As a freshman living on campus, I met and got to know the four guys who would, almost a decade later, be groomsmen in my wedding. The experience of living in such close community with other young men and women, all in the same stage of life, was a priceless part of my Baylor experience.
Over the past decade, Baylor has been very intentional about expanding that experience. In just over a year, Baylor will open its third new residential community in the last 10 years. North Village opened in 2004 and houses 600 students; Brooks Village opened in 2007 and is home to 700 students; and the new East Village (pictured above) will open in 2013 as home to 700 more students. (Click here to see more renderings of the new hall.)
Once East Village is complete, some 5,500 Baylor students will be living on campus — up 60% from a decade ago. When Baylor 2012 was launched, about 30% of students lived on campus; East Village will push that percentage into the mid 40s even as the student body has grown significantly during the same period.
But the Baylor 2012 goal of “creating a truly residential campus” involves more than just cramming beds into dorm rooms. It’s about facilitating life on campus, from academics to the social environment. The new “Pro Futuris” strategic vision aims to continue those efforts.
For instance, the addition of buildings like the McLane Student Life Center and significant renovations to popular student hangouts like the Bill Daniel Student Center (SUB) and Bobo Spiritual Life Center have helped those sites better serve students.
Kokernot Residence Hall was completely renovated to house Baylor’s Engaged Learning Groups. Residential Colleges and Living-Learning Centers offer opportunities in other residence halls for students to live among pockets of students from similar majors and programs. Nine faculty-in-residence now live full-time among students in five different halls (North Village, Memorial/Alexander, Kokernot, Allen/Dawson and Brooks), and every facility has a Truett Seminary student who lives among the students and serves as a resident chaplain.
Dining options have multiplied in recent years, thanks to North Village’s Seasons Sushi, Brooks Village’s Great Hall, Starbucks and Chili’s Too in the Dutton Parking Facility, Moe’s and Which Wich in the Baylor Sciences Building, and expanded offerings in the SUB (Ninfa’s, Chick-fil-a, Mooyah, Einstein Bros. and Quiznos). East Village will add another dining hall, a two-story structure that will include outdoor terrace dining and space for a retail bakery.
Such things all work together to improve the student experience, providing even more opportunities for students to build the lifelong friendships that are such an important part of college — especially at Baylor.
Sic ’em, students on campus!