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School of Education MSEd Students Raising Funds for local School


Children playing gaga ball

Photo courtesty of Practice Sports

by Lia Hood

Gaga for Gaga Ball, a fundraising project launched by Dr. Mar Magnusen, associate professor of Sport Management, and the students taking his Athletic Fundraising and Development course at Baylor, aims to provide two gaga ball pits to Crestview Elementary School in Waco ISD.

Magnusen said the group hopes that the endeavor will cultivate excitement and joy for the young students. The fundraising goal of the project is $3,500 for the two gaga pits and additional resources such as foam balls and a storage bag. The gaga ball pits and resources will be purchased by Baylor and donated to Crestview Elementary School.

What is Gaga Ball? The fast-paced, high-energy game is played with a soft foam ball in an octagonal pit and is sometimes referred to as a gentler version of dodgeball. Players will run, jump, and dodge as they try to hit opponents with the ball below the knees. Instead of throwing, the ball is hit with the hand so that it rolls over the ground without bouncing over the sides of the gaga pit. There are penalties for hitting it out of bounds so players are encouraged to keep their aim below the knees.

Magnusen said that, in addition to providing physical exercise, the game helps children cultivate strategic thinking skills while developing dexterity in their movements and strategizing offense and defense simultaneously. Additionally, gaga ball is an inclusive game for people of all ages and skill levels; anyone can play!

And anyone can contribute to the project through the Baylor “Torch” platform at this link:
Gaga for Gaga Ball

“Gaga for Gaga Ball is a wonderful opportunity for Baylor University to ‘Love thy neighbor’ and provide a chance to serve teachers and students in our community with the joys of fitness, fellowship, and fun,” Magnusen said. “With your generosity, a school that lacks the resources to provide this experience will have the opportunity for young students to be partake in an exciting and inclusive game.”

Students working on the project are earning an MSEd in Sport Management in the School of Education’s Department of Educaitonal Leadership. The class in fundraising is part of the required curriculum, and students plan and execute their own projects. Students in the course learn fundraising basics including data collection and management, finding and asking donors, building coalitions and partnerships, and other aspects of projects from small philanthropic events to those as large as capital campaigns for sports arenas.

Student project leaders in Magnusen’s class, Stephen Arnold and Danielle Friedrich, and their classmates partnered with Crestview’s principal, Samantha Craytor, and physical education coach, Elizabeth Dover, to organize the project.

Gaga Ball pit

Photo courtesy of Practice Sports


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For more than 100 years, the School of Education has advanced Baylor’s mission across the globe while preparing students for a range of careers focused on education, leadership, and human development. With more than 60 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation. Likewise, the School of Education’s graduate programs have attained national recognition for their exemplary preparation of research scholars, educational leaders, innovators, and clinicians. Visit to learn more.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.




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