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Gateway to Success

 

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis has a problem. With each passing year memberships— family, two-person household, and single—are declining. For an organization that relies on these fees to operate, reversing this nearly decade-long slide is critical.

So, when Gregg Hiland, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of the YMCA, set out to address the issue, he was excited to have 27 helpers. Enter, the newest batch of Butler University MBA students.

This is MBA 505, the Gateway Experience—the first on-campus course in the program after they finish their online prerequisites—and it is a trial by fire. Meet new people, learn to work together, examine a problem, come up with recommendations, and deliver those recommendations directly to the leaders of the organization.

All in one day.

Over 800 students have gone through the class since 2006, helping more than 20 different businesses tackle a specific problem. The future MBAs are put through the wringer for a specific reason.

"Having only 24 hours helps students realize that time can't be the excuse for coming up with great solutions," says Marie Mackintosh '06, who is both the Chief Operating Officer of EmployIndy, which delivers workforce services and training to Marion County residents, and the professor who has taught the course for the past four years. "It simulates the pressures of the real world where you have to juggle many different priorities, and the trial by fire forces teams to gel quickly and leverage each other’s strengths. Or learn from their failures.”

They get a little preparation beforehand, in the form of a two-page background briefing on their issue and a session with Butler Business Librarian Teresa Williams to learn about conducting background research. Each team is assigned a facilitator who provides advice and feedback on what they did well and what they need to work on.

Then the rush begins.

The Butler University MBA promises that students get ample opportunities to apply classroom concepts to real-world situations—and that explains why 27 new participants in the program are spending their first day of class fanned out across Indianapolis.

For the next 24, breathless hours, they've been grouped in teams of five or six students—strangers to each other previously—and asked to help the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis reverse a nearly decade-long slide in family memberships.

*

The class starts at 5:30 PM on Thursday with a big dinner and introduction to the organization. Hiland, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, lays out the problem: Since 2014, the number of two-adult member households has dropped from 12,746 to 10,281. The number of one-adult households is down from 3,784 to 3,353.

This is a trend nationwide, not just in Indianapolis, he says.

"We want recommendations from you that will be actionable, something that will help us," Hiland tells the group.

For the next 45 minutes or so, the MBA students pepper him with questions: Are outside vendors allowed in? How are you marketing? Do you survey the people who quit? And so on.

"I'm enjoying the idea of getting to make a presentation to people who can really make a difference," says Taylor Cagle, a Financial Analyst with Roche Diagnostics. "It feels like you're putting in work and getting value out of that work. This isn't an academic exercise."

*

The teams are given more time that night and some the next morning to confer before they get into vans and head to one of five YMCAs in the city (there are 12 YMCAs in greater Indianapolis.)

They arrive at their locations around 10:00 AM, and then it's up to them how to use the next two hours. For Team Holcomb (each group is named for a Butler building), the six students spend that time touring the Arthur Jordan YMCA on the north side of Indianapolis. They interview staff and talk to members about their experience at the Y.

Team member Alyssa Rudner, a Client Success Manager for a software company, talks to a member-services representative and finds that one of their biggest challenges is that there isn’t a method in place to schedule exercise classes in advance.

"If I'm paying $80 a month, I want to know that if I show up to the Y, I'm going to be able to take the class that I want to take," says Rudner.

There's one recommendation for her team to share: explore a scheduling system that goes beyond physical passes.

Cagle, another member of Team Holcomb, finds it surprising that the Jordan Y sometimes turns away parents looking for preschool programs due to lack of space. He looks around the facility and sees plenty of places to add new preschool programs.

That becomes another recommendation for the team: expand preschool offerings.

"If you can do that here," he said. "You're really separating yourself from the Lifetime Fitnesses, the LA Fitnesses. I think it would be really beneficial."

Andy Starling agrees. He's the Senior Membership Director at the Y, and he thinks the perspective of these business-minded outsiders is going to help.

"I've worked at the Y for more than six years, and you get tunnel vision a little bit," he says. "We always try to be innovative, but they brought up some things I hadn't thought about.

*

The teams return to Butler around 1:00 PM. They adjourn to their respective "war rooms" and, over boxed lunches, get to work. They have about three hours to hash out their ideas and prepare both a sheet of brainstormed recommendations and a PowerPoint they'll use as part of a rigidly-timed 10-minute presentation.

They also need to prepare what they're going to say and how they're going to say it, and the deadline comes quickly.

"We were five individuals who didn't know each other 24 hours before presenting," Chancellor Collins, a Product Manager in Marketing at Roche Diagnostics and member of Team Lilly, says. "It's funny, because you quickly figure out roles and responsibilities, and strengths, and different ways to play off each other, and I think we did a great job of that in that 24-hour period."

At 4:30 PM, the teams assemble in Gallahue Hall 108, a lecture hall, where seven representatives of the Y—including retiring CEO Eric Ellsworth—are ready to listen. There's a notable buzz among the students.

"I love the energy in this room," says Mackintosh.

For the next 90 minutes, the teams take their turn presenting their findings and watching their counterparts.

If the students are nervous, they don't show it. The presentations go off remarkably well across the board. The Y comes away with a long list of useful ideas.

"I want to hire all of these people," says Ellsworth.

Hiland praises the group for their fantastic work and innovative ideas. He was impressed with how deeply the students dove into the issue in only 24 hours. In the future, he wants to put the students’ concepts into practice at local Ys.

“We're committed to implementing and trying some of these ideas—either in pilots at certain centers or potentially across the organization,” he says.

*

In the end, Team Lilly—Chancellor Collins, Danny Lawton, Davina Isaacs, James Pokryfky, and Swetha Vaddi—won Butler goodie bags and, more importantly, bragging rights. They made suggestions that included installing a kiosk, at a cost of $1,000, to allow members to give instant feedback, offering incentives for positive reviews on Google, and instituting a holistic approach to wellness.

"The judges appreciated Team Lilly’s focus on retention and their financial implications," Mackintosh says. "They thought they did the best job of telling the story of their problem-solving process and had good ideas of how to increase retention of family memberships in particular."

Collins says the team owed credit to its facilitator, Marcelle Gress, an Executive Coach at Butler. She advised them to make time to practice their presentation a couple of times. They listened, and rehearsed twice.

"If she had not held our feet to the fire to carve out 30 minutes before we had to turn in our presentation, I don't think it would have gone so smoothly," says Collins.

In the end, Team Lilly celebrated with high-fives, fist bumps, and some wine.

