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Four Ways to Stay Active Near Butler University

By Katie Grieze

If you’re looking for a break from homework and want to get your blood pumping, check out one of these options for exercising on or near Butler’s campus.

 

Go for a walk or bike ride along the Central Canal Towpath

The Indianapolis Central Canal runs right through Butler’s campus, separating the west-side Farm and athletics fields from the main campus to the east. Despite its proximity to the university hustle and bustle, this path—which stretches more than five miles from 30th Street up to Broad Ripple—is quiet and calm any time of day. Nature-lovers are sure to see geese, ducks, cardinals, and maybe even a great blue heron.

 

Spend a day at Eagle Creek Park

At Eagle Creek, a 3,900-acre park near the northwest corner of Indianapolis, you’ll forget you’re just 20 minutes from the heart of a busy capital city. As one of the largest municipal parks in the nation, this destination provides hours of outdoorsy fun and wildlife sightings in exchange for just a $5 per car admission fee. Start your Saturday morning with a hike on one of the park’s six major trails, bring a blanket for a lunch-time picnic on the beach, then rent a kayak or canoe for an afternoon out on the water. If you’re looking for a more thrilling challenge—and you’re ready to splurge a bit—check out the zip-line-filled Go Ape Treetop Adventure.

 

Explore Broad Ripple on the Monon Trail

The nearby neighborhood of Broad Ripple is packed with chill coffee shops, cute cafés, casual taco joints, and trendy storefronts. Connecting them all? The popular Monon Trail. This asphalt walking, running, biking, and roller-blading path runs all the way from downtown Indy to Sheridan, but the Broad Ripple section alone makes for a great workout—albeit with the temptation of trail-side ice cream parlors.

 

Take advantage of the Health and Recreation Complex

Going to the gym is probably one of the most obvious ways to get moving. While opting for outdoor workouts is the safest option during the COVID-19 pandemic, Butler’s beautiful Health and Recreation Complex (HRC)—including cardio and strength equipment, a 0.1-mile track, a pool, and more—provides a great alternative for days when you need to escape the rain or lift some weights. For the fall semester, HRC staff members are taking extra measures to keep guests safe, reducing capacity and upping the cleaning requirements.

Student-Centered

Four Ways to Stay Active Near Butler University

Whether through an early-morning bike ride or an afternoon walk, working out makes for a great study break

Butler Esports
Student-Centered

Nerd Street Gamers Partners with Butler to Host Virtual Esports Summer Camp

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 17 2020

Nerd Street Gamers, the national network of esports facilities and events dedicated to powering competitive opportunities for gamers, and Butler University have partnered to host the University’s inaugural virtual esports summer camp, Camp Localhost, presented by Butler Esports. Starting June 29, teens ages 14-18 will have the opportunity to participate in a structured, week-long online esports camp focusing on a variety of video games, including Overwatch, Rocket League, League of Legends, and Fortnite. These boot camps will be held through Discord, where campers will be virtually overseen by a coach, who will run games, drills, and matches throughout the duration of the week.

Camp Localhost coaches will provide a structured environment for participants to learn about the fundamentals of competitive gaming, map and game strategy, team dynamics, and effective communication skills. In addition to improving their gaming abilities, campers will take away various skills throughout the sessions that they can apply to other aspects of their lives, including teamwork, communication, and the ability to stay calm under pressure. Nerd Street Gamers is providing the logistics for the clinics, including professional instructors and camp programming. Butler Esports will also provide coaches, along with communications and recruitment of players.

“Our partnerships—including our latest with Butler Esports—allow us to address the shortage of competitive frameworks for young gamers and provide a gateway to collegiate and professional leagues,” said John Fazio, Founder and CEO at Nerd Street Gamers. “Nerd Street Gamers is taking a unique approach to competitive gaming, and we’re excited to provide an opportunity for gamers who may have experienced the cancellation of many traditional summer camps this year. Our partnership with Butler allows us to engage and connect aspiring players in an online esports camp, while fostering relationships with a prominent collegiate esports league.”

Since 2017, the Butler Esports group has been competing in intercollegiate esports, including the Big East Conference. Its administration brings this experience to Camp Localhost to empower students to truly become ingrained in the games. Every session will allow campers to scrimmage, practice their skills, and then evaluate their performance with structured, individualized feedback from instructors. The camps will also include daily seminars from industry experts, professional players, and more.

“Esports and gaming continues to grow on our campus, especially after launching our first dedicated Esports and Gaming Center in our Atherton Union,” said Dr. Frank E. Ross, VP for Student Affairs at Butler. “We must continue to evolve with our students’ passions recreationally and competitively. This provides clear connectivity of our students through employment opportunities that will enhance our student experience and career aspirations, while also developing the student of tomorrow.”

