Will Bucknell be Fun in 5 Years?

Yesterday when I walked into the library, there was a message on the whiteboard in the main entrance that read something along the lines of “will Bucknell even be fun anymore in 5 years?”  I stopped to think about this for a moment because it has been a personal concern for some time, but this post let me know that I was not alone.

The thing that I would like to change most about Bucknell is its direction.  When the new president was coming to Bucknell, there were rumors about his strong opposition to Greek Life.  However, when he arrived, he ensured the campus that he did support it.  Yet, since his arrival one (almost two) fraternities have been kicked off campus and almost another sorority.  It is not a surprise that Bucknell is huge on Greek Life, which has helped to define many students college life.  Instead of kicking chapters off campus, perhaps the school can address the issues at the source with more anti-hazing events.  Having more sororities/smaller pledge classes would also allow the organizations to be closer and have more control over the actions of its members.

Beyond Greek Life, Bucknell should start developing other areas of student life.  In Lewisburg, PA there are not many options for social opportunities.  If you are not involved in Greek Life, what is there to do at night and the weekends?  The three bars in town are for 21 year olds only, the movie theater is 20 minutes away, freshman can’t have cars on campus, the Choice program has suffered from budget cuts, and now Bucknell is taking away downtown houses. Simply put, Bucknell needs to create more opportunities for student life.

Additionally, if Bucknell does move to keep all students living on campus and get rid of downtown houses, they will need to create more student space on campus because currently there isn’t any.  We have…Uptown. enough said.  Perhaps they could include something legitimate in the campus expansion.

I’m not sure if the administration has thought about any of these concerns, but at the rate we are heading now, I am sad to say that I will not want my children to be a legacy at Bucknell.

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15 Responses to Will Bucknell be Fun in 5 Years?

  1. katiebaum13 says:

    This has also been a concern of mine. Along with greek life, President Bravman is eliminating other Bucknell traditions such as House Party Weekend. I believe House Party Weekend is more than just a weekend or an excuse for people to party. It has been a tradition of Bucknell and it is sad to think that we will no longer have it. Administration should start thinking about the other effects and improving social opportunities or else Bucknell can be affected negatively.

  2. baudolino says:

    Well, hopefully we’ll still be around, so of course there will be fun 🙂

    The economist in me argues that this is all a matter of incentives. So, can Bucknell create the proper incentives that steer people away from the dangers associated with excesses (of any kind)? I think that’s the $100 question.

    Consider the following thought experiment: swap Bucknell’s and NYU’s campuses. If our campus would be located in Greenwich Village, would it matter how strong the Greek system was? Of course not – in fact you’d be crazy to stay on campus during weekends, when all New York is a stone’s throw away.

    So what’s going on in Lewisburg has to do with the options that are available in Lewisburg, which are few. So, we need more options. Seems to me that killing the Greek system without any alternative goes in the opposite direction of “more options”. Perhaps it would be more sensible to use some of that space out in the cornfields and build something, I don’t know, like a really cool student club (2-3 levels, with a big-ass dance floor, smoke, lasers, the works; throw in several lounges, etc.) You get the drift. Forget about Uptown – make this the mother of all entertainment centers; the uber-club. Make it alcohol-free, even (or keep the distribution under strict control). Then, let the Greeks in peace, and see who goes where. I bet you that the number of binge drinking events, assault incidents, etc. would go down.

    Destroying is easy, even my 17 month old figured that out first. Building, that’s hard. But, I think the higher-ups know this. I will be extremely surprised if there is any sort of move in the near future to “kill the fun” as you put it by destroying the Greek system. How do I know this? The guy’s an engineer. Engineers are cool. They make shiny things that last.

    • Alyssa Haglund says:

      Hi Professor Banciu! I’m so glad you found our blog.

      I don’t think that destroying the Greek system is the largest of all of the problems. The biggest deal to me is that there is not a social space for the Bucknell students to be except for downtown houses, which in many cases happen to be owned by Greek affiliated students. I’m not sure if a huge nightclub would be the first choice by Bucknell administration, but something like it is definately necessary. Students need a place to go and have fun, wether it involves alcohol or not.

      As for the hundred dollar question, I think that Bucknell needs to put more of an importance on the harms of liquor because that is the main problem of this binge drinking. My parents always said that “back in their day,” they didn’t have these excessive problems because people only drank beer, which has a smaller alcohol content that liquor.

      • baudolino says:

        Yes, the nightclub example was meant to start the discussion. A better option would be some sort of central social/entertainment hub, like I said, “Uptown x 1000 + more cowbell” (this would be a great name, BTW).