"This really was a good experience and exposure to what we'll be going through in the Butler MBA program in terms of looking at complex cases and having to think through ways to solve problems," Collins said. "I think that's what the Butler MBA is going to prepare us for the most—how to think differently about ways to solve real-world problems."

 

AcademicsCampusCommunity

Gateway to Success

This is MBA 505, the Gateway Experience—the first on-campus course in the program—and it is a trial by fire.

Building Balanced Bulldogs

by Jeff Stanich ’16

At Butler, fostering a student’s health and wellbeing goes way beyond the treadmill or a yoga mat.

Perhaps you’ve seen the BU | BeWell logo, which appears as a rainbow of principal pillars, across campus and online. Each of the eight components—Mind & Body, Career & Life Skills, Meaning & Purpose, Social, Environmental, Service & Community, Intellectual, and Diversity & Inclusion—are what the team behind BU | BeWell believe contribute to the complete and transformative experience that Butler University offers its students.

BU BeWell logoWhat happens outside of the classroom on a college campus is as critical as what happens inside to the future success of a student. Learning to navigate the challenges of adult life in a healthy way is fundamental to a fulfilled life after graduation. The tools and experiences critical to this essential process of “growing up” have always been available on Butler’s campus, but they have been scattered and, at times, perhaps disjointed. This year, with the launch of BU | BeWell, for the first time in the school’s history, all of the student resources available across campus have come together to make it more straightforward for students to make their time outside of the classroom as meaningful as it always has been inside of it.

“It’s a big deal,” says Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Frank E. Ross. “Leading higher education associations NASPA and NIRSA have articulated the importance of wellbeing to student success, and a proactive, campus-wide approach to supporting the whole student. That is what we are doing at Butler with BU | BeWell.”

Ross is saying that not only as a fellow bulldog, but as a national leader in student affairs with more than two decades of experience. According to him, what Butler is doing outside of the classroom will be a leading example in higher education across the country.

Take it from Katie Pfaff, a senior who has been working closely with BU | BeWell’s collaborators. Since she’s only a few months away from graduation, she recognizes how much she could have benefitted had this framework been in place since her first year.

“While I got all the pieces I needed to have a well-rounded experience, I took a much curvier path to get there than what BU | BeWell will help Butler’s students pursue,” Pfaff says. “I know I’m only a short time away from a major transitional period after graduation. BUBeWell’s model is something I can look to while trying to make sure my life stays as balanced as it’s been on campus.”

That’s the key. BU | BeWell will not only help students make their time at Butler more fulfilling, but it will also guide those individuals toward healthy and meaningful lives beyond campus.

BU | BeWell has been a campus-wide, collective effort to organize. Two of its champions—Josh Downing, Director of Recreation & Wellness, and Beth Lohman, Associate Director of Fitness & Wellness—have spent the last few years applying national best practices in order to bring BU | BeWell to life. Now in its first year of rollout, their primary objective is raising awareness of its existence so that students know where many, if not all, of their questions will be answered.

Need help putting a résumé together? BU | BeWell will tell you where to go.

Need a tutor for that major exam coming up? BU | BeWell will help you find one on campus.

In need of a faith-based circle? Wondering when the next keynote speaker is coming? Want to get more involved in student government? BU | BeWell, BU | BeWell, BU | BeWell.

And this is only the beginning. While the framework is in place and the web portal has launched, in year two, software will be rolled out so that students can create a BU | BeWell profile to track their involvement and/or progress with the eight components of the BUBeWell umbrella. Even more, annual surveys will continue to be conducted to see how exactly BU | BeWell is meeting the needs of Butler’s students while also looking for ways to improve.

“That’s why we’re all so excited about this moving forward,” Downing says. “By enhancing what Butler already does so well, the potential for how exactly BU | BeWell will help our students is limitless.”

Student LifeCampus

Building Balanced Bulldogs

BU | BeWell is a campus-wide, collective effort to enhance the student experience outside the classroom.

Building Balanced Bulldogs

by Jeff Stanich ’16
Campus

Butler Earns Bronze for Sustainability

BY Marc Allan MFA `18

PUBLISHED ON Jan 23 2019

Butler University's first campus-wide sustainability assessment has earned a bronze-level ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), which measures efforts in areas such as operations, curriculum, campus, and public engagement to make the University more environmentally friendly.

The University earned strong marks for offering courses and immersive experiences related to sustainability, and for using campus as a living laboratory. Butler also was noted for outreach campaigns, intercampus collaborations, and community partnerships.

The full report is available here.

"Our bronze ranking confirms Butler’s commitment to campus sustainability," says Julia Angstmann, Director of Butler's Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability. "And now that we have compiled this report, we have a baseline to know where we stand, which is important for the institution as we work to improve our sustainability efforts."

The AASHE rankings—which range from no ranking to platinum—are determined by information that colleges and universities self-report. In October, the University submitted a more than 200-page report delineating all of its sustainability efforts. AASHE took that information from Butler and other participating schools and gave scores in each category.

Butler was noted for offering majors and minors that incorporate sustainability concepts and courses that are sustainability-related or sustainability-focused. It also received high marks for study-abroad programs related to sustainability that are offered in Australia (Sustainability and Environmental Action), Ecuador (Comparative Ecology and Conservation), Iceland and Greenland (Climate Change in the Arctic), and Germany (Environmental Studies and Sustainability).

Under the heading of "using campus as a living laboratory," AASHE noted the number of courses that use the Campus Farm as a resource, the inventory taken of trees on campus, and the efforts made to prevent birds from crashing into windows in campus buildings.

AASHE scores also noted operations efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, reduce energy consumption and food waste, and add green buildings to campus.

In addition, Butler received innovation points for its collaboration with Ball State to create a mobile greenhouse, a composting project with IUPUI, and the completion of the Sunset Avenue Gateway project, a green infrastructure project that introduced bike lanes and enhances walkability through the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.

Angstmann said the AASHE rankings reveal that Butler is on the right track.

"There's been a lot of interest from the campus community now that we know where we stand," she says. "So this is an exciting time for sustainability at Butler."

 

Making a Career of Building Diversity

by Marc D. Allan MFA '18

In her first three years at Butler University, Valerie Davidson created the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series, GospelFest, and the annual Volunteer-Study Tour Service-Learning Experience, which lets students do volunteer work and tour a major U.S. city.

She accomplished all of this while only working  part-time at Butler.

After she became full time in 1989, Davidson helped more than triple the number of African-American students on campus and helped the Black Student Union become a significant presence among student groups.