Across the nation, COVID-19 has disrupted events and industries. Due to safety concerns, traditional summer camps have been postponed, creating a unique opportunity for esports to offer an alternative solution and fill the void for structured summer activities. Camp Localhost offers gamers and parents a worry-free, safe option to participate in a traditional summer camp experience, while teaching valuable life lessons virtually amid the pandemic.

“We look forward to this new camp and the partnership with Nerd Street Gamers,” said Eric Kammeyer, Director of Esports and Gaming Technology at Butler. "With so many traditional in-person camps postponed, we modified to launch our first-ever esports summer camp in virtual format to bring our program to the participant. Our Butler Esports program strives to lay a strong holistic foundation with three pillars in mind: Community, Curriculum and Competition. We believe this is another strong partnership that highlights those elements by delivering impactful learning in a new way to our current and prospective students.”

When:

  • June 29  – July 2: Fortnite
  • July 13  – July 16: Rocket League
  • July 20  – July 24: Overwatch
  • July 27  – July 31: League of Legends

Cost: $200

To register for Camp Localhost, presented by Butler Esports, visit nerdstgamers.com/butler.

 

About Nerd Street Gamers
Nerd Street Gamers is a national network of esports facilities and events dedicated to powering competitive opportunities for gamers. The company promotes greater access to the esports industry, laying a national framework for esports talent development and high-quality gaming tournaments. NSG has received backing from Five Below, Comcast, SeventySix Capital, Elevate Ventures, and angel investor George Miller. For more information, follow @nerdstgamers on Twitter or visit nerdstgamers.com.

 

About Butler University
Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,600 undergraduate and 800 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 45 states and 30 countries. More than 75 percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, and Butler students have had significant success after graduation, as demonstrated by the University’s 98 percent placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

 

Media Contact:
Brownstein Group (on behalf of Nerd Street Gamers)
nerdstreet@brownsteingroup.com
(215) 735-3470

Butler Esports
Student-Centered

Nerd Street Gamers Partners with Butler to Host Virtual Esports Summer Camp

Camp Localhost, presented by Butler Esports, will offer gamers the opportunity to learn and grow in structured esports camp

Jun 17 2020 Read more
jazz
Student-Centered

Butler Jazz Ensemble Named Winner in DownBeat Student Music Awards

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON May 19 2020

When the Butler University Jazz Ensemble was recording its entries for the DownBeat Student Music Awards last year, it was the first time David Richards had ever played in a studio. Now a rising junior in Jazz Studies, the bassist says recording sessions demand an even higher level of musicianship than some other performances—you want to really get it right.

That focus must have worked. Butler was recently named the undergraduate winner of DownBeat’s Large Ensemble category.

DownBeat is the jazz magazine,” Richards says. “To even be nominated for anything in DownBeat is a treat. So, to hear that we won was an extremely cool experience.”

Schools from all over the country submit recordings for these awards, says Matt Pivec, Director of Jazz Studies at Butler. This is the first time any Butler ensemble has won.

“We are so proud of these students, their professionalism, and their ability to work together toward a common goal,” Pivec says. “They’re receiving incredible guidance and instruction from our School of Music faculty. We had some students who really stepped up in their roles as soloists, and solos are such an important part of what we do. Outstanding individual performances really boost the collective performance.”

Richards says that team-focused attitude is a key aspect of the jazz program at Butler.

“There isn’t this constant competition between students that you sometimes see,” he explains. “It’s not about figuring out who the best musician is. At Butler, we all want to get better together.”

 

Butler Jazz Ensemble Members:

Saxophones
Zachary Weiler (Split Lead)
James Howard (Split Lead)
Xavier Robertson (Tenor 1)
Noah Holloway (Tenor 2)
Alex Sparks (Baritone)

Trumpets
Drew Soukup
Kent Hickey
Ari Badr
Tom Pieciak

Trombones
Alec Fenne
Joe Weddle
Max Brown
Noah Zahrn (Bass)

Rhythm
Ethan Veliky (Guitar)
Eric Garcia (Guitar)
Isaac Beaumont (Bass)
David Richards (Bass)
Caleb Meadows (Piano)
Ben Urschel (Drums/Vibes)
Jonathan Padgett (Drums/Vibes)

 

Photo: Butler University Jazz Ensemble with guest artist Stefon Harris

jazz
Student-Centered

Butler Jazz Ensemble Named Winner in DownBeat Student Music Awards

A team-first mindset is key to the group's success

May 19 2020 Read more
COVID-19 course
Student-Centered

Butler Offers Free Online Course About COVID-19 to Incoming Students

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON May 13 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—This summer, Butler University will offer a free online class to help incoming students learn about and reflect on the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Encouraging students to find learning opportunities despite the uncertainty of this situation, the one-credit-hour course will be taught by a team of 14 faculty members from across the University. It will address the impact that COVID-19 has had on how we perceive various disciplines, how students learn, how professionals teach, and how both individuals and organizations respond during challenging times.

