About the Book

Welcome to New House 5!

Yes, it’s the top floor of a brand new dormitory at a prestigious university. But it’s also something much more.

For fifty-six freshmen, it’s home. It’s a place where friends are made and doors are always open. It’s a place where hearts are broken and tears are shed. And for Andy Butler, it’s the best story about friendship he has ever known.

Andy is the resident assistant for New House 5, and it’s his responsibility to bring the floor together, to support everyone, through their triumphs and through their letdowns. Join Andy as he shows how New House 5 becomes a family, and then falls apart when hidden problems come to light. Watch as these students try to overcome their flaws and fears to create a bond so special that nothing can pull them apart.

Not even themselves.

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads and Amazon – Read the reviews!

Excerpt: Intro

You’ve got to start somewhere
Find a reason, get a clue

– For Sara

Everybody wants to make a difference. Once in a while, we get a chance to.

My name is Andy. I was born in Seoul, South Korea. Adopted before I was born, shipped to the USA when I was a few months old, and American as baseball ever since. In Korea, I received the name Ik Hawn Kim. I couldn’t tell you what it means if my life depended on it. Here, my adoptive parents named me Andrew Michael Butler. I’ve been Andy ever since. I’m 20 years old, I’m a junior at college, and last year, I had one of those rare chances to truly make a difference. I was a resident assistant.

Challenging, exciting, heartbreaking, saddening, nerve-wracking. Being a resident assistant was all of these things. But more than anything else, it was the most rewarding experience of my life. I made some incredible friends, was introduced to new cultures and perspectives, and I learned more about the world around me than I can even begin to explain. At some schools, RAs are merely policemen, upper class students who want nothing to do with their residents and smile only when they’re told to. Not at my school. At Ashford University, we’re about community. And community is what I tried to build. In the process, stories were created and relationships were forged.

The phrase “New House 5” could mean anything. It sounds like it could be a band name, a superhero group, maybe a secret code. But for me, New House 5 means more than you can imagine. New House 5 was my floor. New House was the name of our dorm. It was so new, as we liked to say, that it didn’t have a name. I was on was the 5th floor, the top of the building. Hence, New House 5. In August, it was just a floor. By the following May, it was my home.

The story I am about to tell you is based in truth. The names have been changed, a few of the situations have been dramatized, some characters have been altered to protect anonymity, and I could not remember some of the conversations verbatim. But what happened to me last year, what happened to the floor I was a resident assistant for, what you are about to read, all really took place. All on one residential floor, in one year. Thinking about it now, I can’t believe some of the things that happened and I feel fortunate that I had a chance to make that difference. I think I made the most of my opportunity, but that’s up to you to decide.

The friendships I made with residents on my floor last year are some of the strongest I’ve made in my life. The people in this story are people I truly connected with, people I truly love, and people I will never forget. This story is for all of them, for everyone who made my experience as a resident assistant for New House 5 the most amazing year of my life. Through all of the tribulations, through all of the drama, through all of the problems, we were always there for each other. We were always a community. That’s what this story is about. New House 5: A community.

Right now, I’m back at school for my junior year. Sitting in front of my glowing laptop, nothing feels more appropriate than telling you my story. Everything is true, everything is real, everything elicits some kind of emotion in my soul. Writing this will no doubt make me nostalgic about what has happened to me and to the people around me over the last fifteen months. The clock on my alarm radio tells me it’s 12:32 am. If I’m going to tell you everything that happened last year, we might be here for a while. Let me go put on some pajamas, make some hot chocolate, and tell you the best story I’ve ever been a part of.


Leeanna says, “Communities like this don’t come along every day”
4 out of 5 stars
May 25, 2012

“New House 5” is a smooth, easy read. I felt as though I had known Andy and the other students for years, thanks to the conversational style. Andy was also unflinchingly honest about some of the mistakes he made as an RA, such as not telling someone higher up when one of his residents was a danger to herself. I liked that he didn’t gloss over his mistakes but admitted to them, which helped me feel even more like I knew him.

When “New House 5” came to an end, both as a book and as a floor, I was sorry to leave everyone behind.

Krista says, “This is a book I would recommend
4 out of 5 stars
April 11, 2012

Several anecdotes are inspirational and can help readers build some confidence … that no matter what you maybe feeling you are not alone and new experiences and people can be a very good thing.

D. Ivovich says, This is a really great one”
5 out of 5 stars
March 9, 2006

I loved this book. Andy has a great grasp on College and what a first year hall is all about. The details and ways that he portrays the character are accurate, deep, multidimensional and compelling. This book was recommended to me by a friend and I recommend it to anyone, college or not.

Steven Novick says, “A Must Read for Incoming Freshmen
5 out of 5 stars
July 2, 2005

I will be a new Freshman at the actual “Ashford” University next year. I heard about this book and decided that I could probably get some good tips for next year. This book gave me more than that. It is absolutely incredible and even though a lot of the stories are unusual, it really gives the reader a good sense of what a Freshman year of college is like, especially at “Ashford” University. The only thing I didn’t like was knowning that there was no way Andy can be my RA next year!