She had a hand in developing both the Dr. John Morton-Finney Scholarship Program—named for the alumnus who earned 13 academic degrees, served as a Buffalo Soldier in the Spanish-American War, and was a practicing attorney at the time of his death at age 108—and the Multicultural Resource Center, the forerunner to the Efroymson Diversity Center, which opened in 2006 and is home to seven diversity student organizations.

She assisted in creation of the Voices of Deliverance Gospel Choir, expanded the diversity lecture series to partner with the Office of the Mayor of Indianapolis (as well as the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation and several prominent companies), and created or shepherded a long list of programs that made Butler a more welcoming environment for multicultural students.

But now, Davidson, Butler’s Director of Diversity Programs and Director of the Efroymson Diversity Center, is retiring. After 32 years at Butler, her last day is January 2.

"I didn't plan to be here 32 years," she said. "I just looked up and I'd been here 20 years, and then a few more years went by and in October of 2018 it was 32 years. Having been at the forefront of building diversity on campus, I can see how much we've progressed as an institution. And I'm proud of that. I can also see areas in which we continue to need to improve. Now it's time for somebody else to take things to the next level."

*

Davidson grew up a few miles from Butler, the daughter of a distinguished musician/music educator father (Larry Liggett, who recorded for the Chess Records label, and led the Indianapolis Public Schools Music Department) and a mother, Earline, who was his business manager and a licensed booking agent. Jazz greats Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, and Clark Terry were among the visitors to their home when she was a young girl.

She finished her undergraduate degree at IUPUI, where she studied to be a high school social studies teacher, and did her master's in student affairs administration at IU-Bloomington.

After graduation, she accepted a paid internship that turned into a full-time job with the Indiana House Democratic Caucus. She'd been there eight months when a classified ad in the Sunday Indianapolis Star caught her eye: Butler University was looking for a part-time coordinator of minority student affairs. The University wanted someone to provide support services for the minority student population and serve as advisor for the fledgling Black Student Union. All in 15-20 hours a week.

Davidson got the job—and kept her full-time gig with the legislature. She'd drive from the Statehouse downtown to Butler Monday through Friday at lunchtime and also work at night.

One of the first things she did was reach out to the minority student population, predominantly African-American students, and ask for a meeting.

"I needed to get to know them and figure out what they wanted and needed to see happen," she said. "I wanted to know what their experience had been and what I could do to support them, to create an environment in which they felt at home, in which they felt they could be successful, in which they felt valued and embraced, and see what they wanted to see happen."

One thing almost all of them wanted was a cultural center. That would take until 2006, when Lori Efroymson-Aguilera and the Efroymson Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation gave Butler $1 million to create the Efroymson Diversity Center.

In the meantime, Davidson kept building up the diversity lecture series—bringing ex-Presidents (Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush), secretaries of state (Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright) and other dignitaries to campus—and GospelFest, which grew from the Johnson Room (capacity 100) to Clowes Memorial Hall (2,100). The Volunteer-Study Tour Service-Learning Experience, which started as a one-day trip to Chicago with a small group, developed into an annual long-weekend-before-Thanksgiving trip to New Orleans.

Forty-six students took part this year.

*

What she'll miss most are the students.

"Students are like her second family," said Bobbie Gibson, who worked with Davidson from 2001–2018. "She came to work every day with a glad heart, and she always found the strength to come through for them."

Whether celebrating their achievements—like getting to sing backup for Stevie Wonder at Banker's Life Fieldhouse—or getting them through a rough patch, "Ms. Valerie," as she is known, is there.

"I've always tried to be as supportive as possible of students and their individual needs," she said, beginning to tell the story of a student who attempted suicide. After several days in the hospital, the girl was released and temporarily dismissed from the University. As the girl packed up her belongings to make the drive home, Davidson packed up her son, Jason, then in middle school, and they followed the girl back to the Chicago area to make sure she got home safely. (The story ends happily: The girl came back to Butler, graduated, and is healthy and successful.)

Davidson said her greatest achievement was helping change the culture for diverse students on campus.

"Most of the students on campus were pretty isolated and invisible when I got here," she said. "It was a polarized campus. There wasn't a lot of engagement between the various subpopulations on campus."

She helped the Black Student Union develop a strategic plan. Its numbers started to grow, and the organization developed a presence on campus. In 1992, the BSU won the Lamp of Wisdom Award for Most Outstanding Student Organization on campus for the first of eight consecutive years.

"I can remember watching the vice president of BSU walk up onstage and accept the award," Davidson said. "I had tears in my eyes. To see them go from this struggling, little, isolated organization to emerge as a leading organization on campus was one of the proudest moment that I had."

Khayleia Foy '19, President of the Black Student Union, said that even though Davidson has not officially been the organization's advisor since 2015, she "was a great support system for BSU whenever we needed her."

In addition, Foy said, Davidson's work in planning and running the pre-welcome week program Dawg Days has been invaluable because "without this program and the relationships that I have built over the years because of it, I may not still be a student at Butler."

*

When Davidson started at Butler full time in 1989, she planned to stay for five years. She'd hoped to accomplish a few things and then go back to government. But by that point, her son, Jason, was ready to go into high school, and he'd grown up around Butler, so she decided to stay.

Then he graduated from Park Tudor in 1997 and was admitted to Butler. She figured she'd stay around till after he graduated, then enter the job market. (Jason Davidson graduated in 2001 and is an instructor in the Lacy School of Business.)

Then Bobby Fong was named President in 2001, and "he came to Butler with a strong commitment to diversity." That fall, she was integral in getting Butler and the Mayor's Office to partner on presenting the diversity lecture series. Coretta Scott King was the first speaker in that partnership.

Then Butler made diversity a funding priority in its capital campaign and the diversity center, "a 20-year dream," became a reality. It also became vital to students—not only for meeting space but because of who ran it.

"The Diversity Center has been like a home for me for the past three and a half years," Foy said, "and it will not be the same without Ms. Valerie there. I will miss the support, advice, sacrifice, and genuine care that Ms. Valerie has shown for anyone (not just students) that has come through the Diversity Center over the years."

PeopleCampus

Making a Career of Building Diversity

"Having been at the forefront of building diversity on campus, I can see how much we've progressed."

Making a Career of Building Diversity

by Marc D. Allan MFA '18

Hinkle Magic in Unexpected Places

by Sally Perkins

As we celebrate 90 years of Hinkle, we asked professional storyteller and adjunct professor Sally Perkins to share a few stories from its illustrious history. Sally is the creator and performer of “Keeping Hinkle Hinkle,” a story commissioned by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and Indiana Landmarks in honor of Butler receiving the Cook Cup Award for its historically accurate restoration of Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2014.

* * *

What six-year-old wouldn’t want to see Hinkle’s center court from a bird’s eye view??

