BU Parent Engagement ‘helps build a better Baylor experience’

The Baylor coed and her parents watch the football game against Texas State University during family weekend. Photo courtesy of Katherine Beach.

By Sarah Wang | Staff writer

In August, Morning Consult ranked Baylor as the #2 Most Trusted University. The university has received support from the students’ parents in all aspects, and Baylor Parent Engagement has played a role in this.

According to its website, Baylor Parent Engagement ensures parents are actively involved in their children’s journeys by connecting them to information, resources, and events on campus.

Through the office, parents have the opportunity to network by planning events such as parent prayer meetings and foster wrap parties. These events can be held both in-state and out-of-state and provide philanthropic opportunities for parents to donate a gift to the university.

Gail Offringa, director of Parent Engagement, said there are many different programs that benefit all students, and parents can help with a donation.

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In the past, Parent Engagement has funded projects like installing the outdoor fitness court, updating the library furniture, piloting the financial literacy program, and funding the canopy that keeps students shaded during soccer games.

“People love [the canopy]’ said Offringa. “You can’t imagine what it was like before it was built because it was really, really hot. The parent fund helps build a better Baylor experience, and its resources go beyond tuition and fees.”

According to Offringa, 20% of parent donors are Baylor alumni. She also said the average gift size is about $3,500, but most people give a $50 gift.

“We also have people from Parent Engagement who handle the larger gifts,” Offringa said. “No matter how big or humble her gift is, it really pulls together [the Baylor family].”

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Offringa said donors can choose which branch they want their donation to fund, given options of general parent fund, university libraries or student life activities. In exchange for their donation, they receive an impact report and a Baylor shirt.

According to Offringa, parental donations are not just about money. She also said parents could volunteer to lead parent prayer meetings, host farewell parties for incoming Baylor freshmen, and mentor students to succeed.

“We also say that parents give their time, talent or treasure,” Offringa said. “All three are equally important, [and] everyone works together.”

Monica Von Waaden, a parent of recent Baylor graduates, said investing in Baylor as a family has been a treasure.

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“From participating in all of the carefully crafted programs like farewells and praying for parents, to working with the development team through philanthropy, we’ve become part of the Baylor family — a part of the sweetest of gifts,” von Waaden said. “We encourage you to experience the best of Baylor too. Together we can leave a legacy for future bears and their families.”

Von Waaden also said Baylor is a bounty boon that is “too good not to share.”

Offringa said she doesn’t know which students know their parents gave Baylor gifts, but those who do know always appreciate it.

“Students love knowing that their parents give to Baylor and that all students benefit,” Offringa said.

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