Butler Magazine

Fall 2017

paige haefer

The Evolution of a Bulldog

Paige Haefer ’17

from Fall 2017

During times of reflection, we can all identify moments that profoundly change who we are, what we believe, and who we strive to become. As children, it seems that we dream big and believe that the life changing moments we will experience will be grand, sweeping, and adventurous. However, as we grow up, I think more common than not, the moments that change our course of life and impact us the most happen in unexpected places and through the daily interactions we experience. The people we meet and communities we join are far more impactful than we ever imagine them to be.

I found this to be true through my experience at Butler University. Never did I imagine that a small, liberal-arts University, set in the quaint state of Indiana, would introduce such instrumental mentors and instill community values that have completely reframed my view of the world.

I graduated this past May from Butler’s College of Communications with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Communication and Organizational Leadership with minors in Strategic Communication and Sociology. Before making the move to Indianapolis, I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. Growing up, I always had a bit of Hoosier influence from my mom, an Indiana native and IU grad. Yearly trips to Indy were common to visit my grandparents who still live here today. While looking for colleges, I was determined to get out of my Big Ten college town. A small classroom setting and high student involvement opportunities were my driving factors on the college search. I applied all over the Midwest and ultimately landed at Butler University in the city I had grown up visiting. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to study but I knew I liked the options at Butler, was drawn to the beautiful campus, and had only had positive interactions with the current students, faculty, and staff. So, in August 2013, my family packed the mini van and helped me make the move to Indianapolis and my new residence in Schwitzer Hall.

Plenty has changed at Butler in my four years as a student. New buildings have appeared, new people have joined and exited the community, and student organizations have grown and expanded. Change is inevitable and often welcomed. I know personally, I have changed a lot in my four years at Butler. My first-year on campus I truly was a bit more soft-spoken and shy, especially my first few weeks. I wasn’t very sure of who I was or what I wanted, and I am genuinely grateful now that my experiences at Butler have helped me change

Part II of Blog

Involvement on Campus Evolves

Over my four-year Bulldog career, I was blessed to experience a wide variety of campus involvement and leadership opportunities.

My first-year (Historically, a student’s first year on campus was referred to as their “freshman” year experience. Recently, most Universities have replaced that reference by the term “first-year.”) on campus I bounced around, joining various campus organizations, attending as many events as I could, and applying for everything and anything I could. This is probably a typical first-year experience. You want to do it all, meet everyone, and be everywhere. I think it took me about a year and a half to realize the areas I wanted to focus on for my college career. Ultimately, the areas I was truly passionate about and ended up investing time in were: on-campus employment at the Office of Admissions, social Greek Life, Butler’s Welcome Week leadership, and Student Government Association (SGA).

At the Office of Admissions, I served various roles over four years including tour guide, telecounseling supervisor, student assistant, and events and visits intern. In Greek Life, I found a home at Alpha Chi Omega sorority where I served my chapter as Vice President of Philanthropy and even got involved at the national level as a Student Trustee on the organizations non-profit Board of Trustees. Welcome Week and the first six weeks of college are instrumental to a successful four-year experience and because my experience with this was so positive I was determined to continue this for future Bulldogs serving as a Student Orientation Guide and Student Orientation Coordinator at the beginning of my sophomore through senior year fall semesters.

SGA has been my most involved opportunity. I applied for the Student Initiatives Board at the end of my first-year—excited to see what college student government was like. In high school I was a part of student government which mostly consisted of planning prom and designing a class t-shirt. Never did I expect to be a part of such incredible impact at the collegiate level. After sophomore year I ran to be Vice President of Student Initiatives, leading a 30-student board in addressing campus concerns. Heading into senior year I made the leap and ran for Student Body President and won! Serving my University and peers in this way was challenging, but I can’t picture any better way to experience senior year than through total investment in and service to the community in this way.

Although I had the opportunity to learn from, grow through, and be positively challenged by four unique areas of campus involvement in addition to my classroom experiences, I have found a common thread through it all. I enjoy facilitating conversation, problem-solving, building community, and advocating for change. Butler involvement has helped me discover my passion for people.

