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AcademicsStudent Life

Butler's Undergraduate Research Conference Turns 30

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 03 2018

After footing the bill to send two students to present papers at an undergraduate research conference in the south, Butler Biology Professor Jim Berry decided that the university needed to host its own event.

He founded the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) in 1989 "to encourage undergraduate students to become involved in research," he wrote in the program. "We believe that the best way to teach science is by actually doing science. Only through the actual process of asking questions and solving problems can one become experienced in the methods of science."

Today, Berry's creation is stronger than ever: On April 13, from 8:00 AM to 4:15 PM, Butler will welcome 896 participants from 23 states to present their work at the 30th annual URC.

Berry, now Professor Emeritus, will be recognized at the luncheon, and Major Matthew Riley '01 will deliver the keynote address. Riley is Department Chief at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, the Department of Defense’s lead laboratory for medical biological defense research. 

In its first year, the URC that Berry created included 171 participants in five disciplines—Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, and Social Science—all of whom were from Indiana. The next year, Music Professor Jim Briscoe ushered in Music and Arts.

This year's conference will feature presentations in 25 disciplines. Topics this year will be as varied as "Manufacturing: An Uncertain Future," "Beyond Godzilla: Reflections of National Identity in Japanese Horror Films," and "Can You Outsmart the ImPACT Test? A Study of Sandbagging on Baseline Concussion Assessments."

"Because of Jim Berry's hard work—and the hard work of other folks—we're now one of the largest undergraduate research conferences in the nation," said Dacia Charlesworth, Butler's Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships.

Under Charlesworth's guidance, the URC has added research roundtables that allow students just embarking on their research projects to share their plans with experienced professionals and receive feedback and a competitive-paper division. This year, 28 students submitted competitive papers.

The Butler Collegian interviewed Berry about the URC in 1995. He described the conference then as "a district version of the big national conferences you always hear about. We’ve just brought it closer to home so that more students can take part.”

Charlesworth said that with 79 colleges and universities participating, the conference has expanded beyond what anyone expected.

"I'm happy we're continuing Jim’s mission," she said. "At the heart of it, we're still fulfilling his original intention: Helping students understand research by conducting research."

 

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

AcademicsStudent Life

Butler's Undergraduate Research Conference Turns 30

The URC has grown from 171 participants in 1989 to nearly 900 this year.

Apr 03 2018 Read more

SGA: Committed to Your Campus Experience

By Malachi White '20

Were you apart of your high school’s student government? Did you help plan dances, prom, student events or fundraisers? Have you ever wanted to be apart of something that was super cool and fulfilling? I ask these questions because that was me when I was in high school. Although I am not as active in student government as I used to be, I still reap many of the benefits of those involved in Student Government Association on Butler’s campus.

Butler University’s SGA is committed to improving your campus experience. They represent the student body and support over 150 student organizations on campus while addressing student concerns and providing engaging programming with the Butler community. SGA connects the students to the administration; building strong relationships with the faculty and staff addressing student concerns. Some of SGA’s functions include providing a free weekend shuttle service for students, offering grants for represented student organizations, and hosting exciting student events, like diversity programming, concerts, and philanthropy fundraisers.

Taylor Leslie is a senior international business major and a SGA Diversity and Inclusion Board member. She is a major advocate for the push to bring notable and different speakers to campus. “My experience with SGA has been great. I’ve been a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Board since my sophomore year,” Taylor said. “My roles within SGA have given me the opportunity from a student position to help make changes in the way that diversity and inclusion is perceived on campus.”

Another student involved in SGA is Chris Sanders. He is a junior psychology major, a co-chair for SGA’s Concerts Committee and a student assistant for the Office of Health and Education. His experiences have made working within SGA some of his best memories while on campus. “I didn’t know what I was really getting into when I joined, but if someone would have told me that my Butler experience would including meeting famous artists such as T-Pain, Kesha, and DNCE, I would not have believed them, but this is exactly what happened.” Chris said.

SGA can open several doors for students. Once apart of SGA team, new benefits and opportunities open up for everyone on campus in the Butler community.

“Other students should consider joining SGA because it gives you an opportunity to be a leader on this campus,” Taylor said. “You get a chance to influence and be apart of the change that is happening on campus. You’ll also make connections with many students and find a team of leaders that have similar passions as yourself.”

Not only is being apart of SGA an awesome opportunity, but it is an important part of campus life on campus. “I think SGA is very important to have on campus.” Chris said.“Without SGA, we wouldn’t be able to have great events such as BUDM, Butlerpalooza, or Spring Sports as all of these are all planned by different SGA committees. SGA pays a critical role in facilitating important relationships between all members of the Butler community.”

SGA Office
Student LifeCampus

SGA: Committed to Your Campus Experience

Were you apart of your high school’s student government? Did you help plan dances, prom, student events or fundraisers?

