Experiential learning opportunities have long been emphasized for Butler students. And Todd Bolster ’05 immediately recognized that value.
Through his involvement at Butler in Greek Life and the Student Government Association, the Communication Studies major discovered resources that supported him as he searched for his first experiential learning opportunity. His fraternity’s academic advisor, Pat Gibbons MBA ’95, played an especially significant role. He stressed the need for Bolster to get involved in the Indianapolis community and encouraged him to pursue his first internship, which was in marketing with Walker Information.
“It was a really eye-opening experience to see what I was good at, what I wasn’t good at, and what I enjoyed,” Bolster notes.
Now the Vice President of Client Services at The Basement, Bolster is helping to give back to Butler by supporting these valuable experiences. The Basement, an Indianapolis-based advertising agency, hosts a well-known internship program that allows students to learn and grow in an accepting, professional space. The agency’s people-driven culture and impressive portfolio of work has drawn dozens of Butler students to intern at the agency, and many have transitioned to full-time roles after graduating.
The Basement’s program started as a way to create more opportunities for students, and has since grown into a highly-sought-after experience pursued by many Butler students each semester. The program focuses on providing interns with a wide variety of professional experiences, which gives students a well-rounded view of agency life.
For Bolster, the value in The Basement’s program is found in giving students the tools and confidence they need to succeed professionally. “I think it’s important to help interns understand what’s going to be expected of them after graduation. To me, that’s one of the most important things, other than the relationships. It’s teaching them what will be expected of them as a professional, and how that’s different than what’s expected of them as a student.”
The Basement also places significant value on adapting its internship program to fit the changing needs of students. “We make sure that we are asking, listening, and paying attention to what the student enjoys while also balancing the fact that there has to be some structure and definition [to the program],” says Bolster. He recognizes that students bring a unique perspective to the table. “We like to say as an agency, ‘Great ideas come from everywhere,’ and it really isn’t about the title; it’s about the quality of the idea.”
Bolster’s closing advice for Butler students pursuing experiential learning? Dive into it with no fear. “The point of these opportunities is to experience and learn—you can’t let fear hold you back. Believe in yourself, have courage, and get out there.”