Learning the history of a university isn’t exactly at the top of anyone’s list of priorities. Who can blame them? The idea of dusting off a thick book to wade through a lifetime of milestones can be less than appealing — boring even.
Enter the Butler timeline. No, not your run-of-the-mill timeline that simply states the facts; but one that is easily accessible, social-media based and meets the Butler Community where they are: Facebook.
For Butler’s Sesquicentennial in 2005, a written timeline of significant University events was created and University Relations staff have kept it updated ever since. While the idea of an online historical timeline of the University isn’t new, the question of what platform to use remained. That is until one of Butler’s Information Technology staff members, David Alder, suggested using the recently released Facebook timeline feature.
Since the timeline was not a top-priority project, it took approximately two months to complete, with the majority of time being spent searching through yearbooks from years past.
“Flipping through the pages of all the older yearbooks — some dating back as far as 1890 — was not only educational, but extremely entertaining,” said Ashley Plummer ’06, new media specialist in Web Marketing and Communications. “I hope we were able to capture some of the look and feel that may have been present on Butler’s different campuses throughout the years.”
Emily Elliott ’12 and Jordan Gill ’13, both of whom are interns in Web Marketing and Communications, also played key roles in implementing the project.
“Working as a team with University Relations and Web Services to complete the project has been the most rewarding piece,” added Plummer. “Also, of course, seeing the end result and knowing those who already have viewed the timeline think it’s a great concept.”
Highlights and snapshots of Butler’s past — when integrated with social media — become a modern-day history lesson worth sharing (pun intended). From the day Butler was founded to the recent addition of Trip, the timeline allows viewers to learn how the University has been shaped into what it is today, and does so in a way that is both visually appealing and user-friendly.
Perhaps an even greater lesson to be learned from this project: the best way to engage individuals in an institution’s history is to communicate it in a way that makes it relevant.
Be sure to “like” Butler University’s timeline at http://www.facebook.com/ButlerUniversityTimeline
If you feel a significant event in Butler’s history is missing from the timeline, or if you have a photo you would like to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media contact: Megan Vawter