President’s column: Outreach programs have long history connecting city, BU
Our campus and the community will soon come alive with activity as we welcome more than 250 new students to Baker University. These new students will soon learn what our returning students already know: The residents of Baldwin City are truly remarkable in the way they welcome Baker students as vital members of the community.
We at Baker value partnering with the local community in celebrating the accomplishments and in addressing the challenges of the university and the city. This fall as our Baldwin City enrollment approaches 1,000, in addition to their studies in classroom, many of these dedicated students will volunteer in the city and surrounding areas.
Here are just a few of Baker’s worthwhile outreach programs to the community:
• Undergraduates in the School of Education complete community service hours — all in the Baldwin School District — before they can teach.
• Our students, faculty and staff proudly participate in Neighbors Helping Neighbors, assisting Baldwin City residents with upgrades to their houses and cleaning the yards.
• The students actively collect canned good for the Baldwin City Community Food Pantry.
• During the basketball season, the university received support from the community for the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign. Together we raised more than $1,700 to assist in the distribution of lifesaving bed nets for African countries to fight malaria.
• In March, we partnered with the Baldwin City Recreation Commission for the Community Wellness Festival at the Collins Center. The turnout remains high for the annual event and we receive positive feedback from the vendors and the residents who take advantage of the free health fair.
• Last fall we were proud to share a portion of the city’s history with the premiere of “Bauer, Baker and Baldwin City: Electrifying a Small Town’s Identity” at the Lodge.
In 2009-2010, we introduced you to Matthew Potterton, our new director of choral activities. I know many of you enjoyed Dr. Potterton’s performance and the talents of our Baker choirs and musicians at the Christmas Candlelight Vespers at First United Methodist Church. This year, you will have the opportunity to get to know Brett Ballard, our new men’s basketball coach. You welcomed Coach Ballard during his introductory press conference and at a Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce event and I know you will want to come out to a basketball game to cheer the Wildcats to victory.
Baldwin City residents and alums are our most dedicated supporters for our athletic teams. Last year four Wildcat teams were ranked in the NAIA Top 25 and we have high expectations again this year. This fall you will see a new FieldTurf at Liston Stadium and sound system that will enhance the Game Day experience.
We congratulate the Baldwin School District for the timely addition of two facilities that will benefit the community. The Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center and the Performing Arts Center will be of tremendous value to youths in Baldwin.
Thank you for your continued support of Baker. I hope you have a chance to meet some of our outstanding students during their academic endeavors and learn more about their involvement in the community. We look forward to sharing many more successes in 2010-11.
(Editor’s note: Pat Long is in her fifth year as Baker University President.)