Indy Summer Experience helps students explore the city


Students often feel comfortable with keeping a daily routine of seeing the same people and going to the same places.  One can almost say it is as though they are in their own personal Butler Bubble.

The Butler Bubble is all too real for some students on campus. However, the Internship and Career Services department offers a summer program to help students grow out of their familiarities.

The Indy Summer Experience is a program designed to help students work and explore the city of Indianapolis. Students will have a chance to meet and network with Butler University alumnus, local businesses and other students in the program, according to the ISE website.

Jennifer McConnell, ISE coordinator and career advisor, has run the program since summer 2010. She said trying new experiences with other students is one of the most rewarding things from the program.

“One of the greatest benefits is not only getting to experience Indianapolis and go to these sites, restaurants, venues and locations that you may have heard of and have never been to,” McConnell said, “but also experiencing that with other students that, even though you have been here for a few years, they may have never even talked to or met.”

The program is completely free and students can receive reduced housing if living on campus. McConnell said ISE hosts six Wednesday events that always involve a high-quality dinner and two independent service projects.

At these events, local alumni and professionals network with the Butler students and help them get adjusted out of their comfort zones. McConnell said some of the businesses that attend the events include Angie’s List, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.

“Butler is about the sense of community and also professionally,” she said. “It’s really about who you know and utilizing your network. And network does not have to be a scary thing.”

Cole Smith, a fifth-year pharmacy major, was involved in ISE in 2012 and 2013. He decided to do the program after being approved for an internship in Indianapolis.

Smith said the program helped him build professional skills, such as speaking and interviewing. He also said ISE gave him more confidence to branch out of his comfort zone.

“I got to meet other Butler students that I would not have otherwise and made some good friends,” he said. “Because you get pretty close to the people who do the program with you.”

Sean Gibbens, a senior computer science major, unintentionally stumbled upon the ISE program. He said he saw an article from The Butler Collegian explaining the program and at the last minute he applied for a spot in the summer of 2014.

He said once he began, he fell in love with the program and all the activities it had to offer. Gibbens said he only knew a couple of people within the program, but that did not stop him from enjoying his time in it.

“It was also nice getting out of the Butler Bubble,” he said. “Cause almost every event in ISE was somewhere in the city. It was refreshing seeing a new side of Indy, a side I haven’t really explored before.”

Both Smith and Gibbens said they would recommend anyone to apply for the program, no matter what grade they are in.

“I would highly recommend it ,” Smith said. “Because you are going to get a lot of opportunities that you would not get otherwise and you will build a lot of connections.”

Gibbens said that Butler during the summer is different than during the school year. More people are interning and working, which makes it seem more like the real world.

Gibbens, McConnell and Smith said they all agreed the program should be promoted more around the campus.

“It is a really fun program,” McConnell said. “I have been really trying to do a better job this year getting the word out about it because it is open to every student and every major.”

The next information session about the ISE program is April 2 from 4 to 5 p.m. in Atherton Union 326. The program only accepts 20 applicants and the deadline for the application is April 10, according to the ISE website.

Gibbens said though the application pool is competitive, he believes more students  should know about what all the ISE offers.

“I think it’s important for the Internship and Career Services office to market the event more prominently,” he said. “Because it is a great program and it was really worth my time and while. I just think more students should know more about it.”