Season 6 - Episode 642
Experience Baylor Student Activities’ impact with events like Homecoming and Christmas and 5th on the horizon. Jordy Dickey, Director of Student Activities, takes listeners inside campus events, student groups and more, and examines the importance of building student connections to the broader community to enhance their time at Baylor.
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 student activities with Jordy Dickey. Jordy Dickey serves as Director of Student Activities in Baylor Student Life. The Department of Student Activities encompasses campus programs, Greek life, student organizations, Spirit and Traditions, Waco Hall, and the Bill Daniels Student Center. Each component works together to enhance and expand the university experience for Baylor students. Dicky joined Student Activities in 2010, and was named director this summer. And it's a busy time, a lot going on. Jordy, we really appreciate you taking the time to share with us today. Thanks for joining us.
Jordy Dickey:Absolutely, Derek. It is so good to be with you today.
Derek Smith:Well, as we're talking, we are really rapidly approaching the middle of October here and Homecoming's on its way and there's just a lot going on. So give us a sneak peek at your calendar. If we were to look at your calendar this time of year, where are some of the places we might find you and your colleagues working with students? What are some of the things you'd be working on?
Jordy Dickey:If you were to look at my calendar, you would definitely see that it is really full, but in all the right ways. It just showcases that there's so much going on Baylor's campus. And right now, we're gearing up for the beloved tradition of Baylor Homecoming. But also, you'll see that we're thinking forward as well. We're thinking about Christmas on Fifth. We're even thinking a few steps forward to the Eclipse and Dia in the spring.
Jordy Dickey:So that's just a little bit of the insight, that you're living in the present moment, but you're also forward-thinking as well. Of course, there's some meetings about our beloved Bears as well, and talking about our fraternity and sorority life, and then, of course, our buildings. How can we continue to expand and make sure that they're relevant to today's students? So it's a little bit of everything and definitely wild to look at, but it makes sense. And again, it showcases the vibrancy here on campus.
Derek Smith:You work with students, you work with your colleagues. Is it in the office? Is it all over campus? A little bit of everything? What's that look like?
Jordy Dickey:It is a little bit of everything. I'm in the office, I'm bouncing around the student union. You'll see me on campus. Sometimes I'm off campus as well in the Waco community, and I love it. It keeps you young, it keeps you fresh, but it's just exciting to, again, my work is really built on the connections of individuals and so I love... Each day, it's like, "Who am I going to meet today? What are the conversations we're going to have? What are we going to accomplish today on behalf of Baylor University?"
Derek Smith:Visiting with Jordy Dickey. And Jordy, could you give us a little Student Activities 101 for people who might only be just a little bit familiar with what you do?
Jordy Dickey:Yeah, so Student Activities, our mission is simple. We want to help students find connection and belonging. And we do that in a variety of ways, whether it's student organization, it's a tradition on campus, it's planning a new event, or it's one of our historic buildings. All of those experiences help a student really dive deep into the Baylor experience and grow affinity for this great place. And so, we do that, again, with a number of staff that are incredibly talented. They come all across the country here. They love students. And so, our mission is to make sure that you're finding those connection points. And again, that you feel a sense of belonging to the bigger Baylor and the mission as a whole.
Derek Smith:You mentioned that Student Activities mission of connecting students, of connecting them to the broader Baylor mission as well. We're going to dive more into this, but what are some of the fun ways you get to do that?
Jordy Dickey:Oh my goodness, there's so many that I could mention. And sometimes I just love sharing the work that we do. It's everything from a Dr. Pepper hour, or a Howdy at the Hurd, or joining that organization, or maybe even dreaming up that new idea. It's spending time with our beloved Bears. It is spending time being an advocate in the student voice, in student government. All of those moments, even if you're a student employee within one of our buildings, stewards this great experience. And that's what activities is about. It's this chance to really see yourself. You are part of the Baylor experience. But more important, you lead this Baylor experience. You have a responsibility for it. And so, activities really gives students that opportunity to see themselves as part of that Baylor story.
