Imagine being surrounded by people who can advise, coach, and challenge you to pursue your academic, personal, and professional goals. People who are always there for you no matter the detours or alternate routes you may take along the way. At Butler, mentorship extends beyond the classroom to the many student services and centers across campus. 

Randall Ojeda
Director, Efroymson Diversity Center 

What resources does the Efroymson Diversity Center offer to students?
The Efroymson Diversity Center (DC) offers many resources to students that we encourage them to utilize throughout their Butler experiences. One significant resource available to students is staff advising. We have six professional staff on our team that are prepared to offer regular support for students. This support could include individual needs, organizational structure, planning events, strategies for equity, general connection, etc. Additionally, there are day-to-day resources available to students in the DC including, but not limited to: peer identity support (office hours), a space for prayer and meditation, a conference room, a TV, books, games, and gender-inclusive restrooms, and a refrigerator and microwave. Lastly, the DC offers an incredible community of students. Students that are connected to the DC  passionately lead identity-based student organizations, create fun and meaningful events, offer academic support to one another, build social connections, and show up for one another in an impactful way.

How do you empower students and help them achieve their goals?
It is important to affirm the experiences and needs of students as a first step to empower them to achieve their goals. I take the approach of a listener to make sure that students know they have a safe place to express themselves without needing to fit a certain standard. I find it valuable to then acknowledge what they have said and offer an insight or resources that I am aware of that they might pursue to advance goals that they have. Providing students with the space to share/ask with consistent support often empowers them to continue to take steps toward any goals that they may have.

What is the most rewarding part of working with and mentoring students?
The most rewarding part of working with and supporting students here at Butler University is getting to observe them taking steps toward goals that they have for themselves. I have many stories of students that finally got an internship they had been hoping for or those who for the first time were able to be open about their identities with someone they care about. I get this front row seat to the lives of the next generation of community members and leaders and it brings me so much joy to get to be a part of each story both now and throughout their futures. 

What advice would you give a prospective student who’s considering Butler University?
My advice for a prospective student who is considering Butler University is to do plenty of research to gain a good understanding of what is available here. Additionally, I encourage prospective students who are nervous to challenge themselves to try new environments as there is no perfect fit. And most importantly, I often remind prospective students that they belong here just as they are. Butler has a foundation that was built on principles of challenging exclusion so if prospective students have identities or ideas that continue to help us prioritize inclusion—they are certainly welcome here. The voices of our students are welcomed here and they are powerful as we are genuinely invested in advocating for their needs and providing an amazing college experie

Victory Sampson
Multilingual and Strategic Communication: Public Relations and Advertising double major
Indianapolis, Indiana 

What has surprised you the most about your relationship with Randall Ojeda?
Coming into college I didn’t know that you could have a close relationship with the Diversity Center Director. But Randall is so nice and you can talk to him about most things. He creates a safe environment to discuss issues, topics, really anything that’s on the heart. He’s been a resource from the very first day that I stepped on campus. 

How have the resources offered by the Diversity Center helped you succeed as a student?
The main resources that I utilize are the free counseling services that happen at least once per week. These have really impacted the way that I move on campus and the way that I respond to certain situations. 

It’s also nice to have a dedicated center where we can interact with other students of color and the Black Student Union office. We often meet in our raucous, merry, loud, living in all of our fullness and joy! It’s nice to have a space where you know you’re celebrated.

What advice would you give a prospective student who is considering Butler University?
Visit campus. As a person of color, when you are looking at predominantly white institutions and you’re actually trying to take those claims of diversity, equity, and inclusion seriously, you have to visit and look at the environments they’re creating on the campus. 

When I first saw Butler’s Diversity Center, and also the Hub of Black Affairs and Community Engagement where I now work, I saw first-hand the University’s monetary commitment (along with the words) to supporting identity.