Students jump on new student handler job

MIRANDA MARITATO
STAFF REPORTER

Butler students looking for a more “paws-on” employment opportunity on campus may be fit to be a handler for Butler’s live mascot, Blue III.
The Butler Blue Crew is searching for Butler students to serve as Trip’s handlers and social media liaisons.
The group will be composed of 15 to 20 Butler students and led by a pair of co-leaders. Members of the Blue Crew will have a wide range of tasks, including daily walks of Trip and managing appearances. They will also develop marketing strategies and handle some social media.
A large number of Butler students applied for this new job opportunity when its creation was announced mid-semester.
“We received 70 applications and narrowed it down to 35 to take to the interview process,” Trip’s owner Michael Kaltenmark said. “I was impressed with how qualified each applicant was. All students who applied could have done very well as a handler, but we need to find the very best.”
Sophomore Hannah Meinen was one of the 70 applicants selected for an interview. Meinen said her passion for involvement in the Butler community motivated her to apply.
“I want to be a part of Blue Crew because it is such a unique opportunity to be involved with something as great as a live mascot,” Meinen said. “Trip is a huge part of the Butler community and I would love to be a part of something that is so special.”
Kaltenmark said he decided to start the organization after a trip to Georgetown last year, when he saw a group of students handling their bulldog mascot.
“It would not only benefit me, but the university. It would be a win-win,” Kaltenmark said. “Students will be able to help maintain discipline with Trip, make sure he acts how he needs to act and be where he needs to be.”
Potential crew members must be full-time students, in good standing with the university and go through the application and interview process.
Once members are chosen, they will begin basic dog training, Kaltenmark said.
Being a member of the Blue Crew is an unpaid position, although internship and work-study opportunities may be available in some areas. The co-leaders of the organization will recieve a stipend each semester.
“If the job matches the students’ area of study, we will develop an internship by working with their advisor and adjusting the position to meet the needs of the hours required,” Kaltenmark said.
The Blue Crew will be a long-term commitment for members. Crew members will have a weekly slot to work throughout the rest of the semester.
“It will take some time to get through growing pains,” Kaltenmark said. “Team building and training will help establish the group. I think we will have a well-oiled machine in the end.”
Sophomore Jim Santos has been a handler for Trip since last semester.
“I never thought about being his handler, I just spend a lot of time with him and he liked me and began to trust me,” Santos said. “I never had a dog. We just bonded.”
Members of the Blue Crew must be approved drivers in order to drive Trip off campus for appearances.
Santos is looking forward to the Blue Crew as an opportunity for more students to get involved.
“It’s nice to see students wanting to interact with Trip more than just stopping to pet him,” Santos said. “It’s also a good experience to meet people.”
New members chosen to be a part of the Blue Crew will begin their duties in January.

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