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Bulldogs Connect: The Online Network for Butler Students and Alumni

By Taylor Hensley

Sam Farber first logged in to Bulldogs Connect when a mentor suggested he use the digital networking platform in his internship search. Farber, a sophomore Marketing and Finance major at Butler University, reached out to Greg Jung, MBA ’98 to talk about potential internships. But Farber ultimately received valuable advice for a business he was preparing to launch. Jung, a marketing professional whose Bulldogs Connect profile indicates he is willing to help Butler students with “advising about specific industries or careers” and “finding jobs and internships,” provided website and other business advice to Farber ahead of the launch of Twillows—a company that creates customized hoodies, pillows, tank-tops, mugs, and more.

Butler launched Bulldogs Connect for students and alumni in 2019. Two years later, when so many activities have transitioned to a virtual format, the ability to connect with fellow Bulldogs digitally is more important than ever. The platform is exclusive to members of the Butler community, and it allows for students to connect with alumni who want to help students reach their career goals and find success after graduating. Serving as a database of engaged alumni, it is also an avenue for peer-to-peer connections to be made among alumni who are looking to build their own networks.

Farber is a frequent user of Bulldogs Connect and has explored many areas of the platform. He says he likes the layout of Bulldogs Connect, and he shared that the Communities feature makes it easy to see where people live. When it comes to sending that first message to an alumni user, “Don’t be nervous at all,” he says. “Just ask them about their job and things you may need to know for the future. People like to talk.”

Finding himself on the receiving end of those messages from students, Jung agrees. “Butler alumni who are signed up for Bulldogs Connect have already shown an interest in helping,” he says. “Go reach out!”

Bulldogs Connect is essentially a database of alumni who have already raised their hands to help students. Their profiles show everything you’d see on LinkedIn, such as professional experience and education, but also list specific areas in which Bulldogs are willing to help Butler students and fellow alumni navigate their own career journeys. These areas of assistance include finding job opportunities, reviewing resumes, advising about graduate school, and more. The difference between LinkedIn and Bulldogs Connect, Jung says, is that the people on Bulldogs Connect signed up because they want to engage with students. Jung’s LinkedIn inbox is full of solicitations, but a message from Bulldogs Connect never goes unread.

With a catalogue full of dedicated alumni who want to share their experience and expertise, there’s also an opportunity for alumni to make peer-to-peer connections to build their professional networks. They can leverage their Butler alumni community while navigating a career change or considering graduate school.

Zach Rodenbarger ’11 joined Bulldogs Connect when the platform first launched. He was working with startups on forecasting and building their financial models. When he heard about Bulldogs Connect, he thought, They’re trying something new. Let’s see if it works. He began using the platform to find other Butler graduates working in the finance industry.

“It was great to be able to find alumni in specific industries that I could ask questions of and who could support me in my business endeavors,” he says. “It was nice to have a linking connection (Butler), and that we understood the same industry, but had Butler to start the conversation.”

Like Farber, Rodenbarger also connected with Jung through Bulldogs Connect. They became close professional contacts and met regularly before the pandemic eliminated their in-person meetings. Jung was able to advise Rodenbarger on marketing strategies for his work with, a software company that Rodenbarger ultimately joined. helps businesses engage their employees in giving back to the community.

Rodenbarger and Jung agree that alumni on Bulldogs Connect are likely to be more responsive to messages because of the shared connection to Butler. If you receive a message on LinkedIn, you would have to visit a person’s profile to see that you are both Bulldogs. “This is already filtered for you,” Rodenbarger says.

Bulldogs Connect is available to current students and Butler alumni. A partnership between the Office of Career and Professional Success and the Office of Alumni Relations and Engagement, Bulldogs Connect is a cutting-edge tool that brings alumni and students together to help build networks, find mentors, and create pathways for life after Butler. Whether you’re looking for a job, career advice, information about your new city, or volunteer opportunities, Bulldogs Connect is the place to start. Once you’re logged in, take a peek around. Join the communities that interest you, and start connecting. Butler students and alumni can join here.

Butler bulldog statue

Bulldogs Connect: The Online Network for Butler Students and Alumni

Since 2019, alumni on the platform have been raising their hands to help students and fellow grads

Humans of Hinkle: The trailblazing career of Sharon Clark

By Henry Bredemeier


Sharon Clark

Humans of Hinkle: The trailblazing career of Sharon Clark

From The Butler Collegian: As one of the first Black head coaches at Butler, Clark is making an impact on and off the volleyball court

Butler Blue IV, Mayor of March

Butler Blue to Become Mayor of March, Presiding Over City’s Hoops Madness

BY Michael Kaltenmark

PUBLISHED ON Mar 01 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—He is the Butler Bulldog, Indy’s four-legged ambassador, the undisputed State Dawg, a model among all live mascots, and now, Butler Blue IV has assumed yet another title: the Mayor of March.

As the entirety of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament descends upon the city and state this March, including games at Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, Blue is stepping up to make sure his followers around the country don’t miss a minute of the Madness.

“Blue already represents all of the best parts of NCAA Basketball,” said Evan Krauss, Blue’s handler and Senior Marketing Manager at Butler. “Combine that with the love of his hometown, Indianapolis, and you have a slam dunk.”

Blue will employ a four-paw’d approach as the Mayor of March, acting as part host, part ambassador, part reporter, and part college hoops fanatic. So, in addition to his prolific presence on social media, the young English bulldog will be readily visible around Indianapolis during the month. 