After all, from one of the 10 trusses that hold up the building, you could see so many “Hinkle Magic” moments: Bobby Plump’s famous last shot in the 1954 Milan High School championship game; the 1955/1956 Attucks High School back-to-back championship games; Butler’s buzzer beater win over Gonzaga in 2013; Butler’s upset win over Villanova in 2017.

And so many not-so-famous “Hinkle Magic” moments: when the women’s team had to fight for their fair share of court time in 1976; when a Butler cheerleader’s boyfriend proposed to her on the Bulldog on center court; when average fans and hundreds of their children got to play on the court, no questions asked, after basketball games.

So many “Hinkle Magic” moments have occurred on that legendary court. But “Hinkle Magic” moments have also occurred in other less expected spaces of the fieldhouse as well…

Up High

Tony HinkleCountless people can tell you they’ve run around that track on the second level of the fieldhouse. But not everyone can say that from that track they successfully distracted Tony Hinkle from his work.

Back in the 1920s, through the 1970s, when Tony Hinkle was the basketball coach … and the football coach … and the baseball coach … and the Athletic Director … and a teacher … he was un-distractible. After all, it takes a person of focus to manage all those roles.

But one day he got distracted.

In the 1930s, Tony Hinkle typically came to the fieldhouse on Sunday afternoons to review film from the previous day’s game. Often he brought his daughter Patty with him. She thought the fieldhouse was her private playground.

One particular Sunday when Patty was about 6-years-old, she roller skated up and down the ramps, got bored with that, then decided she wanted to see what center court looked like …  from a bird’s eye view.

So Patty went up to the track on the second level and started crawling up one of the trusses, getting herself half way to center court. That’s way up there.

Now every so often, Mr. Hinkle thought he should probably check up on his daughter Patty. So he started looking around the fieldhouse. When he couldn’t find Patty, he stepped into the arena.

Maybe he heard a sound; maybe he just moved his head the right way, but he looked up and there he saw his 6-year-old daughter, like a sloth crawling out to center court. Gulp.

Lucky for Patty, her father wasn’t, well, Bobby Knight. Mr. Hinkle knew that yelling at Patty would likely scare her to her death. So he called the fire department who raced over to the fieldhouse with a net.

But Patty thought to herself, “Eh, if I can get myself out here, I can get myself back.” So she started crawling backwards along the truss, sliding down its arc until she landed on her feet, on the track … right across from her father. Patty stared at her father’s feet.

They stood in silence for a long time.

Until finally Mr. Hinkle said, “You got guts, don’t ya, kid?”  

He never said another word. And he never told her mother. A secret “Hinkle Magic” moment Patty and her father shared for the rest of their lives.

But that wasn’t the only time something on that track distracted Tony Hinkle.

On Track

In 1946, Charlie McElfresh—a man who was tiny enough to be a horse jockey—came to the fieldhouse when Mr. Hinkle hired him to be his equipment manager. Frankly, it was a low-paying job, but Charlie knew it meant his kids could come to Butler tuition-free. So he took the job and spent the next 33 years of his life down in the bowels of the fieldhouse in the equipment cage, which isn’t so unlike a jail cell: crowded, dark, cramped … odorous.

But Charlie rather preferred life down there. He always had a 6-inch cigarette holder hanging out of his mouth as he washed and dried every football, basketball, and baseball uniform, game after game after game.

Now if you met Charlie, you might wonder if he liked the athletes. Or any humans, for that matter.

His rather crass nature was especially obvious one day in the 1970s when the men’s basketball team went to Omaha for a game against Creighton. On this rare occasion, Charlie got to travel with the team.

The coaches and Charlie stayed up a little too late on Friday night in Charlie’s room playing poker. The next morning, all the team members and coaches were gathered for breakfast in the hotel lobby as the players all stuffed themselves with scrambled eggs and bacon before the game. But Charlie was nowhere to be seen.

One of the players asked, “Where’s Charlie?”

Knowing how small Charlie McElfresh was, one of the tallest players on the team, John Dunn, joked, “Heh. Heh. Maybe he couldn’t figure out how to jump out of his bed this morning!”

They all laughed and hollered until John Dunn happened to turn around, and there he stood face-to-face (well, chest-to-face) with Charlie, who barked, “Wash your own damn clothes, Dunn.”

And John Dunn did have to wash his own clothes for the next three weeks until Charlie was ready to forgive him. Charlie was nobody’s servant down there in the equipment cage.

But Charlie McElfresh was looking out for those boys. Whenever he thought Mr. Hinkle’s practices had gone on too long or that Mr. Hinkle was being too tough on the boys, Charlie would put on a giant cowboy hat he had in his equipment cage. Then he’d hop onto an old banana seat bicycle that was hanging around in the fieldhouse. He’d ride that bicycle up the ramp to the second floor where he’d ride around and around the track, wearing that huge cowboy hat until everyone would look at him and laugh. Finally, Mr. Hinkle would say, “Alright, alright Charlie. I get it. I get it.” And practice would end.

So once again, the un-distractible Tony Hinkle was distracted by a “Hinkle Magic” moment on that track on the second floor.

Down Low

Charlie McElfreshThere are a lot of Charlie McElfresh “Hinkle Magic” moments. Most occurred away from public view, deep down in the equipment cage, in the depths of Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Back in 1976, when the United States was celebrating its bicentennial, Barry Collier was a student athlete at Butler, mourning the loss of his final basketball game his senior year. It was an away game. So when the team got back to Butler the bus pulled into the fieldhouse parking lot, and the boys were told to go turn in their uniforms.

The team members all trudged down, down, down to the equipment cage. Barry lingered behind the rest of the team. Finally, with his chin sagging to his chest, he tossed his uniform into the bin and took some melancholy steps out of the equipment cage.

Suddenly he heard a raspy voice behind him say, “Check the ice machine before ya leave.”

Barry spun around. “What? What, Charlie?”

CHECK THE ICE MACHINE BEFORE YA LEAVE,” Charlie growled.

“Uh, alright. Alright. Sure, Charlie.”

So Barry walked over and opened the refrigerator door. In the ice box sat a single item: a brown paper bag with a six-pack of Stroh’s beer.

Barry spun around to say, “thank-“ but Charlie was gone. He smiled, took out the six-pack, and went to find a fellow senior teammate to share it with.

A “Hinkle Magic” moment from Charlie McElfresh.

Four years after Barry Collier graduated, on a September Sunday in 1980, Charlie McElfresh was washing and drying football uniforms when he had a heart attack and died in that equipment cage. That cigarette holder hanging out of his mouth.