Derek Smith:It's interesting, as you say that, on one hand, Homecoming and student government and a student group all might seem like disparate things, right? They're very different things. Yet they all feed into that experience a student has, which I guess gives you both a very broad scope of things on which to focus, but also some real things to hone in on.
Jordy Dickey:Absolutely. Each one of those experiences, whether they are connected or sometimes they're being experienced in different avenues, it all plays a part of the bigger picture, of really advancing the mission of when we say that we're this caring community and the opportunity to really build those leadership skills and to prepare for worldwide service, all of that plays a part in that. And so, I feel really honored that I get to kind of have a big seat at the table in cultivating those moments. And it's a really great job and I consider myself very honored to serve in this role.
Derek Smith:This is Baylor Connections visiting with Jordy Dickey. And Jordy, let's get to know you a little bit before we dive back into Student Activities. Been here since 2010, as we mentioned, but it's your first year as director. How have you grown into this role in your time here at Student Activities?
Jordy Dickey:Yeah, I really love this question. When I came to Baylor, I interviewed during the holiday season, and of course, Baylor looked absolutely magical. And for me, what brought me here was the students. And I've been really honored to start my career stewarding one of the most beautiful buildings on campus, the Bill Daniels Student Center. And how that work prepares you then to grow within opportunities to start cultivating some of our large scale traditions. And so, then went from the facility experience into let's look at some of the bigger events, like Christmas on Fifth and All-University Sing, and all of that really starts to prepare you for the bigger picture of what would it look like if you oversaw multiple areas now within Student Activities? Of course, I had a lot of mentors and leaders that poured into me and invested me and really prepared me for the landscape of what a director role can look like. And at the heart of it, again, what had me saying yes to this role was the opportunity to serve students in a new way, but also to develop our professional staff. Simon Sinek always says that leadership is not about being in charge, but it's about caring for the people that are in your charge. And when the role opened up, I said, "Absolutely, yes, I want to put my name in the hat," because this is a real opportunity to not only to continue caring for our students, but to also really develop our professional staff that's incredibly talented.
Derek Smith:Talking with Jordy Dickey here on Baylor Connections, and you mentioned the chance to pour into the staff. But what would you like us to know about the staff, the people that you get to call colleagues in Student Activities?
Jordy Dickey:I cannot say enough wonderful things about each individual in our team. They care so deeply for this institution. They're innovative, they're creative, they are the master problem solvers. And again, they really want to take that mission of Student Activities, paired alongside the Baylor mission, and make sure that students really see themselves as part of Baylor University, but beyond as well. And so, they're here all the time, working around the clock sometimes to really steward that experience well. And really talented, and so I encourage anybody to come into our office and also meet our staff in person because they're absolutely wonderful and you'll love the time that you spend with them.
Derek Smith:Talking with Jordy Dickey. And Jordy, asked how you've grown into the role since you got here in 2010. What are some of the ways you've seen Student Activities grow in the time you've been here?
Jordy Dickey:I think what's exciting within Student Activities is just the programs and services that have grown over the season. We've taken on late night programming, we've seen traditions go to the next level. We're at the point where it's like, "Hey, fireworks are really exciting," but now we're onto the drone shows and things of that sort. We've grown our bear program as well, to three bears, which is exciting. And again, if you had said 10 years ago, "Would you see yourself with three bears?" Probably not, but here we are. And so, it just shows that, again, Student Activities' commitment to staying relevant to today's students and being willing to say, "How do you take these experiences to the next level, where they continue to make an impact? And what are some of those new opportunities that we can be bringing onto campus?" We've also seen our student organizations grow over time. We're at 395 student organizations.
Jordy Dickey:And probably by the end of the semester, we'll crest into the 400s. And so, that just shows you, the university's growing, Student Activities is growing, and our vision is growing as well.
Derek Smith:Visiting with Jordy Dickey. And Jordy, you mentioned the phrase being relevant to students. And I know I'm now, I'm very definitely of a different generation than the students now, and I'm guessing you are too, having been here 13 years. So I'm just curious, what are some things you've observed, when you talk about staying relevant, what are the bedrock things that don't change? What doesn't change? And then what are some ways, you mentioned new traditions, new things, what are some of the ways that that relevance does need to shift, I guess, if you will? What are some things that stay the same? What are some things that you can push the envelope on?