As a Dawg about town, Blue will attend fan rallies hosted by Indiana Sports Corp., participate in community events organized by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, extend hospitality to guests and visiting media with Visit Indy, and much more.

But the I-465 loop won’t be fencing this Dawg in. With opening-round games in Bloomington and West Lafayette, Blue will also load up the BlueMobile and hit the road. From north to south, Blue will be out to get the scoops on hoops while capturing the sights, sounds, and smells of March from the Hoosier state.

“Our live Bulldog mascots are no strangers to road trips,” Krauss said. “We’ve covered thousands of miles over the last several years on the heels of the Butler Basketball team to surprise prospective students, visit alumni, and spread some Butler cheer. This is a continuation of that, but with a special focus on our own backyard. I think Blue was born for March in Indy!”

And born not long ago, Blue made his campus debut before a Butler Men’s Basketball game on January 24, 2020, with a sold-out Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd in attendance. Now, that same historic hoops cathedral will play host to first- and second-round games, as well as a share of the Sweet Sixteen matchups for this year’s NCAA Tournament. 

One of just six game sites, Butler University is proud to have Hinkle serve in such a prominent capacity for this year’s Tournament. And known for its NCAA Tournament success in recent years, including consecutive Final Four and national championship game appearances in 2010 and 2011, Butler is embracing it’s latest role as a host of Tournament play.

Fans are encouraged to follow @TheButlerBlue and #MayorOfMarch on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for additional Butler Blue IV content.

About the Butler Blue Live Mascot Program
An idea was born the first time a bulldog shimmied into the offices of the Butler Collegian in 1919. The idea would lift the spirits of the student body and instill pride in alumni for decades. Today, the idea is stronger than ever. Since 2000, Butler Blue has been the face of Butler University, a champion of education, an advocate for the arts and sciences, a fervent supporter of student-athletes, and cultural influencer. Butler Blue is, and always will be, the four-legged embodiment of The Butler Way.

Media Contact:
Mark Apple
Interim Director of Strategic Communications

Mayor of MarchButler Blue IV, official mascot of Butler University, proclaims himself the Mayor of March


WHEREAS, the State of Indiana, and primarily the City of Indianapolis, will host the entirety of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, thus becoming the epicenter of March Madness®.

WHEREAS, I, Butler Blue IV, am an AKC-registered, live English bulldog mascot representing Butler University, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the fourth in succession among a line of nationally recognized Butler Bulldog mascots.

WHEREAS, I, Butler Blue IV, am the host of hosts; the heartwarming host of Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the honorable hoops host to hardwood hobbyists around the globe.

WHEREAS, I, Butler Blue IV, am an ambassador, or Ambassa-Dawg, officially representing my school, my city, my state, and my game as doggy diplomat.

WHEREAS, I, Butler Blue IV, am a reporter, or repawter, offering scoops on hoops, along with ears-up, eyes-wide, nose-to-the-ground, and tail-wagging observations of collegiate mascot life.

WHEREAS, I, Butler Blue IV, a bone-a-fide college hoops fanatic, a beast of brackets, mongrel of madness, Dawg of dunks, rover of rebounds, pupper of put-backs, and bully of buzzer-beaters.

WHEREAS, Butler University, home of historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, is a nationally recognized university, rated by U.S. News as the No. 1 Regional University in the Midwest and No. 1 Most Innovative School, featuring six academic colleges, and known for small class sizes, student access to faculty, real-world internships experiences, research opportunities, and an educational experience that provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in life after college.



On the campus of Butler University, in the City of Indianapolis, throughout the State of Indiana, and wherever college hoops are revered and celebrated, I ask all fans of basketball to join in this observance.






Butler Blue IV, Mayor of March

Butler Blue to Become Mayor of March, Presiding Over City’s Hoops Madness

Butler’s live bulldog mascot is seizing the opportunity to be more than just host of Hinkle

Mar 01 2021 Read more

Q&A with Dr. Antwain Hunter

By Kamy Mitchell ’21

“The more we learn about the past,” says Dr. Antwain Hunter, “the better informed we can be about the present.”

Even as we celebrate Black History Month, many of us may not pause to fully understand this history and its importance. To learn more, we touched base with Hunter, an Associate Professor of History here at Butler University.

What first sparked your interest in history?
My dad was in the army for about the first ten years of my life. We lived on military bases for most of that time. My twin brother and I were fascinated with all of it, and this grew into an interest in military history. As I got older, I became more interested in other aspects of the past.

Your studies focus on slavery and emancipation in the Antebellum South. How did you become interested in this particular topic, and what are you working on currently?
I’m very interested in the 19th century, generally, but the institution of slavery has always drawn me in. I am really interested in how these Black folks were able to carve out space for their families and communities despite the oppression they faced. I’m currently working on a book that explores the community, legal, and family dynamics of Black people’s firearm use in North Carolina from the 1720s through the end of the U.S. Civil War. It covers both free and enslaved Black people, and at its core, the project is about what it meant for Black people to carry arms in a slave society.