He wouldn’t have wanted to have been anyplace else.

Why? Because Hinkle Fieldhouse is filled with “Hinkle Magic.” If you look hard enough and listen to enough stories, you’ll find that magic not just on the court, but in the nooks and crannies, the bowels and cages, the tracks and bleachers … and mostly in the hearts of the people who dedicate their souls to one another in that special space we call Hinkle Fieldhouse.

PeopleCampus

Hinkle Magic in Unexpected Places

If these walls could talk…oh, the stories they would tell.

Campus

Leading with LEED

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Dec 13 2018

Butler University's commitment to environmental sustainability was rewarded when Irvington House, the new residence hall that opened this year, was awarded LEED Gold status for its conservation elements integrated into the design and construction of the facility.

This is Butler's sixth LEED project on campus and its fifth certified gold. Other LEED-certified projects are: the addition to the Pharmacy Building (gold); the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts (gold), the Hinkle Fieldhouse Administrative wing (gold), the Athletic Annex (silver), and the Fairview House residence hall (gold).

Irvington House was built in partnership with American Campus Communities, which also built Fairview House.

“I greatly appreciate our partnership with American Campus Communities in helping create another wonderful, sustainable building on campus," said Doug Morris, Associate Vice President of Facilities. "It is critical for us to continue developing sustainable buildings and spaces across campus that not only minimize the use of natural resources, but also provide healthy spaces for our students, faculty and staff to live, work and play.”

Irvington House was recognized for:

-Maximized open space. More than 60,000 square feet was designated as vegetated open space while over 32,000 square feet was designated as pedestrian-oriented sidewalks and other paving.

-Alternative transportation. The building occupants have access to two different public bus routes, reducing greenhouses gas emissions and the building’s footprint.

-Reduced water use. Low-flush, low-flow fixtures decrease potable water usage by more than 46 percent, resulting in 3.5 million gallons of water saved per year.

-Responsible material choices. Recycling collection bins have been provided in multiple locations throughout the facility so that plastic, glass, metals, paper, and corrugated cardboard can easily be recycled by residents and visitors. More than 85 percent of the construction and demolition debris generated was diverted from landfills, more than 20 percent of the total value of construction materials used consisted of recycled content, and over 45 percent of the total value of construction materials used consisted of products that were manufactured and harvested within 500 miles of Indianapolis.

-Reduced energy consumption. Efficient lighting design and use of LED fixtures result in over 50 percent savings in total lighting energy usage when compared to a baseline building. In addition, heating, ventilating, and cooling systems were selected to maximize energy savings where life-cycle cost effective.

-Improved indoor environmental quality. The building was designed so that over 90 percent of all regularly occupied areas within the building has views access to the exterior. Throughout the building, a high level of lighting and thermal system control is available to individual occupants or groups in multi-occupant spaces, which promotes occupant productivity, comfort, and well-being.

-Reduced heat island effect. A white roof was selected to avoid artificially elevating ambient temperatures, and specific hardscapes were chosen to be light in color so that they minimize their heat-island impacts on microclimates and human and wildlife habitats. 

 LEED—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. Gold is the second-highest rating, behind platinum.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
News Manager
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822  

Campus

Leading with LEED

Irvington House was built in partnership with American Campus Communities, which also built Fairview House.

Dec 13 2018 Read more

Butler Year in Review: The News of 2018

Throughout Butler’s 163-year history we have boldly made decisions and pursued priorities that have put us ahead of our time and set us apart from our peers. 2018 was no exception. From the largest incoming class size in our history to a Number One ranking by U.S. News and World Report, from significant undergrad research to innovative academic programs, Butler students, faculty, staff, and community have been recognized for their outstanding academic efforts and their pursuit of excellence. As the year draws to a close, we’ve compiled the top 10 Butler stories by local and national media.

 

Insurance 101: Butler Undergrads Write Coverage for Dogs and Pianos | The New York Times | February 9, 2108

The New York Times reports on Butler undergrads who operate an insurance company giving them real-world experience and the University coverage for important assets around campus.

 

Who’s at the Door? College Officials Delivering your Acceptance in Person (Sometimes with a Dog) | The Wall Street Journal | February 11, 2018

The Wall Street Journal shares how Butler Blue III and the University are leading the pack in innovative ways to attract students.

 

Butler University Unleashes Building Spree, Beautification | Indianapolis Business Journal | July 13, 2018

The IBJ outlines Butler’s ambitious campus transformation, including two new residence halls, the soon-to-debut Lacy School of Business building, and lots of new trees and bike lanes.

 

Athletes Can Easily Trick Popular Concussion Test, Study Finds | The Washington Post | July 31, 2018

The Washington Post reported on a Butler research study co-authored by Amy Peak, Director of Undergraduate Health Sciences, on how athletes dupe one of the nation’s most common concussion screening tests.

 

Why You Should Ignore Your Friends’ Fantasy Football Advice | The Wall Street Journal | August 20, 2018

The Wall Street Journal explored Assistant Professor of Creative Media and Entertainment Media Ryan Roger’s research on the benefits of the collective brain in decision making.

 

Planetary Party: Catch Multiple Planets Lined Up with the Moon as Summer Wanes | The Washington Post | August 22, 2018

Physics and Astronomy Professor, and Director of Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium, Brian Murphy shared his astronomical expertise with The Washington Post as multiple planets aligned for outstanding nighttime viewing late this summer.

 

Butler Named “Best of the Midwest” as Indiana Schools Feature Prominently in Annual Rankings | Indy Star | September 10, 2018

For the first time ever, Butler University was named #1 Regional University in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.

 

Georgia Voting Begins Amid Accusations of Voter Suppression | The New York Times | October 19, 2018

As the 2018 midterm elections heated up, Political Science assistant professor Greg Shufeldt spoke to The New York Times about electoral integrity and its impact on voting in Georgia.

 

Doyel: Butler’s Bulldog Mascot Gives Admission News to Kid Who Beat Cancer | Indy Star | October 22, 2018

Indy Star columnist Gregg Doyel followed along as Butler Blue III surprised Tatum Parker with news of her admission to Butler University.

 

America’s Election Grid Remains a Patchwork of Vulnerabilities | The New York Times | November 17, 2018

Post-election, Political Science assistant professor Greg Shufeldt spoke to The New York Times about his recent study on how distrust in voting laws and processes can limit turnout.

Campus

Butler Year in Review: The News of 2018

As the year draws to a close, we’ve compiled the top 10 Butler stories by local and national media.

