Philosophy & Critical Thinking Summer Camp

limestone building shaded by green trees, student with backpack entering through wooden door

The Butler University Philosophy and Critical Thinking (BUPACT) Summer Camp will explore philosophical questions related to justice through a weeklong series of fun, engaging activities. Throughout the week, campers will have the opportunity to discuss the issues that matter most to them. During this time they will be supported by Butler philosophy faculty in understanding and critically reflecting on philosophical issues, as well as developing and articulating their own perspectives. Each day will include activities around our beautiful campus, and one day we’ll be visiting the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

A typical day will be split into several sessions, each lasting 1–2 hours. Campers are expected to arrive at camp every day at 9:00 AM, and will depart Monday–Thursday at 3:30 PM. Lunch will be provided. On Friday, parents/guardians are invited to a showcase featuring the camper’s research projects, 3:30-4:15 PM.

Grade-Level Requirement

The Butler University PACT Summer Camp is open to any students who will be in high school (grades 9-12) in the 2023-2024 school year. This usually means that eligible students will be between 14 and 18 years old.

Program Tuition

The tuition for the summer camp is $350. This tuition covers costs for the duration of the camp, including but not limited to materials, meals, facilities, and instruction.


The deadline for payment is two weeks following acceptance. Participants will be able to pay tuition through a secure portal that will be made available at the time they are notified of acceptance.

Financial Aid

Need-based financial aid is available. A student’s inability to pay tuition should not prohibit them from attending the Butler University Philosophy and Critical Thinking Summer Camp. For more information, please contact Prof. Lavender McKittrick-Sweitzer.

To Apply:

Verify that you meet the eligibility requirements. If you have any questions about eligibility, please contact Prof. Lavender McKittrick-Sweitzer at

Fill out the BUPACT 2023 Online Enrollment Application

Please have ready brief but thoughtful responses to the following prompts. Responses must be 3-10 sentences.

  • Why are you interested in attending the Butler University Philosophy and Critical Thinking Summer Camp?
  • Briefly describe a learning experience from the past few years that was important to you.

Have an adult fill out the BUPACT 2023 Academic Recommendation Form for you.  You should choose an adult who has worked with you in an academic capacity, like a teacher, academic counselor, or tutor.

After you have submitted your forms, you will receive an automatically generated email confirming your submission and responses.

If you have any additional questions about the application process, please contact Prof. Lavender McKittrick-Sweitzer  for more information.

Lavender McKittrick-Sweitzer—Assistant Professor, Philosophy

Kyle Furlane—Instructor, Philosophy

Q: Who will my fellow scholars be?

A: Participants will be students just like you, insofar as they are high school students who are interested in getting to know more about philosophy and engage in thoughtful discussions.

Those accepted to the camp will come from schools all across Indianapolis, and sometimes further. Coming from a diverse set of backgrounds, participants are given the opportunity to examine the issues at stake collaboratively and from a variety of perspectives. This is an educational opportunity that you may not be afforded within your own school.

Q: What supplies will I need to attend the camp?

A: All materials will be provided at the camp.

For some of the activities, you may find it helpful to bring your own laptop or tablet. We will ensure, however, that devices are available for use when needed.

Q: What are the dates of the camp?

A: The camp is held June 5–9, 2023 in person on Butler University’s campus in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Q: When are applications due?

A: The priority deadline is April 21, 2023. Please ensure that academic recommendations are also turned in by this time.

Q: Where can I find the online application form?

A: The online application form is available here  and the required academic recommendation is available here .

Q: When will I find out whether I’ve been accepted?

A: Participants will begin to be notified of acceptance shortly after the applications are due. Depending on the number of applications, some students may be placed on a waitlist.

Q: When is tuition due?

A: Tuition is due two weeks after notification of acceptance, and can be paid through a secure portal that will be made available at the time accepted participants are notified.

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Need-based financial aid is available. For more information, please contact Prof. Lavender McKittrick-Sweitzer at

Q: What questions will be explored during the camp?

A: The theme for this summer will be justice. Possible questions we will cover include:

  • How does technology promote or deter a more just society?
  • How should we respond to historical injustices?
  • Are there injustices related to what we know and believe?
  • How are our understandings of injustice and our own identity related?
  • How should we think about political representation and participation?
  • What does ‘fairness’ mean?

BUPACT follows Butler University’s requirement of COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, faculty, and staff. In practice, this means that:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are required for both our campers and staff.
  • Masks are optional.

Upon acceptance to BUPACT, participants will be asked to submit proof of vaccination.

This camp is generously supported by grants from the Butler Giving Circle, PLATO, and the Indianapolis Public Schools Foundation, as well as the Butler University Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies. Contact Lavender McKittrick-Sweitzer for additional information.