As a historian, how would you describe the importance of celebrating Black History Month?
Celebrating Black History Month is critically important. The folks who ask, “What about White History Month?” are entering a bad faith argument. Many Americans, especially those who are not Black, often have a very narrow understanding of our nation’s past and one that completely ignores the experiences and contributions of Black people. We see this most obviously in the public debates around the Civil War, the Confederate flag, over-policing and state violence, etc. One cannot truly understand the American past, or our nation’s commitments to liberty and democracy, if one doesn’t understand the history of Black people. Black History is American History, but most non-Black Americans don’t really think about it as such. I think most people would easily see the importance of Black History if they took some time to take an inclusive approach to history. The students in all of my courses typically do quite well with the material, even though it is often new to them.

Are there any important facts related to Black History Month that you think people should know? Or, elements of Black History in general that you feel more people should understand?
That’s a great question. Facts are incredibly important, but I think the beauty of history lies in change over time, understanding larger systems, and thinking about the connections between different events. If I could encourage everyone to learn more about one thing, it might be the history of American democracy—there’s a long history around blocking Black people’s voting rights by both legislative shenanigans and brutal violence (carried out by both the state and other citizens). There’s a long history to this, but I would particularly point to Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War, Freedom Summer during the Civil Rights Movement, and some of the current work being done on gerrymandering and voter ID laws.

Do you have any advice for how we can better educate one another about this history?
We can better learn about these things by being willing to be a part of the conversation and perhaps be uncomfortable at times. We all lead such busy lives that it’s incredibly easy to just not engage. We’re at a very good university—it’s a perfect time to take a class that speaks to Black History and learn something new.

As a white woman, I struggle with how to be a supportive ally for my Black friends and colleagues, as I do not want to be inconsiderate of their experiences. Do you have any advice for students like me who want to join arms in solidarity without perpetuating oppression?
That’s a good question, and it sounds like you’re starting from a good place. I similarly struggle with how to be a better ally for my friends, colleagues, and students of various identities. My approach is to start by listening to what other people’s experiences are. I also try to be very flexible. If there are ways I can help, maybe by using the privileges that I do have (as a cisgendered male with a PhD), I stand ready and willing. Sometimes, however, I might need to just stay out of the way. I try to let the people most impacted by the issue take the lead. Also, I mess up sometimes—there are a lot of things that I’m still learning about—but I’m always trying to do better. It’s an ongoing process.

Antwain Hunter, Butler University
Butler Experts

Q&A with Dr. Antwain Hunter

The Associate Professor of History, whose work focuses on slavery and emancipation in the U.S., discusses the importance of understanding and celebrating Black History

Antwain Hunter, Butler University

Q&A with Dr. Antwain Hunter

By Kamy Mitchell ’21
Clowes Hall plaza project rendering
Butler Beyond

Butler Receives $1M Grant from Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation for Modernization of Clowes Memorial Hall

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Feb 26 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation (AWCCF) has awarded Butler University a $1 million grant to support the modernization of Clowes Memorial Hall, the anchor performing arts venue of the Butler Arts & Events Center (BAEC). The grant will enable the BAEC to address contemporary safety and security concerns for patrons and performers while honoring the building’s original architectural integrity. The modernization project is part of a larger plan to enhance and remodel the exterior plaza of the venue, which was built in 1963.

While the original design for Clowes Memorial Hall envisioned the entrance of the building as a “temple of light” with a very open feel, allowing visitors to enter from all three sides of the lobby, current security measures have limited the use of exterior doors for guest entry. The redesigned entrance will honor the building’s original vision through a reimagined entry facade with a glass-enclosed marquee and second-level event space that will link the east and west sides of the second-level lobby. The new design will also remove the current existing wall between the box office and the lobby, allowing natural light to flow into the lobby and increasing the size of the lobby by 12 feet. The new entry will increase the number of metal detectors from four to 10, more than doubling the speed with which visitors can enter the building for major events and providing a vast improvement for visitor experience, particularly during inclement weather.

Clowes Hall plaza rendering

“I think the biggest complaints we have heard from visitors when they have come here in the past is how long it takes to get into the building, or that intermissions have been a pain to try to move through the lobby to get to the restrooms. Accessibility has also been a bit of an issue for some, and this redesign takes all of those concerns into consideration,” says Aaron Hurt, Executive Director of the BAEC. “Ease of getting into the building in a safe way and flow once you’re inside will all be vastly improved by this redesign, and I think that’s really going to improve the experience a lot for our guests.”

The new entryway is the first phase of a larger plan to redesign the entire exterior plaza of the venue to be more secure and functional. The new plaza will be paved with a small outdoor stage for hosting pre-show events, outdoor concerts, and student performances. The plaza will also include new concrete bollards—short, flat posts that will serve as both seating around the stage as well as a protective perimeter for the venue and guests gathered outside. The new paved plaza will provide a central rallying point for student events and an additional versatile gathering space for the community, enhancing student life on campus.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the BAEC to cancel all in-person performances and events for the time being, the unexpected extended closure along with the AWCCF grant will allow Butler to begin the planned renovations and upgrades during the coming months. Construction on the entryway project will begin May 1 and should be complete by the time students return to campus at the end of August. The University hopes to raise an additional $3.5 million to help fund the exterior plaza project in the coming months, as well, taking advantage of the window of time provided by the pandemic to complete the renovations in advance of an anticipated grand reopening when in-person performances are once again viable.

Clowes Hall plaza renderings“We’ve really tried to approach this with an attitude of, ‘How can we come out of this period of time as an even better venue for our patrons and performers?’ Our booking staff has still been working really hard while the venue has been closed, and we have lots of big names lined up for when we can re-open,” Hurt says. “We’re excited for the chance to welcome guests back to Clowes, and we feel confident they’re going to have an even better experience than the last time they were here.”

