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For These Students, the Sweet 16 Is That Much Sweeter

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 18 2017

Butler fans around the country have been rooting for the men’s basketball team this week, but three students had an extra incentive to cheer: Now that the Bulldogs have made it to the Sweet 16, juniors Alex Tison, Claire Cox, and Kaylynn Cline will be flown to Chicago to appear on a new ESPN quiz show called Bracket Genius.

The Butler team will play Kentucky, North Carolina, and UCLA on March 26 at 5:30 PM. Bonus round episodes will air Monday, March 27 at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET. The final four teams will face off in the Bracket Genius championship episode scheduled to air on Tuesday, April 4 at 7 p.m.

The three students—and an alternate, sophomore Corrine Campbell—were chosen after winning a trivia contest and then going through a Skype audition. The producers used the audition to select students who projected personality as well as intelligence.

Bracket Genius“To stand out in the audition, I just tried to be as personable and talkative as possible,” said Tison, a junior Finance and Marketing major from Harrisburg, Illinois. “I just thought if I could leave an impression then they would be more likely to pick me. I also tried to interact a lot with the other people interviewing.”

Bracket Genius, hosted by Trey Wingo, will pit university academic teams, consisting of three undergraduate students, against one another in a bracket-style competition for the chance to have their team crowned the inaugural Bracket Genius Champion and share the prize of $100,000.
Alex Tison

The final 16 universities represented in the NCAA tournament will match up in the same head-to-head games on Bracket Genius, where the winning team advances by answering questions spanning history, geography, politics, literature, science, pop culture, the arts, and sports in a race to score as many points as possible against the clock and their opponent.

The opening round matchups are scheduled to air Wednesday, March 22, and Sunday, March 26, at 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Each half-hour episode will feature four teams vying for the chance to advance to the Bracket Genius championship episode.

Bonus round episodes will air Monday, March 27, at 6:00 PM and 6:30 PM. These half-hour episodes, Bracket Genius: Extra Credit, will give the four championship contenders a chance to win extra cash prizes of up to $25,000 per episode.

 

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Campus

For These Students, the Sweet 16 Is That Much Sweeter

Now that the Bulldogs have made it to the Sweet 16, juniors Alex Tison, Claire Cox, and Kaylynn Cline will be flown to Chicago to appear on a new ESPN quiz show called Bracket Genius.

Mar 18 2017 Read more
Campus

On to the Sweet 16! Bulldogs Beat Middle Tennessee

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 18 2017

Butler advanced to its first Sweet 16 since 2011 with a 74-65 win over Middle Tennessee State Saturday night in Milwaukee. The Bulldogs advance to play Friday in Memphis against North Carolina, which defeated Arkansas, 72-65.

The Bulldogs are now 25-8 on the season. Middle Tennessee State, the 12th seed in the South Region, finishes the season at 31-5.

NCAA TournamentThe biggest shot of the night belonged to senior Andrew Chrabascz. Butler had built a 12-point lead with 7:18 remaining in the game. MTSU then scored the next nine points to pull within three at 59-56 with 3:40 to play. On the ensuing play, coach Chris Holtmann called Chrabascz's number, getting him involved in a two-man game that resulted in a wide-open look from the left wing. The senior knocked it down to push the lead back to six.

"Really proud of our guys. We beat a really good team in Middle Tennessee," said Holtmann. "We've got so much respect for how Kermit (Davis)'s team plays and how they compete. And we saw it in film for the last, you know, 36 hours and impressed. I loved our guys. I loved the fight they showed possession after possession. And players win games. We've got really good players and they had a heck of an effort."

Middle Tennessee State would not get any closer than five the rest of the way after Chrabascz's three-pointer as Butler went 10 of 12 from the free throw line down the stretch.

The Bulldogs shot 51 percent in the contest, jumping out to an early lead by hitting six of their first seven attempts from behind the arc. That catapulted the Bulldogs to a 35-22 lead with 4:28 to play in the first half. MTSU responded with six straight points and eventually pulled within 36-31 at the half.

Butler steadily built the lead in the second half, capped by a Kelan Martin three that game Butler the 59-47 lead with 7:18 remaining.

Martin led the Bulldogs with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He and Kethan Savage each pulled down six rebounds. Chrabascz added 15 points with 13 of those coming in the second half. Freshman Kamar Baldwin had 13 points. He, Martin and Tyler Lewis each had four assists as the Bulldogs helped on 16 of their 24 made field goals.

