Butler plans to resume local summer programs, cancels study abroad

Some summer programs, such as BCAS camps and BSI, will resume this summer. Study abroad, however, remains canceled. Collegian file photo.

ALEX STENCEL | NEWS REPORTER | astencel@butler.edu

With the pandemic disrupting all activities last summer, President Danko announced this upcoming summer that Butler will work to resume activities and scheduled programming. While several local programs are being held, Butler has canceled summer study abroad programs. 

One of the programs that hopes to benefit from the return to normalcy is the Butler Community Arts School, or BCAS. BCAS is a program designed to teach students aged 7-18 about music, whether it is in a private music lesson, group classes or summer camps. Many of these classes are taught by trained Butler students known as Teaching Fellows and the programs run for most of the summer term. 

BCAS program director Jessica Meister said that last year’s pandemic and shift to Zoom made teaching difficult. She also said the easing of some restrictions this summer will allow for BCAS to plan for in-person camps. 

With the financial burden brought on by the pandemic, Meister and those in BCAS have worked to provide need-based scholarships, and in order to be as accessible as possible, those scholarships are awarded to 95% of those who apply.

“We want to do everything in our power to help kids still receive arts education experiences this summer,” Mesiter said.

Another key program affected by the pandemic last summer was the Butler Summer Institute, an undergraduate research program that allows students to be part of research projects, publications and conference conversations about a topic of interest. Those who are selected to participate are awarded an $4,500 award and on-campus accommodations for the summer.

Although the program was canceled last summer, BSI director Rusty Jones said he was ready and willing to make sure it happens this summer after they received approval.

When the President made the announcement that we’re working towards getting back to normal, I was excited to get the news that we were okay to do this,” Jones said.

Jones said that although there are some uncertainties, he is happy to have the event happen after last year’s cancellation, and he is looking forward to working with the university to make sure it happens this summer.

While many on campus events or programs are happening again after being canceled last summer, some off-campus events did not share the same fate. On March 26, Jill McKinney, the Director of Global Engagement for the Butler Abroad Program, released a statement regarding the cancellation of this summer’s study abroad program. 

“Restrictions and requirements — while necessary to slow the pandemic — significantly hinder the ability to offer short-term programs at the quality we all want,” McKinney said in her statement. 

She also said the Study Abroad Department is planning, as of right now, to have a normal study abroad program for the 2021-22 academic year. 

The university said the program’s cancelation was due to the safety and concern of students and faculty. However, students still expressed dismay at the announcement. 

Kate DesBiens, a junior communications sciences and disorders major, planned on going to Germany in both the 2020 and 2021 summer semesters. Now, with both trips canceled and only one year left, she may have missed her last chance to study abroad. 

“I don’t really think there will be any more opportunities for me to study abroad and get credit for it,” DesBiens said. “I understand why it was canceled and it sucks but I think it is the safe move.”

With COVID-19 cases on campus continuing to drop, Butler has hopes for their on-campus summer programs and the continuation of activities following this academic year.

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