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What’s the Role of the Student Government Association?

By Cassandra Stec ’23

Cassandra Stec is a junior at Butler studying Computer Science and Art + Design. She’s involved in many student organizations across campus, including the Student Government Association.

Butler University’s Student Government Association (SGA) represents the student body by supporting student organizations, addressing student concerns, and providing engaging programs. Similar to the United States government, SGA has legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

The legislative branch contains the Speaker of the Senate, Senate Secretary, 40 senators, and four different commissions. The Student Senate encompasses the majority of what the legislative branch does in that the Senators are in charge of taking questions, comments, concerns, and ideas from students regarding campus, and then enacting those changes. Each Senator is elected by peers in their residence hall, college, or class. Besides enacting changes, the Senate also approves new student organizations and often hosts outreach events to promote unity and bonding with the students they represent.

The executive branch is comprised of the Student Body President, Executive Vice President, Vice President of Finance, Chief of Staff, and Executive Secretary. In addition to these positions, the Board of Directors also falls under the executive branch. Director positions include the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEIB), the Director of Marketing and Communications (MarCom), the Director of Programming, and the Director of Service and Philanthropy. Each director (and the VP of Finance) works with a board of other students that helps them enact their responsibilities.

  • The Finance Board makes sure SGA is allocating money fairly and also distributing funds to student organizations through grants.
  • DEIB hosts diversity-centered events on campus that range from educational to celebratory.
  • MarCom manages SGA social media and promotional materials.
  • The Program Board handles SGA’s fun and educational events. There are several boards within Programming that are in charge of running concerts, taking students off campus, bringing groups onto campus for fun activities, making sure Homecoming runs smoothly, and ensuring that programs and funds are being used intentionally.
  • The Service and Philanthropy board oversees the three big service projects that occur at Butler each year: Butler Dance Marathon (BUDM), Butler Ambassadors for Special Olympics (BASO), and Bulldogs into the Streets (BITS).


The judicial branch includes a Chief Justice, Court Clerk, and six Associate Justices. This branch is designed to hold SGA and all its members accountable. Some of the things it oversees include making sure all legislation passed by the legislative branch is constitutional, that elections are fair and impartial, and that the constitution and bylaws of SGA reflect the organization as it changes and grows.

I, myself, have been involved in the legislative branch through the Program Board. My first year at Butler, I joined the concerts board and helped bring Jesse McCartney to campus for Exam Jam. We also took students off campus to see Luke Combs and Lizzo. After two years on the board, I am now the Director of Programming and in charge of 20 or so students who are excited to problem solve and create programming for students to enjoy (even in the middle of a pandemic). Joining SGA was one of the best decisions I have made at Butler so far. I have made so many friends, learned many skills, and helped overcome many challenges and obstacles.

If you want to join SGA, elections for board positions occur twice a year, while Senate elections occur in the fall semester. To learn more about SGA, visit our website and subscribe to our newsletter. SGA can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and there is an office dedicated to SGA in Atherton Union.

Atherton Union

What’s the Role of the Student Government Association?

One SGA member explains the organization's structure and responsibilities

Butler Massage Therapist Advocates for Mental Health Awareness

By Kamy Mitchell ’21

“We all act like the world will stop if we stop,” says Lara Pearson, Massage Therapy Services Coordinator at Butler’s Health and Recreation Complex (HRC).

Pearson sees adults working 60 hours a week, students pulling all-nighters to study before exams, and society as a whole working overtime while rarely taking a moment to pause. And she gets it, but she also knows the stress it brings. She used to get caught up in the frenzy of life, too, until she discovered the merits of regular massage therapy.

Pearson says massage is more than a luxurious spa experience, but rather an important tool within healthcare. Massages reduce muscle tension, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, reduce stress hormones, enhance athletic performance, and improve overall mental health. And yet, many people don’t know about the benefits that massage therapy has to offer.

Pearson was one of them. She had been working a high-stress job in the corporate insurance world for 13 years when, one day, she received a gift card for a massage. The experience entirely changed her view of well-being, so she enrolled in massage therapy school on the weekends in hopes of beginning a side business. After a few months, this choice led to a full career change when she joined the HRC staff at Butler in 2011.

As a massage therapist, Pearson loves working with Butler students, faculty, and staff. She hopes the availability of massage therapy services will eventually be common knowledge across campus, as it caters to a variety of needs ranging from letting go of some stress during finals week to preparing for or recovering from sports competitions. As Pearson strives to increase awareness about the health benefits of massage, she also works to end the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Her passion for mental health awareness began at an early age. As a young adult, Pearson attempted suicide and was admitted to a stress center, where she was connected with a counselor.