Breaking News: Student Journalists Pursue their Passion

By Morgan Skeries '20

StudioWhether you want to become a journalist, broadcaster, or simply have a knack for writing, Butler University provides opportunities to let you pursue your passion and helps you build the skills you’ll need for real professional experience after graduation. From the student-run newspaper, The Butler Collegian, to class-run broadcast shows such as “Press Pass” and “The Bark,” students are able to publish their own work and gain real-life experience before they enter the field.

First-year Bridget Early is a voice performance and political science major, but has always had a passion for writing. Between balancing her recitals and writing on the culture section for The Butler Collegian, she said the experiences and connections she has made has been worth it.

“I think it’s been a great way to interact with a bunch of different people on campus,” Bridget said. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know people in different organizations and the people in my section. It’s been a great environment.”

According to Bridget, writing for the school’s newspaper really helped her strengthen her writing and interviewing skills. Moreover, she was able to make more friendships outside of her major. Sophomore Jackson Borman also said working for The Butler Collegian, along with his internship at The Butler Newsroom, has helped him with time management. Jackson learned how to balance between his classes, his internship, and writing for The Collegian, while still enjoying his social life and doing other activities he loves.

Jackson, a strategic communications major, loves both of his positions and said the experiences he’s had are very positive. “There is something about doing the research and completing an article and having a polished finished product that I really enjoy,” Jackson said. “Also, researching for different stories allows me to learn a ton about the Butler community and about things or people that I never knew about before.”

Furthermore, broadcasting opportunities such as the ones sophomore Savannah Boettcher has pursued, allow her to do a story on whatever she wants and let her bring her own ideas to the table. If Savannah isn’t anchoring, she can be found interviewing or reporting. She even had the opportunity to interview Butler Basketball’s head coach LaVall Jordan.Studio

“Working for both ‘Press Play’ and ‘The Bark’ have helped me so much by giving me practical experience,” Boettcher said. “It helps me to work on facial expressions, hand gestures, and stuff that is minor now, but could be major one day.”

Any student who has the passion for writing, being on camera, or even just wants to experience what it’s like to work for a student-run news source has a multitude of platforms readily available to them right on Butler’s campus. Not only is the work fun, the "real-world" preparation ensures students gain not only the experience but the personal confidence it takes to be successful after graduation.

The Collegian
Student Life

Breaking News: Student Journalists Pursue their Passion

Whether you want to become a journalist, broadcaster, or simply have a knack for writing, Butler University provides opportunities to let you pursue your passion.

#FTK: Butler University Dance Marathon

By Malachi White '20

BUDM#FTK, For The Kids, is a popular hashtag that is often taken out of context and used in a jokingly ironic way. However, at Butler #FTK is taken very seriously. We do care about the people we are serving in our community. One of the ways we show this is by hosting our annual Butler University Dance Marathon.

Dance Marathon is a multi-hour, multi-faceted event that blends dancing, games, crafts, food, and fun into one philanthropic experience. Students are on their feet the entire duration of the marathon as they stand for the kids at Riley. Funds for Dance Marathons are raised in a variety of ways. The main way funds are raised for Dance Marathons is through personal donations from friends, family, and the community either online or offline.

My friend Phil Faso, a sophomore at Butler, says he thoroughly enjoyed participating for his first time this year. “It personally impacted my life because I’ve done similar things before but not to such a great extent and it was very heartwarming.” Phil said. “It’s for an amazing cause and everyone should be aware of what we can do to help other people in need.”

Butler University Dance Marathon, or BUDM, is sponsored by Butler’s SGA. Their mission statement is “to engage the students of Butler University in striving to improve the quality of life for the children and families of Riley Hospital for Children.” This student-led organization works throughout the school year and summer to raise money to support cancer research performed at the hospital. Our money also helps the hospital continue its tradition of treating all patients, regardless of financial concerns.

Holding this organization close to her heart and platform, Annie Foster is a junior chemistry and Spanish double major, and has worked with BUDM since her first year on campus. “As soon as I joined, I knew this organization was about something bigger than I could ever imagine,” Annie said. “Supporting this organization means joining a movement to give hope back to the kids.” She started as a morale committee member during her first year. Her sophomore and junior years she worked on the executive board as Director of Fundraising. She will close her time at Butler as the Vice President of Finance. All students have the opportunity to be on the executive board by attending call out meetings, being actively annually, and showing commitment to the cause.