“We want to show our incoming students how current Butler students, faculty, and staff have really rallied in this past semester to make the best of a very difficult situation,” says Anne Wilson, Professor of Chemistry and faculty lead for the online class. “We feel that this course will offer an opportunity for incoming students to learn more about the Butler community they are about to enter, explore the impacts of COVID-19 in an academic environment, and reflect on what they have learned about their own adaptability and resilience.”

Starting in late June and running through the rest of the summer, the course will cover topics such as basic facts about COVID-19, the process of developing a vaccine, the presentation of data related to the virus, and the use of technology in disaster management. Students will also reflect on what the switch to online learning has meant for education since the beginning of the pandemic—and how that might change schooling for years to come.

At the end of the term, each student will create a culminating project that shares their response to the course material and discussions.

“I am so grateful for our talented faculty who have taken the time to create this opportunity for incoming students to build a stronger connection with Butler,” says Kathryn Morris, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This demonstrates the wonderful initiative and innovation that is so central to our community.”

After paying the $500 enrollment deposit, incoming students can sign up for the course on their student status page. Students should enroll before June 15, 2020.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

COVID-19 course
Student-Centered

Butler Offers Free Online Course About COVID-19 to Incoming Students

The class will help students connect with the Butler community while reflecting on effects of a global crisis

May 13 2020 Read more

Meet the Voice Behind Butler’s New Commercial

By Katie Grieze

When Chinyelu Mwaafrika heard that a team at Butler University was looking for a student to be the voice of its newest television and radio advertisements, the first-year Theatre major jumped at the opportunity.

From his home in Indianapolis, he used his cell phone to record an audition for the voiceover: “As Bulldogs, we believe in the Butler Way. In doing more than our best, in putting team above self, and in unleashing our strengths for the greater good...”

The next day, he got the part.

“I’m always interested in trying new things, and I’ve never done anything like this before,” Mwaafrika says. “I also wanted to be helpful. Plus, I like Butler a lot, and I wanted to contribute in any way I could.”

For much of his childhood, Mwaafrika had planned to pursue engineering. But the desire to perform was always there, so he joined the Asante Children’s Theatre at 13 and continued to participate in plays throughout high school. Eventually, he realized theatre was what he needed to be doing full-time.

“I’m really into the potential for theatre to bring about change,” he says. “It encourages people to think and ask questions. It’s a good tool for bringing people together and exploring issues that people don’t always want to talk about.”

When Mwaafrika started looking for universities in his home state of Indiana, Butler seemed like the obvious choice.

“Butler was the only place I auditioned that I felt would be able to really push me and help me grow as an artist and as a person,” he says.

And so far, his college experience has been fantastic. He says the switch to online learning this semester hasn’t been ideal, but he appreciates the faculty who have found ways to adapt and make sure that students still get the best possible education.

“I cannot put into words how much I miss the people and the campus,” he says. “I love Butler so much.”

chinyelu
Student-Centered

Meet the Voice Behind Butler’s New Commercial

First-year theatre student Chinyelu Mwaafrika wants to help bring people together

istock
Student-Centered

Q&A: How Can You Find a Job During a Pandemic?

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON May 05 2020

Since mid-March, more than 30 million people across the United States have lost their jobs. As the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll on the economy, many organizations are also eliminating vacant positions and placing a freeze on new hires.

That can be scary for students in the Class of 2020, who are graduating into a job market with the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. But according to Sierra Mathews, a Career Advisor in Butler University’s Office of Career and Professional Success (CaPS), there are a few ways job seekers can take more control of their careers.

 

How should students approach the job search during this time?

First, have compassion for yourself. Whatever you’re feeling, whether it be anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, or panic, allow yourself to feel those emotions fully. Don’t feel like you have to put on a face of “I’ve got this all together,” because nobody does right now.

My second piece of advice is to explore. Think about where your skill set might be valuable outside the career you’ve been planning for. For instance, our arts majors have learned so much when it comes to creativity, adaptability, and collaboration. Those skills are so useful, even outside the arts realm. The same goes for our liberal arts and sciences students. There are so many applications for those critical thinking and writing skills, even if the jobs you want aren’t hiring right this second.

To determine which companies are still hiring, and therefore provide clearer resources for students, CaPS has been working closely with our network of employers. This has helped us steer job seekers more toward industries such as healthcare, pharmacy, business analytics, software development, nonprofit work, and others that have been least affected by the pandemic. 

Students can also consider options they might have never thought of before. For some, that means pursuing fields outside their majors. For others, it might mean taking a gap year to do something like the AmeriCorps VISTA program, or accepting a paid internship instead of a full-time job.

Finally, I talk to students about exploring their networks. Who do you know, and who do they know? Use tools like LinkedIn and Bulldogs Connect to find people who work in the fields you’re interested in. Ask them about how they got to where they are, or what they love about that industry. Right now, everyone is craving human interaction. Reaching out and building those relationships will pay off later. Once applications open back up, they’ll know who you are.

