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Anthony Murdock II graduated from University High School in 2014 and is currently studying political science at Butler University. He is a co-founder of Bust the B.U.B.B.L.E., a movement at Butler University that promotes the perspectives of students of color through diversity education, cultural awareness, and action-oriented activism. Below Anthony answers a few questions about his college experience and how University prepared him for life at Butler.

What have you been up to since leaving University?

Since leaving University, I have become very well immersed into the Butler community. Academically, I have decided my major and declared a minor — political science with a minor in religion. I have also attained a number of academic honors, most notably the Black History Maker of Tomorrow Scholarship (given through McDonald’s, my former employer) and the Dale Hathaway Social Action Scholarship (given to me by Butler through the Political Science Department). Athletically, I was one of two freshmen to make the Butler University Club Basketball Team, a nationally ranked program that won nationals just a few years back. I also became a head coach for Brandon Lafferman’s (University’s boys basketball head coach) Indiana Primetime Sports program and have been coaching and training athletes from 2nd to 8th grade since spring 2014.

In terms of leadership, I was the president of the Freshman Caucus, an organization that acts as a class government since freshmen don’t have class officers at Butler. I am currently the coordinator for the Education and Advocacy Committee of the Butler University Student Government Association, a committee in its inaugural year that, unlike any other committee in our Student Government Association, sits on two different Boards because of the intersectional nature of the committee’s work. I am also the youngest coordinator in our Student Government Association. Finally, I am a Co-Founder and the Director of Initiatives for Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E., a movement on campus that works to promote the perspectives of students of color at Predominantly White Institutions (with a particular focus on black students at Butler) through diversity education, cultural awareness, and action-oriented activism. I think that gives a small snapshot of the work I’ve been doing since leaving University.

How do you feel University best prepared you for college?

University best prepared me for college in a number of ways, but I will highlight two: they prepared me to write at a collegiate level, and they prepared me to value and advocate for diversity. I feel like an admission representative whenever I say this, but it’s true: the academic curriculum at University will teach each and every student how to write at a level that will suffice (if not supersede) the expectations of freshman seminar classes in college. From Mr. Priest’s Language and Literature class, to Mr. Webster’s Great Books class, to Ms. LaMagdeleine’s infamous AP Language class, to Mr. Thomas’s AP Literature class, University put me above the rest of my classmates. I got an A on every paper I wrote my freshman year, unless I turned it in late (which happened a bit more often than it should have, but that’s neither here nor there). Those kinds of results are the results every student wants to see, and I am thankful to University for playing the role it did in helping me achieve those results.

Secondly, University taught me that an appreciation for diversity is absolutely necessary in all institutions and particularly necessary at academic institutions. In high school, I was a “Diversity Ambassador,” so I’ve been familiar with diversity and understood that it was very important for years. But, when I walked onto Butler’s campus, I saw diversity take on a whole new identity. I was exposed to completely new people, perspectives, cultures, and lifestyles. I also experienced racism and classism at a whole different level — macroaggressions and microaggressions, overt and covert racist acts perpetuated by fellow Bulldogs — and for all this to happen at an academic institution, I was baffled. However, instead of sheltering myself from the new people and cultures and succumbing to the hate I experienced that was perpetuated by the racism and classism, within my heart grew a newfound fire and rigor for promoting the culture and history of my people, black people, that was present at UHS but took on a whole new form when I began my tenure at Butler. University planted the seed of an activist within me, and within the first month of being on Butler’s campus, that seed was watered, photosynthesized (I apologize in advance if this is not the proper term; you all know I was not one for science), and grew into a STRONG and well-rooted tree that stands tall to this day and will continue to stand tall and strong as long as it can.

Do you see that the core values you learned at University still apply to your life now? How?