Jordy Dickey:Yeah. When we look at our traditions, there's just this center connection that bonds generations together. But then you're starting to look at each aspect of a tradition and saying, "What are ways that we can make them more accessible for individuals to come and experience?" You're also looking at ways that you can market to students today, like what's going to speak their language and really draw them in? And really do that storytelling as well. And so, there's a lot of creativity. And where we kind of get that insight is, again, going to the students and asking them, "What do you want to see this tradition? What do you love about it? How do you want it to grow? How can it become more accessible? And more importantly, how can we make sure that you know about it in today's kind of communication patterns as well?"
Derek Smith:Well, yeah, it's funny you talk about getting them to know about it because we can all try email or social media, but they're getting so many inputs. I'm sure figuring out how to break through is a challenge, but an important one.
Jordy Dickey:Yes, absolutely.
Derek Smith:This is Baylor Connections. We are visiting with Jordy Dickey, Director of Student Activities in Baylor's Student Life. And Jordy, as we start talking about some of these connections in different ways across campus, I want to ask you what it means to you when we say a caring community? We talk about that a lot at Baylor, Baylor's caring community. Through the Student Life prism, what does that look like to you?
Jordy Dickey:From the Student Life prism, it means that everybody matters. And the work that we do, we want to make sure that students really feel that collectively. And so, Student Activities is just one piece of the larger picture of Student Life. We have so many different offices that are coming alongside and making sure that you matter, that you are seen and that you are cared for. And so, that's a really privileged space to sit in as well, recognizing that we just don't do this work solo, that we come alongside our colleagues across the division, whether it's in Multicultural Affairs or it's in new student programs, or it's in the residential community, or it's with our wellness as well, that each one of us play a role in doing that seamlessly. And really continuing to come to the table and sharing notes as well. What are you seeing with the students that you're working with? And are there opportunities that we can continue to come together to really strengthen our approach as well, to make sure that we're making the best Baylor experience and that we're authentically upholding that mission? And that really lends into human flourishing. We want everybody, during their time, to not only succeed, but to flourish, to feel prepared, to go out, and to really make an impact in this world and to see themselves as I'm a difference maker, and I'm called to do that, and Baylor prepared me well for that.
Derek Smith:That's great. Visiting with Jordy Dickey. And then, Jordy, let's talk about some of the individual areas within Student Activities. Now, you mentioned student groups, nearly 400, what'd you say? 395-
Derek Smith:... on campus right now. What are some examples of some different types, whether it's broad categories or what have you?
Jordy Dickey:Yeah, so we have everything from our academic to our club sports to social to leadership opportunities. When I think back on our student org experience, a beautiful moment was we used to do our late night, which is where we showcase all of our student orgs to our student population the very beginning of the semester. We've grown so much that we're no longer hosting it on campus, we're in McLane Stadium.
Jordy Dickey:That's the level that we've risen to as well. And that's the creativity that our staff is thinking about saying, "Hey, we've gone to the next level. It's time to really make this more accessible. We need more space." And we're now exploring a late night in the spring because interest is so high. And we can't just rely upon, "Well, we did it in the fall." We have a new group of students that will be coming in, and we want to make sure that they have access to those resources as well. And so, that just gives you one example of the growth and the number of opportunities that are just in one aspect of Student Activities. But of course, there's always more within our department as well.
Derek Smith:For sure, always more. Well, let's talk about, I don't know exactly which umbrella this falls under, but it seems like there's a lot of things we've seen to try to connect students with the broader Waco community, the place they call home for four years. What does that look like and what are some of the ways you do that?
