Center Spotlight: David Butter
Hometown: Miami, FL
Major (s): Political Science & Sociology
Hungry for change.
As an ambassador at the Second Harvest Food Bank, senior David Butter is passionate about alleviating food insecurity on college campuses.
Butter has been involved with the center since his freshman year as a Service Scholar. Service Scholars is a four-year, comprehensive curriculum program that promotes civic responsibility, which Butter credits with spurring his growth.
“It brought me a new sense of respect for people who are in the nonprofit sector and are social change agents because it’s hard to get people outside of their comfort zones and to adapt to new things,” he said. “People who can create social movement are very impressive to me.”
Over the years, Butter has also been involved with the Community Ambassador and Community Outreach programs, Garnet & Gold Key Leadership Honor Society, Alpha Tau Omega, and the Garnet & Gold Scholar Society. He has also completed the Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies.
Airplane or road trip?
Cats or Dogs?
Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?
Beach or Mountain?
After graduating this May, Butter plans to return home to attend Florida International University College of Law’s pro bono program.
“I want to serve as legal counsel for people who suffer from employment discrimination, because not having a job directly relates to not having food on the table,” he said. “It is another, more powerful way to fight hunger in the community by making sure people are employed to do so.”
Butter wants to volunteer with an agency similar to the Second Harvest Food Bank while in Miami, but he plans to eventually take a more administrative role like managing philanthropy or fundraising and marketing events.
While once president for the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, Butter is most proud of his philanthropy and service chair position with the organization.
Butter says that because of the lessons he learned in the center, he was able to directly transfer useful information to fraternity life and revamp its social service and philanthropy program to build new connections between the fraternity and the nonprofits in the area.
“That’s where I am really appreciative and grateful that I’ve had so much involvement in the center because it has helped me help this other organization on campus,” he said.
Butter is also passionate about his position as an Honors Colloquium Leader, where he is the instructor of 25 honors students every week and teaches things such as essay and resume writing, financial literacy, how to apply to graduate school, and other practical skills.
Butter's work has earned recognition on campus and beyond. This week, he received the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy's Academic Leadership Award.
Last year, Butter was a Truman scholarship nominee, for which he endured in a grueling process that he says paid off because it helped him find himself and dig deep on the reasons why he does certain things and why he is involved with certain organizations.
The most valuable takeaway from the scholarship was the policy proposal that he developed.
The application process required a proposal of a policy and his was to add the measurement of food insecurity into the FAFSA application. He researched and spoke to about 40 college food banks for data on the usage of their food banks by their students.
"I feel that if we added this measurement of food security into the FAFSA, an application that all college students already have to fill out as a simple yes/no question," he said, "it would be useful data to hand to campus administration to know how many of its students are starving."
Recently, Sodexo named Butter a fighting hunger regional honoree, for which he will receive a $1,000 grant to donate to a charity of his choice.
Butter plans to donate the grant to the FSU food pantry, which he says “provides them with a year’s budget.”
— Fabuola Pierre