 

When it comes to the actual application, how can students stand out?

Networking is the most important thing you can do to stand out, but there are a few other ways to make yourself a more appealing candidate. Most of us know we’re supposed to tailor cover letters for each job, but you should really be doing the same with your résumé—especially now. Look closely at job descriptions, and pay attention to how companies describe themselves. What keywords do they use? Implement those into both your résumé and cover letter. For applicants in creative fields like marketing, communications, arts, and so on, you might even think about incorporating some of the company’s fonts and colors.

 

How can the CaPS Office help?

If you are still figuring out what you want to do, we can help with discovering careers that best match your interests and skills. During the application process, we can assist with building stronger résumés, cover letters, and LinkedIn pages. We also provide interview training.

But our office does more than just individual coaching: We also host workshops and fairs designed to help all students and alumni advance in their careers. While these events are currently held virtually, they provide great opportunities to engage directly with employers who want to work with Butler students and alumni. To view upcoming events and available jobs, check out our online portal through Handshake.

All of our services are free for Bulldogs for life. If you’re a current student who doesn’t have a résumé, we’re here for you. If you’re an alumnus who has lost your job or been furloughed, we’re here for you, too. Our office is here to help, wherever you are, every step of the way.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

istock
Student-Centered

Q&A: How Can You Find a Job During a Pandemic?

Butler career advisor Sierra Mathews offers tips for approaching the job search in the midst of economic crisis

May 05 2020 Read more
istock
Student-Centered

What Does an Online Music Class Look Like?

BY Brian Weidner

PUBLISHED ON Apr 27 2020

Over the last two months, the coronavirus pandemic has forced universities around the world to shut down campuses and rethink how classes are held. As an Assistant Professor of Music Education here at Butler University, I and my fellow faculty have faced unique challenges in moving typically hands-on experiences to an online setting, but we are making the best of this and learning to adjust.

For instance, several of our courses involve a practicum component with local K-12 schools that have also switched to distance learning. But that doesn’t mean we are eliminating this important experience for our students. Instead, we have found other ways to engage with these schools, in some cases providing even richer opportunities. Our students have been teaching small-group lessons via Zoom, helping K-12 teachers design online modules, providing feedback on submitted videos, and recording instrument demonstrations.

My Brass Techniques course also posed a challenge. Back on campus, this group met in-person at 8:00 AM. But about half my students now live in other time zones. If we held the class synchronously over Zoom, they would have to be up and playing brass instruments before their families are even awake.

So, we adapted. I’m using many of the same tools our partner K-12 teachers have been using to provide flexibility for students. We’ve experimented with Flipgrid, Acapella, and various social media platforms, reflecting on how these tools enhance Butler students’ own learning as well as how they might use these resources for their own teaching in the future.

Perhaps the biggest challenge has been recognizing that music courses are simultaneously academic and social. Many of our students are hurting from the social disconnect of this experience, and the music education faculty—along with our student National Association for Music Education (NAfME) chapter—have been working to bridge that gap.

Every day, we now have an open Zoom call at lunch time. At least one faculty member is there to chat with any students who want to join. On Fridays, our NAfME chapter hosts activity lunches. These have included cooking classes led by my children, yoga with one of our flute professors, and trivia. We have also stayed connected through social media and started biweekly “living room concerts” where anyone can share a performance or listen to others perform.

No online platform can replace being in the classroom with one another, or the opportunity for spontaneous chats in the hallway. Still, we are doing all we can to maintain the experience of being a Butler music student—even while miles from campus.

 

To stay connected during the switch to online learning, music students from Butler University's Jordan College of the Arts have been holding biweekly “living room concerts” through Zoom—providing a chance for anyone to share a performance or listen to others perform. Here's a look back at some moments from their concert on April 9, 2020.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 

istock
Student-Centered

What Does an Online Music Class Look Like?

JCA’s Brian Weidner explains how he’s meeting the challenge of holding remote music education courses

Apr 27 2020 Read more
Ethan King in Africa
Student-Centered

Butler Soccer Player Kicks in Coronavirus Aid with United 19

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 13 2020

Soccer is a passion for millions worldwide, and Butler University junior Ethan King has enhanced that global love—and the lives of thousands of children overseas—by supplying them with new soccer balls and clean drinking water.  

Through his nonprofit organization, Charity Ball, King has coordinated donations of hundreds of soccer balls to children in 50 countries. Most destinations are impoverished, including villages where children play the sport by kicking around makeshift balls of garbage wrapped in plastic and twine. Charity Ball recently expanded its reach, thanks to Level the Field, a program within the organization that supplies balls to girls’ soccer teams and clubs. Half of Charity Ball deliveries now go to girls.