With the help of the AWCCF grant, Butler has now raised more than $196.4 million toward its $250 million goal for its Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign. One of the pillars of the Butler Beyond campaign is Community Partnerships, which highlights the University’s efforts to expand its impact beyond the current student body and beyond the borders of campus by contributing to the wellbeing of the broader Indianapolis community. Butler President Jim Danko says the AWCCF has been an extraordinary partner in supporting the arts education and cultural offerings provided by the BAEC, which are important aspects of the University’s role in the community.

“I am extremely grateful to the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation for its support and partnership in preserving and enhancing Clowes Memorial Hall for future generations of students and community members,” Danko says. “As a result of the critical upgrades supported by this gift, Butler will continue in its leadership role, enriching the Central Indiana community through arts, culture, and entertainment.”

Clowes Memorial Hall serves more than 300,000 patrons annually through a variety of events and programs ranging from Butler University’s own The Nutcracker to national touring companies through Broadway Across America. With 2,148 seats and a rich history of hosting some of the world’s greatest talents and personalities, Clowes also serves as one of Central Indiana’s leading providers of arts education services, welcoming school corporations in more than 85 counties across the state and serving more than 35,000 student participants annually. Since 1991, more than one million students, teachers, and guests have attended education matinee performances at Clowes.

“Clowes Memorial Hall has a lot of significance in the Indianapolis community historically as a hub for arts and culture,” Hurt says. “We are constantly asking ourselves, ‘How do we make sure this flagship venue continues to be relevant for the community? How do we take it to the next level in terms of the value we can bring to our city?’ This project is an example of Butler’s commitment to being a place for everyone.”

Renderings by Browning Day

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager

Clowes Hall plaza project rendering
Butler Beyond

Butler Receives $1M Grant from Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation for Modernization of Clowes Memorial Hall

The project is part of a larger plan to enhance and remodel the venue's exterior plaza

Feb 26 2021 Read more

Live Mascot Team Aims to Unveil Trip’s Official Portrait on Butler’s Day of Giving

By Katie Grieze

FEBRUARY 24 UPDATE: We did it! Watch the unveiling of Trip's official portrait.

In 2001, Butler University Interim President Gwen Fountain decided to hold the school’s first live bulldog mascot, Butler Blue I, as she posed for her presidential portrait that now hangs in Atherton Union.

That was the start of a tradition. When Butler Blue II retired in 2013, his handler, Michael Kaltenmark, contacted local artist James Kelly of Mad Lab Studios to create a painting of the bulldog that resides in Robertson Hall.

Now it’s Blue III’s turn. Better known as ‘Trip,’ Butler’s third live mascot retired in the spring of 2020, and his official portrait has been painted by Anthony J. Padgett of Red Truck Productions. The Live Mascot Program just needs to raise $5,000 during Butler’s 2021 Day of Giving on February 24–25 for the painting—which currently hangs under a curtain in Robertson Hall—to be unveiled.

Leading up to the fundraising challenge, we touched base with Trip’s dad to learn more.

How would you describe the purpose of creating the mascot portraits?
Michael Kaltenmark: Just as is the case for our University Presidents, these official portraits of our live mascots both honor their service to Butler and preserve their likeness on canvas for the campus community to enjoy for generations to come.

How did you choose Anthony J. Padgett to be the artist for Trip’s painting?
MK: It was a case of Anthony choosing us! Anthony’s business partner in Red Truck Productions is Neal Stock, who has Butler ties. Knowing our history of capturing our live English bulldog mascots in oils and acrylics, Neal pursued the opportunity to have Anthony produce this piece. I was glad he did. Anthony’s work speaks for itself, and I was honored that he wanted to focus his talents on Trip. The fact that he’s local to the Indianapolis area, and that he wanted to pursue this project at a steep discount, made the partnership even better. I couldn’t be happier with how this all worked out.

What does the process of creating the portrait look like?
MK: Anthony and Neal came to campus to shoot some photography of Trip, as well as various landscapes for potential backgrounds. They also referenced photos we already had. After giving them some input, we left the creative vision to Anthony, and we didn’t see the portrait until it was nearly finished.

Why do you have a fundraising goal of $5,000 for this project?
MK: That covers everything, including the commission fee, materials, framing, etc. An original work of this size and scope would typically cost much more, but Anthony and Neal wanted to do this at a discount for Butler’s sake. Now we are inviting the Butler community and our fans to help us cover the cost. When they come to campus to see Trip’s portrait, they can take some satisfaction in knowing that they helped make it happen.

How can Butler community members watch the portrait unveiling?
MK: Under normal circumstances, we’d hold an unveiling event with Trip in attendance, much like we did with Blue II back in 2013. But given the health and safety protocols related to the pandemic, this unveiling will be all virtual. And if we meet our fundraising goal on Butler’s Day of Giving, we’ll do the unveiling live via social media that day!

To support this initiative and help us unveil Trip’s official portrait, you can make a gift to Butler’s Live Mascot program on February 24–25. To see other available Day of Giving challenges, click here.