“It literally saved my life to know I was not alone,” she says, “to know that there was help out there, and to know all I had to do was ask someone.”

Ever since, Pearson has been advocating for mental health awareness. She believes our most important job in life is to take care of our mental health, and that care can come in many forms.

“True healthcare begins with self-care,” Pearson says. “It’s important to be aware of the link between physical and mental health. Massage therapy is just one of many tools to help you take care of your mind and body.”


Lara Pearson, BCTMB
Member of American Massage Therapy Association


Lara Pearson

Butler Massage Therapist Advocates for Mental Health Awareness

For Lara Pearson, massage is more than a luxurious spa experience. It's a key healthcare tool.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Time with Your Academic Advisors

By Hailey Radakovitz ’21

As Butler undergrads navigate through their academic programs, various opportunities and challenges are bound to arise. Luckily, Butler provides all students with an academic advisor to provide guidance along the way.

Academic advising isn't just about scheduling classes. Rather, advisors can help guide you through your academic journey, providing information and guidance about educational opportunities and working with you to plan a path toward academic and (ultimately) professional success. At Butler, academic advising is a critical piece of the teaching and learning relationship.  

For many Butler students, academic advisors serve as valuable, trusted resources. Advisors meet with students at least once each semester, but often, students and their advisors meet throughout the academic year to discuss academic developments, goals, successes, and challenges. In order to get the most out of your time with your advisor, there are a variety of ways to prepare.

Understand that they are busy but will make time for you

Butler faculty and staff members have packed schedules. Between lectures, office hours, and other responsibilities, your academic advisor might not always be available right when you want them to be. But they will do their best to assist you as soon as they can. As an advisee, it’s important to be patient and respect their time. Don’t panic if your advisor hasn't responded to you within a few hours—wait a day or two before circling back.

Be prepared for your appointment

Since advising is a collaborative relationship, it’s important to be prepared for any meeting that you secure with your advisor. To make the most of that time, make sure to always come with any relevant information and materials that your advisor might request from you. Typically, your advisor will let you know in advance how you can best prepare for a meeting, so treat those suggestions as a plan of action for the days leading up to it. That way, your meeting time can be utilized effectively, rather than being wasted by sorting through old academic records.

Know your requirements, and have a plan to achieve them

Advisors will do their best to guide you through your time at college, but you should understand that it is your responsibility to keep track of your progress within your program. Each semester, set aside some time to look through your academic requirements and check that you are on the right track and timeline. Think about your academic goals, and make sure your course schedule matches up with them. If you have questions, be ready to bring them up when you meet with your advisor.

Form a strong professional relationship

Students are typically paired with advisors who have experiences and connections in the student’s area of concentration. This means that advisors themselves (or their peers) likely have first-hand knowledge about the careers you are interested in. By making an effort to build a strong professional relationship with your advisor, you can connect with them and gain deeper insights into your future career path.

Be open to new ideas, and ask questions

Always go into meetings with your advisor with an open mind. Occasionally, they may suggest a course or academic path that you haven't considered or that doesn't necessarily seem to line up with exactly what you want to do. Before you reject those ideas, hear out your advisor and find out why they believe these experiences outside your comfort zone might be beneficial. A change in perspective can often be positive, helping you discover new interests and paths that you might not have considered in the first place.

Ultimately, your relationship with your academic advisor is based on respect, trust, and a mutual understanding of each of your responsibilities. As a student, if you go into advising meetings prepared and with an open mind, your advisor will be able to help you position yourself on a path to academic, personal, and professional success.


BONUS: Tips from an Academic Advisor

  • Get to know yourself, who you are, and what you like.
  • Meet early and often with your academic advisor.
  • Use your resources, and ask your advisor how you can get involved.
  • Educate yourself on all the academic possibilities at Butler. Ask a lot of questions.
  • Be flexible. This is crucial when building your academic schedule each semester.
  • Don't be afraid to make a four-year plan once you have chosen your academic path.
  • Have a back-up or parallel plan.
Butler University

How to Get the Most Out of Your Time with Your Academic Advisors

Academic advisors do more than help with class schedules. Check out these tips for building a strong relationship that can set you up for success.

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.


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

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


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.”


  • 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


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


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)
(215) 735-3470

Butler Esports

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

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:

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

Drew Soukup
Kent Hickey
Ari Badr
Tom Pieciak

Alec Fenne
Joe Weddle
Max Brown
Noah Zahrn (Bass)

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


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

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

COVID-19 course

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.”


Meet the Voice Behind Butler’s New Commercial

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


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


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

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


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

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.”


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Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

Ethan King in Africa

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

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


Butler Sophomore Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

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

Apr 02 2020 Read more