Solid Gold Neighbor Overview
When you think of solid gold, what do you imagine? A deep, enriching material that is more valuable and prized than any other possession. That is why Baylor aims to be a solid gold neighbor. The relationship between Baylor University and the community of Waco is one that is incredibly valuable. As a part of the community, it is Baylor’s duty to serve as the point of connection to the Waco community for the students and push them to become involved. The intention of Baylor External Affairs Solid Gold Neighbor program is to inspire engagement, support, and celebration of the collective impact of Waco and Baylor together. So, how does Baylor’s Solid Gold Neighbor initiative make a true, functional change?
The Solid Gold Neighbor initiative strives to make an impact in five specific areas: economic development, health, education, cultural wealth and city growth. To impact the economic development of Waco, Baylor has come alongside local business owners, new businesses, and old businesses to market and support their establishment. This creates incentive for students to become engaged with the community and support local businesses. Baylor also ensures that the community has a culture that will retain the best and brightest individuals.
Thriving neighborhoods promote good health habits both physically and mentally. In order to make health in Waco a priority, Baylor has focused on three key ways to support health: prevention, intervention and protection. There are service projects to work on preventing disease and mental illness from worsening in the community. There are workshops and forums that focus on intervening in the community by promoting access to healthy and hearty food options by partnering with organizations that aim to abolish food poverty. Finally, there is research that aims to protect the community by improving awareness and increasing access to local health initiatives.
At Baylor University, education is a core value for both the students and the community around them. Baylor and Waco work together to support public schools in the city so that enrollment increases greatly. This will effectively create a new generation of Wacoans that are successful and can propel the community toward a bright future.
Cultural wealth is the cornerstone of a successful and enriching community. Baylor aims to promote cultural wealth by fostering a sense of belonging for all. This includes facilitating open conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion. There is a strong focus on ensuring that both Baylor and the community celebrate all ethnicities and are educated about the importance of the cultural history surrounding those ethnicities. Waco also receives expert support from leaders that can properly facilitate conversations around the issues of race and diversity.
If a community is not growing, it is dying. This is why city growth is imperative to the Solid Gold Neighbor initiative. Baylor strives to marshal their resources to best support the community and foster growth. Many locations around Waco have partnered with Baylor to allow students to use their student ID to get a 5% to 20% discount. This is called the Waco Perks program, which is designed to help faculty, staff, and students connect with the places that make Waco unique while rallying campus to support the community by shopping local. Finally, it is communicated to students that downtown Waco is a hub for entertainment and should be frequented. Go to https://externalaffairs.web.baylor.edu/about-us to stay up to date on what Baylor is doing in the Waco community and to find more information about the Solid Gold Neighbor initiative.