Butler's defense, led by Baldwin, held MTSU's Giddy Potts scoreless on eight shots. He averaged 15.8 points per game entering Saturday's contest, most recently earning Conference USA Tournament MVP honors.

MTSU shot 44 percent, but only 4-of-19 from distance. JaCorey Williams led the Blue Raiders with 20 points and nine rebounds. Antwain Johnson added 19.

The Bulldogs advance to their sixth Sweet 16 (1962, 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2011) with the win. Butler is now 10-0 in the NCAA Tournament against teams seeded lower than the Bulldogs. Butler is the No. 4 seed in the South Region.

Butler never trailed in the game. Butler out-scored MTSU, 14-0, on points off turnovers.

Media contact:
John Dedman
jdedman@butler.edu
317-940-9414

Campus

On to the Sweet 16! Bulldogs Beat Middle Tennessee

Butler advanced to its first Sweet 16 since 2011 with a 74-65 win over Middle Tennessee State Saturday night in Milwaukee.

Mar 18 2017 Read more
Campus

Butler's New Fraternity Is ...

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 13 2017

Butler University has selected Beta Theta Pi as its new fraternity, with colonization of the Butler chapter to begin in fall 2017.

A location for a future chapter house will be determined, and the University will assist in selecting the site.

Beta Theta Pi“In selecting Beta Theta Pi, the Expansion Committee considered Beta's commitment to high standards and resources dedicated to chapter success,” said Becky Druetzler, Director of Greek Life. “As a fraternity, they prioritize partnerships, which was very evident during their presentation and echoed by other campuses. The addition of Beta Theta Pi will complement our existing chapters. We're excited to begin this relationship.”

Beta, which returns to Butler after more than a century away from campus, will be the University’s fifth fraternity.

“This invitation establishes a perfect partnership between two storied institutions with aligned values of intellectual growth, mutual assistance and integrity,” Beta Theta Pi Executive Director Jeff Rundle said. “With support from campus students and administrators, Fraternity staff and more than 1,800 Beta alumni living in the Indianapolis area, we are confident that Beta Theta Pi will become a valuable asset to Butler’s Greek community.”

The selection process began in January 2016 when the University contacted 25 national fraternities that had previously expressed interest in Butler's fraternity and sorority community. A committee of staff, students, alumni, and faculty reviewed eight extensive proposals and recommended three finalists.

The last time a chapter was established as a new initiative and not a recolonization was Phi Kappa Psi in 1971. Phi Delta Theta was recolonized in 2008–2009.

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Campus

Butler's New Fraternity Is ...

Butler University has selected Beta Theta Pi as its new fraternity.

Mar 13 2017 Read more
Campus

Butler Elects 26 Students to Phi Beta Kappa

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 02 2017

Twenty-six Butler University students have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the honor society that recognizes the best and brightest liberal arts and sciences undergraduates from 286 top schools across the nation.

Phi Beta KappaThe primary criterion for selection to Phi Beta Kappa is academic excellence as measured by GPA in liberal subjects (not cumulative GPA). To be eligible, students must complete at least 90 hours of coursework in liberal-arts courses by the time they graduate.

Since the Society's founding in 1776, 17 U.S. presidents, 39 U.S. Supreme Court justices, and more than 130 Nobel Laureates have been inducted as members, along with countless authors, diplomats, athletes, researchers, actors, and business leaders.

The Phi Beta Kappa class of 2017 will be officially inducted during a ceremony April 8. The new members are:

-Cutter Koehler, a Biology and Chemistry double major from Westfield, Indiana.

-Elizabeth McGlone, a Strategic Communication and Psychology double major from West Terre Haute, Indiana.

-Kimbra Shaner, a Middle/Secondary Education and History double major from Robinson, Illinois.

-Michael Pajkos, an Astronomy/Astrophysics and Physics double major from Willow Springs, Illinois.

-Tiffany Kula, a Middle/Secondary Education and History double major from Dublin, Ohio.

-Lexa Muehlbauer, a Strategic Communication and Spanish double major from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

-Lindsey Gemmill, a Middle/Secondary Education and English double major from Noblesville, Indiana.

-Emily Farrer, a Music and Psychology double major from Lexington, Kentucky.

-Jacob Applegarth, a Chemistry major from La Porte, Indiana.

