MTSU urges students to collect, connect with popul...

MTSU urges students to collect, connect with popular button campaign

MTSU has an answer to the age-old question, “Button, button, who has the button?”

Students who are involved in many different extracurricular activities are displaying increasingly popular MTSU buttons, each of which symbolizes a different aspect of campus life.

In the second year of the button campaign, there are thousands of small metal buttons in circulation.

Nathan Haynes, assistant director of recruitment, proudly displays MTSU buttons on a lanyard that he wears around his neck. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

“We saw that students liked buttons,” said Nathan Haynes, assistant director of recruitment. “They already wore them on their backpacks. I know that I certainly did as a student.”

The idea came out of a January 2013 brainstorming session involving Laurie Witherow, vice provost for admissions and enrollment services, then-Student Government Association President Coby Sherlock and Haynes.

Dr. Deb Sells, vice president for student affairs, paid for the minimal start-up costs. Brian Evans in the Office of Creative and Visual Services draws the designs. The buttons themselves cost only 15 cents each to make.

The button campaign won a Special Merit Award at the 2014 Council for the Advancement and Support of Education Region III convention.

However, there’s more at stake than just promoting MTSU’s numerous academic and organizational assets.

“The buttons are tangible, collectible items that stand for positive student behaviors,” Haynes said. “Each is associated with a behavior that leads to student success.”

Research shows that the more involved students are with campus life, the more likely they are to graduate.

The buttons with the dusty blue background are associated with the Connection Point campaign in which students swipe their identification cards at designated events so that the university can track their degree of involvement.

Some Connection Point buttons depict, for example, homecoming events, Volunteer Day and Freshman Day of Service, among other endeavors.

Some of the newer buttons that are not part of the Connection Point program depict summer school, experiential learning, graduate studies, counseling services and the debate team. The colors of these buttons are as diverse as the rainbow.

“We realized very quickly that everyone would want blue,” said Haynes. “That doesn’t look good when you are looking at an overall color palette. You want to have a little variety.”

The only consistent requirement for all buttons is that they have “MTSU” at the bottom.

Haynes says he knows of several students who are trying to collect all 62 buttons and are trading with fellow students to get them, not unlike the way some collectors trade Olympic pins.

In fact, the identification badge Haynes wears is decorated with numerous MTSU buttons.

“A few (students) offered to buy this lanyard of buttons off my neck,” Haynes said.

For more information, go to or contact Haynes at 615-898-5484 or

— Gina K. Logue (