Today, however, soccer fields from Indianapolis to India are mostly empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Beautiful Game” is on hold, but King is drawing on his Charity Ball contacts for his latest initiative, United 19. This program will educate African villages on the dangers of the coronavirus and how to slow its spread, especially in areas with high rates of immunocompromised individuals already suffering from HIV, dysentery, and other diseases.

Ethan King dribbles the ball.
Ethan King dribbles the ball for Butler in a 2018 match versus Marshall.

“These places don’t really have hospitals or healthcare systems to help them stay healthy,” says King, an Entrepreneurship and Innovation major and forward on the Butler Men’s Soccer team. “We’re trying to take preventative action. We’re trying to give people the resources and advocacy they need and deserve.”

In collaboration with his father Brian King’s clean water organization, Vox, King is setting up prevention programs for workers from Vox to implement in the villages. He is identifying communities he has worked with for Charity Ball as areas in need of clean water, which assists in proper handwashing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s essential for people to have clean water to wash their hands,” King says. “When the water wells are broken down, they’re having to get water from the rivers they bathe in or other sources of contaminated water. That’s not going to help them in the fight against the coronavirus.”

Stephanie Fernhaber, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, had a frontrow seat to King’s development of United 19. The program began as King’s project in Fernhaber’s Social Entrepreneurship course, which addresses social issues and problems in business development. Fernahber says United 19 can be an effective weapon against COVID-19’s spread.

“I think our students and younger people have great ideas, and we need to rely on their untapped potential,” she says. “What King has been trying to do has been a great example to incorporate into the class. I think everyone, especially nonprofits, needs to be responsive to the crisis. You have to respond and figure out how to incorporate it into your mission.”

As Head Coach for Butler Men’s Soccer, Paul Snape says King’s work on the field has improved each season. In 2019, King played 17 matches for the squad, registering an assist and 4 shots on goal. King’s work off the field impressed Snape, too. 

“Ethan seems to find that extra layer of motivation to grow,” Snape says. “He’s growing into a leader on the team. He’s becoming a leader, and Charity Ball has helped him achieve that.”

Snape grew up in soccer-crazed Liverpool, England. As a child, he only had one soccer ball, and he knew other neighborhood kids whose families couldn’t afford that luxury. Through Charity Ball, Level the Field, and now United 19, Snape is thrilled to see how King is using the sport of soccer as a channel to help children.

“He got me thinking about how soccer can be a vehicle that teaches more than kicking a ball,” the coach says. “It can educate communities and bring them together.”

 

Donate today

United 19 is accepting donations. Click here to give and to learn more about the international program.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Ethan King in Africa
Student-Centered

Butler Soccer Player Kicks in Coronavirus Aid with United 19

Ethan King, junior forward and LSB major, is raising funds to supply African villages with clean water, COVID-19 education

Apr 13 2020 Read more
Chloe
Student-Centered

Butler Sophomore Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2020

Chloe Makdad, a sophomore Mathematics major at Butler University, is among this year’s winners of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. One of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships for students in STEM fields, the honor is awarded to college sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue research careers in science, math, and engineering.

While Makdad doesn’t know yet if she will stay in academia or move to an industry-based role, she knows she wants to conduct research in the field of functional analysis.

“In that realm of mathematics, you really get to delve into some problems that are like puzzles,” she says. “While the process can be difficult, it’s really rewarding.”

While Makdad applied to several schools, she ultimately attended Butler for its welcoming math department, which she felt really emphasized student success.

“At Butler,” she says, “I’ve also been given the opportunity to study a wide range of mathematical ideas, including statistics and computer science, which has really diversified my view of what mathematics can be used for.”

The Goldwater Foundation selected 396 scholarships for the 2020 competition, choosing from a pool of 1,343 undergraduates nominated by 461 different institutions.

Receiving the Goldwater Scholarship provided a sense of affirmation for Makdad.

“I have a lot of the capabilities and the background that it takes to succeed in mathematical research,” she says. “Butler is a smaller institution, so the fact that I was selected for a national award along with students from bigger STEM schools was something that definitely gave me a confidence boost moving forward with my career.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Chloe
Student-Centered

Butler Sophomore Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Mathematics major Chloe Makdad is 12th Butler student to win the national award

Apr 02 2020 Read more
battery drained
Student-Centered

Caring for Mental Health During COVID-19

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 01 2020

In the midst of a global crisis that is very tangibly affecting everything from physical health to job security, it’s easy to neglect the invisible consequences a situation like this can have on mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Even for those who have never experienced clinical anxiety, the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic might be deeply disturbing. And that fear is multiplied among those who are prone to mental illness, especially now that several go-to coping strategies have become inaccessible.

But, according to these three Butler University experts, you can find comfort in not being alone: Everyone is experiencing this together. Plus, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy while staying inside.

 

Shana Markle
Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS)
Associate Director

How does the COVID-19 pandemic influence mental health?

