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Students interest in mentoring increases

Jan. 23, 2004

By Leah Davis, reporter

For the third year in a row, community leader applications have increased. The recently renovated program shows 308 students applying for 100 positions.

Only 111 students competed for the 88 positions in 2001 when community leaders were known as resident assistants, or RAs.

In the fall of 2002, the name changed to community leader, or CL. CLs are encouraged to mentor students, guide them through their first year at Baylor and help them discover more about themselves.

With the changes in the residence hall program, CLs are offered an enticing benefits package according to Campus Living and Learning officials. CLs receive free housing in the dorms and a free meal plan. They also get a graduated stipend of $300 to $1000 a year based on how many years of service they've put in.

'I think the increased numbers are due to the positive changes we've made in the community leader positions,' Sarah Cappaus, Memorial and Alexander Residence Hall director said.

Cappaus said the CLs' focus is on having mission-centered discussions with the students on their halls. They use this time to convey core values through conversations.

Cappaus said the CLs try to draw out the strengths of the students in various areas of their lives. The CLs focus on academic success and how it can be supported. They use dialogues of difference to encourage students to embrace cultural differences.

According to Cappaus, spiritual encouragement gives the students a foundation of a spiritual community on their dorm floor. Cappaus credits the increase in applicants to previous CLs who had such a positive impact on students. 'Students are enjoying their Community Leaders so much it inspires them to do the same thing,' Cappaus said.

The selection process will begin in September, and CLs for next year will be announced Feb. 2.