Jordy Dickey:Yeah. We love our community deeply and we want students to understand during your time here, you are a Wacoan, and we want you to contribute into the community. And so, one of the aspects right off the bat is we do a program called Staycation Weekend, where we partner with a lot of local businesses and provide opportunities for students to go out and experience their community at a reduced cost as well. They can go to the farmer's market on us, they're able to explore some of downtown Waco. And so, that's a really great aspect that gets them integrated from the very beginning, that, "Hey, don't take off during Labor Day weekend. Staycation Weekend is where it's at. And here are all these partners that want to know you want to meet you and really want to provide you opportunities to engage into the community." And then, of course, we're always encouraging those partnerships as well. If there's community parades that we can be a part of, we want to walk in that parade to really showcase Baylor as a part of the Waco community as well. And then opportunities, where can we find those partnerships? Whether it's doing a film series out into the community or aspects to really come alongside and do service as well, all of that matters. And so, we're always looking for those collaborative moments.
Derek Smith:Visiting with Jordy Dickey. And Jordy, let's talk about Spirit and Traditions. When we talk about Spirit and Traditions, what all are we talking about?
Jordy Dickey:So when I think of Spirit and Traditions, there's so many, but really our Spirit and Traditions program is really focusing in on what does it mean when we say the Baylor Line, that good old Baylor Line? And so, it starts with that. And kind of leading out that charge during our football season. But then it extends beyond to all athletic sports as well. How are we showing up and cheering on our fellow students that are out there performing with their athletic talent as well? And then the opportunity to say, "What's the experience beyond when we have the post game travel? How do we show up and continue that Baylor spirit?" And then, of course, traditions expense into opportunities like a Dia or a Family Weekend and things of that sort. And so, that is just scratching the surface, but again, it kind of gives you an idea of what Spirit and Traditions can look like. A lot of it starts with a center around athletics, but then it grows beyond into the large scale beloved traditions that we know well.
Derek Smith:So when the Baylor Line's about to run are your staff right down there with them, making sure things go?
Jordy Dickey:We are, and it is so exciting. That's an experience, when you tell people across the country, like, "Let me tell you about the Baylor Line." They look at you with this kind of like, "Tell me more," and you're like, "I just..." I wish there was a way that you could really show people what it feels like. But it's exciting, it's energetic, and again, a one-of-a-kind of experience that we get the privilege to really steward. And so, we have our chamber members that are down there leading the charge, and then we get to come alongside them as staff and it's equally exciting, but they do such a good job with it.
Derek Smith:They do, absolutely. As we visit with Jordy Dickey, and Jordy mentioned Homecoming, Dia, Family Weekend, so many big events. Take us inside that a little bit. What's it like stewarding, planning, executing these great Baylor traditions?
Jordy Dickey:I would say to give you a little bit of an inside look, we're always planning a year out for these large scale traditions. And we're coming to the table and we're looking at what worked last year, what a new and exciting innovative approach do we want to take this year? And then there's just so much logistics. So if you were to look at the timetable, you would probably see post-it notes everywhere and kind of a mapping of what the plan is going to look like. And then, of course, just the excitement as we get up to the start of each experience. And when it comes down to the actual day of the event, it feels seamless. But I guess I would want you to know there's just so much thoughtful intentionality that has gone into planning that a year in advance to make sure that it feels good, that people feel welcomed, that they feel excited and energized by it. And so, that's sometimes the behind the scenes work that you don't realize what it took to pull it together. And at the heart of it, again, so many students are leading the charge. We, as a staff, get to come alongside them, but they're really leading. And I think that's what makes Baylor really exciting. When we say, what's our favorite tradition? It's you, the students. You, the students, have been leading the charge for generations, and we want to continue to honor that as well.
Derek Smith:We're heading into Homecoming. Is there anything about Homecoming 2023 for which you are particularly excited or looking forward to people enjoying? Obviously, there's a lot of the things that people are going to look forward to every year.
Jordy Dickey:Well, we are having our 114th Homecoming Parade, and that's just really exciting. Again, I know that's a tradition that we love to have our claim of fame, the oldest Homecoming parade. And I think the other big aspect too is our drone show. We're really excited. So we got to do a test run with that during our all-university Howdy at the Hurd tradition, which was awesome. But I am so excited for the Homecoming because they storyboard and it's really telling Baylor's story up in the sky. And so, I think people are really going to have a wow moment with that.
