Letter to the Class of 2017 from the Master of Butler College
Dear Butler Class of 2017,
Welcome to Butler College! I am very excited that you have been assigned to live in the best residential college on campus. Butler College is one of six residential colleges at Princeton that features distinctive housing and dining facilities, and whose staff members work together to foster a close-knit intellectual and social community through a broad range of events and activities. As a four-year residential college, Butler houses and extends academic advising and social enrichment to approximately 200 freshman, 200 sophomores, and 150 juniors and seniors. Our beautiful dorms, including Bloomberg, Bogle, Yoseloff, Wilf, the Class of 1967 Hall, the Class of 1976 Hall, and 1915 Hall, are some of the most sought after places on campus. I am confident that in these spaces you will develop close friendships, be challenged to think differently, learn new talents, and become your best self.
When you arrive on campus later this summer you will meet your Residential College Adviser (RCA), who will also be in contact with you this summer. The RCA’s, known collectively as the Core Group, are carefully selected juniors and seniors who form the backbone of the College, helping first-year students as mentors and friends to adjust smoothly to almost every aspect of university life.
At the start of orientation, you will also meet members of the Butler College Council. The College Council is a group of dedicated students who will organize many activities over the course of the year, ranging from social and cultural affairs to intramural athletics and civic engagement. The Council will welcome your ideas and your involvement right from the very start of your Butler career!
During orientation you will also meet our ten Resident Graduate Students (RGS’s), a select group of graduate students who live in the College, initiating and participating in programming that enhances the social and intellectual life of Butler.
The nerve center of the enterprise is the College Office, located on the second floor of Gordon Wu Hall, upstairs from the dining hall. Let me introduce the Butler College staff:
David Stirk, the Dean of Butler College, joined the University in 2004. He oversees the academic progress of all Butler students, and works to enhance our intellectual and social community in a variety of ways. Dean Stirk received his Ph.D. from the American Studies Program at Yale and his research and teaching is in the area of 19th and 20th century visual culture. He has taught courses in both the Freshman Seminar Program and the Princeton Writing Program.
Matthew Lazen, the Director of Studies, is in his ninth year at Princeton. He is responsible for academic advising for freshmen and sophomores. He pairs you with your Academic Adviser, a faculty member who guides you in your choice of courses and majors, and supervises the Peer Adviser, juniors and seniors who give you academic advice from a student’s perspective. Dr. Lazen received his Ph.D. from the Literature Program at Duke, and he is now pursuing an Ed.D. in higher and postsecondary education at New York University.
Alexis Andres joined Butler College in 2011 as the Director of Student Life. Along with supervising the Butler RCA’s, she provides Butlerites with guidance and support on personal and social matters and promotes a dynamic residential life environment in the college by organizing social activities and programs. Dr. Andres received her bachelor’s degree, as well as her doctoral degree in higher education administration, from the University of Virginia.
Betty Stein, the College Administrator, has been at Butler College since 1999. Since all non-academic matters come within her purview, she works closely with the Core Group and the College Council. She manages the College budget and oversees the physical facilities.
Susan Giranda, the College Secretary, joined the Butler College staff in 2007. Sue coordinates many of the staff’s activities and assists in virtually all facets of College life. She will greet you with a smile at the front desk of the College Office.
Last, there is the College Master, who is always a senior faculty member charged with responsibility for the general well-being of the College and those who reside there. I joined Princeton’s Department of Psychology in 2000 as a faculty member, and this is my second year as Master of Butler College. I received my Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Virginia. My teaching and research focus on interpersonal interactions and intergroup misunderstandings.
As Master of Butler, my goal is to create a strong community where residents help one another as well as others in their broader community. As a Princeton student, you will be an active member of many communities – Butler College, the Princeton University community, the broader Princeton town community, and the communities you create. Making these communities strong and vibrant involves individuals working together in engaging and meaningful ways to improve the lives of all of the members.
The Butler Office staff and I are excited about a new program – The Building Communities Program – that gives Butler students the opportunity to serve their various communities. Partnering with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement on their new Living Service Initiative, we will offer Butlerites a program that reflects the informal motto of Princeton University, “In the Nation’s Service and in the Service of all Nations.” Through participation in this program, you will be able to learn about and serve the area communities, meet students with similar interests, interact with faculty fellows, and form friendships while working towards a common goal. Let me describe the program to you:
At Butler, we realize it is important to think about how communities are developed and maintained. While there are many central issues important to a community, this year in the Building Communities Program we will focus on four facets of a community: (1) Housing; (2) Education; (3) Arts and Culture; (4) Sustainability and the Environment. During the first full week of classes, you will have the opportunity to attend various evening programs in Butler that focus on these issues, which may include viewing a documentary about housing issues or attending a discussion with experts on the minority achievement gap. In addition, you will be able to sign up for a service trip related to our four themes. The service trips are designed to give you hands-on experience with working in and making a significant contribution to your community. I will be in touch in August with additional information about the service trips and how you can become involved.
For now, I wish you best wishes for the rest of the summer. If you would like additional information about Butler College and the people who will offer guidance and support throughout your time at Princeton, please visit the Butler College website at http://www.princeton.edu/butlercollege, and to get a sample of some of the activities offered in the College please like us on Facebook (ButlerCollege-PrincetonUniversity). Welcome to Butler College!
J. Nicole Shelton
Master of Butler College