Some call it giving back. We call it the Butler Way.
On Butler's 6th annual Day of Giving, we invite you to join us in celebrating the best of Butler by making a gift to support the areas of your choice. Our goal is to reach 1,500 gifts across the Butler community before 12:55 PM on February 25. Hitting our goal will unlock $50,000 in student scholarship support. Day of Giving is special because it brings together Bulldogs near and far to achieve a shared goal: putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. There’s strength in numbers, and your gift—of any size—will make a difference for Butler students. Thank you for supporting Butler University!


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager
260-307-3403 (mobile)

Trip portrait teaser graphic

Live Mascot Team Aims to Unveil Trip’s Official Portrait on Butler’s Day of Giving

If the mascot fund raises $5,000 on February 24, the new painting of Butler Blue III will be revealed

Butler Theatre's 'Antigone,' fall 2020, photo by Zach Rosing
Experiential Learning

As COVID-19 Cancels Shows Across the Nation, Butler Theatre Stays on Stage

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Feb 18 2021

Antigone just learned her brother is dead, and the new king will prohibit the honor of a burial. A mask hides the fury on her face as she argues with her sister, shouting that they should bury their brother anyway, but Antigone’s head shakes and her fists pound the air as she paces quickly around the stage. She can’t breach the six feet of distance to confront her sister up close, but she conveys her passion by leaning forward and pointing as she speaks, taking small steps that drive her sister away.

Antigone, photo by Zach Rosing“We wore masks while performing, so we learned to take an emotion that would normally just be a frown on your face and express it with your whole body,” says senior Theatre major Sarah Ault, who played the role of Antigone in Butler University’s production last fall. “That’s a shift from how I would normally approach things, but it was useful to experience. It has been a ‘the-show-must-go-on’ situation.”

While most collegiate and professional theatre organizations have halted in-person performances during the pandemic, Butler’s program has stayed on stage. It took research, strict safety measures, and audience limits, but it was worth giving students the live learning opportunities they signed up for.

“Our priority is the educational and artistic development of our students,” says Diane Timmerman, Theatre Professor and Chair. “We’re just really excited and proud that we were able to make this happen, and that the students have grown so much as artists, even in this time.”

Butler Theatre’s fall 2020 productions included Shel Silverstein's Lafcadio at Shelton Auditorium, followed by a modern adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone at the Schrott Center. The theatre season continues at Clowes Memorial Hall on February 26 with The Living, a play depicting the plague that hit London in the 17th century. In April, performances of Fleeting Full 2.0 by Samuel Beckett will wrap up the year.

Two key factors have allowed Butler to produce in-person shows, Timmerman says. First, they were willing to meet the high bar of safety standards needed to perform indoors, whereas some other theatres would rather wait until they can stage plays without social distancing, mask wearing, and other protocols. And because Butler’s program isn’t revenue-driven, they could afford to have a limited in-person audience alongside free livestreams—a rule that might not work for theatres where ticket sales cover production costs.

“Everyday going into rehearsal, I recognize that it is such a privilege,” says Ault, who will follow her time as Antigone with a new role in The Living. “I’m thankful for all the efforts that Butler and its Theatre program are putting in to make sure we can have the opportunity to perform. Because this is the bread and butter of our education.”

Butler Theatre's 'Lafcadio,' photo by Zach Rosing

Setting the Stage for Safety

Deborah Jo Barrett spent the summer researching.

As Production and Stage Manager for the Jordan College of the Arts, she set the rules for keeping performers safe from COVID-19. She started with guidelines from the city and state, plus the health standards in place at Butler, then added another layer of theatre-specific protocols based on recommendations and studies from production organizations across the country.

By the start of the fall semester, Barrett had compiled and shared a new pandemic handbook for the department and created a Stage Manager’s Handbook that included COVID-related guidelines. In addition to the basics we’ve all been following for nearly a year, these guidelines focused on cleaning protocols, air flow, and reduced cross contact.

During typical rehearsals and performances, several people touch the same props. Now that only one person can touch each item, directors have decreased overall prop usage. Actors also need to be in charge of their own costumes and makeup, without the assistance they’d normally have from crew members.

And with the amount of movement and vocal activity involved in theatre, the department took extra measures to maintain fresh air in rehearsal spaces. Accounting for room size, HVAC air exchange rates, and the number of people present, rehearsal groups need to take breaks or move to a different room about every 30 minutes to let spaces air out.

Surfaces are sanitized, temperatures are checked, and daily health surveys are filled out. As the virus evolves, so do the safety measures. Barrett says it’s tricky staging productions with everyone six feet apart, and they’ve needed to incorporate masks in ways that don’t distract from performances, but students have done a wonderful job sticking to the protocols.

“I think after the spring shutdown and the long summer, everyone was just so grateful to be back in-person,” Barrett says. “Everyone helped take care of everyone else. Of course, if we had to shut down again, we were ready to divert what we were working on into an online format. But because Butler is doing in-person classes, we feel it is important that as much as possible—and as safely as possible—we do live performances.”

On-The-Scene Learning

Kelly Schwantes, a senior Theatre major who served as stage manager for Lafcadio, is glad to be finishing her degree in-person.

“We are one of the only organizations in Indianapolis still producing,” Schwantes says. “And from the collegiate aspect, many universities had to do things like digital readings or radio plays. I don’t know if the magnitude of that hit every student, but it certainly hit me, and it reminded me how important it is to be grateful at a time like this that I can go to school and do what I came here to do.”

Schwantes says stage managing for the first time during a pandemic taught her that doing something new isn’t as scary as it may seem.