I want to start by clarifying the difference between anxiety and worry. By definition, anxiety is an irrational fear. When there is a legitimate threat to our health, the feelings people experience might not be actual anxiety—you might be having a normal, legitimate response to a threat.

For some people, though, those concerns can be more irrational, leading to real anxiety. For individuals who are prone to anxiety or have other underlying mental health conditions, a situation like this would likely activate that.

Responses to crisis vary widely, but it’s not unusual for people to either maximize or minimize a situation like this. Some people are out living their lives like there’s nothing going on, while others are hunkering down and buying eight packs of toilet paper. Especially for those who are prone to anxiety, some people will try to do anything they can to fix things that are really out of their control.

There’s just a lot of ambiguity with this pandemic, and that’s something people don’t always tolerate very well. Not knowing something can be very unsettling, especially if you like to plan. With this particular situation, there’s also a lot of disappointment that things are being canceled and that you can’t do some of the things you want to do.

And then of course the social distancing, for some, is social isolating. It can lead to a sense of loneliness. But I think on the flip side, the fact that this is such a universal concern can draw people together. Almost every place you go—whether that’s going to the grocery store or walking outside—almost every person you see is going to be experiencing something similar. You can know you aren’t alone in this, which can help you feel protected.

What coping strategies do you recommend?

This might sound cliché, but I would really encourage people to get off of social media right now. There’s no benefit to exposing yourself to all those anxieties that other people have. Anxiety can be very contagious. And it’s important to stay informed, but because the news about COVID-19 is changing so rapidly, you might consider finding a reliable source and checking in with it just once a day or every couple days. I think we could all do ourselves a very big favor by limiting exposure to some of that anxiety that’s out there.

If you do find yourself in an anxiety spiral, there are a couple grounding techniques I like. For example, in the “5-4-3-2-1” technique, you look for five things you can see around you, and you say them out loud. And then you find four things that you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Going through your senses like that can bring you back to the present.

You can also look through this list of very common cognitive errors and recognize which ones you might be dealing with right now. This will help you challenge thoughts that aren’t helpful.

And you can just remember the basics of self-care. Go for a walk. Read a book. Set goals and accomplish some of those tasks you’ve been putting off. Make a list of things you’re grateful for. If you have a faith community, stay connected as much as possible. Make a playlist of songs you find encouraging.

For Butler students: The CCS phone and email lines are open. Teletherapy is now available for students currently residing in Indiana (as we are only legally able to practice in-state). However, we can provide over-the-phone consultations with both in-state and out-of-state students to help with talking through options and providing some support.

We also recommend these online resources that are available to anyone.

 

Marguerite Stanciu
Center for Faith and Vocation (CFV)
Assistant Director

How does this crisis affect spiritual and emotional well-being?

Obviously, the element of uncertainty is huge here. There is this vast unknown, and for many, that is combined with disappointment about all the things that need to be canceled or moved to a virtual space. People are also facing the need to quickly adjust in a variety of ways, including working or learning from home, which can be a strain.

How can people take care of themselves?

In general, it’s really important to start by building structure into your day. Get up at a regular time, get dressed, and observe your normal rituals. Adding that structure takes care of the three essential elements of mind, body, and spirit.

I think we also need to remember that this is a temporary situation. Although we don’t know exactly what the future holds, I encourage people to be resourceful in staying spiritually healthy. Reach out to others as you need to, and know that the faculty and staff at Butler are working very hard and thoughtfully to provide continuous support.

The CFV recently started offering Spiritual Care Conversations, which are available to faculty, staff, and students. Through this resource (which we have now moved online), you can request confidential or private conversations with CFV staff, advisors, or affiliates who can help you work through challenges, feelings, or questions. These conversations are open to people of various faith traditions, as well as those who are nonreligious.

We at the CFV are also working to create new content that we hope will be supportive and informative for the Butler community. We are sending out writing prompts, meditation videos, and information on how to practice mindfulness in your everyday life. You can find these resources by following us on social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), or by signing up for our e-newsletter. Just reach out to us at cfv@butler.edu.

 

Brian Day
Assistant Professor of Psychology

What are the psychological impacts of this situation?

This crisis is consuming all the news we see. When people talk to their friends and families, they are all talking about the same thing. There’s this feeling of all-consumption, like COVID-19 is the only thing happening. It seems to be taking over everything and creating a new normal. It’s hard to think about anything else.

I’m not a clinical expert, but I know that for individuals who are prone to paranoia, this can really contribute to that. Maybe that means constant thoughts of “I need to wash my hands again” or, in states with lockdowns, “What will happen to me if I go outside?” At the grocery store, people might worry that every person they see is infected with the virus.

And even for those we would consider to be completely mentally healthy, a crisis like this can cause feelings of doubt or concern that might be unfamiliar for people who have never been scared to go to the grocery store. Fear isn’t something a lot of us deal with on a daily basis, so people are needing to learn to cope with it in new ways.