Organizations Grow and Improve

Change is a key part of the college experience. I think everyone changes at Butler, and hopefully always for the better. A key change that occurs within students can be seen in their student involvement. As students go through their four years, they change from organization participant to organization leader to, in some cases, organization founder, innovator, or revolutionizer. SGA is no exception to the way that student involvement evolves and grows over time. The summer after my sophomore year I had just been elected Vice President of Student Initiatives for SGA. I was nervous and excited about the opportunity. My role was a new one—previously this role had been known as the Vice President of Administration—and, while the duties of this role did not change much, this name change reflected just one of many changes that would occur to SGA over the course of the upcoming summer.

In summer 2015, SGA went through a rebranding process. Similar to the way that Butler University as a whole rebranded that year. SGA leadership felt as though the organization had gotten away from its core purpose: To represent every student at Butler University and truly be the voice for students on campus. That summer at SGA retreat, the newly renamed SGA Marketing and Communications Board worked tirelessly to craft a new SGA brand from scratch, one that would reflect the core mission of the organization, feel fresh, and remain recognizable. Across SGA, boards were renamed, roles were tightened up or reevaluated, and an overall vision of cohesion and unity was pushed. The most significant change to campus was the switch from a student organization assembly to a student elected, smaller senate. Looking back now on two years of this new SGA structure and refocused brand, its definitely different and its definitely not perfect. But, the overall impact seems incredible positive for campus.

Change can be scary and at the same time have incredible purpose. Student organizations come and go based on campus interest. SGA has changed and reformed but the core purpose of the organization remains and has stood the test of time. I view the changes as positive ones. These changes to our student government are a reflection of lessons learned at Butler. Personally, I feel that the changes in SGA have allowed more students to know about it as our brand is unified and easy to recognize. The board name changes have cleared up some confusion on what these actual boards do and the unification has allowed even more students to get involved by relying on single channels sharing applications, events, and opportunities. SGA is feeling less segmented and more unified and unification is always a positive change for our world. I am proud to have been a small part of some of these changes to SGA and hope that my leadership as President allowed some type of continued positive growth and change to take place.

People Change You

When I think about the changes I have seen at Butler, in myself, in SGA, and in other campus areas, I am not just struck by the outcomes of these changes but I can almost always associate with a specific person or people that were the core influencers, leaders, or mentors in that situation. Instead of thinking of specific events, I want to share a bit about a handful of the people who have been inspirations and mentors to me. The personal changes I have accomplished as well as organizational changes I have had the chance to be a part of are directly correlated to the incredible things I learned from the people on this campus.

SGA Leaders—As one would expect, student government brings together some of the most driven and inspiring student son a campus. While it has been great to be a part of some incredible change and evolution facilitated by this organization, looking back on my time in SGA, I am most thankful for the peer leaders I learned from. While everyone in SGA has impacted me in some way, Katelyn Sussli ’16, Cristina McNeily ’17, and Logan Schwering ’18 come to mind immediately. Katelyn was the SGA President before myself and I had the chance to serve as her Vice President. I learned a lot from her about humility and about always putting your best foot forward no matter the situation. Cristina helped me realize that asking questions and learning about things that are unfamiliar to you is the best way to build community, to celebrate differences instead of letting them divide us. Logan, has taught me to take advantage of your whole day and make sure every moment is spent engaged and following your passions.

Alpha Chi Omega—As tour guides we tend to describe Butler’s Greek life as “prominent but not dominant” and while the prominence of Greek Life is different for students across campus, I can personally say that my involvement in a Panhellenic sorority was always a positive one. To experience a group of women who’s genuine goal is to just love you and help you become a better person is a pretty jaw-dropping experience. Nobody is forced to be in Greek Life and women (or men) stay because they want to, not because they have to. From my experience, Greek Life at Butler has been about fostering community and personal connections. The women in my chapter have become my greatest role models and cheerleaders. From personal tragedy to personal victory, I have had at least one, if not many, more women of Alpha Chi Omega step in and show me nothing but love and support. To be part of an organization based on values is a pretty powerful thing.

