Merrimack College’s new Graduate Student Senate President Andrew Butz M ’24 prides himself as a people person and an interpersonal problem solver.
He hopes these skills will come in handy while advocating for Merrimack’s graduate students.
“The Graduate Student Senate is on a mission to support the enhancement of graduate student life and to make sure all graduate students have a sense of community,” he said. “We want to make sure people understand that…graduate school is an experience for you to have a transformative moment in your professional life journey to make things better for yourself, and achieve a new place in your career and to turn pages and start a new chapter in your professional life.”
Butz’s goals include making sure all students and faculty have their needs met when pursuing research projects through the creation of new research grants. As outlined in the College’s Agenda for the Future, Merrimack is currently working to expand its research capabilities to reach R2 classification. “The Graduate Student Senate looks forward to a collaborative effort with faculty and administrators to help achieve this goal here at Merrimack,” he stated.
“President Hopey is trying to bring more graduate students here,” he explained. “Groundbreaking research most of the time happens at the graduate level and that’s what really puts colleges on the map. There’s a vision that President Hopey has for the future of the College and it very much involves graduate students and the research they will do at Merrimack.”
This is not Butz’s first time holding office on a college campus. As an undergraduate student at Bridgewater State University, he was involved in the student government association there. He graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s in history.
“I really felt like I helped advance the institution while I was there,” Butz said. “It’s really a way to demonstrate how much you care not just about your future but the future of the institution that is hosting you. I’ve always been one of those people who want to be involved. I feel like I’ve gotten to meet great people through involvement, and I think that’s an important part of the educational process. It is why I jumped at the opportunity to be involved at Merrimack.”
After graduating Bridgewater, he worked as an operations manager in entertainment and hospitality where he gained experience building teams of managers and staff members. He realized he had a real talent for building efficient, productive teams. Butz said this was a talent he could further develop working in human resources and that was when he realized it was time for a shift in his career.
“You get to a certain point in your career, where earning a master’s degree will help differentiate you from your peers when it comes to getting into higher positions, where disciplines in leadership become more specialized and specific,” he explained.
He has since enrolled in Merrimack’s Master’s in Management online-hybrid program with a concentration in organizational leadership. He previously completed Business Applied Statistics with Assistant Professor of Practice Roberto Santos, which he described as “a challenging, but interesting business class.” Now, Butz is finishing up his course of study at Merrimack under Adjunct Lecturer Rachel Gontarz. Throughout the process of earning his master’s, Butz feels he has learned much about the leader he is. Since studying at Merrimack, Butz feels further equipped to execute a new professional role and he can’t wait to get started.
“I’ve had a great experience as a graduate student at Merrimack College, both on the educational side and on the social side,” he said. “I’ve met and formed relationships with a lot of great people at this school which has made this experience truly special,” Butz said. “Merrimack College is a great school, and it is an honor and a privilege to serve the graduate student body as its president.”