tips for us about controlling a giant balloon down city streets and campus pathways?
Kalliyana Tep:Wrap the string around your arm very well. If you're throwing candy, don't wrap it around the arm that's throwing, obviously. I would say also there's multiple strings that come from each balloon, just making sure that the members that are holding the strings don't intertwine. I know we had a little bit of that last year and that caught, I mean, nothing bad happened, but that's a really big key, as well as trees and telephone pole lines. Those become a little bit more of a problem during the parade than you would expect them to be. But yeah, those are just some little secrets, or I guess, things that I've learned holding the balloon.
Derek Smith:That's great. Well, I have to ask you both, we have the, obviously Friday night's going to be a lot of fun. There's events leading up to the week. You each, individually to close this out, is there one area that you're most looking forward to or that you're most excited about? Kalliyana, I'll start with you.
Kalliyana Tep:Yeah, okay. There has to be two. I'm sorry. I know you asked for one.
Derek Smith:Two is fine. Two is good.
Kalliyana Tep:So I was given the opportunity to represent the junior class this year as the torch bearer. This is not something that I knew much about before I got this position, but I've definitely learned a little bit more about it since I've gotten it. I think it's a really cool opportunity to be able to light the bonfire, attend mass meeting, being the parade as a torch bearer, so I'm definitely excited for that. But alongside that, my dad and his childhood best friends have created a tradition to come and visit me during homecoming. They did this last year and they're doing it again, so I'm definitely really excited to see my dad and just, I don't know, him and his friends enjoy the Baylor homecoming traditions and experience.
Derek Smith:That's fantastic. That's great. What about you, Jordy?
Jordy Dickey:Well, I'm equally excited that Kalliyana's going to be a torch bearer. I think that she's just a fantastic representative of her class and this institution, so that makes my heart happy. But I think I'm also equally excited for Pigskin Review, probably because I've seen how much practice time has gone into the experience and all the technical elements, so I'm just excited for our students to take that stage. Post COVID, this will be the second time that they're now on stage and so we cherish those moments when we had to reconsider and get creative during COVID to be back in our most familiar format. We don't take it for granted because we know everything, the feeling when you don't have it, and to have it back, we are just in incredibly excited.
Derek Smith:That's great. Well, hey, I want to thank you both for coming on and really taking us behind the scenes at homecoming. You both did a great job of helping us see homecoming from some different angles, so thanks so much for doing it and happy early homecoming to you all.
Jordy Dickey:Thank you.
Derek Smith:Thank you both. Kalliyana Tep, Kalliyana, junior double major in finance and marketing, and she serves as president of Baylor Activities Council. Joining us on the show today along with Jordy Dickey, Senior Associate Director of Student Activities at Baylor. I'm Derek Smith. Thanks so much for joining us. A reminder, you can hear this and other programs online at baylor.edu/connections and you can subscribe to the program on iTunes. Happy Homecoming, and thanks so much for joining us here on Baylor Connections.