“In whatever role you’re in, you start small and work your way up,” she says. “I learned a lot of the skills I needed throughout my first three years at Butler. And I also work retail, so even with the added layer of COVID, I already had experience with maintaining safety standards. By the time we finished the first day of rehearsal, I knew we were going to make it through.”

While Butler Theatre’s fall productions were selected before COVID-19 hit, they still worked well with safety protocols. Antigone, for example, takes place during a plague, so masks fit the story. But for the spring semester, The Living—which is about the Great Plague of London—was chosen specifically for its current relevance.

And like the fall performances, the two this spring will be available via livestream. The program plans to continue livestreaming productions even after the pandemic to reach audiences who can’t make it to campus.

Ault’s family lives in Kansas, so she appreciates the new virtual viewing options.

“One positive thing about the way we are doing shows this year is that friends and family who have never seen me perform can now livestream the shows,” she says. “That has been a blessing in disguise.”

Photos by Zach Rosing

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager
260-307-3403 (mobile)

Butler Theatre's 'Antigone,' fall 2020, photo by Zach Rosing
Experiential Learning

As COVID-19 Cancels Shows Across the Nation, Butler Theatre Stays on Stage

Strict safety measures allow students to keep rehearsing, performing, and learning together

Feb 18 2021 Read more

Butler Alum Focuses on Making Community Brighter, One Flower at a Time

By Hailey Radakovitz ’21

From February to April 2020, the number of active business owners in the United States plummeted 22 percent, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, an indicator of the economic hardship brought about by COVID-19.

Businesses specializing in event services have been struck especially hard, as the pandemic has led to the cancellation of large gatherings. This has resulted in a major hit for small business owners as they fight to keep their passions alive and rely on community support.

Becky Ruby-WojtowiczLocated in Broad Ripple, Indianapolis, lilly lane is one of many businesses feeling the effects of the past year. A small floral shop that originally catered to weddings and other special events, lilly lane immediately began losing contracted events in mid-March as COVID-19 eliminated most of these gatherings for months to come. The shop started 2020 with plans to provide flowers for 60 weddings throughout the year, but that number quickly dwindled. Despite the challenge of remaining open and profitable, the shop is still finding ways to give back to the community.

Becky Ruby-Wojtowicz ’05, lilly lane’s owner, majored in Journalism and Arts Administration at Butler University. She began working with flowers during her first post-grad job as a Giving Manager at the Indianapolis Zoo, where she would occasionally create arrangements for donor events.

“Since we had a botanical garden on site, I would use its flowers to create centerpieces for some of our events,” she says. “I thought it was fun, and I wanted to do it on the side as a creative outlet.”

Then, in July 2008, a fellow Butler graduate reached out to Ruby-Wojtowicz with an emergency: Her wedding florist had suddenly canceled. With an eye for detail and some experience in florals, Ruby-Wojtowicz agreed to step in and help. The wedding was a success, and during the next few months, wedding floral requests from other Butler couples began pouring in. For more than a decade, a large portion of lilly lane’s floral arrangements have gone to weddings and other events for Butler alumni.

“Bulldogs love to support Bulldogs, and Bulldogs love to marry Bulldogs,” Ruby-Wojtowicz said with a laugh.

lilly lane flowers

As weddings were postponed throughout the last year, however, lilly lane’s business began to slow.

“We saw an immediate need for our doors to stay open,” Ruby-Wojtowicz says. “We knew business for events would come back eventually—we just didn’t know when.”

So, lilly lane adapted, drawing on its steadily-growing network of nearly 1,000 married couples and other past clients looking to support local businesses during the pandemic.

lilly lane flowersThe shop decided to shift the style of its arrangements to fit where many people now spend the most time—at home. These arrangements use seasonal blooms, featuring different combinations of colors and textures. This was the start of HOME, a program inviting lilly lane customers to order flower subscriptions that bring fresh-cut beauty to their doorsteps once or twice each month.

But lilly lane didn’t just stop at adapting business to survive the pandemic. Ruby-Wojtowicz also wanted to find a way to give back to the Indianapolis and Butler communities. After years of providing the University with flowers for events such as luncheons, receptions, and more, lilly lane recently ran a month-long special that donated a percentage of sales to the Butler Emergency Assistance Fund. The shop’s contributions to this fund will help cover the housing, living, and medical costs that students may face as a result of the pandemic throughout this academic year.

Despite the ongoing challenges brought on by COVID-19, one thing remains certain to Ruby-Wojtowicz: Going forward, lilly lane will continue to brighten lives one flower at a time.

lilly lane flowers
Alumni Success

Butler Alum Focuses on Making Community Brighter, One Flower at a Time

Becky Ruby-Wojtowicz ’05 has found a way to follow her passion while supporting the Butler and Indianapolis communities

Alicia Garza Talks with Students on the Power of Working Together for Change

By Katie Grieze

After the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the spring of 2020, Butler University junior Annie Ventura wanted to address the anger she felt in a meaningful way.

“I was mad, sad, and disappointed about the acts of police brutality and the murders of people of color, particularly Black people,” says Ventura, an International Studies major with a minor in Criminology. “I knew that if I was mad, then there were millions of other people who were, too, because they were personally and directly affected by what was happening. It was a type of anger, disappointment, and sadness that I would never be able to fully understand. So, I wanted to do something that could serve as a beacon of hope and support.”

