From the Arbor | News for January from Jerry Weakley
Having worked at the University for, let’s just say “a while,” many occasions and newsworthy events have excited and energized me about the students who attend Baker. This I say even in light of the fact that so much is still written about the general apathy and lack of motivation by today’s current generation that it has almost becomes the default setting in our mind. I believe that nothing could be further from the truth when considering Baker’s students!
For many of the past 15 or so years the Rev. Dr. Ira DeSpain, ’70, Baker’s Minister to the University, has organized and led trips of student volunteers to the Alabama coast to work on Habitat for Humanity projects. Closer to home in Baldwin City, our students have participated in hundreds of activities, including Neighbors Helping Neighbors and other worthy community service projects. Many of these projects have been organized and conducted through purely student leadership from Baker’s Greek houses and other student-led groups. Some of these through the years have even received public acknowledgement in the press. We may or may not see anything in the press about the following story, but it’s the type of thing I wish the press would report more often. Here’s the story:
Just this past week, Dr. Pat told me about a letter she received after the holidays that brought both of us nearly to tears when she related the contents of the letter. The letter came from this year’s Heart of America Athletic Conference championship volleyball team, led by head coach Kathy Allen and assistant coach Matt Windle. It seems that the team, as do many other athletic teams and organizations on the Baldwin City campus, had participated in a number of fund-raising activities this past semester. Most organizational fund-raising has gone to offset budgets for activities, travel, equipment, uniforms and other items believed important to producing a better team or organization.
That was not, however, how the volleyball team decided to apply the results of its combined efforts. Instead, the letter stated, they collectively as a team decided to donate $1,000 to the successful completion of the Mulvane Science Hall project! WOW! (Eyes are welling again.)
There are many ways to determine the ultimate value and worth of an individual . . . but this single act of “looking at the larger good” and having made such a mature and informed decision regarding the ultimate application of these hard-earned dollars speaks volumes about the coach and the young women that represent our University, not only on the court but also in their daily lives. Wins and losses are important, but this single act now becomes the benchmark for student involvement and something the University can take great pride in for many years to come.
Thanks to each and every team member for this generous and selfless act.
Access this month’s issue of the Arbor. In addition to the news I reported here, I hope you will find several items within that will inform, entertain, excite or reengage you with the University!
Jerry Weakley, 1970/MBA 1992