The biggest factor I’ve been hearing and reading about is the removal of social connections. Some psychologists have been advocating for a change in terminology from “social distancing” to “physical distancing.” They’re advocating for a focus on how we can still communicate, whether that’s through Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or a phone call. I can get behind that relabeling: I want to remind people that we do still have opportunities to seek social contact with those who are important to us.

What other strategies can help people stay mentally healthy?

Make the best of every situation. I’ve been thinking about how I don’t want to be stuck in my basement all day long. I don’t want to be teaching online. There’s a lot of “I don’t want tos.” But this is what we’ve been presented with, so it’s time to buckle up and make do.

Another thing I’ve been focused on is that my schedule has changed drastically, which is the case for most people. But this actually provides an opportunity to change your behavior in a desired way. Now is a great time to build positive habits. With a little bit of mindfulness and determination, even in the face of changes you can’t control, you can introduce the change you want.

I usually take care of my mental health by going to the gym and hanging out with friends. Of course, now, neither of those are options. But you can look for other solutions. Maybe you can’t go to the gym, but you can stay home and do yoga, pilates, pushups, or situps. Staying active is so important to feeling good.

The other thing I’ve been advocating for is making some sort of routine. I’ve found that regimenting my time—scheduling when I’ll be working and when I’ll be taking breaks—has helped me get things done and enjoy my days at home.

You can also work on that list of all the things you’ve been meaning to do, whether that’s reading a book or calling a friend from high school. Make time to watch that 15-minute TED Talk you’ve had bookmarked for a while.

And remember that humans get used to things. After a few weeks, we will be used to this. It just takes a little bit of time, so hang in there.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

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Student-Centered

Caring for Mental Health During COVID-19

Three Butler experts explain the pandemic’s psychological impacts and offer advice for staying well

Apr 01 2020 Read more
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Student-Centered

Student Voice Shapes Sexual Misconduct Prevention at Butler

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 27 2020

On a college campus, students are the ones who know better than anyone else what’s going on in their world. Whether that means having heard the buzz about the latest hit TV show or holding a deep understanding of the everyday challenges young people face, students can often relate to other students better than most staff and faculty ever will.

So, when it comes to preventing sexual misconduct, it’s essential to listen to what those students have to say.

At Butler University, campus leaders are inviting students to join conversations about this issue at monthly meetings of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Taskforce. The group has been around for years, including a few student members who were directly invited based on previous involvement in prevention programming. But when leaders opened student membership up to a general application process last spring, the group gained a brand new life and momentum. The taskforce received 62 applications from students across the University, accepting about 10 student members plus representatives from key organizations such as the Student Government Association (SGA) and PAVE (Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment). Now, applications are open for the 2020–2021 academic year.

“The meetings this semester have had so many students present,” says Jules Arthur-Grable, Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Specialist. “I think that really indicates how important these issues are to them, how much they care, and how much they want to make a difference.”

Co-chaired by Arthur-Grable and Title IX Coordinator Maria Kanger, the taskforce works to unite prevention efforts already happening across the University, as well as to develop and promote new education programs that meet the needs of Butler students. Welcoming more student members who represent a broader range of the campus community has helped Arthur-Grable and Kanger learn more about what those needs are, which kinds of events might resonate best with students, and how to effectively spread the word about those events and other programming.

“Our students really care about this, even if they aren’t directly involved in student organizations or other groups that are focused on this all the time,” Kanger says. “They really do want to make a difference, and they feel like they can.”

This academic year, that student voice has led to the creation of a lot more programming based on pop culture and the things students see every day across all kinds of media. During welcome week, peer-facilitated workshops under the name “Sexy, Can I?” covered the basics of consent. In October, the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention (SARP) Office recognized National Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a discussion about the role social media can play in promoting unhealthy relationship behaviors. Another program analyzed the Netflix show You to talk about how students can recognize stalking, and a “bad date dinner” right before Valentine’s Day invited guests to think through specific situations and how they would respond.

“I’ve seen students on the taskforce take ownership of these programs and really get excited about them,” Kanger says. “They feel connected to this. The work of prevention is the work of the entire campus community.”

One recent TV-inspired event used episodes of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, pointing out examples of the contestants’ unhealthy behaviors—things like gaslighting, manipulation, isolation, or sabotage.

“We talked about the role this popular show has in how people perceive relationships in real life, and how it normalizes unhealthy behavior,” Arthur-Grable explains. “Afterward, some of the attendees asked for a list of healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors to take with them, so they could use it to continue the conversation while watching the show with their friends.”

As a student member of the taskforce, junior Ben Traverso feels like his input has been truly valued during program planning over the last few semesters. He says student involvement on the taskforce helps other students feel more comfortable asking for the help they need.