“From the start I knew I wanted to join the executive board and make a difference in this organization. BUDM has given my college experience meaning,” Annie said. “Being on a college campus comes with feeling of being in a bubble, secluded from the world around you. Getting involved in BUDM brings you out of that bubble and into the real world. It provides a new perspective, it teaches you about the power of hope, and it allows you to become apart of something larger than yourself.”BUDM

Inspired by the ability to make a change, Taylor Murray is a senior pharmacy major and served on the executive board of BUDM this past year. He realized that his impact on a family in need superseded monetary support for the cause. “I saw the joy and hope, especially, that support and simply dancing can bring to a child, or families face regardless of the amount of money raised that year,” Taylor said. “That was something that truly made me want to continue my involvement with the organization and the cause as a whole.”

As co-director of the morale committee Taylor says that “this committee meshed my love for dancing, with that of wanting to bring happiness and energy to those who may need it most.”

“Prospective students may not have had a Dance Marathon at their high school, and/or did not even know it was happening/what it is when they step foot onto Butler’s Campus,” Taylor said.  “From the outside, it may look like another organization at block party, but once you step out and begin to talk to those who have experienced it or been involved, one can realize it is more than an organization, it is a family.”

This year BUDM raised $301,576 for Riley Children’s Hospital and Butler celebrates being the second largest fundraising school in undergraduate schools with less than 12,000 students. Taylor tells his story and experience with BUDM by sharing how he has grown since his first year at Butler. He hopes that after he graduates he will be able to come back to people who have found their passions and act upon them to make their own Butler experiences special.

“From my experiences with BUDM, I have come to realize that I can be a leader, but a leader that doesn’t necessarily have to be the loudest or most successful in the room, but a leader who can lead by example and as one with the others,” Taylor said. “My advice to prospective students is if you do not know what you what in life, finding and driving toward your passion(s) will open up new avenues and opportunities you never would have thought existed.”

BUDM
Student LifeCampusCommunity

#FTK: Butler University Dance Marathon

#FTK, For The Kids, is a popular hashtag that is often taken out of context and used in a jokingly ironic way. However, at Butler #FTK is taken very seriously. 

California Girl to Butler Bulldog

By Morgan Skeries '20

When I tell people I'm from California, their response is usually the same. "Wow, why would you ever want to come here?" It is a valid question. Out of all the schools I applied to and visited, why Butler University? Before I answer that, let me walk you through my college application process.
 

Morgan at BeachI knew I wanted to go away for college because I wanted the ability to live on my own away from home. I was looking at schools all over the Midwest and East coast, and I knew I wanted to attend a small, liberal arts school. I was extremely interested in having small class sizes that would emphasize my learning and for my professors to know me on a first-name basis. It was important for me to have these connections with my classmates and my professors, so I would always have help if I needed it.

My college counselor at the time was helping me apply to schools that she thought would be a great fit for me, academically and socially. After doing some research, I found that Butler checked off many boxes on my list, including an impressive school for communication degrees, as I knew I wanted to study journalism. I sent in my application not thinking much of it. In the fall, I received a letter saying I was accepted to Butler University.

As soon as I stepped onto campus, something clicked. My college counselor was right, Butler did have everything I was looking for. Butler had a beautiful campus, small class sizes, and a college-town feel with a city only 15 minutes away. I remember thinking to myself, "I could really picture myself going here."


Although the weather was something I had to get used to, I am making amazing friends, and my professors are genuinely interested in my academic success. I am a member of a sorority and on the Student Government Association. As a journalism major, it is really beneficial that I live in a major city that has a variety of media sources available to me. I do not think I would have had the same opportunities at another school if I had not gone to Butler.


Although I miss my home in sunny California, I could not be happier with my college choice. I'm proud I get to yell, "Go Dawgs!" and be a part of a supportive community of people like me.

Morgan
Student Life

California Girl to Butler Bulldog

Although I miss my home in sunny California, I could not be happier with my college choice.

Morgan

California Girl to Butler Bulldog

By Morgan Skeries '20
AcademicsStudent Life

Archaeology Mobile Lab Brings History to Life

BY Jackson Borman '20

PUBLISHED ON Mar 27 2018

When you walk into Dr. Lynne Kvapil’s office in Jordan Hall, you'll likely see a binder full of ancient Greek and Roman coins, a ceramic bowl or two, and stacks and stacks of other artifacts and replicas. And she will gladly show you any of them.

Kvapil is an Assistant Professor of Classics at Butler, as well as a practicing archaeologist. These items are all a part of the Ancient Mediterranean Cultures and Archaeology Mobile Lab, of which Kvapil is a director, along with Associate Professor of Classics, Chris Bungard.

“We have a bunch of stuff, and the goal is for students to get their hands on things,” Kvapil said. “Short term, we want to get these materials in more classes at Butler. I think the long term is to get them into the Indianapolis area, to really create a network of people in the Indianapolis area who want to see these resources coming in and out.”

The lab’s extensive collection is made up of materials that are relevant to the ancient world, specifically Greece and Rome, but there are some items that branch out around the Mediterranean as well, such as reproductions of Egyptian papyrus.