Student Affairs Staff—How many people truly love their jobs enough to stay at work until well past 11:00 PM or even overnight? Through my high level of campus involvement, I have had the opportunity to experience first-hand how much our Student Affairs staff and program care about students. I have had countless meetings with Caroline Huck-Watson, Director of the PuLSE Office and an SGA Advisor, that go well past 10:00 PM. Anne Flaherty, Dean of Student Life , is seen at campus events no matter what day of the week it is and is quick to respond to campus concerns or student questions. Not only are these two women excellent at their jobs, they also are mothers and have families of their own. The Student Affairs staff truly cares about making the student experience as incredible as possible here at Butler even if that means sacrificing their own personal needs. That’s dedication and passion that I strive to emulate in my future career.

Communications Faculty—I definitely don’t want to forget to mention one of the most important aspects of the college experience. Our education. While every college and department has something special to offer, I want to brag on my College, the College of Communications. Scott Bridge, the College’s Internship irector will send you an email at 4:00 AM with not one but 10 paid internship opportunities. Professor Jessica Moore has  provided her students with her cell phone number to text or call her with questions from class. But, she also offers to skype with you on the weekends to help with major projects. Professor Janis Crawford is an advisor that puts up with my continuous “double checking” that I have accomplished all required courses and has continued to forgive me for my inability to understand Doodle polls. Professor Lindsay Ems introduced me to incredible books and thoughts and continues to engage with me in these ideas even a year after class is done. It makes it much easier to learn and get the most out of your curriculum when the folks charged with educating you want to be there and will go above and beyond to make sure you get the most out of your college experience in the classroom.

Community Stands Firm

Change will not stop at Butler University. Students will continue to grow over the course of their undergraduate careers. SGA and other student organizations will continue to transform with the ever-evolving needs and goals of student bodies, and the student experience not only at Butler, but across the country, will continue to revolutionize.

Despite ongoing transformation on Butler’s campus, the true brick and mortar of our 295 acres—the community itself—holds true. Through the continuous desire of the student body to be active and make the most out of their college experience, mentors and teachers such as the examples I listed previously, and an ever-engaged alumni presence—The Butler Way that most students cite as their favorite part of campus lives on. 

paige haefer

The Evolution of a Bulldog

by Paige Haefer ’17

from Fall 2017

Read more

Finding Balance

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2017

Balance. That elusive feeling we search for tirelessly. And when we don’t feel it, we long for it.

Truth is finding balance in your life can be complicated (read: messy, overwhelming, stressful ... you get the picture). Let’s be honest, the reason why it can be so complicated is because it involves our wellbeing. That’s what is at stake when we talk about balance.

The Health and Recreation Complex (HRC) at Butler understands the importance of balance and taking a holistic approach to wellbeing. As Director of Recreation Scott Peden said, “It’s not just your typical gym with a bunch of fitness equipment.”

Far from it, actually.

The HRC is home to Counseling and Consultation Services, Health Education and Outreach, Health Services, and Recreation. Services offered at the HRC range from personal training and nutritional counseling to massage therapy and physical therapy, and from swim lessons and certifications to a high-ropes course that is often used for team-building activities.

The impact the HRC has on the Butler community and beyond is obvious when you take a look at the numbers from last year:

  • Approximately 200 Butler student employees
  • Roughly 6,000 student-patient visits, and another 3,000 visits for external services (e.g., flu clinics)
  • Around 3,500 counseling sessions, for just over 500 students (about 10 percent of student body)
  • Almost 100 outreach and education programs, reaching around 3,000 students and employees

Nearly 90 percent of Butler students visit the HRC on a regular basis—about 1,200 students per day. Sure, current Butler students will always be the primary focus of the HRC, but there are numerous services and activities available to alumni, faculty and staff, and the community. In fact, there are over 400 non-student HRC members. Not to mention the hundreds of community members who purchase day passes or participate in programs/services offered at the HRC.

The interests and needs of students are always evolving when it comes to—well—everything. That includes wellbeing, which is becoming a more personal and individualized experience. These evolving needs mean the HRC staff has to be proactive not only in what they do, but how they do it. 

For example, as the demands for mental health services increase, Counseling and Consultation Services is continually adjusting the services provided in order to best meet the needs of Butler University students. Streamlining their intake process and expanding their group therapy program, which has been shown to be one of the most effective forms of therapy for college students, are two such adjustments recently made.