Derek Smith:That's great. And that's after the bonfire?
Jordy Dickey:That is after the bonfire.
Derek Smith:[inaudible 00:18:51].
Jordy Dickey:So get ready, yeah, stick around. You don't want to miss it.
Derek Smith:It'll be a special night, as we visit with Jordy Dickey. Well, I asked you, you mentioned that you are planning things out more than a year in advance. So as we talk about things for the winter and spring, you already been working on those for about a year now, but what are some things that we can be looking forward to as we look ahead in the next few months?
Jordy Dickey:So as we wrap up post-Homecoming, of course, we'll have our all-university Thanksgiving dinner, a beautiful time to come together as a community. We have our Christmas on Fifth celebration, which again, is going to be absolutely spectacular. And this year, to kind of give you a heads up what's coming, because the tradition has grown significantly, the tree will actually be coming back into Fountain Mall.
Derek Smith:Oh, wow.
Jordy Dickey:And it is going to be a spectacular moment with the tree lighting back in Fountain Mall, with the big firework moment as well. And then, of course, as we look to the spring, there's lots of traditions, like All University Sing, that we can look forward to. But the one that we're really excited about is the Eclipse. The Eclipse day, that will be partnered with Dia as well. And so, again, we've been talking about that for a full year as well. And so, just recognizing what that's going to mean for the city of Waco, what it means for the Baylor community and beyond. So lots of good things to look forward to, and it's just been an exciting year so far, and we want to keep that momentum going.
Derek Smith:Well, let me ask you briefly about the Eclipse, because I know as we get into the spring, we're going to have some people on the program talking about the Eclipse because Waco is going to be a real focal point for this.
Derek Smith:But for people who don't know, what are the opportunities at hand here, here in Waco, Texas, and on the Baylor campus specifically with the Eclipse in 2024? Which I believe is going to be the last one for about 20 years or more after this.
Jordy Dickey:That is correct as well. So there'll be an opportunity to do a watch party in McLane Stadium and also down in Touchdown Alley. So we encourage individuals that if you have the opportunity to really partake in that and explore those opportunities as well. And then for the Dia side, they're going to, of course, use the theme of Eclipse and put it into the planning process. And so, I think that sometimes opportunity to pair with the educational aspect as well will be really exciting. So I don't want to give away too many of their planning secrets, but I just love that the themes will pair very nicely, and I think students will absolutely enjoy it.
Derek Smith:So be on the lookout.
Derek Smith:Yeah. So people here, they should probably go ahead and just purchase their Eclipse glasses now, right?
Jordy Dickey:I would say yes.
Derek Smith:You don't want to be waiting till last minute. Yeah.
Derek Smith:Wait and do that. Well, that's going to be a lot of fun. Well, Jordy, as we wind down on the program. For parents, students who would like to learn more about what you would do, students want to get involved, what are some good places that they can really kind of dive in here in the middle of a school year?
Jordy Dickey:Yeah, I would encourage individuals, if they're not following us on social media, give us a follow. That is where we're keeping the most up-to-date information and also doing some behind the scenes information as well, and a chance to get to know our staff. Of course, we encourage you to check out our website. And then if you're on campus, please stop into our office. We're in the Bill Daniel Student Center, first floor. We've got the best snacks in town. We'd love to host you as well, and a great chance to meet our team. And so, those are just some of the ways that you can connect with us, and we look forward to meeting you one day.
Derek Smith:Absolutely. Take them up on that, for sure. Well, Jordy, we really appreciate you taking the time to join us today. A lot going on, excited to see the fruits of the hard work you and your team have been putting in here for Homecoming and beyond. Thanks for taking the time.
Jordy Dickey:Absolutely. Thank you so much.
Derek Smith:Thank you. Jordy Dickey, Director of Student Activities in Baylor Student Life, our guest today on Baylor Connections. I'm Derek Smith. A reminder, you can hear this and other programs online at baylor.edu/connections, and you can subscribe on iTunes. Thanks for joining us here on Baylor Connections.