June 8, 2012

Dear Butler Community,

Many of you are aware that deposit numbers for incoming students are trending high, so much so that we anticipate a freshman class of 1,070 or slightly above. This would make the Class of 2016 the largest in Butler history.

While this news is exciting, accommodating such a large class takes considerable planning from many areas across campus. To aid in this effort, I re-convened the New Student Task Force that was first established in 2003 to deal with our then-largest class. This same group met again in 2007 and 2010. The charge for this group has been — and remains — to look at what existing services and programs the University needs to expand or add, with the goal of accommodating students not only with their academics, but with their overall experience.

One of these areas is housing. We know that it’s important for first-year students to live on campus in order to help build their social and organizational networks, as well as acclimate to their new environment. Thus, upper-class students have been given two new off-campus housing options: apartments at Christian Theological Seminary (CTS), located adjacent to campus at the intersection of 42nd St. and Haughey Ave; and Homestead (Suites) Indianapolis, located at 8520 Northwest Blvd.

These housing options are being offered at the ResCo double-room rate and are completely voluntary to students. We expect to have a significant number of students interested in these facilities given the amenities they provide. A resident assistant will live in each facility.

Lastly, as it relates to housing, to accommodate the number of incoming students living within Ross and Schwitzer Halls, some rooms will be converted into triples, and will be offered to students at a reduced rate.

To accommodate increased enrollment, several measures are being taken: more than a dozen core curriculum courses have been added; in select classes, enrollment capacity has been increased by one to five students; and, new full time and adjunct faculty are being hired in several colleges to meet student needs. Additionally, tutoring services and study tables will be expanded to accommodate students with homework needs.

New soft spaces — or informal learning spaces — have already been added in Irwin Library and to the third level of the Gallahue Hall Atrium, while a new soft space — the 3rd floor common area in Atherton Union (near the elevator) — will be converted this summer. Additionally, outdoor wireless coverage will be added to the majority of campus to encourage outdoor study and classroom time during nice weather.

Approximately 150 new seats will be added to Atherton Marketplace. Other Marketplace enhancements taking place this summer include: Wi-Fi access; an enhanced grill station and bakery and dessert bar; upgraded ventilation and heating/cooling systems; and, a new dish-return station. Additionally, a new residential meal plan that eliminates the multi-tiered options will go into effect next fall. The All-Access Plan, which allows participants to come and go without restriction throughout the meal periods, features increased Flex Dollars (to $400 per semester) and five guest passes each semester that may be used to treat friends and family.

Finally, recognizing the importance of a student’s connection to campus and the greater Indianapolis area, the first six weekends of fall semester will include several fun and culturally enriching programs and activities for students to attend. A trip to Victory Field to see the Indianapolis Indians play, the Drive-In Movie on the Butler Mall, Ethnic Fest, and Atherton Union “take-over” are a few examples of what will be available to both incoming and returning students.

This is an exciting time for Butler University. Our anticipated record-setting class is a testament to the value of a Butler education, and I appreciate your efforts in doing all you can to offer students the best possible undergraduate experience.

Dr. Levester Johnson
Vice President for Student Affairs

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