        As for the drinking part, let me share with you my observation as an “international” (and I think that a lot of non-US folks can confirm this). In Europe, people (teenagers, students, etc.) drink for social purposes. In the USA, the similar demographic drinks to get drunk. Big difference. Reasons? Who knows. In Romania, for example, there is no “legal age”. Alcohol is sold freely in 24hr shops/marts, etc. It’s not uncommon for parents to send their kids to the little store that’s open on the ground level of their apartment building and have them buy some toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and a couple of bottles of beer. It’s just…not frowned upon. There’s no “but…but…would someone think of the children?” hysteria. And we turn out to be OK when we grow up. So perhaps it’s the fact that we’ve been around the stuff since we were little that we just don’t feel the temptation of the “forbidden fruit” when we leave our homes and go to college. Perhaps you guys have seen similar things, if you went abroad. Jordi can chime in with his experiences in Spain.

        So, yeah. With the current culture, it’s tough for colleges to be effective. That’s why I feel the best path is by providing alternatives that “distract” (in a way) students from congregating around a keg. But this education _must_ start way before college. And that, in the current US climate, is perhaps 20-25 years away. Unfortunately.

  3. KCasty says:

    I completely agree that there need to be more social opportunity for not only freshman but also sophomore, juniors and seniors who are not involved in Greek Life or on a sport team. I was fortunate enough freshman year to be on the women’s lacrosse team; while I would be invited to the senior lax girls’ downtown houses for social events, often times those same nights my friends on my freshman hall would have nowhere to go. I think this is truly a shame for freshman who are just entering college and eager to jump into the infamous college social scene. While I do not personally have the answers for what kinds of social venues the school or the town of Lewisburg could create to better the situation, I think this is something that they should certainly look into.

  4. awhigbee says:

    Just a little something about House Party from someone on Panhellenic (governing board of sororities, IFC is our counterpart)

    So for House Party there are a lot of issues. However, the idea that this is an all-of-a-sudden President Bravman fueled solution is false. Even since last years planning of House Party, Panhellenic and IFC have heard from numerous places on campus that they are unwilling to support House Party. The most visible change in House Party 2010 to House Party 2011 was the presence of the deans. The deans removed themselves from House Party and refused to serve food to the students because they did not believe this was an appropriate idea. This was designed as a move to show students that many of the faculty and staff of Bucknell do not support House Party and wish to see it, as an event, terminated. Obviously this does not stand for every staff and faculty member but the idea that House Party has only been under fire because of Bravman is not the case. IFC and Panhellenic have thought this event would be cancelled more than a few times in the past and it always remains a controversial topic.

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  7. cornerback5 says:

    Along the lines of kicking Greek life off campus, do you know what these chapters did to get kicked off. Some would call what they did “stupid”, but others might nicely say irresponsible. I really don’t see what is so attractive about chapters wanting to haze. I think it is dumb and unnecessary so if the rule is do not haze, then don’t haze. All of these chapter know the rules so is it safe to not punish them if they willingly broke the rules? Furthermore, if they were not punished would it be fair to the other chapters who were behaving?

  8. keef88 says:

    This problem is probably as old as Bucknell. Certainly it dates back to my freshman year when, right after rush, they closed the frat parties because of a drunken, potentially fatal accident. After that, sometimes I had something to do on the weekend, sometimes not. The university lamely tried to entertain us at “South of the Bison” (a wood-paneled rec room build next to the old pre-expansion Bison and also known as “North of the Men’s Room”) and had James Taylor sound-alike guys come. Needless to say, these events were thinly attended and provided exceedingly poor conditions for meeting people of the opposite sex.

    There is absolutely nothing Bucknell or Lewisburg can come up with that can compete with the speakeasy environment offered by the Greek system or off-campus parties. I don’t know if anything has been done since the 80s to curb the serving of alcohol to minors, but as long as that sort of thing is mainstream, no alternatives will prove viable. If, on the other hand, there was a massive clampdown, the market might take care of the problem, as a few thousand new fairly well-off underage consumers suddenly appear.

    I’m not saying the Greek system should be shut down, but the dynamic is that an environment where underage kids can drink without fear of arrest trumps everything else.

    • Jordi says:

      Thanks for your comments keef. This blog is not currently very active as it was for a class in 2011. You sound like a current student at Bucknell?

      I agree that the dynamic of: let’s give them replacements for the magical allure of student-run hedonism does not work. It seems like a kids party where the adults are trying to organize twister downstairs and the kewl kidz are playing spin the bottle upstairs.

      But the problems of house party are real. The young people need to wake up and take some ownership of the issue. They need to value moderation on their own.

      And the… there is nothing to do complaint. Ugh. What does that even mean? There is a huge amount of activity. Unless “to do” means to get falling down drunk and then hook up.

    • Alyssa Haglund says:

      Hi Keef,

      I was the author of this post several years ago and I think you would find the announcement made today very interesting.You can find it here.

      I believe that President Bravman has made extremely accurate points regarding the irresponsibility of students and their use of alcohol and agree that something needed to change. That being said, those students that are caught in the guinea pig years will certainly have trouble dealing with this. It will take a full generation of turmoil before the incoming students won’t know what life was like at Bucknell “back in our day.”

      RIP: House Party Weekend


  9. Alyssa Haglund says:

    Jordi – I’d be interested to see what your list of activities entails!

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