By early 2021, Ventura and other members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board (DEIB) of Butler’s Student Government Association had organized for #BlackLivesMatter co-creator Alicia Garza to speak with the campus community during the University's Founder's Week. Ventura helped moderate the conversation on February 9, along with Butler senior and DEIB Director Roua Daas. Co-sponsors for the virtual event included the Black Student Union, the Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement, Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E., the Efroymson Diversity Center, and the Department of Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

In addition to helping launch #BlackLivesMatter, Garza founded the Black Futures Lab to help Black communities be more powerful in politics. She is the Strategy & Partnerships Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the co-founder of Supermajority, and author of the book The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart—which was available free for Butler students leading up to the event.

During the discussion, Garza focused on her desire for more people to believe in their own power to create change, especially if they work together.

“The story that is told so often about #BlackLivesMatter is that we took a hashtag and turned it into a global movement,” she said. “But that’s not at all how change happens. Movements don’t originate from hashtags. They come from people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired—as [civil rights activist] Fannie Lou Hamer was known to say—and they join together to create a force that is bigger than themselves as individuals so that we can all access the world that we deserve.”

Organizing is powerful, Garza explained, but there can also be things that stand in the way of success. She said social movements can be messy because the people who build them are messy, complicated individuals. Even within the same organization, members come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. That’s why in building a movement, Garza said, it’s crucial to take an intersectional approach that doesn’t leave anyone behind.

“I love how Alicia tells her story and situates her own world view in an ever-shifting political and economic U.S. context, where there has been a constant backlash to any hard-fought progress that Black people gained decade after decade,” said Dr. Terri Jett, Professor of Political Science and Faculty Director of the Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement. “Her never-ending passion for staying in the midst of the struggle, and yet carving out a space for centering intersectional voices, has been remarkable because it allows for leaders to emerge who would have otherwise been silenced.”

Click here to view a recording of this event.

Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza Talks with Students on the Power of Working Together for Change

The #BlackLivesMatter co-creator spoke with the Butler community during a student-organized event on February 9

Spring Valley Farms eggs

Butler Dining Launches New Sustainable Food Grant Program


PUBLISHED ON Feb 09 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Butler University and its food service partner, Bon Appétit Management Company, are proud to announce the launch of the Food Enterprises Achieving Sustainability Together (FEAST) Fund, as part of their commitment to strengthening the local food system.

Butler students, campus groups, and departments—as well as food suppliers—can submit applications for sustainable food-related projects that will benefit the campus community.

“The FEAST Fund exemplifies Butler’s commitment to sustainability and student innovation,” said Dr. Frank E. Ross, Butler Vice President for Student Affairs. “Students will be empowered to take action and build an eco-friendlier campus that contributes to our collective health and well-being. As many face food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a commitment to practice sustainable consumption and tackle food waste. The FEAST Fund will help us do just that.”

To inspire other applicants, the committee has launched its first project: an egg centrifuge that cracks eggs at very high speed, which will allow for eggs from Spring Valley Farms in Hagerstown, Indiana, to be used more widely at Butler.

Butler Dining already buys some local eggs, along with local produce, meat, cheese, and more from many local farms, ranches, and food artisans. But the University was previously buying precracked (aka, “liquid”) eggs from a national Certified Humane supplier, due to the impracticality of using whole eggs in a large-scale food service operation. The centrifuge was proposed by Bon Appétit chef Chad Melinger and researched with the leader of Local Farms Harvest, a farming co-op of which Spring Valley is a member. The machine allows Butler Dining to use more locally sourced eggs without the hassle of cracking them all by hand.

“Supporting our local Farm to Fork partners and fighting food waste are key parts of the Bon Appétit culture,” said Bon Appétit Regional Vice President Randy DeMers. “I’m looking forward to seeing what other innovative ideas from the Butler community we can support from the FEAST Fund.”

Bon Appétit Management Company is the first food service company to have made a commitment to local purchasing, launching its Farm to Fork program in 1999, and the first to switch to cage-free eggs companywide, starting in 2005. The FEAST Fund is open to the Butler community, as well as to existing Bon Appétit Farm to Fork suppliers. Application guidelines and deadlines can be found on the Butler Dining website.


Media Contact:
Mandy Rentschler
Butler Dining Marketing Manager

Spring Valley Farms eggs

Butler Dining Launches New Sustainable Food Grant Program

Bon Appétit Management Company, working in partnership with a committee of Butler students and employees, will fund projects to increase the sustainability of the campus food system

Feb 09 2021 Read more
Butler University

Butler University and Ivy Tech Community College Announce Statewide Transfer Agreement


PUBLISHED ON Feb 05 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Ivy Tech Community College and Butler University have partnered to create their first transfer agreement, making a seamless process for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. This agreement also seeks to address Indiana’s teacher shortage by providing an affordable pathway.

Under the agreement, any Ivy Tech student that completes an Associate of Science in Elementary Education degree can directly transfer to Butler University’s Elementary Education program with junior standing.

“Ivy Tech is elated to announce this new partnership with Butler University, not only to create an affordable and seamless transfer experience, but to address the critical shortage of educators in our state,” said Dr. Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech.