Butler Year in Review: The Stories of 2018

On any given day, throughout campus and beyond, there are hundreds of Butler stories to be told. What we do at Butler University—and how we do it—not only make us better as a university; it, in turn, makes the world better. In March of 2018, we launched Butler Stories, a place to share news, tell tales, and engage more deeply with our community. Over the course of the year we have shared more than 100 stories about the Butler community and its impact.

From breaking news to long-form articles about important research, here’s a list, in no particular order, of our top ten news stories from 2018:

 

Butler Ranked No. 1 in the Midwest For the First Time by U.S. News & World Report

For the first time in its history, Butler University moved into a tie for the No. 1 Regional University in the Midwest, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings.

 

As Female Veteran Population Grows, So Do Their Healthcare Needs

The number of female veterans has been on the rise and is projected to continue in that direction. In her research, Assistant Professor Veronica Vernon found the best way to serve the fast-growing population of female veterans – pharmacists.

 

Butler Launches Online Master’s in Risk and Insurance

Butler University's Lacy School of Business will introduce an online Master of Science in Risk and Insurance (MSRI) program—among the first of its kind in the nation—beginning in January 2019 to help address the gap between the risk and insurance industry’s personnel needs and the limited talent pool that exists in today’s job market.

 

Kenzie Academy, Butler University Executive Education Partner to Accelerate Tech Careers

Kenzie Academy, an Indianapolis-based education and apprenticeship program that develops modern tech workers, and Butler University announced a strategic partnership to offer a new model of education to the next generation of technology professionals.

 

Outsmarting the Test: Concussions & ImPACT

According to new research from Butler University Director of Undergraduate Health Science Programs, Amy Peak, and former Butler health science student Courtney Raab, individuals are outsmarting the most popular exam to test for concussions.

 

Lacy School of Business Named Outstanding On-Campus MBA Program by Princeton Review

The Lacy School of Business has been named one of the 252 outstanding on-campus MBA programs in the Princeton Review's “Best Business Schools for 2019.”

 

Brooke Barnett Named New Dean of CCOM

Brooke Barnett, a Professor and Associate Provost at Elon University—who earned her master's and doctorate from Indiana University—will be the new Dean of Butler University's College of Communication (CCOM). Barnett will join Butler on June 1, 2019.

 

Popularity, Success Spark Second IPS/Butler Lab School

A second Lab School, born out of demand, success, and lots of work, is up and running at 54th Street. Lab School 55 welcomed around 300 students in its inaugural year.

 

Butler Professor Receives NSF Grant to Study Class of Enzymes Linked with Cancer Growth

Associate Professor of Chemistry, Jeremy Johnson, with a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, will continue his research and will integrate the work into undergraduate classroom laboratories.

 

Butler Continues Trend, Welcomes Record First-Year Class

For the second time in three years, Butler University is set to welcome its largest class ever, as 1,336 first-year students began classes on August 22. Butler has been experiencing an upward trajectory in applicants since 2009.

Campus

Butler Year in Review: The Stories of 2018

 From breaking news to long-form articles about important research, here are our top news stories from 2018.

Butler Year in Review: The People of 2018

In March of 2018, we launched Butler Stories, a place to share news, tell tales, and engage more deeply with our community. Over the course of the year we have shared more than 100 stories about the Butler community and its impact.

People are what make Butler so extraordinary. Every day, we are reminded of just how compassionate, tenacious, and curious Bulldogs can be. From a patient’s bedside to the sideline at Hinkle, some of our most notable stories of 2018 were about some of the most exceptionable members of our Butler Family.

Here are just 5 of the top profiles of the year:

 

Butler Roots Run Deep

Having spent much of his youth on the sidelines of Hinkle, Campbell Donovan’s path to playing for the men’s basketball team was a dream come true for both him and his family.

 

Perseverance and Patients

Cancer kept Trent Tipple from officially receiving his Butler degree until May 2018, nearly 27 years after he enrolled, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his dream to become a Neonatal physician.

 

Let Passion Lead You

In the spring of 1985, just days before graduating, Dave Calabro skipped his math final to announce for the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The decision paid off for the man who eventually became the official voice of the Indianapolis 500.

 

Shelvin Mack’s Homecoming

Shelvin Mack decided to leave school early to pursue his NBA dream. 7 years into his successful professional basketball career, he’s pursuing a old dream – a Butler degree.

 

Lee-gacy

Award-winning reporter and current editor for Butler’s Collegian Dana Lee ’19 has written for ESPN and hobnobbed with celebrities, but it’s impossible to tell her story without bringing up her two younger siblings, Jessica and Michael, who also happen to attend Butler.

PeopleCampus

Butler Year in Review: The People of 2018

From a patient’s bedside to the sideline at Hinkle, here are some of our most notable stories of 2018.

Giving Thanks: Student Reflections

Sam VarieIn reflecting on the pieces of my life I am thankful for, I am drawn to the relationships I have formed with members of the Butler family.   

I am thankful for friends like Alex Kassan who teaches me something every time I am with her. She challenges the way I think, pushes me to work harder and sets an example of how each of us holds a commitment to choose love over hate.

I am thankful for staff members like Caroline Huck-Watson who empowers me to be a student-leader. Her dedication to the student experience has changed my, and many others, time at Butler for the better.

I am thankful for faculty members like Dr. Levenshus who have kept me passionate about learning in the classroom. She shows me what it means to love learning and invest wholeheartedly in education.

I am thankful for administrators like Dr. Ross who puts student well-being at the forefront of his decisions. He shows me and my peers compassion in the face of hardship and guidance in the face of adversity.

What each of these people have in common is their commitment to their fellow Butler family member. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for each of them, and the community I get to be a part of.

Sam Varie
Class of 2020

 


This year I am extremely thankful for my family, for my little sister especially, and the innocence that youth can bring. I am thankful for diversity and inclusion board and my role in SGA that affords me the honor of fighting every day injustices in whatever way I am able, of creating spaces for people that didn’t previously exist, and celebrating the cultures—and the folks that inhabit those cultures—that don’t get the love they deserve. I am thankful for black women. I am thankful for my friends, the people that I work with in every capacity, and thankful for the kindness of those around me.

Alex Kassan 
Class of 2020

 


Kelly StoneThanksgiving is such a wonderful time of year and I think it is important that we do not overlook the reason for the holiday: to be grateful. This year, as I reflect on what I am grateful for, my heart is overjoyed because there are so many people and experiences that have broadened my views and changed my life for the better. I find myself mostly thinking about people when I think of what I’m thankful for. From family and friends, to people I have never met, I feel lucky that I am surrounded by amazing humans who make me a better me.