Another example is exploring how to engage students and the community in different ways. In particular, providing programming and services outside the walls of the HRC.

“Beyond the aspects of how we engage our community, we will take a serious look at what programs or services might be feasible to add to our expanding portfolio,” shared Peden.

“I would love to see the HRC become the embodiment of what a university can do when resources, strategies, and personnel align to create a living, learning lab for holistic wellbeing.”

In an effort to truly maximize the potential of the HRC, staff continue to identify opportunities for collaboration with campus partners and others. If they could add a couple more basketball courts, an indoor climbing wall, solar panel roof, and a wing reserved solely for reflection and meditation, that’d be good, too.

It’s all about balance, right?


Finding Balance

by Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2017

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Transformation and Transition—From Butler to China

Erin O’Neil ’17

from Fall 2017

Blog Posted: July 2017

The day I received my acceptance letter to attend Butler University was one of the best days of my life, but I didn’t realize that Butler was my dream school until the last few days of my undergraduate career. It wasn’t until then that I was able to truly see the impact this institution has had on my life. When I walked across the stage and received my diploma, I was handed so much more than a degree—I was given the skills necessary to begin a new path, the support to carry me through, and the determination to use my education to create positive change. As I sit here reflecting on how in the world I ended up halfway around the globe just a month after graduation, I know it’s because of Butler.

Transitions are never easy, but mine was particularly difficult as I took on the challenge of settling into post-grad life in Shanghai, China. I’ve returned to work as a videographer for Collective Responsibility, the company with whom I interned last summer and continued working for remotely throughout my senior year. I’ll admit in the months leading up to the move I was terrified, and I continuously doubted my ability to move this far from home for six months. And it certainly hasn’t been easy; I don’t speak Chinese, so every mundane task is that much more difficult. I’ve never rented an apartment before—let alone in a foreign country—and the 12-hour time difference has strained communications with family and friends back home. Moving to Asia alone is perhaps one of the most intimidating experiences of my life. But I can easily say, after having lived here for just two months, it will certainly be one of the most rewarding.

During one of my first meetings with the founder of the company and my direct supervisor, Rich, he explained that the only way to make the most of my time here is to always have a camera in hand. He encouraged me to be courageous and confident in capturing Shanghai culture. He made a point of noting that the thing people seem to regret most is not having taken full advantage of this incredible city by the time they leave. Yet I felt very intimidated to capture a world I don’t understand and scared in particular of doing so alone.  Rich reminded me that people would either be okay with it or wave at me to stop; both results I wouldn’t know to be reality until I first got out there and tried.  I quickly realized that this opportunity has not only allowed me to explore Asia for six months and continue practicing my art, but that it will also help me become a more dauntless storyteller.

The world will not wait for me; it will continue flying by and either I have captured it, or I haven’t. During my undergraduate studies I spent my fair share of time walking around campus interviewing students, capturing footage of the beautiful Holcomb Gardens, and sitting in Fairbanks editing the night away. But walking out into the “real world” with a camera in hand and minimal knowledge of my surroundings is a whole lot scarier than trekking the woods behind Butler’s I-lot or setting up camp in the TV studio. I don’t know these streets like the back of my hand; I don’t know the inner workings of this city as I did the “Butler bubble.” But these breaches of our comfort zones are what make us stronger individuals and more developed and talented artists.

Shanghai is an amazing city: the diverse culture, the scenery, the constant bustle, and the international community that is steadily expanding. The people I run into from all over the world continuously surprise me. The diversity and personal testaments to the question, “Why China?” is always fascinating. Shanghai is particularly appealing to entrepreneurs, researchers, and small businesses owners, which means my network is rapidly expanding and I’m learning from professional in all different industries.

Two of the projects I’m most excited for are video series called “Entrepreneurs4Good,” and “Sustainability Ambassadors.” The former is a series of interviews in which entrepreneurs from differing industries in Asia share their stories of how they create positive change and inspire others by developing socially responsible enterprises. Sitting behind the camera, I learn about what motivates people, how they find their inspiration, and how they’ve overcome personal challenges. “Sustainability Ambassadors” is a similar concept that focuses on leaders specifically working in environmental sustainability. Both video series are an opportunity to learn from professionals and young entrepreneurs alike about how they strive for and determine success. As a recent graduate, these stories encourage me and facilitate personal growth as I reflect on my own goals and achievements.