-Miren Mohrenweiser, a History, English, and French triple major from Brighton, Michigan.

-Brianna Bean, a German and Communication Sciences and Disorders double major from Manchester, Missouri.

-Lucas Morgan, a Psychology major from Elkhart, Indiana.

-Madeleine Rasor, an Individualized major from Columbus, Ohio.

-James Arthur, a Spanish major from Indianapolis.

-Taylor Smith, a Chemistry and Energy Engineering double major from Crown Point, Indiana.

-Andrew Alvarez, a History/Political Science and Spanish double major from Munster, Indiana.

-Lindsay Rich, a Communication Science and Disorders and Spanish double major from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

-Kacey Shriner, a Spanish and Political Science double major from Brownsburg, Indiana.

-Stephanie Kuhlman, a Psychology major from Evansville, Indiana.

-Clayton Taylor, a Biology and Chemistry double major from Greenwood, Indiana.

-Hayley Gearheart, an English and Classical Studies double major from Hartford City, Indiana.

-Alexandra Gabor, a Psychology major from Wilmette, Illinois.

-Brandi Kordes, a Communication Science and Disorders and Psychology double major from Saint Anthony, Indiana.

-Natalie Van Ochten, a Biology major from Excelsior, Minnesota.

-Cory Wuerch, a Chemistry major from Cicero, Indiana.

-Molly Smith, an International Studies and French double major from Mahomet, Illinois.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Campus

Butler Elects 26 Students to Phi Beta Kappa

Twenty-six Butler University students have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the honor society that recognizes the best and brightest liberal arts and sciences undergraduates from 286 top schools across the nation.

Mar 02 2017 Read more
Campus

Students ‘Unpack’ Their Experiences at Lessons from Abroad Conference

BY Kailey Eaton ’17

PUBLISHED ON Feb 27 2017

Lexa Muehlbauer ’17 had a life-changing experience when she studied abroad in Spain in the fall of 2015.
Lexa Muehlbauer (far right) and friends in Spain.

The hardest part, she says, was not the difference in culture or the language barrier. It was returning to the U.S. at the end of her semester.

“I missed being around international students, planning spontaneous trips, and being immersed in a different culture,” she said.

Muehlbauer and 32 other students from surrounding colleges gathered on Butler’s campus on Saturday, February 18, to unpack, reflect, and act on their abroad experiences at Indiana’s first Lessons from Abroad Conference.

Lessons from Abroad, or LFA, is a non-profit organization that assists individuals with the re-entry process when coming back to the U.S., which can be one of the most difficult parts about studying abroad.

LFA offers regional conferences all over the country for abroad returnees. These conferences give students opportunities to continue to learn from their travel experiences.

Students at Indiana’s LFA conference on Saturday enjoyed a full schedule of activities. They watched a short film about returning to the United States and explored options to go abroad again. They also learned how to present their abroad experiences with digital storytelling and how to showcase their newly acquired skills in resumes, cover letters, and interviews.

The event also acted as a networking opportunity where students could connect with other study abroad returnees and professionals working in internationally focused jobs.

Muehlbauer said that even though she traveled abroad almost two years ago, the conference showed her how those experiences had an impact on her identity.Unpack Reflect Act

“It's always nice to be around people who have the same travel mindset as you do,” she said. “It's a very unique support system. These are new people who are excited to hear about your travel adventures and believe in your aspirations to make traveling a part of your life and career.”

Muehlbauer’s experience had such an influence on her that she decided to head back to Spain to volunteer teach for four months after graduation. The conference allowed her to reminisce about her trip and reinforced her desire to return to her host country.

Calie Florek is the Study Abroad Advisor at Butler. She serves as the primary contact for Butler students who are preparing to study abroad and was the co-chair for the LFA conference.

She said re-entry is something a lot of students don’t think about but is an important part of the study abroad process.

“Without unpacking what they learned abroad, students miss out on important lessons that study abroad teaches,” Florek said. “The Indiana LFA Conference is a wonderful opportunity for students to holistically evaluate their experiences abroad.”

Campus

Students ‘Unpack’ Their Experiences at Lessons from Abroad Conference

Butler University was the host of Indiana’s Lessons from Abroad Conference, an event that provides students with opportunities to reflect upon their study abroad experiences.

