Networking Gains Momentum

December 9, 2003

For Baylor Network director Brenda Morris and coordinators Carol Kent and Brent Edwards, the days start early and end late. "Sometimes we're on the road at 4 a.m. to make a breakfast meeting," Kent said. 
But face-to-face meetings with alumni are crucial to creating the kind of connection they want to make. "The Baylor Network is an effort to involve the Baylor family in a wide variety of events in their home communities and, by doing so, draw them closer to the University," Kent said. 
"The concept is that we are listening to alumni and responding to their needs instead of dropping a program into a community and saying, 'There you go,'" she said. As a result, they have translated alumni feedback into revamped clubs and new programs in Texas cities and towns and around the country.
Last fall, the Baylor Network introduced several new groups for graduates in Texas revolving around common interests and stages of life:

  • Alumni Theater Nights in Dallas offers discount tickets and occasional lectures from Baylor professors. 
  • Young Couples, married or engaged alumni without children welcomes newcomers to the Dallas Metroplex. 
  • Young Grads (those who have graduated in the last 10 years) in Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston regularly attend sports events, theater and other activities. Groups also are being formed in Amarillo and Lubbock.
  • Mama Bears in Dallas and Houston offers activities such as cooking and parenting classes. The developing Fort Worth Mama Bears will be part of a mentoring program with the Tarrant County Baylor Women's Council. Mama Bears also are forming in Amarillo and Lubbock.
  • The Baylor Business Networks (BBN) in Houston and Dallas host activities and seminars on career and business topics. Dallas BBN holds breakfast meetings the first Tuesday of each month and the Houston BBN sponsors quarterly breakfasts and has introduced a mentoring program between recent and older graduates. A Fort Worth BBN will offer monthly breakfast meetings beginning in January, and BBN groups in Austin and Waco are expected soon.
  • Diadeloso is being celebrated off-campus this year in Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas and Washington, D.C.
  • Alumni groups have formed in Washington, D.C., offering monthly mixers to watch sports or attend picnics; a co-ed flag football team was organized last fall. Baylor family groups in Richmond, Va., Nashville, Tenn., and New York City also are active, and one is being planned in California.
  • International alumni gatherings also are in the works. A Diadeloso will be held in London and possibly other sites. New Internet affinity groups are especially helpful in connecting alumni overseas.

Response to these new and revamped events has been overwhelmingly positive, Kent said. "Our alums love the idea of reconnecting with their experience at Baylor and their friends from Baylor," she said.