“We are there to say, ‘this is how students feel, this is why, and here’s what we can do to try to change that,’” says the Political Science and History major. “We are there to help build a bridge between the SARP Office, the Title IX Coordinator, and the student body.”

Junior Health Science major Lauren Lippert agrees, saying the taskforce is meant to be a central place for the Butler community to gather together, share ideas, and stay informed about the resources available on campus.

“I think it’s really important for students to be a part of that,” she says, “especially for the other students who feel more comfortable seeking help from someone their age—someone who could maybe relate a little more on their level.”

Kanger says that, while changing culture in ways that prevent sexual misconduct is a years-long project, providing a safe space where people can seek help is a vital first step.

“At the end of the day,” she says, “the goal for all our prevention efforts is to create a culture where consent is sought and received for every sexual activity, healthy relationships are the norm, and where everyone steps up and says something if they see something isn’t right.”

 

If you are a Butler student interested in joining the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Taskforce, you can apply here by April 13. Contact Jules Arthur-Grable (jearthur@butler.edu) or Maria Kanger (mkanger@butler.edu) with any questions.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

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Student-Centered

Student Voice Shapes Sexual Misconduct Prevention at Butler

Student members of this taskforce have transformed how University leaders approach prevention programming

Mar 27 2020 Read more
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Student-Centered

Butler Faculty Put Students First in Switch to Online Learning

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 19 2020

While the suspension of on-campus classes in response to COVID-19 has been a letdown for students and educators across the nation, Butler University faculty are working hard to create new learning opportunities in the midst of crisis.

“It is deeply disappointing for many, if not all, members of our campus community that we will not learn and work together in person in the coming weeks,” wrote Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathryn Morris in a recent message to students, leading up to today’s launch of online learning. “Yet, by and large, people in our community are coming together virtually to make the best out of a truly challenging situation—with YOU, our students, at the heart of our efforts. Faculty have just spent three intensive days preparing for this transition. They are working harder than ever to provide you with the same high-quality educational experience you are accustomed to at Butler.”

For Abbey Levenshus, an Associate Professor of Strategic Communication, that means drawing on the current crisis to provide an up-close and personal case study for her students who are studying issues management.

Even before COVID-19 began to affect all of us in some way, Levenshus was using the outbreak as an example for how issues evolve over time. At first, the class looked at this as an early or “emergent” situation. Over the last several weeks, students watched as the issue progressed to “current,” and then “dominant,” and, now, “crisis.”

Even in emails to students regarding the logistics of switching to online learning, Levenshus has offered mini-lessons on how the pandemic is a living model of the concepts they have been learning all semester.

“But then I also remind them that this issue, too, will pass,” Levenshus says. “Eventually, this will be dormant. Right now, it’s very real, it’s very present, and it’s having a serious disruptive impact on our lives. But we’re going to be okay—we will figure this out.”

 

 

Levenshus records her first video message for students in the transition to online learning. She explains how she's adapting to this new normal, and she shares a tour of her new "office" in the basement of her home.

 

To move class content online over the last week, Levenshus started by inviting students to join the process. An email survey gathered data about the students’ living and learning situations: What technology can they access? Do they have textbooks? Have they ever taken an online class? She used the answers to those questions while deciding how to move forward with the semester.

“That really helped me because I felt like we were doing it as a team, even though we’re separated right now,” she says.

And Levenshus says it’s that separation—not the workload of moving online—that’s the hardest part.

“You know, you love these students,” she says. “I think one of the strengths of Butler is that you have these smaller classes where you really get to know one another. There is a deep sense of loss in terms of that classroom community. But part of my job is helping students gain perspective: If we can grieve our own losses while also looking for opportunities to be thankful, I think we will get through this even stronger together.”

Shelly Furuness, an Associate Professor of Education, is also grieving the loss of face-to-face interaction. Still, especially for the Butler seniors currently serving as student-teachers in K-12 schools, Furuness says students are gaining valuable experience in adapting through disruption.

“This is not about perfection,” she explains. “It’s about modeling how to teach in the face of the unexpected.”

For example, Butler students will continue supporting teachers at a Zionsville middle school with the design and creation of e-learning content. Furuness says the digital space can actually give educators more time to experiment with presenting the same material in a variety of ways, making the experience more accessible to students of all learning styles—something teachers don’t normally have the opportunity to do with face-to-face lessons.

“It is absolutely a challenge, because this is a personal disruption, too,” Furuness says. “But I think this gives us a good opportunity to show that the platform is less important than having a high-quality, flexible instructor. Even as we are modeling how to handle a crisis, we have the resources we need to help Butler students meet the same learning objectives we set back in January.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Levenshus home office
Student-Centered

Butler Faculty Put Students First in Switch to Online Learning

Coronavirus pandemic forces cancellation of in-person classes, but professors make the best of a difficult situation

Mar 19 2020 Read more

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