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Awards / Honors

Celebrate! CSU Milestone: Brian Butki, 10 years

February 21, 2014
By Geneva Mueller

For Brian Butki, professor of Health and Exercise Science in the College of Health and Human Sciences and director of Youth Sports Camps, 10 years in Fort Collins is not nearly enough.

For Brian Butki, professor of Health and Exercise Science in the College of Health and Human Sciences and director of Youth Sports Camps, 10 years in Fort Collins is not nearly enough.

Since obtaining his bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in physical and health education from the University of Wyoming, he had his sights set on Fort Collins and working for Colorado State University. Butki earned his doctorate from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and was teaching in Illinois when he and his family decided that they were ready for a change.

“I guess it was sort of fate, if you believe in that kind of thing,” Butki said. “Almost the first day we began looking for a position, this job came open. And the way it was written — it could not have been more perfect. It was like I wrote the job announcement.”

Dual appointment

Butki has a dual appointment as both a professor and an administrator, which gives him a certain degree of freedom in his work with the University. His administrative work with the different sports programs on campus replaces the research component required of other professors.  With more than 20 years directing youth sports camps, Butki brings not only expertise, but genuine passion to the Youth Sports Camps and facilitating the After School Activity Program and the Noon Hour Faculty Program.

The sports camps began in the 1970s, and while they have been highly successful from the beginning, since Butki took over the program, they have gone through a transformation. The camps have moved from a skill development perspective toward a lifetime fitness ideology.

Activity and involvement

The goal of the camps -- and a goal that Butki incorporates into every aspect of his life -- is to foster a love of activity and involvement. The camps have tripled in size over the past 10 years, with more than 3,400 campers attending throughout the course of the summer. Butki’s fundamental role with the camps fulfills not only his research interests in obesity prevention in children and adolescents, but also his general enthusiasm for life.

“My passion is mostly with the kids. That’s where my research interests are; it’s where my outreach interests are; and it’s really where my heart is,” Butki said.

In his role as a professor, his favorite class to teach is exercise psychology. The class teaches skills that can be used far beyond the realms of sports and academia, like using activity and exercise to not only perform better, but to feel better. While in school, he never thought he would be interested in entering into academia, but when he stepped into his first classroom, he discovered a zeal that he has brought with him to Colorado State.

“I absolutely love teaching. I wake up in the morning and I’m excited to come to work—still. Honestly, it’s what I was put on this planet to do” Butki said.

Tangible impact

What Butki enjoys most is having a tangible impact on the people with whom he is involved, both in the classroom and through the camps that he directs. And while Butki’s genuine dedication and hard work are evident, he credits much of his success to working in a community like Fort Collins that is receptive to his type of work. As a highly active and participatory community, the building blocks are already in place, he said; his work sees larger returns because of the already energetic and involved nature of the community.

Outside of his professional life, Butki most enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife, Erin, have two daughters, both of whom enjoy playing sports and staying active. They like to bike, hike, and spend time outside.  While his dedication to his job limits him to a certain extent, he likes to travel with his family and has traveled to Italy six times.

In all his years at the University, Butki’s passion has not at all been diminished and he anticipates many more years in Fort Collins.

“We came out here 10 years ago, and if I have my way, I’ll die here. I don’t anticipate ever leaving.”

Celebrate! CSU Milestones honors University employees for years of service and retirement, and will be held this year on April 30, 4 p.m., in the Hilton Fort Collins Ballroom. Between now and then, Today @ Colorado State will be featuring selected employees Celebrating! Milestones this year.

 


Contact: Nicole Franklin
E-mail: nicole.franklin@colostate.edu