Feb 27 2017 Read more
Campus

Two Butler Students Selected to Be 500 Festival Princesses

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 27 2017

Hannah Kruger, a sophomore Psychology and Strategic Communications major from Hillsdale, Indiana, and Allie Watson, a graduate student from New Palestine, Indiana, studying to be a Physician’s Assistant, have been chosen as 500 Festival Princesses for 2017.
Hannah Kruger

The 500 Festival Princesses serve as ambassadors of the Indianapolis 500 Festival.

The 500 Festival Princess Program celebrates Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven college-aged women. Serving as a 500 Festival Princess provides young women with opportunities for leadership, networking, and professional development. The 500 Festival Princesses participate in the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program, which empowers participants to make an impact within their community and Indiana.

The 500 Festival Princess program provides each of the 33 princess a $1,000 scholarship, which was made possible by Marlyne Sexton, an Indiana philanthropist and president of The Sexton Companies, in conjunction with individual donors and the 500 Festival Foundation.
Allie Watson

The 2017 Festival Princesses represents 13 universities and 22 cities and towns across the state. Averaging a cumulative GPA of 3.7, the princesses were selected among hundreds of other applicants based on communication skills, leadership, scholarship, commitment to service, and professionalism.

Among the 33 2017 Festival Princesses, one princess will be selected as The 500 Festival Queen and will receive an additional $1,500 scholarship. The Queen will be crowned May 20 during the morning of the 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard.

More about the 500 Festival’s Princess Program and 2017 Princesses is available at 500festival.com/princessprogram.

Campus

Two Butler Students Selected to Be 500 Festival Princesses

The 500 Festival Princesses serve as ambassadors of the Indianapolis 500 Festival.

Feb 27 2017 Read more
Campus

Education Professors to Receive a WFYI Award

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 27 2017

Education professors Susan Adams and Brooke Kandel-Cisco are part of a team that will be recognized with a B.E.S.T. Award from WFYI (Channel 20) for its “exemplary work ethic and performance” and its efforts to develop a curriculum guide for the station’s documentary Attucks: The School That Opened A City.
Susan Adams

Adams and Kandel-Cisco worked in partnership with educators from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to create the curriculum guide, which exists as an online resource and can be found here. IPS students have been viewing the documentary.

Adams, in collaboration with IPS Social Studies Instructional Coach Eric Heagy, has designed and delivered several workshops for K-12 educators and principals to support the use of the curriculum guide in concert with the documentary. Students at the Butler College of Education partnership school, IPS Shortridge IB High School, have been viewing the documentary in installments. They also hosted documentarian Ted Green at a Friday Connect session on February 17 to learn
Brooke Kandel-Cisco

about his process for making documentaries.

The story of Crispus Attucks High School is a difficult part of Indianapolis’ racial segregation history. The documentary showed that even though this school was “designed to fail,” it succeeded by most measures.

Green’s documentary debuted last year.

“School segregation is a painful, shameful part of Indianapolis history, but we have a lot of confidence in students’ ability to make meaning and to identify connections between past practices and current realities in our schools,” Adams said. “We must teach students approaches to confront this history with courage and with honesty or segregation’s destructive ripples will continue to do damage in our schools and communities.”

The WFYI B.E.S.T. Awards were established in 1995 to recognize individuals who form teams to accomplish tasks and projects in a timely and efficient manner. The award honors the memory of three extraordinary WFYI volunteers: Rowena Bush (the “B” in best), Bill Ehrich (the “E”), and Don Sandstrom (the “S”) for their outstanding service and teamwork (the “T”).

This year’s awards will be presented on April 20 at WFYI.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Campus

Education Professors to Receive a WFYI Award

The story of Crispus Attucks High School is a difficult part of Indianapolis’ racial segregation history. The documentary showed that even though this school was “designed to fail,” it succeeded by most measures.

Feb 27 2017 Read more
Campus

Spring Break in Krakow? Gerstein Winner Can't Wait.

BY Hayley Ross '17

PUBLISHED ON Feb 27 2017

For Pharmacy major Isaac Warshawsky ’20, exploring the historical accuracy of popular Holocaust movies like Schindler’s List is at the top of his to-do list. Fortunately for him, he is the second annual Bruce and Lucy Gerstein Holocaust Education Travel Fund recipient, and will get to do just that during spring break.