I could write pages in response to each of these questions, but I know this is simply a profile, not a prolific dissertation so I’ll keep it brief. I think that core values of University still do apply to my life because I could go down the list and talk about the ways in which I continue to embody, or at least strive to accomplish, these core values in my daily life. I think the most efficient way to explain this is by sharing how powerful stewardship has been in my growth as a college student, campus leader, and activist. Stewardship, as I have come to understand, is about leaving a place better than when you arrived — taking what has been given to you, appreciating and maximizing those resources, and then using the surplus, as a result of that maximization, to benefit others. As a student, stewardship has played a key role in my growth because it helps me to always remember the responsibility that comes with the privilege of attending an academically prestigious institution like Butler. Stewardship motivates me to remember that the education I am receiving now is not to remain within the frame that I will eventually place my degree, but used to improve my local, national, and global community. As a campus leader, stewardship has allowed me to understand that every initiative I put into place and every policy I seek to enact must work to improve the community that I am a part of now, so that when the next class of students arrive, they experience an even better and more innovative campus. And finally, as an activist, stewardship has taught me how to promote and be an example of selflessness. Members and leaders of Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E must exhibit a list of characteristics to remain a part of the movement, but they first and foremost must be selfless. And my fellow founders and I (formally known as Founders X) placed such emphasis on the need for selflessness because it ensures that we, as a leadership core, do not use the movement as a vessel to promote personal politics, but rather to improve our community so that it is reflective of the desires of all members of Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E. and the black community at Butler. Stewardship allowed me to see that if I want to make my community better for someone else, I have to know what they want to see out of their community and push for that change whether or not it ends with me being in the spotlight or not. Stewardship, along with the rest of the core values, continues to play a positive role in and influence my life now that I have graduated from University, and I hope that when people see me, they see how honorable University must be as well.

Please share your best University memory.

My best University memory is definitely walking across the stage at graduation. The walk to receive the diploma is so awkward because you don’t want to fall and you hope your suit looks as good as your mom said it did since everyone is staring at you for like 10 seconds. Yet the walk is also extremely analogous to the journey a student endures while going through high school. Similar to not wanting to fall on the walk to get your diploma, one does not want to fall short of the expectations their communities, their families, and that individual had as they progressed through high school. The same way one hopes that their socks match their tie perfectly as they walk to get their diploma, one hopes that the values and ethics with which they were raised to exhibit showed themselves as they made decisions and commitments throughout their high school journey. And the same way one is so happy to finally hold that diploma in their hands that they forget about how awkward the walk back to their chair is going to be, a high school student cherishes finally finishing their high school journey, forgetting about the daunting road that lies ahead. For those 10 seconds to encapsulate all that, so many experiences flashing through my head as I nervously put one foot in front of the other as I got closer and closer to my mother with my diploma in her hand, I would definitely have to make it my best University memory. Honorable mentions go to winning sectional and regional basketball championships with my brothers for life, breaking the 400-meter record in track at sectionals my sophomore year, Mr. Bradley (he is a memory, all of him, as he is one amazing individual), going to diversity conferences with LaMags, and seeing my sister sing the National Anthem at Spirit Run my senior year.

What has been the most valuable experience you have had since leaving University?

My most valuable experience since leaving University has definitely been co-founding Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E. As a result of this movement, I have grown in more ways than I could have ever imagined, and I have grown at a rate that is much faster than I could have ever imagined. I have spoken on panels with nationally acclaimed black activists, led marches and protests and demonstrations, stood in solidarity with black brothas and sistas at Predominantly White Institutions across the country, spoken on radio stations and news channels, written articles and had articles written about me, and so much more all because of my leadership in this movement. And while I am eternally humbled and grateful for all the accolades and opportunities that I have received because of my leadership with this movement, Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E. has shown me that none of those accolades or opportunities can ever compare to the feeling I receive when a black first-year student is able to proudly say that they feel a bit more safe and appreciated because of the work Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E. has done. Nothing compares to seeing my fellow co-founder mentoring a first-year or transfer or current student on how to attain liberation within a system that seeks to oppress based on skin color. Nothing compares to going to sleep at night knowing that the work you are doing is going toward making sure your kids don’t grow up in a world as unjust and corrupt as the one you see everyday. The only way I can appreciate these moments is by embracing the idea of selflessness that I mentioned earlier and understanding that once I begin doing things for my fellow human beings, life becomes so much bigger than a plaque or news interview. Life becomes bigger than me, and when one realizes this, your entire perspective changes. Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E. has changed, and continues to reshape, my perspective day in and day out — I am so thankful to my fellow co-founders, our Director of Outreach, and all of our members for embracing this journey with me, as we strive toward bringing sustainable social justice to our community.