The lab operates as a collection, through which items can be loaned out to classrooms at Butler or kindergarten-through-high school classrooms in the Indianapolis area. Kvapil said that the primary purpose of the lab is to provide a way of learning that is different from a traditional classroom, but also to provide materials for possible research opportunities.

The lab started in fall 2015, financed by a Butler Innovation Fund grant, but they had only a year to spend the money. Most of the first year was shopping around to see what materials were out there for purchase.

Since the shopping has been completed, Kvapil said that the majority of the work to be done with the lab is regarding what to do about their loan policy.

“We are still trying to figure out things like what do we do if we loan out a cup and someone trashes it, how do we replace that and what is our legal policy there,” Kvapil said. “These are some nitty-gritty things that take some time to hash out.”

Because the lab has accumulated so many artifacts and other materials, there is always more work to be done. Kvapil employs two student-interns every year to help with the organization and curation of the lab.

“The interns really make this place run,” Kvapil said. “We want to always spotlight Butler students and what they are doing. I think it is really important to make sure that the people that work with us get some publicity.”

Wendy Vencel '20 has been an intern with the lab for the last two years. She is also the president of the Classics Club. Besides working to help keep the lab running smoothly, Vencel has been trying to use the lab to help plan events with the Classics Club as well.

“We are really trying to work with it to engage with the lab because it really is the perfect opportunity, at least in the Butler community,” Vencel said.

This year, the interns started a WordPress blog that contains an electronic flipbook of all of the materials that the lab has in stock, as well as an Instagram page with photos of items. Audrey Crippin, a P3 Pharmacy major, made the flipbook. They set up a pop-up museum in the on-campus Starbucks during Dawg Days, where Butler-bound students could experience a mock archaeological dig, in an attempt to showcase some of what the Classics Department has to offer.

Vencel said that experiences like the mock dig are important to her because similar experiences made her first years at Butler memorable.

“What got me into classics was when Dr. Kvapil came and talked to an Anthropology class that I was in, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh there is an archaeologist here,’” Vencel said. “It was super cool and I didn’t know Butler had that to offer. During my sophomore year, I took Kvapil’s Greek art and myth class and I’ve been here ever since.”

Kvapil said that the best way for students to get involved with the lab is by applying to be an intern for next year, or by joining the Classics Club. Another option is simply by taking classes that can make use of the lab.

“People are really shy about being interested in that kind of thing," Kvapil said, "but we also promote them to take classes, not just in the Classics Department, but there are a lot of classes in the History and Anthropology Department, as well as Philosophy and Religion, that are involved with this kind of idea that the past can be alive through things.”

 

 

 

AcademicsStudent Life

Archaeology Mobile Lab Brings History to Life

Faculty and students work together to curate a collection of artifacts and replicas.

Mar 27 2018 Read more
AcademicsStudent Life

'The Mall' Lets First-Year Students Publish

BY Peyton Thompson '20

PUBLISHED ON Mar 22 2018

First-year class president Elizabeth Bishop is a Marketing and Strategic Communications double-major who has always had a passion for writing.

So when Jim Keating, the instructor in her First-Year Seminar (FYS) course Utopian Experience, and some of her friends encouraged her to submit her writing to The Mall, she said she would.

The Mall is a journal dedicated to showcasing exemplary FYS work. First-year students can submit a piece of literary analysis and criticism, a creative writing piece, or a personal essay. Bishop said she will be submitting an analysis of alienation in literature and why it is so common among characters.

"I'm so excited to have the opportunity to have my work published in The Mall," Bishop said. "I've really enjoyed my FYS and I feel as though it has definitely helped me develop as a writer. I think it's wonderful that Butler is giving us this opportunity and I'm highly anticipating reading everyone's entries!”

The Mall, now in its fifth year, was created by Adjunct Professor Nicholas Reading, with a push from English Professor Susan Neville.

"She sparked the idea of publishing student’s work, and just needed someone to take initiative and do it,” Reading said.

He said students are not required to have a certain grade on their work to submit. It is also possible to submit multiple papers, and in some cases, be published twice.

The most recent edition of The Mall was 201 pages, with all different kinds of pieces submitted by students. In all, 34 papers were published.

Reading said The Mall serves three primary goals:

-To present to the Butler community the FYS program and increase awareness about the program and the work that is produced in FYS courses.

-To build an FYS learning resource for instructors so that they will have the opportunity to use published essays as learning tools in the classrooms and to provide models of exemplary FYS writing to new students.

-To empower first-year students and give their voices and opinions a forum to be heard.

The Mall is edited by FYS students. Throughout the process, students exercise the peer-review and collaborative learning skills practiced in their FYS courses. Similarly, the journal provides a forum for students to be published and have an opportunity to showcase their work.