Isaac Warshawsky“I saw this grant as a way to expand my knowledge of the Holocaust,” Warshawsky said. “Going to a concentration camp and Auschwitz after learning about it my whole life would be an emotional experience and give what I have learned a deeper meaning.”

The fund supports travel and research related to Jewish learning. The guidelines this year were simple: We will grant you $1,600 if you tell us what you can accomplish with it.

“I wanted to go to Poland,” he said.

Warshawsky plans to use the education fund to travel with a friend to Krakow, Poland, where he will be able to explore Auschwitz and Oskar Schindler’s factory, which has been turned into a museum.

Warshawsky is currently taking an independent study honors class in which he is researching the Holocaust, specifically in Krakow. He will be analyzing books, movies, and other literature to see if there are any notable inaccuracies. Going to Poland and seeing first-hand what he will be watching and reading will directly help with his research.

“I am tied to the Holocaust through my ancestors and through its effect on the world, and as a result, I want to correct any misconceptions people have due to popular belief from movies and inform those who do not know much about the Holocaust,” he said.

Warshawsky will be presenting his research to the Butler and Indianapolis communities next fall. He plans to take videos and photographs while in Poland.

“I hope to make my presentation something people can relate to,” he said.

Warshawsky is counting down the days until spring break.

“I think it is going to be an amazing experience as a whole,” he said. “It’s something I will only be able to do once in my life, and I am going to be sure to make the most of it.”

Campus

Spring Break in Krakow? Gerstein Winner Can't Wait.

Isaac Warshawsky is the second recipient of the Bruce and Lucy Gerstein Holocaust Education Travel Fund.

Feb 27 2017 Read more
Campus

Butler’s Second Annual Day of Giving Is a Great Success

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 24 2017

Butler University’s second annual Day of Giving shattered expectations, with faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends making 887 gifts totaling more than $137,000. In addition, the University was able to “unlock” more than $103,000 in challenge funding.

Day of Giving“Butler students are achieving tremendous accomplishments in the classroom, and these results show that the community is behind them 100 percent,” said Mark Brouwer, Director of Annual Giving. “‘Bulldogs Always Give Back’ is more than a catchphrase. Butler is a family, and we support one another whenever we have the chance.”

Brouwer said the University met three challenges:

-The $30,000 College Challenge. The initial pledge was to double the first $30,000 in donations, collectively, made to any College’s unrestricted fund. “We met this challenge early and actually extended it to $45,000 thanks to a donor who wishes to remain anonymous,” he said. “We met the extended amount in full, $45,000 in total.”

-The $25,000 Scholarship Challenge. Trustee Rick Cummings ’73 and his wife, Martha, pledged to match the first $25,000 in donations made to the General Scholarship Fund. In addition, thanks to a pledge from Trustee Lynne Zydowsky ’81, the University was able to unlock another $3,500.

-The $20,000 Scholarship participation challenge. Butler received more than 800 gifts, which unlocked the $20,000 in scholarship support.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Campus

Butler’s Second Annual Day of Giving Is a Great Success

Butler University’s second annual Day of Giving shattered expectations, with 887 gifts totaling more than $137,000.

Feb 24 2017 Read more
Campus

Would You Give a Kidney to a Facebook Friend? She Did.

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 23 2017

Laura Coker Blandford ’97 posted an urgent message on Facebook on August 27, 2016: Unless a kidney donor stepped forward soon, she would die a slow death.
Kidney donor Tracy Pabst got a visit from Trip.

“I want to see my son graduate high school, college,” she wrote. “I want to be a grandmother and spoil his children rotten and I truly feel like I have so much life left in me that I want to live!”

Tracy Tyndall Pabst ’98 read the note, “and it just got me.”

Pabst knew Blandford as a Delta Gamma sorority sister and Facebook friend. While “we weren’t super-duper close,” Pabst looked at Blandford and saw a daughter, a wife, a mother of an 11-year-old boy, a woman whose kidneys were failing due to complications related to Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other ailments.

Letting her die was unthinkable.

Then Blandford posted again, this time mentioning that her blood type is O-positive. Pabst thought that might be her blood type too. She gave blood and yes, she and Blandford matched.

“So that was my first sign,” Pabst said.