Eligibility will require a 3.0 or higher cumulative grade point average and course grades of “C” or better. Additionally, students must also complete Butler University’s transfer application. Upon meeting these requirements, students may apply a minimum of 57 credit hours from their Ivy Tech associate degree toward requirements for Butler University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

“Butler University is excited to open this door to a community and statewide partnership that not only will help address the teacher shortage, but will also increase access to Butler University and attainment of bachelor’s degrees in our state,” Dr. Brooke Kandel-Cisco, Dean of Butler’s College of Education, said. “We look forward to this being the first of many agreements with Ivy Tech Community College.”

Ivy Tech students interested in this opportunity can work with their academic advisor to confirm their academic plan meets all the requirements.

To maximize savings, students can take advantage of scholarship and grant opportunities at both institutions.

The agreement, which became effective December 10, 2020, remains in effect for two years. After two years, the institutions will review the agreement for renewal.

For more information about Ivy Tech’s education program, visit For information about Butler University, visit


About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degree and short-term certificate programs, and trainings that align to the needs of the community. The College also offers courses and associate degree programs that seamlessly transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a Bachelor’s degree.

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 Contacts:

Mark Apple
Butler University Interim Director of Strategic Communications

Tracey Allen
Ivy Tech Executive Director of Marketing and Communications                                         

Butler University

Butler University and Ivy Tech Community College Announce Statewide Transfer Agreement

Institutions partner to create seamless Elementary Education pathway to reduce teacher shortage

Feb 05 2021 Read more

Q&A with Madi Dornseif, Blue IV’s Intern

When Madi Dornseif, a senior majoring in Strategic Communication, interviewed for her internship with Butler University’s Official Mascot, Butler Blue IV, it had to be rescheduled and held over Zoom. The tool was foreign to both Madi and the young mascot at the time, but not for long. She would soon learn that the dream internship she had just landed would need to adapt to the growing COVID-19 crisis.

Hear from Madi on how she was able to shift to being Blue’s intern in a new virtual and hybrid world.

Why did you apply to your internship?
I love the Butler Blue Live Mascot Program. When I was a senior in high school, I visited Butler three different times just to try to meet Trip! I always loved the fact that Butler had this program incorporated into its marketing efforts. It is actually one of the reasons I decided to go to Butler. As someone who was interested in going into marketing, I loved the uniqueness of the University’s marketing compared to other schools I had applied to.

During my junior year, when I received an email super early in the morning from College of Communication (CCOM) Internship Director Scott Bridge (just like every other CCOM student has) that listed this internship opportunity, it was a no brainer!

Describe your responsibilities as the official Live Mascot Program Intern.
In my current role, I have been able to hone my skills in generating content to gain new followers on social media platforms such as Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. One of my unique skills in this position is graphic design, using Adobe Creative Cloud. A main task of mine is creating graphics, GIFs, and stickers to promote Butler Blue IV on social media and throughout the University. Last semester, I had the opportunity to work on Blue’s first birthday party and run the Butler Blue sticker store. Both of these projects were a lot of work but definitely rewarding.

Madi and BlueWhat is the most rewarding aspect of your internship?
Being able to feel like an actual employee. In my past internships, I only occasionally saw my work being put to use. As the Marketing Intern with the Butler Blue Mascot Program, I thought seeing my first graphic posted on Butler’s and Butler Blue’s social media channels was unbelievable. So many of my friends came up to me and told me how proud they were to see my work.

What have been the main things you've learned from this experience?
The main thing I have learned from this experience thus far is filming and editing vlogs. I have only had a small amount of experience when it comes to videography, and that was one of the main things I really wanted to learn before I enter the professional world. I have been able to film and edit a number of vlogs in this internship and have really seen my skills benefit from this experience.

Another thing that I have learned is that running a sticker store is a lot harder than it sounds!

Favorite memory/story/project?
A funny memory I have with Blue is that he insisted on sitting on my lap during a car ride. I feel like Blue and I have bonded, and we are buds now. I love getting to go see him and play with him. Work does not feel like work when Blue is around!

My favorite project was Blue’s first birthday party on October 30, 2020. There was so much preparation that went into his party—more than any one of my own! I was nervous that only a small number of students would want to take a picture with Blue. Oh, was I wrong. There was a line in front of Atherton Union before my boss, Evan Krauss, and I even arrived. When the time came to start Blue’s party, there were easily more than a few hundred students lined up all the way to the library just to see Blue on his special day.

Your internship is partially in-person and partially remote—how have you adapted to that?
I have adapted quite well to a hybrid internship. I will never forget when I got the email from Evan telling me my internship would be virtual. It broke my heart. I thought I would never get to work with Blue.

But it actually worked out a ton better than I thought it would! I get to work with Evan and Blue in-person about once or twice a week. And I think I am getting more work done in a timely manner at home than I would in the office. I don’t know how distracted I would be with having Blue in the office—I would just want to play with him all day!

Do you have plans for what you'll be doing next?
I am actually trying to figure that out right now. I am currently applying for jobs in Indianapolis and Nashville, Tennessee. I would love to continue working with social media and graphic design. My skills have improved so much in this internship, and I would love to continue doing similar tasks in my first job. My dream job would be working in marketing with the Nashville Predators, but working in sports is difficult to get into. I recently applied for an entry-level graphic design position, so fingers crossed!

Madi and Blue
Experiential Learning

Q&A with Madi Dornseif, Blue IV’s Intern

As a marketing intern for Butler’s Live Mascot program, the Strategic Communication senior has gained experience in social media and graphic design—all while bonding with a famous bulldog