Travel has been a passion since my first trip to Chile in high school. It was on that trip that I discovered how incredible it is to be able to connect with and learn from international communities despite language and cultural differences. Since then I’ve made another visit to Chile, traveled to France, studied abroad with the GALA program in Western Europe, and trekked to China on two separate occasions. Each adventure inspires me in different ways, and I continue to learn about myself in ways I couldn’t do within my comfort zone of the United States. But this trip in particular has already expanded my global and personal perspectives far beyond previous excursions. The silence in traveling alone is where I find the moments to reflect and to learn about myself and what motivates me as a storyteller.

Moving to another country certainly has its unique adversities and moments of frustration.  But so does starting a new job, taking on a challenging role at work, or even getting your first apartment. To anyone faced with the opportunity to travel the world and get paid to do what you love, the only advice I can give is to do it. Yes, it’s scary to uproot yourself from a familiar and comfortable lifestyle to start over in a very foreign place. Yes, it will force you to question yourself and adapt in a world you may not entirely understand. But if there’s anything I know for certain, it’s that it’s worth every strain and moment of adversity. It is in these moments that we become the strongest versions of ourselves and begin to recognize how our work can influence and contribute to positive change. To my fellow Bulldogs, never take your education nor your university for granted; it will help shape who you become and provide opportunities that will change your life. It sounds cheesy, but I promise, I would not be the person I am today without Butler, and I certainly wouldn’t be in China.

Follow my adventures at

laura michel

Stars Aligned for Laura Michel ’08

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2017

From the beginning, Butler checked all of her boxes—small, liberal arts, major city with lots to offer, and not in Iowa. It was the “perfect fit” for Laura Michel ’08, the daughter of two public school educators and a middle child from—you guessed it—Iowa. 

Michel started out as a Chemistry major with pre-med plans. After taking a few classes and thinking about what she wanted post-grad, she switched to Communications Disorders—a major that incorporated her love of helping others and a medical field component. Michel went on to earn a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL).

And, she found her way back to Iowa.

As she says, “the stars aligned” for Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines to have a pediatric speech-language pathologist opening when she graduated from UNL in 2010. The close proximity to her hometown of Clinton, Iowa, is perfect for Michel, a self-proclaimed family girl who recently got engaged and counts spending time with her niece and nephews among her favorite things to do.

What else does she like to do? Well, there is golf, yoga, and traveling. But, the two most noteworthy (in my opinion), are Michel spreading the word about Butler in Des Moines because of her “fandom during the NCAA tournaments” and staying involved with Alpha Chi Omega, a sisterhood that has followed her from her days at Butler to her time at UNL and now to Des Moines.

Michel also credits Alpha Chi with helping her stay connected to Butler, since she tries to visit campus once a year to reunite with her friends at Butler and her Alpha Chi sisters. On a recent visit, she was excited that there were places on campus to grab lunch, but admits it was a huge change to see the parking garage and new residence hall.

“Campus is still as beautiful as ever ... It’s evident Butler is invested in continuing the growth needed to attract and retain students,” she said.

It also was important for Michel to note that despite growth she hopes the feeling of belonging on campus never changes. As she put it, “The close-knit community and relationships I built with peers, professors, student organization advisors—even Dr. Fong and L.J.—are what made my years at Butler so impactful.”

In fact, she said if she had to sum up her Butler experience in one word she would choose “life-changing.”

Michel said her involvement in the Butler University Student Foundation (BUSF) and Student Government Association (SGA) helped shape her Butler experience and gave her the chance to learn and grow into who she is today. She also benefited from the relationships she built and leadership skills she honed while serving as SGA President.

As Michel spells it out, “I wish more people knew that you can really make the Butler experience your own. Whatever you invest or put in is directly correlated with what you will get [in return].”

laura michel

Stars Aligned for Laura Michel ’08

by Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2017

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madison sauerteig

A Bulldog with a Soft Heart

Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Fall 2017

Children who are dealing with serious illnesses can experience a range of emotions, from scared to bored…Scared by unfamiliar surroundings and symptoms, bored by hours that drag by without their normal routine.