A few weeks later, Pabst talked to her husband, Sean. “She sat me down on the couch one Sunday evening before dinner,” he recalled. “She said, ‘Hey, I need to talk to you about something.’ It’s never good when your spouse starts a sentence that way. But she told me and I said, ‘I know you well enough that you wouldn’t verbalize this if you hadn’t already made up your mind.’ So I was in full support.”
Ty, Brayden, and Laura Blandford

Pabst talked to her father and mother, a doctor and nurse, respectively, and “they were totally on board with it.”

In September, Pabst and Blandford began the process to make sure they were a match.

On December 6, they found out they were. “I just broke out in tears,” Blandford said.

And on January 19, Blandford received Pabst’s left kidney in an operation at a hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, about an hour from her home in Louisville.

The day after, Blandford posted a video on Facebook: “Everything went well. Just want to let you know you now have a friend who has three kidneys. So I’m extra awesome now.” She’s faced some complications since, but is back home now.

And Pabst, a pharmacist, was cleared to go back to work after three weeks.

Pabst said the response to her remarkably selfless act has been overwhelming. A table in the sunroom of her Indianapolis home is covered in cards and gifts—some from people she doesn’t know who heard about what she did.
Family, friends, and even people she doesn't know showered Tracy Pabst with gifts.

No one, of course, was more grateful than the Blandford family.

“I want to give the biggest hug, thanks, and love in the world to Tracy Tyndall Pabst for her amazing gift to our family,” Blandford’s husband, TJ, posted on Facebook. “I will never be able to express my gratitude to her.”

Laura said simply: “Tracy gave me life. She gave me life back.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Campus

Would You Give a Kidney to a Facebook Friend? She Did.

Unless a kidney donor stepped forward soon, she would die a slow death.

Feb 23 2017 Read more
Campus

MFA Students Promote the Healing Power of Writing

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 20 2017

Leona, a woman beyond a certain age, likes to break out in song. Doesn’t matter where she is or who’s in the room or that it’s well after Christmas and she’s still singing “Silent Night.” She’s going to sing.

At this moment, she’s sitting in a conference room at American Village retirement community, explaining herself between song bursts to Stephanie Anderson, a student in Butler’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Every Tuesday, Anderson and three other MFA students visit Leona and others at American Village to hear their stories and get them down on paper.

Leona talks, and Anderson captures her words.
Stephanie Anderson helped Leona kill sadness with joy.

“Leona feels happiest when she is among her 10 children,” she writes. “She loves to sing a lot too, and this is a gift she shares with her children, especially since it's a God-given talent. She loves singing in a choir and sharing the community, because God knows when she is happy and sad, and he projects his goodness through her. Leona knows we have to choose happiness. Words cannot describe the joy she feels being with her family, the one at home, and the one at church.

“Sometimes she is so glad to be alive that she bursts into song, being so glad for her life and her gift. She used to teach singing and sometimes she would sing those songs to her children when they felt lonely or sad, particularly ‘Amazing Grace.’ Leona believes firmly in love and laughter and compassion, and believes harder in the power of beautiful love. She doesn't want to be evil and frowning. She wants to kill sadness with joy. She sings when she is sad and when she is happy, because the voice is the soul coming to the light."

Sometime later, Anderson reflects on what happens in these sessions.

“We’re making a difference in these people’s lives,” she says. “We’re getting to know each other. We’re making friends. We’re showing ourselves and each other that it’s a big world we live in, but in this circle there’s joy, there’s happiness, there’s laughter. This is marvelous.”

This is Writing for Wellness, a program that MFA students began two years ago to use writing for therapy, for recollection, for relief, for fun. The first classes took place at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis, where the MFA students worked with hospital staff who needed an opportunity to relax and unload.

Since then, Writing for Wellness has expanded—to Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana Women’s Prison, Hope Academy (a high school for students recovering from addiction), and Indiana Youth Group (an  organization for LGBT youth). The program is soon to add sessions for breast-cancer survivors.

The idea to bring Writing for Wellness to Butler started with Hilene Flanzbaum, the Director of the MFA program. Flanzbaum has taught creative writing on the undergraduate and graduate levels, and her husband, Geoffrey Sharpless, runs the summer creative writing camp at Butler and teaches creative writing at Park Tudor School. They often talk about the psychological benefits of that work, how the participants seem happier when they’re getting a chance to express themselves.

Flanzbaum thought that idea could be incorporated in the MFA program. And since one of the program’s missions is to provide service, Writing for Wellness seemed like a natural fit.

