Last year, around this time, I woke up to the news that Bucknell University was buying the Campus Theater. Now I must explain to you that I have been going to the campus theater since my freshman year. I have seen countless movies there, organized an a cappella concert to fundraise for the Dominican Republic there, worked with the directors to help market the Theater to Bucknell students, and I put together and worked at a beekeeping workshop held there. It is probably my favorite place in Lewisburg, PA. And Breakfast at Tiffany’s (along with almost every other Audrey Hepburn movie) is one that I watch often, because unlike Rick and Mackenzie I have a passion for old movies. I have this strange love for old places, people, and ideas too, for that matter. I have often thought that I was born in the wrong time period; that I was supposed to be living in the 50’s or 60’s instead. But I digress.
The news about Bucknell buying the Theater hit me hard. I thought about the couple I had met that used to live on the second floor of what is now the bookstore; how heartbroken she was that Bucknell had bought her home and put in an escalator. I imagined the “old charm” of the interior being replaced by chairs similar to those in Bucknell’s student center. I imagined the movie selection going from classics to modern busts. I felt for the directors, Ellen and her assistant that I knew from working closely with, as they wouldn’t have the same authority over the Theater’s operations anymore. But, fortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Although I’m not a fan of the new leather couches (the old ones were bigger and softer), the remodeling of the Campus Theater was done beautifully. The orange and blue seats are subtle, as they should be, and the “feel” of the Theater has been preserved. The staff, directors, and owners still possess control over the day-to-day operations of the Theater so the movie selections have not gone downhill. Actually, the Campus Theater is able to show more movies and receive grants from the State to fund these expenses. On top of this all, Bucknell has successfully utilized the space for learning experiences, with documentaries, workshops and for film design classes. The Campus Theater would have absolutely not been able to stay open had it not been for Bucknell, and as one of the 5 oldest Theaters in the United States that would have been a tragedy. That Bucknell saved the Campus Theater in its mission to make profit, gives me hope that not all big businesses are bad (after sitting in class reading otherwise every week, I was starting to wonder…).