By Alexis Whiteford |
Baylor University is a diverse campus with students from many backgrounds. There is, however, a group of students who are not widely recognized – our military veterans.
The Veterans of Baylor is an organization comprised of veteran students who hold events and services to help student students who serve in the military. One of the services is the veterans lending library. Baylor Shields operates the library to help veterans and military dependents at Baylor University.
I have been a member of Baylor Shields since 2018 when I met them at Late Night. My grandpa, Jerry, was a 100% disabled veteran who served in the Korean War so I grew up seeing the positive impact that comes from helping veterans. My brother is also serving in the Army and is fourth generation infantry. When I joined Baylor Shields, I was excited for the opportunity of helping veterans within the Baylor Community.
Baylor Shields offers a free textbook lending library for veterans and military dependents. Student veterans and dependents are able to reserve books online and pick them up at the beginning of the semester. Baylor Shields runs the logistics of the library by seeking book donations and organizing the library. Each new book is checked in through an online library database and then shelved. Students will reserve textbooks and Baylor Shields will pull the books from the shelves and have them ready for the students to pick up.
My friend Raj Landry started the library in May 2017. He got the idea from a friend at another university and saw a need for one at Baylor. When Raj first started, he didn’t want this to be his project. He wanted to build a sustainable resource for those who have given so much. Though he is graduating this semester, he is excited that there is a hard-working group of students to continue serving with the library. The library started with a few books on makeshift shelving managed by a small team. Since then, over $20,000 worth of textbooks have been loaned and the library continues to grow. The library is donation based and has an end of the year semester book drive at the Baylor bookstore.
I have been in charge of the library and planning the events for the past two semesters. One of the biggest events is the book drive which happens at the end of each semester. The hardest part of the drive is not scheduling the drive or checking in the books, but carrying the books from the bookstore to the Sid Richardson building. My first attempt at this, I thought I could easily carry a box filled with books across campus, but I was wrong. I walked about halfway and had to take a break. I received several sympathetic looks from passing students. By the time I made it to Sid Rich I realized I needed to ask for help next time or go to the gym more. Thankfully, I have several friends willing to transport the books for me, so I don’t have to have another arm workout.
Baylor Shields is just one way the Baylor Community is supportive and I am very grateful for my friends who help. There is a lot of work involved keeping the library operating, but I enjoy the opportunity to give back to an incredible group of people. There is a reason why we use the phrase, “serving those who served us.”
The members of Baylor Shields are incredible people and I appreciate all their help because I recruited most by adding them to a groupme and told them when we are volunteering.
Baylor Shields is grateful for all the hard work from the volunteers and those who help the library flourish. A special thank you goes to the faculty advisor, Kevin Davis, and the Veterans of Baylor program for steadfast support.
For more information about the library, getting involved with Baylor Shields, or donations please email: Alexis_Whiteford1@Baylor.edu