Bobbie Gibson
Associate Director of International Student Services and Incoming Exchange
Years at Butler: 25

What does Black History Month mean to you?
While Black History Month is a time to celebrate Black history, Black Culture, and Black American accomplishments and contributions, it is also a time to educate and advocate for a more inclusive and equitable experience for all. It is a time to recognize not only the achievements of Black Americans but also to acknowledge, appreciate, and correct the historic injustices faced by Black Americans and their communities.

How would you describe what you do at Butler?
At Butler, I am responsible for two groups of international students. We host non-degree-seeking and degree-seeking students on exchange. I provide advice to both groups regarding immigration rules and regulations and also with the tools necessary to maintain legal status while studying in the States. I am the person they come to with their questions, fears, concerns, and feelings of missing home.

What is the best part of your job?
Meeting students from all over the world is the best part of my job. I assist students in the smooth transition to life in the US and at Butler. Many students have kept in contact by updating me and sharing special accomplishments and moments. When I feel unappreciated, these students remind me I am appreciated in their world. 

Share one thing that you are most proud of that you have accomplished here.
I created and directed all aspects of the International Diversity Ambassador Program and International Student Orientation. These programs match University upperclassmen with incoming international students in a mentor-mentee relationship. They connect with University resources and learn about Butler from the administrative and student perspectives. The International Diversity Ambassador Program and International Student Orientation Pre-arrival Program help international students navigate their new surroundings and academically succeed at Butler University. Orientation would not exist without the selfless work provided by my amazing International Diversity Ambassadors. They are the heart and soul of both programs.

How has your experience working at a predominantly white institution (PWI) enabled you to operate effectively in other environments?
Working at a PWI has provided me with valuable networking opportunities. It has also improved my resilience, assertiveness, and strategic thinking.

What can people do to celebrate Black History Month?
Take the time to learn about the good and the bad Black American History. Learn about the little-known contributions and achievements of Black Americans. Read books, watch documentaries, and participate in local events, lectures, and discussions about Black Americans’ history and rich culture. Support Black-owned businesses, charities, and organizations. If you find a Black-owned business selling a product or products you like, add that business to your shopping routine. Above all, take action against racism, not just during Black History Month but all year long. Challenge and educate those who exhibit racist behavior in your presence in a positive, optimistic, constructive, and kind manner. Never turn a blind eye.