See more reviews at GoodReads or on Amazon.com!

News & Events

March 1, 2012

New House 5 has been updated with a cool new cover and is now available as an ebook! (See links on the right.) A revised print edition is coming soon too.

June 25, 2009

Check out Andy Butler’s thoughts about professional creatives: “What Kobe Bryant can teach you about writing.”

April 17, 2009

Stever House, the real-life inspiration for New House 5, is holding an open house for its alumni (anyone who has lived in New House/Stever House) on from 4 to 6 pm on Friday, April 17th of Carnival Weekend. Here’s more from the official invite:

“Stever House cordially invites you to a reception and open house, with light appetizers. Mingle with current and past residents of 1030 Morewood Avenue. We will be displaying New House canvases and current student work on the first floor.”

Note from Andy: “Unfortunately I will not be able to attend this year, but if you’re in the area, you should definitely stop in for some fun. Who knows, maybe you’ll get to meet one of your favorite characters from New House 5…”

May 22, 2008

New House has a new name! As announced at Carnegie Mellon’s Commencement this year, New House will now be known as Stever House, in honor of the university’s 5th president H. Guyford Stever. To read more about this exciting story, please visit CMU’s news archives here.

(“Stever House 5” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…)

Mar 8, 2008

As you can see, the web site is being updated with new information and a new design. There’s more to come, and we hope you like it!

May 10, 2006

Note from Andy: “Hey everyone, I just wanted to give you all a quick update since it’s been almost a year since the last news. Sales have been great and I’m looking forward to doing some more promotion over the next couple years. Thanks to everyone who has bought the book. You guys rock.”

May 9, 2006

Andy Butler selected to be student Commencement speaker.

Jan 30, 2006

Tartan article: “Write a book! These students did.”

July 26, 2005

Come watch the Rochester Red Wings take on the Charlotte Knights in a 7:05 PM game, and while you’re there, meet Andy Butler, the author of New House 5. Andy will be signing and selling copies of his book in the main concourse from 6 PM until 7 PM.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005
6 PM – 7 PM
Frontier Field
Rochester, NY

July 16, 2005

Book Signing at Lift Bridge Book Shop in Brockport, NY, from 12 PM to 2 PM. Note: this is the same day that the new Harry Potter book comes out!

Saturday, July 16, 2005
12 PM to 2 PM
Lift Bridge Book Shop
Brockport, NY

Note from Andy: “Hey everybody, the interview with Beth and Chet on the WHAM Morning Show went amazing. I was a little nervous at first but once I got going talking to them, it was easy. Thanks so much to all of you who got up early to listen to me.”

June 15, 2005

Tune in to Beth and Chet on the WHAM morning show to hear an interview with New House 5 author Andy Butler.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
7:15 AM
1180 WHAM
Rochester, NY

Jun 15, 2005

Carnegie Mellon press releases:

June 9, 2005

Small Press Night:

“Please join us to celebrate the talent of at least fifteen local authors as Barnes and Noble presents a Small Press Night. Each author will give a short description of their book and there will be a collective signing to follow.”

Andy will be there to sell and sign copies of New House 5.

Thursday, June 9, 2005
7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
330 Greece Ridge Center Drive
Rochester, NY 14626

May 24, 2005
Press release: “Dorm Living in the 21st Century”

Note to Current/Future Resident Assistants

I thought long and hard about whether or not to publish this book once I finished writing it. I knew it would upset my close friends, the people who the book is about, and I knew it would cause people to question my honesty and trustworthiness. But when it came down to it, I decided to go ahead and publish the book for two reasons.

One, everything that happened is in the past. These are things we cannot change. We may not be proud of them, but they happened, and that’s history. The best thing to do is to learn from them, from the past. My hope is that everyone who was part of this story will understand that, and will endeavor to learn from the mistakes that they and their peers made.

Two, I think the learning can go beyond just the people in the story. It wouldn’t be worth it if I just exposed those students to each other. But my hope is that you, potential and current RAs from all over the country, can read New House 5 and be inspired by it. You can learn from what I did well and what I did not so well. You can learn from the different experiences the residents on my floor had. While the book is somewhat fictional, it is based in truth, and my goal is for you to take this book and use it as a tool, not just a story.

RAs have one of the most unique opportunities in the world. Don’t waste that chance. Form your own ideas and figure out what works for you. Each person will have a different experience, but you can shape that experience by applying your own personality to the RA role. Take some chances. And have fun, too.

About the Author

Andy Butler works at consumer goods company Procter & Gamble. He lives with his wife and two children in Cincinnati, OH.

Originally from Hamlin, NY, he is an avid fan of the Buffalo Bills, Syracuse University basketball, and FC Cincinnati.

Andy studied economics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. The “non-fiction novel” New House 5 was inspired by Andy’s experiences as a resident assistant at CMU.