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First Presidents' Forum attempts to create 'One Baylor'

March 19, 2003

By Ade Ifelayo

This evening, various prestigious student leaders in the Baylor community will converge for the first Presidents' Forum. This summit hopes to bring together presidents of all registered organizations at Baylor, as well as other esteemed leaders across the university's spectra. These individuals will represent areas such as Welcome Week, Steppin' Out, the athletics program, campus living and learning, greek life and academia.

The Presidents' Forum is a result of the hard-working and benevolent hearts and minds of esteemed members of the Baylor community, many of whom have been working on it since the beginning of the semester. The success of the event hitherto and afterwards owes itself to these people, to whom I am extremely grateful: Ryan Aman, Cody Cazares, Jacobo Garcia, Chara Green, Trey Guinn, Jesa Hernandez, Stacy Koo, Kate Langston, Amy Louis and Hasina Pottinger.

Although this event comes to us this evening, the coming together of Baylor's diverse components has long since begun. Over the years (this is my fourth), I have noticed a paradigm shift in the attitude of the student enrolled here. We have witnessed the entry of more positive, optimistic and hopeful people who believe that the various ingredients of the Baylor pie need not exist in antagonism or rivalry with each other, people who see differences as a reason for aggregation as opposed to separation.

The theme of this year's forum is 'One Baylor,' and its purpose is to create an avenue for students, not their professors or the administration, to talk about issues that they believe are pertinent to their experience now. These could be matters that have been continually raised, but never given weight because the authenticity was doubted. Or they could be things that are never raised because of fear, or fragility of the issues concerned.

The Presidents' Forum will be mainly student-run. Administrators also will be present for observatory and support roles. The workshops will be run by the aforementioned students and will focus on the issues of community service, university relations, advertising and publicity and membership retention and participation. President Robert Sloan Jr. will give the opening address during the first plenary session while the second one will be by the student body president.

An aftermath of this mini-conference will be the creation of a Student Leadership Advisory Board, made up of invited campus leaders, which will serve as an informal council of advisers to the student body president, and also a consulting source for the Baylor Board of Regents and administration officials.

It is our desire that the Presidents' Forum would become an avenue by which the leaders of this great place are able to craft and shape the future thereof. We hope that 'One Baylor' evolves into a means by which leaders are equipped to go and in turn empower the various spheres of the university where they exert influence.