Bears Are Still Steppin' Out

December 9, 2003

Baylor alumni throughout Texas are proving that Steppin' Out -- Baylor's biannual student service day -- isn't only for those on campus. Last November, a group of alumni did some "sole-searching" as they boxed and shipped donated shoes for a nonprofit, while others donned painter pants and labored alongside students on a community project. These graduates are putting compassion into action -- and it's only the beginning.
"As I was talking with alums, trying to determine what sort of activities would be interesting to them, the words 'service' and 'community projects' kept coming up," said Carol Kent, northeast Texas coordinator for the Baylor Network. "They wanted to do something with impact, something that would make Baylor visible and bring alums together. It's an opportunity to let people know what Baylor is all about -- acting on faith issues." 
Many alumni expressed an interest in spotlighting their alma mater's positive side, Kent said. "I really feel the urge to put some shine back in the green and gold," said Randy Stevens, BA '80, JD '83, who attended the first Steppin' Out planning meeting in Dallas. 
The Young Grads group has been particularly active in organizing the Alumni Steppin' Out events, said Rishi Sriram, coordinator of student and recent graduate programs. "Those in Young Grads have already been a part of [student] Steppin' Out for several years, and once they graduate, it's a very familiar experience that also holds a lot of meaning for them." 
Last fall, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston alumni joined Baylor students in Waco at their Steppin' Out day. As part of that effort, Dallas alumni helped students who were collecting used and new shoes on campus for the "Shoes for Orphan Souls" project sponsored by Buckner Care International. The organization is a former Dallas orphanage and now a clearinghouse for service-oriented projects funded by Baptists. This winter, the Dallas volunteers will assist the North Texas Food Bank, and in the spring, they will work to provide playground maintenance and classroom supplies for Dallas area public schools.
Meanwhile, Fort Worth and Houston alumni worked alongside students on painting and clean-up projects in the Waco Steppin' Out. "Students are excited to see that alumni consider volunteering to be important and want to continue doing that," said Jessica Truglio, Baylor coordinator of community service. Alumni from all three cities also plan to be at the students' spring Steppin' Out.
Fort Worth alumni will participate this spring in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure and in building a Habitat for Humanity house, and in Houston, alumni are looking into several service and volunteer opportunities.