“It’s a discipline that’s fairly well established in other places but had no footprints at all in Indiana or Indianapolis,” Flanzbaum says. “So I saw a real opportunity for our students.”

Around the same time, Flanzbaum was recruiting a new MFA student, Bailey Merlin, who had taught in a Writing for Wellness program as an undergraduate at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.

“When we talked on the phone,” Merlin says, “I told her what I did: I bring everyone in, I have people write, they come to conclusions on their own, and it’s pretty fascinating. She’s like, ‘That’s exactly what we want.’”

That led Merlin to choose Butler for her MFA, and she led the MFA program’s first Writing for Wellness group that went to Eskenazi. There, she says, they saw staff members “writing about things they’d never expressed before and crying.” At Riley Hospital, she worked in a behavioral unit with kids suffering from eating disorders and depression.

“To see the spark of life go back into them is just amazing,” she says.

The spark works both ways.

“You would be amazed how much doing this changes you as a person,” Merlin says. “Just to see how you directly affect someone else. You don’t get that opportunity a lot.”

The MFA students who facilitate the program all seem to have that reaction. Tristan Durst has spent her Tuesday afternoons writing with a retiree named Robert, who was part of a 1950s Indianapolis-based doo-wop group called The Counts. The first week, she says, he told the same stories several times.

“Now, he’s remembering more, and more of his personality is coming out,” she says. “And this week, he was cracking jokes left, right and center. He was telling me about his brothers playing baseball and he said, ‘I won’t say that I was the best baseball player. I could, but I won’t.’ He started slipping in jokes, and I’m getting a real sense that he enjoys being there.”

Taylor Lewandowski, the MFA student who’s leading the group at the senior center, says he and the other Butler students are needed there. He tells the story of a woman he’s worked with named Martha.

“Her roommate passed away, and she saw her last breath,” Lewandowski says. “That obviously affected her. She came in three days after that and I worked with her. Afterward, she said, ‘That was really good for me. It was good for me to get out and talk to someone.’ Writing for Wellness creates this community that’s really nice. It’s really a service. We’re there to be there for them and once you realize that, it’s really nice. We’re actually doing something good.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Campus

MFA Students Promote the Healing Power of Writing

Leona, a woman beyond a certain age, likes to break out in song.

Feb 20 2017 Read more
Campus

Butler's Second Annual 'Day of Giving' Is Coming Up

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 16 2017

Butler University will hold its second annual Day of Giving on Thursday, February 23, to increase support for student scholarships and the Butler Fund.

Gifts can be made at butler.edu/dayofgiving through the “Give Now” Button on Thursday, February 23. Indiana residents can earn a 50 percent state tax credit on a gift to Butler University. Gifts up to $200 for single filers and $400 for joint filers are eligible for the tax credit.Day of Giving

Gifts can be designated for a specific fund or as a general gift.

“Whether you can afford a $500 gift or a $5 gift, every gift counts,” said Mark Brouwer, Director of Annual Giving. “All gifts will help current and future Bulldogs have the same amazing learning and living opportunities that alumni before them had.”

The University has set a goal of 800 gifts. There also are three opportunities to have contributions doubled:

-The $30,000 College Challenge. The first $30,000 in donations, collectively, made to any College’s unrestricted fund will be doubled. Support the College of Communication, College of Education, Jordan College of the Arts, Lacy School of Business, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and/or the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and your gift will be matched up to a total of $30,000.

-The $25,000 Scholarship Challenge. Trustee Rick Cummings ’73 will match the first $25,000 in donations made to the General Scholarship Fund. Gifts to the General Scholarship Fund help make a Butler education more affordable for future Bulldogs.

-The $10,000 Parent Fund Challenge. All gifts to the Parent Fund will be matched up to $10,000. Gifts to the Parent Fund provide financial resources that support our nationally recognized degree programs, experiential learning opportunities like internship placement and undergraduate research, service-oriented leadership development programs, health and wellness programming that promotes healthy lifestyle choices, and on-campus student employment opportunities.

The hashtag #BUDayofGiving will be used in University, Alumni, and college social-media accounts.

More information about the Day of Giving is available at butler.edu/dayofgiving, by email at gifts@butler.edu, or by calling the Office of Annual Giving at 317-940-9469.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

Campus

Butler's Second Annual 'Day of Giving' Is Coming Up

Whether you can afford a $500 gift or a $5 gift, every gift counts.

Feb 16 2017 Read more

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