“Our purpose is to empower students in their writing," Reading said. "That is the end goal. To understand that the written word will always be an integral and indispensable facet of our existence. To understand that as writers, we have the opportunity to participate in larger discussions that work to elevate us all. To own that voice, and use it passionately and responsibly, can be an exhilarating feeling. And we try to showcase the results of that journey.”

Goals of FYS

  • To reflect on significant questions about yourself, your community, and your world.
  • To develop the capacity to read and think critically.
  • To develop the capacity to write clear and persuasive expository and argumentative essays with an emphasis on thesis formation and development.
  • To gain an understanding of basic principles of oral communication as they apply to classroom discussion.
  • To understand the liberal arts as a vital and evolving tradition and to see yourself as agents within that tradition.
  • To develop capacities for careful and open reflection on questions of values and norms.
  • To develop the ability to carry out research for the purpose of inquiry and to support claims.

                                                         

 

 

 

AcademicsStudent Life

'The Mall' Lets First-Year Students Publish

The journal is dedicated to showcasing exemplary FYS work.

Mar 22 2018 Read more
Julian
AcademicsStudent LifePeople

Julian Wyllie '16 Named to Politico Journalism Institute

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 20 2018

Julian Wyllie '16, a Lacy School of Business graduate and former editor of The Butler Collegian, has been named to the 2018 class of the Politico Journalism Institute (PJI), an educational initiative supporting diversity in Washington area newsrooms.

PJI, which will be held May 29 to June 9, will offer 13 university students intensive, hands-on training in government and political reporting. Programming includes interactive sessions, panels with industry leaders, mentoring, and an opportunity for students to have their work published by Politico.

The PJI Class of 2018 also includes students from Yale, University of Southern California, and Georgetown. Two of the students will be selected at the end of the program for a three-month residency in the Politico newsroom where they will write, edit, and produce content.

All costs for PJI participants, including room, board, and transportation, are provided by Politico. Students split time between American University in Washington, D.C., and Politico headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

"We're thrilled to welcome this exceptional new class of PJI students," said Politico Editor Carrie Budoff Brown. "Our class this year reflects the racial, geographic, and socioeconomic diversity that Politico is committed to nurturing. Our newsroom is looking forward to mentoring these talented young journalists, who will be at the forefront of tomorrow's political news landscape." 

Since graduating, Wyllie’s career has included stops at Governing magazine and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"My time in Washington has been more than amazing so far," Wyllie said. "Being associated with anything as big as Politico is a great thing. But the best part about this program is that it gives me the chance to meet other hard-working young writers, who are all going through the struggles of trying to make it. Being around them feeds my desire to keep pushing myself and not let up. Overall, the success I've had is a direct result of skills I gained while attending Butler, where at The Collegian I stumbled on my life's passion."

 

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

Julian
AcademicsStudent LifePeople

Julian Wyllie '16 Named to Politico Journalism Institute

Program offers hands-on training in government and political reporting.

Mar 20 2018 Read more

Like a Pro

By Rachel Stern

DETROIT—It’s hard to catch Jimmy Lafakis.

The first time, his phone goes straight to voicemail. The next, after about two rings, it goes to voicemail again. But this time, Lafakis follows up with a text message.  “I’m on the court shooting Michigan State-Bucknell, can we talk after the game?” he writes. “The atmosphere is insane.”

He steals a few minutes to talk during a media timeout, in the bowels of Little Caesars Arena. It’s fitting. Most of Lafakis’ college career has been spent dotting the country, following the Butler men’s basketball team from arena to arena, squatting on baselines, documenting the action for The Collegian, Butler’s student newspaper.

Then, there are games like Michigan State-Bucknell. The Butler junior has no real reason to shoot photos of this game. But that’s not how he sees it at all. In Lafakis’ eyes, it’s impossible to count all the reasons. He has a media pass, he is a basketball fanatic, he loves photography, it’s March. The list goes on.

Take Friday for example.

He rose at about 4:00 AM, drove from Indianapolis to Detroit with his parents. Went straight to Little Caesars Arena. Arrived in time to shoot the Purdue-Cal State Fullerton game at noon. Then shot the Butler-Arkansas game (a perfect game, he says). And when he takes a quick break to chat, it is about 9:00 PM and he is in the midst of shooting the Michigan State-Bucknell game (he’s running on adrenaline, he says. He isn’t even tired, he says).

March is his favorite time of the year. According to Jimmy, the tournament “is unlike anything else in the universe.” Which is no surprise, considering what a basketball junkie he is. But what is a surprise, if you talk to him for just five minutes, is that he had never even heard of Butler University until he was in eighth grade.

A lot has changed since then.

 

A Student of the Game

Lafakis is from Schererville, Indiana. Hoops country. But, believe it or not, he grew up without a favorite college basketball team. How did a hoops-obsessed kid from Indiana grow up teamless?  “Well, my dad went to IU and everyone I knew had a team, but I was waiting for a reason to really fall in love, you know?” Lafakis says.