So, imagine how awesome it would be to have a smiling face peek into your room with the offer to play a game, create an art project, or just hang out and chat.

Meet Madison Sauerteig. The senior Psychology major from Cicero, Indiana, spends a dozen or so hours a month doing just that with patients at Riley Hospital for Children, ranging in age from infant to 18 years old. Her love of kids and thoughts of being a child life specialist prompted her to volunteer. While her career goals have shifted a bit—maybe the title “guidance counselor” is in her future—she has put in more than 150 hours to date.

The experience, which began as a volunteer opportunity that would translate well on her resume, blossomed into a passion that has spawned some valuable lessons, said Sauerteig.

“At first, I was a little scared to go into a patient’s room, but I’ve learned that it’s good to be that smiling face,” she said. “And I’ve also learned that not all kids have their parents—they have work, other children…things that take them away from Riley. Which makes what volunteers do even more important.”

Madison is a second-generation Bulldog, with parents Jeff ’87 and Wendy (Pfanstiel) ’89, also graduating from Butler University. The family attended numerous basketball games at Hinkle and other campus events when she was growing up. Madison says that familiarity—as well as its proximity to home and family—were major factors in her decision to attend. 

madison sauerteig

A Bulldog with a Soft Heart

by Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Fall 2017

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boots and flowers

From Firehouse to Aspire House

Marc D. Allan

from Fall 2017

Butler Volleyball Coach Sharon Clark is a magician of sorts. In her spare time, she turns old rubber rain boots into planters, converts a weightlifting bench to a patio seat, and salvages a barrel of discarded shoe soles to recycle into a sculpture.

“I don’t like putting things in the landfill,” she said.

And now for her greatest feat: Clark and her husband, Tim, are turning a long-vacant 1897 fire station, located in a downtrodden neighborhood about four miles southwest of Butler’s campus, into a community center complete with an art studio, kitchen, and residential units.

“When we found the building, we got inspired by that neighborhood and wanted to help revive it,” Clark said. “Our plan and our goal is to be that first beacon of light, the first renewed piece. Our goal is to help revive that neighborhood one block at a time.”

The Clarks bought the two-story brick firehouse in 2012 because Sharon wanted workshop space to reclaim and repurpose furniture. The building was boarded up, tagged with graffiti, and filled to the rafters with all kinds of junk—an inoperable forklift, boxes and boxes of shoe heels and shoe polish, church pews, engine blocks. It was such a mess that it actually scared children who passed by on their way to the neighborhood elementary school.

Two years ago, local community organizer LaShawnda Crowe Storm connected Clark with neighborhood residents and students from nearby Marian University to decorate the outside of the building with a mural. “Kind of like tagging it back,” Clark said. She put up an A-shaped fence to keep people from dumping in the back lot and gave the building a name: Aspire House. “For the community to aspire to something higher.”

The Clarks have since replaced the leaky roof, gutters, and most of the windows. One side of the building has been tuckpointed, an inner wall has been repaired, and decades of detritus has been discarded.

Sharon and Tim, Vice President of Programs for the Simon Youth Foundation, work on the building nights and weekends (“and weekends when you coach volleyball aren’t actually weekends”), during summer and spring break. Friends come to help, and Sharon’s dad has come in from California several times for a week at a time.

Sharon envisions the building with an art studio in front, where neighborhood kids can participate in creative enterprises and learn a skill, and some kind of commercial kitchen in the back. “This is a food desert over here,” she said. “There are no restaurants, no stores, no grocery store. So there’s a need.” Upstairs will be two residential units.

The ultimate goal is to make the building financially self-sustaining. She figures they’re about two years from finishing—if they get grants. If the project ends up being self-financed, it will take much longer.

“I will be proud when this is done,” she said. “Even with the stress that you go through—am I doing the right thing?—every time someone stops and says, ‘It looks great’ or ‘good job’ or ‘thank you,’ you get your energy going again. That makes it worthwhile.”

boots and flowers

From Firehouse to Aspire House

by Marc D. Allan

from Fall 2017

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