Since moving to Indy and attending Butler, I am grateful for the incredible people that have opened their arms and welcomed me on campus. I am grateful to be surrounded by a “Community of Care” and a whole campus of students and staff who love and support each other. I am grateful for the warm smiles and genuine conversations with both friends and strangers on campus. I am grateful for the people who have guided me, encouraged me, welcomed me, challenged me, and accepted me, since I arrived in August. I could not imagine myself at another school and most importantly I am so grateful to be a Bulldog!!


Kelly Stone
Class of 2022

 


IBen Martella am most thankful for the valuable time I get to spend with my family during the holidays. Me, my brother and sister are all out of state which makes it hard to see each and my parents during the school year. Luckily, I have an amazing community at Butler to help me feel at home. Even with most of my family over 1,000 miles away, I still feel welcomed and loved at Butler. I am endlessly grateful for my friends, professors and coworkers at Butler that are always there for me.

Ben Martella
Class of 2020

 

 


Jaylah DeGoutI am thankful for the people that Butler has introduced me to. Whether that was through my first-year seminar class, my Resident Assistant staff, or my engineering classes, the people I have met continue to make a positive impact on my life every single day. They constantly inspire and motivate me to become a better version of myself, and to make a positive impact on our community. Without these people in my life, I would not be the person I am today. They make Butler feel like home away from home. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jaylah DeGout
Class of 2020

 


Natalie OstoicLooking back on my four years at Butler, I am forever grateful for all of the opportunities that I have been given. Butler has introduced me to the most influential and incredible people that I have ever met. I am grateful for each person I have come into contact with at during my time here and am not looking forward to saying goodbye in the Spring. I have found friends that will last me a lifetime, faculty and staff who have allowed me the opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally, and alumni who become the best mentors I could have asked for. If you would have told me that I would be living with my first-year roommate for my third year, as a senior, I would not have believed you. This goes to show that the relationships I have built will last me not just one year, but many and many to come. I am not only grateful for the people, but the way that this University has shaped me for the future, allowing me to feel confident and excited for life after Butler.

In my final year, I know that Butler will never leave my heart, will always be my home, and will continue to impact those who walk its campus for years to come. I am grateful for the community that Butler creates and the people that have supported me during my lows and encouraged me during my highs, always allowing me to do my best. Thank you, Butler, for being a community I will forever be grateful for… and Go Dawgs!

Natalie Ostoic
Class of 2019

 

ThanksPeopleCampus

Giving Thanks: Student Reflections

  As we celebrate the holiday, six students tell us all the reasons they have to be thankful. 

CommencementCampus

Martha Hoover, Patachou founder and owner, to Deliver Winter Commencement Address

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Nov 12 2018

INDIANAPOLIS—Martha Hoover, founder and owner of Patachou Inc., a James Beard Award semifinalist (three times), and one of the 20 Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink (according to Food & Wine), will be the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and will serve as the keynote speaker at Butler University’s Winter Commencement.

Winter Commencement will take place on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM in Clowes Memorial Hall. About 135 students are expected to receive their diplomas.

“In choosing honorary degree recipients and speakers, Butler selects individuals whose lives reflect our University’s core values and whose message can positively impact our students,” President James Danko said. “Martha Hoover embodies not only the entrepreneurial spirit we encourage in our students, but the responsible leadership and civic engagement that makes a meaningful difference in our world.”

Hoover has worked to build restaurants that double as vehicles for social change. She has established financial literacy courses for her employees, as well as the Patachou Emergency Relief Fund. In 2012, she established The Patachou Foundation, which has served more than 100,000 healthy meals to at-risk and food-insecure children in the Indianapolis community to date.

Hoover founded Patachou Inc. in 1989 and opened her first restaurant, Café Patachou, in March 1989. Today, the company has six restaurant brands in 14 locations across Indianapolis.

Hoover was a founding board member of Impact 100 of Greater Indianapolis and has served on the boards of the Indiana AIDS Network, Dance Kaleidoscope, and Women’s Fund of Central Indiana.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Hoover was an attorney in the Marion County Prosecutor’s sex crimes division. She is a graduate of both IU Bloomington and the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI.

Butler’s selection of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients is a result of a nomination process, and subsequent committee review and vetting process.

 

Media contact:
Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656

CommencementCampus

Martha Hoover, Patachou founder and owner, to Deliver Winter Commencement Address

Indianapolis entrepreneur to receive Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Nov 12 2018 Read more
Campus

The Untold Story of the #ButlerBound Program

BY Kristi Lafree

PUBLISHED ON Oct 23 2018

It was so obvious.

Michael Kaltenmark remembers the exact moment the plan was hatched to begin delivering Butler University admission decisions with a 65-pound, heavy-breathing, slobbery bulldog.

“I immediately thought ‘Yes. Duh. Of course we should be doing that!’” says Kaltenmark.

It was 2014 and Kaltenmark, Director of Community and Government Relations and caretaker to official live mascots Butler Blue II and III (better known as Trip) had been traveling with bulldog in tow to different cities alongside the men’s basketball team. The duo would make stops at some of the city’s main attractions and called their treks the Big Dawgs Tour.

“We had already set this precedent of taking Trip on the road,” Kaltenmark says. “Matt Mindrum, our Vice President of Marketing at the time, suggested we should bolster those efforts and go see prospective students in each market who were waiting for their admission decision.”

Light bulb moment. The #ButlerBound program was born.

“I knew it was a great idea, and that was validated after the first few visits we made,” Kaltenmark says. “We saw each family’s reactions, and watched the ripple effect made in social media and in each community we traveled to.

“I knew we were on to something good.”

Every year since, Trip and his team have been surprising high school seniors at their homes, schools, and places of work to let them know that they’ve been admitted to Butler–in person and live on social media, with thousands of followers sharing in the moment. Now entering its fifth year, the initiative has grown rapidly and delivered surprises to hundreds of high schoolers across 17 states.

These carefully crafted visits require days of preparation, cooperation from co-conspiring admission counselors, parents, teachers, and a full gas tank to keep the Butler Blue Mobile trekking. But the efforts are worth it, as students who receive a visit from Trip are more likely to enroll at Butler than those who don’t. And the reach extends beyond just those who receive a personal surprise. The goal, Kaltenmark says, is to capture student and family reaction and then feature it on social media so prospective students miles away might be inclined to apply.

The decades-old tradition of checking the mailbox for the large envelope is slowly changing. In fact, 92 percent of high school seniors now say they prefer to receive most communications from colleges–including the “you’ve been admitted’ announcement–online. And in an ever-competitive market, where the number of college-bound high school students is declining, university admissions and marketing departments must get creative to stand out.