Lafakis played basketball in middle school, but was just OK, he says. However, he was always a student of the game. And then there’s his memory. Jimmy Lafakis remembers everything. He says this carries over to most things in life. But when it comes to basketball, well, his memory is extra sharp. He likes to play a game with his friends where they name a professional basketball player, and Lafakis fires back with the college he went to. Lafakis is rarely stumped.

So, when he started to get really into hoops, he, of course, remembered everything. Every game he watched, every player he saw, most stats. There was that day in seventh grade when he was watching SportsCenter and saw highlights of A.J. Graves and Butler. Naturally, it stuck and he was instantly hooked, he says.

“A.J. Graves was getting buckets,” Lafakis says, recalling specific highlights from a clip he saw in seventh grade. “I remember thinking, wow, he is good and Butler is good. I have to go to Hinkle. It was perfect timing because they were on the brink of bursting onto the national scene.”

 

A Butler Love Affair is Born

Obviously, Lafakis can reel off the first time he went to Hinkle Fieldhouse. He was in eighth grade, it was Halloween, and the Bulldogs were playing an exhibition game against Florida Southern. “I instantly fell in love with Hinkle,” he says. “That was the moment I knew I had to go to Butler.”

I instantly fell in love with Hinkle,” he says. “That was the moment I knew I had to go to Butler.

Jimmy’s parents, John and Kathy, toured the campus with Jimmy that day. They walked into the bookstore and walked out “with basically the entire store,” Jimmy says. Most notably? A blue sweatshirt that Jimmy still wears. Holes and all. “My mom and I still wear it. My dad tells me it is time to throw it out, but it means way too much,” Jimmy says. “There is too much history in that sweatshirt.”

The game against Florida Southern was just the beginning that year. The crew then went to Valparaiso in January (they lost in overtime, Jimmy says). Then it was onto New Orleans for the Sweet 16, where the Lafakis family watched Butler beat Wisconsin. After that game, the family headed back to Indianapolis, but made a pitstop at Butler, specifically Atherton Union, to watch Butler beat Florida in the Elite Eight. The game was projected on a wall inside the Reilly Room and Jimmy recalls the feeling of jubilation when the buzzer sounded (Shelvin Mack scored 27, he says), and he and about 200 Butler students ran onto the lawn outside Atherton to celebrate.

Now, a junior journalism major, Jimmy cannot believe how lucky he is. Instead of Atherton Union, he takes in most games from the baseline, Canon Rebel T6S camera, the same one he got June 1, 2015 for a graduation present around his neck. Snapping away. Posting to Twitter, Instagram, and publishing for The Collegian.

 

Experiences  

It’s hard to believe, Lafakis says, with a chuckle. But the first Butler game he ever shot photos for was exactly five years to the day after the first one he saw as an eighth grader with his parents. Halloween, 2015. And of course, he starts getting into the details of the game. An exhibition game. From 2015.

Lafakis first got into photography when he was a sophomore in high school. The girls basketball team was really good, and he started shooting their games. He saw this as a perfect way to blend his love of sports with journalism. Butler has allowed him to grow that passion, on a much larger scale, he says.

“I have worked for The Collegian since my freshman year and I really thank my lucky stars everyday,” says Jimmy. “It is really so special and unique. I don’t think too many other folks have the opportunity to do what they love, on this level, all over the country, while they are still in college. It’s really special.”

Following the team for the better part of his college career has sent Lafakis to Memphis, Portland, Detroit, Cincinnati, and West Lafayette, to name a few. Since he takes full advantage of these trips and snaps as many games as possible, he has captured some of basketballs biggest names. There has been Lonzo Ball, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, and Russell Westbrook (that was a selfie, he notes). NFL and NBA players have retweeted his photos.

But being around fellow journalists has been one of the most impactful parts, Lafakis says. It has given him a unique opportunity to seek out advice and learn from the best in the business. Jeff Goodman, of ESPN, for example, has offered words of encouragement. And he has developed a close relationship with the Indianapolis Star’s Gregg Doyel.

“There’s so much you learn in the classroom that prepares you, which I have been so fortunate at Butler to have some awesome professors. To mix that with the opportunities I have had in the field is irreplaceable. In the field, you really get thrown into the fire, which is where the real-world experience that I wouldn’t normally have so much of at this point in my life is so helpful. I am so lucky for that,” he says.

 

Making his Mark

Gregg Doyel remembers Lafakis’ presence in his inbox before actually meeting him in person. And he wasn’t exactly impressed. Lafakis would email Doyel some stories when he first got to Butler and ask for advice.

“I thought, ‘you are not very good,’” Doyel says. “Two years later, he is fabulous. Jimmy is like a basketball player who gets to college and cannot walk and dribble and then by the time he is a sophomore, he is an All-American.”

