‘Dawgs Night Out’ hits Hampton

The Student Engagement Board aims to ensure students feel connected with and involved in campus life. Photo courtesy of @butler.sga on Instagram

BELLA BUSSONE | STAFF REPORTER | bbussone@butler.edu 

On Nov. 2 — from 5 to 6:30 p.m. — the Student Engagement Board is hosting an event called ‘Dawgs Night Out’ to unite campus with nearby public safety officials. The Student Engagement Board falls under Butler’s Student Government Association (SGA) and works to facilitate further community involvement among students within campus. 

Taking place in the grass along Hampton Drive on the south end of the mall, the Student Engagement Board planned this event in hopes of getting the Butler community more familiar with the first responders who serve them. 

Included in this setup will be tables covered with food, giveaway raffle prizes and a special appearance from Bear, the Butler University Police Department (BUPD) canine. Along with these incentives, the event will feature a variety of public safety automobiles that will provide an interactive experience for students to familiarize themselves with vehicles that they may not have encountered before. 

A spin on the traditional ‘National Night Out’, which typically includes small-town cookouts and street parties, this campus-specific event serves the same purpose of reaching into the heart of the community and getting to know the local officers stationed in the area. 

Marianna Green, a sophomore international business and Spanish double major, is the director of student engagement for SGA and one of the students behind the Dawgs Night Out event. Through her position, Green has the opportunity to create and facilitate student engagement-centered activities and initiatives throughout campus. 

“Our mission this year is to really get students to be involved,” Green said. “To direct them to places that they can feel they have belonging on campus and put their talents toward something special, and also find ways to connect with the greater Indianapolis area as well.” 

The idea for the event arose when Green conferred with SGA President Katie Stanley about their shared passion for public service following a recent BUPD open forum, where a panel of officers gave the public an opportunity to directly ask personal questions. 

“We left [the forum] thinking that there is really room for growth here,” Green said. “We sensed that there needed to be a little bit more opportunity for connection between the parties of BUPD and just Butler students in general.” 

Once the plan to engage BUPD was in motion, the Student Engagement Board asked themselves what was holding them back from taking this further. That is when this originally smaller gathering on campus branched out to welcome more of the city that Butler students are currently calling home. This includes the Indianapolis Metro Police Department North (IMPD), Indianapolis Fire Department, Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services as well as the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Marion County Prosecutor’s Office

With over half of Butler students being from out-of-state — some even out-of-country — the Student Engagement Board strives for a deeper understanding of the Indianapolis area government and agencies. Green feels that the presence of this amount of public safety officials on campus is a rare opportunity that harbors a large amount of potential for students. 

Matthew Grimes, the Butler University Police Department community relations officer, worked alongside SGA to contact and organize some of the appearances and setups at the event. After being on campus for nearly six years, Grimes stressed the importance of a relationship between public safety officials and the Butler community. 

“A lot of times people see these vehicles when there has been an incident, which isn’t the best environment to go and meet your local responders,” Grimes said. “We love to interact with the students and this just gives us another opportunity.” 

Public safety officials have the potential to harbor a negative connotation in the eyes of the public, considering the circumstances in which most people interact with them. This event gives the Butler community access to information on what they do and why they do it. 

Sophomore marketing major Adelynn Harris is serving her second year on the Student Engagement Board. Last year Harris was the external communications director and is currently serving as this year’s campus coordinator. Harris helped organize the locations of vehicles such as fire trucks, ambulances and police cars, created graphics to advertise the event and chose the raffle prize selection. 

“The intention of this event is to get the campus and general Butler community to connect better with BUPD and IMPD and promote the resources they have,” Harris said. “We want the campus to feel that they are approachable and events like these are instrumental in building that trust that everyone wants.” 

Each individual has their own personal conception of BUPD or IMPD, but SGA strives to make this event a mediated ground for an inviting and informational experience. 

SGA’s Student Engagement Board provides updates concerning ‘Dawgs Night Out’ and other events on their Instagram page, @butler.sga. To learn more about SGA or their Student Engagement Board, visit their website


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