Enter Trip.

Five years in, the #ButlerBound program has completely changed the “I got in!” daydream for hopeful Butler applicants. That daydream now includes a knock on the door and a little bit of dog drool.

The Impact

Students who receive a personal visit from Trip are 25-30 percent likely to end up enrolling—much higher than the University’s standard 10-15 percent yield rate.

“We know a visit from the dog probably won’t take a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’,” Kaltenmark says. “But it causes families to take a closer look at Butler. We’ve had parents tell us that we went from fifth on their son’s list to first, just because of our visit.”

The visits create a reason for some lighthearted celebration–much needed during what can otherwise be an extremely stressful time, says Director of Admission DJ Menifee.

“We know how serious the college decision-making process is for families,” Menifee says. “This campaign lets them put their guard down and just enjoy the experience.”

The program is also a morale booster for the admission staff. Whitney Ramsay, Assistant Director of Admission, has helped coordinate many student visits.

“I feel like I’m a Publisher’s Clearinghouse employee,” she laughs. “I’m able to truly witness a student’s admission to Butler University, in a way that only a Butler admission counselor can. It’s so rewarding to see students who I’ve come to know through the application process receive that big surprise.”

The broader Butler community of students, alumni, and faculty and staff support the campaign each year, helping to welcome each student on social media. Kaltenmark doesn’t think the original idea caught any of them by surprise, though.

“I think Butler folks almost expected this sort of thing from us,” he says. “It’s just indicative of who we are as an institution.”

But outside of Butler?

“People were immediately captivated,” he says. “It’s a really simple concept, but the idea was fresh and innovative in higher education. We started turning heads and got the attention of a lot of people.”

The heads that turned included those at local and national media outlets. In 2017, the campaign was featured on NBC Nightly News and the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Indianapolis Star. The initiative has also won two Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awards for its innovative use of social media, a prestigious honor in the world of higher education marketing.

And remember that “ripple effect?”

Since 2014, applications to Butler have increased by nearly 70 percent, with particularly significant out-of-state growth. In the last three years alone, the University has welcomed its two largest incoming first-year classes ever.

“We leave these families in awe. They go tell five other families about their experience. Each student shares it on his or her own social media platforms and their classmates all see it,” Kaltenmark says. “Each visit is about much more than just the student we’re seeing.”

The Planning

The number one question about the program is a tough one to answer.

“People want to know how we select students for visits,” Kaltenmark says. “And there are a lot of factors at play. It’s very time-consuming.”

Geography plays a huge role in the planning process, he says. The team seeks to visit as many students as possible on any given day, to maximize resources. So. students who live near Indianapolis or in highly-populated areas with lots of other applicants have a natural advantage. Those who happen to live in a market that coincides with an away basketball game or a Big Dawgs Tour stop also have better-than-average odds.

In many ways, Kaltenmark says, some luck and a certain amount of randomness is involved.

But over the years, the level of sophistication behind-the-scenes has grown, too. Butler’s admission and marketing teams work side-by-side to make this seemingly grassroots campaign operate like a well-oiled machine. A massive amount of student data is collected and combed through, with flagging processes set up to identify prospective students who could be good candidates for a personal visit. Admission counselors know which cues to look for as they spend time reading each student’s application individually (yes, all 16,000+ of them), and inbound requests from alumni, current students, and faculty and staff are documented and shared at a rapid pace, so that the let’s-go-visit-this-student alarm can be sounded as quickly as possible.

And while the team gets to enjoy watching each visit unfold online alongside the rest of the world, their work doesn’t stop when the livestream ends. There are social media posts to draft and videos to edit and metrics to collect and report out.

And more students to visit.

“We enjoy the moment, for sure,” Kaltenmark says. “It’s personally very rewarding to play such an active role like this. But then we get back to work.”

The Hurdles

Just like all well-orchestrated events, the #ButlerBound campaign presents its own unique challenges.

“Once, we went to the wrong home,” Kaltenmark says. “We were at the neighbor’s house knocking on the door until he came out and pointed us in the right direction. Of course, that was the year we had started using Facebook Live, so thousands of people were laughing at us.”

The team has learned to troubleshoot other issues over time.

“Five years in, Trip has this drill pretty much down pat,” he says. “But we still try to keep him away from balloon bouquets. And cats.”

In 2016, the program suffered its greatest challenge to date. Trip was sidelined with an ACL injury and couldn’t make the rounds. But rather than cancel visits, the team called in for backup from Trip’s great nieces and nephews, 10-week old English bulldog puppies who shared the same lineage. Some particularly lucky students opened their doors that year to find upwards of six puppies on their front porch, sporting oversized Butler gear, overexcited personalities, and more puppy rolls than one can imagine.

The one challenge that’s remained constant throughout the years? Operating on a shoestring budget.

“We’re really frugal in this campaign. We have to be,” Kaltenmark says. “We drive ourselves or try to hitch a ride on the team charter when we’re traveling with the team. We all share one hotel room, Trip included. We have to be really creative.”

Looking Ahead

A lot has changed since year one.

“After the first round of visits, President Jim Danko asked me if we could ‘just get 30 dogs’,” says Kaltenmark, laughing.

And while the number of mascots didn’t change, the number of student visits has. In 2015, the team delivered nearly 100 surprises in multiple states, more than three times the number visited in 2014. That pace has remained steady ever since.

In 2017, a Marketing Specialist was added to the team to help with the live mascot program’s growing needs. Butler graduate Evan Krauss now handles the bulk of the planning efforts and joins Kaltenmark and Trip on the road.

Later that year, Facebook Live became a part of the equation, allowing social media followers to join in on each and every surprise.

In September 2018, the team began visiting graduate students admitted to the Lacy School of Business’s new Master of Science in Risk and Insurance program.

But with all of these enhancements, the team has made sure the bread-and-butter of the concept remains unchanged.

“We’re two guys who graduated from Butler, rolling up with a dog in an official mascot sweater to deliver exciting news in person,” Kaltenmark says. “We’re like Butler missionaries spreading the Bulldog gospel.”

Looking ahead, Kaltenmark says people can expect the annual tradition to continue. The program has become an integral component of the University’s enrollment and brand awareness strategies.

“If anything, we’re now just looking for ways to continue to evolve things and one-up ourselves,” he says. “Who knows what’s next?”

--

Media contact:
Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656

Campus

The Untold Story of the #ButlerBound Program

How a Bulldog changed the “I got in!” moment for Butler students.

Oct 23 2018 Read more

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