Doyel says Jimmy has become a regular at Butler men’s basketball games. Lafakis sends Doyel photos all the time. For example, Doyel recently published a story about Trevon Bluiett and Kelan Martin. Later that day, Lafakis pops up in his inbox, an email with photos of Bluiett and Martin together.

“Jimmy is the sweetest kid,” Doyel says. “He’s really smart. The thing about Jimmy is, and very few people have this, and I am not exaggerating, he is sincere. He’s got this thing where he embeds himself into your heart. He is not just a guy who takes pictures and writes stories, the entire team loves him. He is part of the team.”

A few weeks ago, Doyel was speaking to a College of Education class at Butler. He referenced a story he wrote and brought up Jimmy Lafakis, as he was mentioned in the story. He asked the class, about 20 women, if any of them knew Lafakis. “I’m telling you about 18 of them were nodding and smiling at me,” Doyel says. “I blurt out, ‘Why do you all know Jimmy?’ And someone says, ‘Well, everyone follows his Instagram because he is always taking beautiful pictures of Butler, and we want to see Butler through his eyes’…He is everywhere. He deserves everything. He is happy and humble, and all he does is bring happiness to everyone.”

 

Documenting in Detroit

It’s 9:30 AM on Sunday morning and Jimmy arrives at Little Caesars Arena. He likes to get to the arena on game day “as early as possible. Every time.”

Tip off against Purdue is over two-and-a-half hours away, the court is nearly empty, but Jimmy heads to his usual spot on the baseline. Questions swirl around the health of Butler’s Paul Jorgensen and Purdue’s Isaac Haas, and Jimmy wants to make sure he sees how each look during warmups. And of course, document it.

Minutes later, Jorgensen emerges from the tunnel to test his ankle. At seemingly the same time as Jorgensen hits the court in real life, images of him running up and down the court appear on Jimmy’s Twitter account.

“This school literally means everything to me,” he says. “These guys on the court are some of my good friends. I love basketball, trust me, but it is about so much more than being able to do what I love while I watch what I love. It is about being at a place that means so much to me with lifelong friends and memories that I will have forever.”

It is about being at a place that means so much to me with lifelong friends and memories that I will have forever.

See, that is what Jimmy loves about photography so much. That is why he gets to the arena on Sunday morning around 9:30 AM. That is why he shoots as many games as he can. And that is why, he estimates, he has shot hundreds of thousands of photos since he stepped onto Butler’s campus nearly three years ago, only missing a handful of Butler basketball games.

“It’s fun capturing moments. I love catching the emotion. It’s really cool to look back on. I love looking back at all of my pictures and seeing all the emotion and the memories,” he says.

If Jimmy has it his way, he will get a job in sports journalism after he graduates in 2019. Ideally, doing both writing and photography. But for now, he doesn’t want to even think about graduating from the place that has been “life changing,” he says.

“Being a senior will be extremely emotional. I don’t even want to talk about it,” Jimmy says. “Butler is such a special place. I am really nervous to be a senior. I want to savior every morsel of junior year.” But, when the time comes to graduate, Gregg Doyel, of the Indianapolis Star, thinks Jimmy is more than ready. Maybe a little too ready. “I’m not sure what he does better, write or take photos. He can really do both. He could write for any paper in America tomorrow, but he might be an even better photographer. And that is sincere,” Doyel says. “I just hope that little sucker doesn’t take my job someday.”

 

 

Student LifePeople

Like a Pro

DETROIT—It’s hard to catch Jimmy Lafakis. The first time, his phone goes straight to voicemail.

Like a Pro

By Rachel Stern
Student LifePeople

Four Butler Students Named 500 Festival Princesses

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 02 2018

Taylor Bowen                                  Natalie Cole     

Katie Pfaff                                    Anna Rather

                         

Four Butler University students have been selected as 500 Festival Princesses for 2018.

They are:

-Taylor Bowen, Michiana Shores, a senior majoring in Digital Media Production and Art Plus Design.

-Natalie Cole, Westfield, a junior majoring in Violin Performance with emphases in Music Theory and Music History.

-Katherine (Katie) Pfaff, Lewisville, a junior majoring in Strategic Communication: Public Relations.

-Anna Rather, Bargersville, a junior majoring in English Literary Theory, Culture and Criticism.

Each 500 Festival Princess will receive a $1,000 scholarship. In addition, 500 Festival Princesses are involved with the 500 Festival’s statewide community outreach programs, volunteering at 500 Festival events, and participating in various Indianapolis Motor Speedway functions, including the pre-race ceremonies and Victory Circle celebration for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

The 2018 500 Festival Princesses represent 14 Indiana colleges and universities and 21 cities and towns across the state. With a cumulative GPA of 3.72, this year’s 500 Festival princesses were selected from hundreds of applicants based on communication skills, academic performance and community involvement.

