This afternoon, there will be a new Butler University president sitting at Starbucks waiting to talk to students.
President Jim Danko will have his first “Chat with the President” from 3:30-4:30 p.m. today at Starbucks.
Danko said he is making an effort to try to interact with and be accessible to students on campus.
“I actually have ‘Jim walks campus’ on my calendar,” Danko said. “In a lot of ways, the president personifies Butler, so my job is to get out there and connect.”
Nick Peters, a fifth-year pharmacy student, said he thinks Danko already seems more approachable than former university president Bobby Fong.
“I always thought Fong’s Starbucks forums were fine, but it just seemed like you were only going to get a limited handful of people,” Peters said. “Danko has been reaching out over social media, and that’s really going to be the best way to communicate and interact with students.”
Danko said his experience connecting with students so far has been positive, something he said might be due to the school’s Midwest location.
“I might be biased, but I find students here extraordinarily down-to-earth,” Danko said. “I don’t think there’s any airs about them.”
So far, Danko said he’s thought of three specific ways in which he will be able to interact with students.
The first is holding president’s office hours, where students would be able to sign up for a time to have anywhere from a five to 15 minute chat with Danko one-on-one.
Danko also wants to continue Starbucks visits and said whether they’re official or not, he still probably will end up visiting Starbucks once or twice every day.
Student Government Association president Al Carroll and Danko also briefly talked about starting open forums, Danko said.
“I’d maybe come with a few words prepared, but it would really be an open dialogue,” he said.
Velinda Bennett, the administrative secretary in the president’s office, wrote in an email that Danko is extremely interested in meeting with students regularly to discuss their views of Butler.
Danko said he and his wife, Bethanie, are open to other ideas and want the momentum to continue throughout the semester.
“We’re trying to take off past constraints,” Danko said. “We just want let people know we’re here.”