 

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

 

Student LifePeople

Four Butler Students Named 500 Festival Princesses

Honor comes with a $1,000 scholarship.

Mar 02 2018 Read more
Student LifeCommunity

Message from Butler University Office of Admission

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 26 2018

Butler University is deeply saddened by the shootings that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The students, teachers, staff, and the entire community of Parkland have been in our thoughts and prayers during this exceptionally difficult time.

Future Butler students should know that community involvement is one of our University’s core values. And we applaud individuals who choose to serve, and advocate, as responsible members of society. As articulated in The Butler Way, we appreciate and identify with individuals who understand humility, passion, unity, servanthood, and thankfulness.

Applicants to Butler University who respectfully engage in meaningful and authentic discourse regarding important issues within our society will not be penalized in the admission process.

Student LifePeople

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 20 2018

By Jackson Borman '20

From the time that he got his first video camera, Thulani Smith ’20 has been documenting his life through the lens.

“I like to take pictures and reminisce instantly," he said. "My dad and I have traveled the world for my entire childhood, and I liked being able to go there and take a picture and then remember everything about each place.”

As a middle-schooler, Smith captured everything from family trips to everyday life. His specialty at the time was creating basketball trick shot videos of his brother and his friends shooting balls into trashcans in the front yard.

“We thought it was great," he said, "and then my dad said to me, ‘Thulani, are you ever going to film anything besides this?’ and I remember responding to him, ‘Dad, there is nothing more than trick-shot videos!’”

But Smith started experimenting and learning how to create visual effects, and he became more interested in the full potential that filmmaking had. Now, as a digital media production major at Butler, he already is getting the experience he needs to grow in his craft.

Smith currently posts his work on his Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram account is @Marshallmoviemaker.

Starting in his first year at Butler, Smith had Professor Farhad Anwarzai for his First-Year Seminar class called "The Coming of Age Story." Smith said that Anwarzai’s willingness to allow students to learn in ways that they enjoyed was a great start to his college experience.

“For our final project, he said just to do something creative, so I made a film,” Smith said. “He has really been a huge help in allowing me to grow in classes that I have been taking. Being able to take his class and have that relationship with him has been huge because it has restored my understanding of how I want to do college.”

Anwarzai said he was blown away with Smith’s work.

“I thought that the project was not only very well made and very well shot and edited, but it was very mature for a freshman to make,” Anwarzai said. “He’s good at telling these big stories but telling them through the lens of students. That’s one of the things that stands out in my mind when I think of Thulani. It was a spectacular job.”

In Smith's sophomore year, Anwarzai ended up as his professor for the Global and Historical Studies course "China and the Islamic Middle East." This time, he and Smith worked together to write a short film for the students’ final project.

“Having not seen a lot of faculty and student collaboration in the humanities, I wanted to test that, and I thought Thulani would be the perfect person to work with,” Anwarzai said. “In the end, he and the other students created a marvelous work. It added a great layer of depth to the conditions we deal with today.”

The 20-minute film, which was made in nine days with no budget, dealt with the preconceived notions that many have about China and the Middle East.

Last summer, Smith had an internship with a company called Train918 that was started by 2016 Butler graduates Tim Valentine and Joshua Gaal. The pair started the company in their senior year at Butler and now create commercials and promotional videos for groups like Downtown Indy Inc. and Indiana University.

“Working with them was a blast because I was able to grow with them while I was still growing,” Smith said. “They had almost the same experiences that I had as far as being a creative on Butler’s campus so they could give me some insight.”

Smith said that Valentine and Gaal allowed him to take a larger role in the company than a typical intern would, and he was able to take control of certain projects. For example, Smith took photos at a fashion shoot over the summer, just a month into the internship.

“It gave me the opportunity to have the camera in my hands, to shoot everything and to come up with concepts, edit it, and call it my own,” Smith said.

In between class projects and internships, Smith still works on projects of his own. He has created video compilations of Butler Basketball games. This winter, Smith went on a trip to Northern Ireland where he took more photos of the Irish landscape and worked on one of his projects. Over the past few months, Smith has also been working on what he calls "The Portrait Project," a series of photos and short videos of a subject that are compiled into a short, portrait-style video.

This spring Smith will be going abroad once again, this time through the College of Communication's trip to Germany.

Through his work, both on his own and at Butler, Smith hopes that he will be able to grow as a filmmaker and one day be able to create on a higher level.

“I think over the next couple of months what I really want to do is just create more,” Smith said. “I’ve done [a lot of projects], but I want to be able to have examples of my best work so that I can point people to that.”

 

Photo via Thulani Smith

Student LifePeople

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

Sophomore Thulani Smith follows his passion for filmmaking.

Feb 20 2018 Read more

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