Climate Change is real

Bucknellians partying hard in 1980

Change is extremely hard.  Just like the Campus Climate analysis says, “Solving problems that involve human behavior, especially group behavior, is incredibly difficult” (65). Saying this, one can understand the backlash that I have heard about campus climate from the student body. From “President Bravman is ruining Bucknell” to “Bucknell now sucks,” the majority of people hate the idea of changing the campus climate, mainly the changing Greek Life. However, many of these people are unaware why these things are really going on.

It is a fact that Greek life dominates Bucknell.  When people go out on the weekend, people go to fraternity houses or downtown houses associated with fraternities. The President’s tasks force hit it on the nose when they said Greek life dominates the culture. Sadly, Greek life also becomes associated with binge drinking and hooking up. Then, by the transitive property, the culture at Bucknell is highly dominated by binge drinking and hooking up. This party culture, unfortunately, is extremely appealing to 18-23 year old males and females who are now experiencing the freedom from their controlling parents from home.  As a result, this culture has become embedded in Bucknell and rein enforced years prior to President Bravman and Bucknell now possesses the reputation as a phenomenal party school.

Although this party reputation appeals to college students, many people fail to recognize the implications of this culture. Every weekend, students constantly go to the hospital for unbelievable alcohol levels. Some students even go on the brink of death and flat line. I talked to a public safety officer and he even said that “we are past the point of someone dying. We have gotten lucky.” That is unacceptable and demands change. From this standpoint, I can totally seek the point in trying to change the climate.  Bucknell needs to do something to prevent students of killing themselves. If we, the students, are not going to take responsibility to take care of our own lives, Bucknell has no choice but to step in. If a student was to die on Bucknell campus it would be tragic for the student (obviously) and the university as a whole.  No one is going to want to send their kid to school that has kids flat lining every weekend.

In response, President Bravman has made a dramatic change on campus climate. My freshman year (2010-2011), the party culture was much different. Every weekend there were multiple parties that students could go to. It wasn’t a question “if” something was happening, it was just a matter of where.  Then, if you are a girl, you’re automatically getting in. And if you are a guy, as long as you know somebody in the party, you’re in. However, in the past 2 years, Bucknell has kicked off multiple fraternities and now controls the party. The process of just registering for a party requires stringent rules and regulations that the fraternity has to abide by. If they don’t, they are likely to get kicked off campus. As a result, many fraternities now allow less people to enter into the parties, both male and female.  In addition, many fraternities are scared to even have parties on campus at all and are now resorting to throwing parties down town.

In this regard, Bucknell fraternity life has diminished like the climate analysis demands. However, is pushing parties downtown better? The number of police citations has increased exponentially due to the high activity down town. In addition, since people are scared to drink downtown and at the fraternity parties, people are now “pregaming” more dangerously. As a result, people are stumbling before they even get to the parties, then proceed to drink more. This then can help explain why cops citations are on the rise. However, to combat this downtown culture, now the university is placing the new dorm and fraternity houses uphill. In addition, they are extremely diminishing the number of people able to live off campus year by year and eventually are going to eliminate downtown housing completely.

Back to the first point, change is extremely hard. Despite the restrictions, Bucknell students continue to binge drink, party and resists change. However, I believe this change is inevitable. Bucknell will never fully eliminate the party culture, but they can somewhat control it. They already have had a major impact. The reason why many people say “Bucknell now sucks” is because they are changing the party culture. Even though people still go to the hospital, fraternities and sororities are acting more responsible with parties. Once the off campus housing is completely eliminated, people will have no choice but to party in the fraternity houses where the university says when and how they can throw the party. Overall, the change is already happening. Once the current juniors graduate next May, the students who experienced the “fun” old culture of crazy parties every weekend will all be gone. As a result, the culture of controlled registers and the strict monitoring of Greek life will become the norm as the years go on.


8 thoughts on “Climate Change is real

  1. You are correct that there is a long (or medium) term plan to lower or even reduce off-campus housing. It is not a secret (I don’t think you said it was, but just to be clear). There are many reasons and it is not only about alcohol. The trustees decided this… I can dig up the master campus plan if anyone cares…

  2. I would like to see that Jordi if you can post a link. Sal, I wasn’t sure which stance you were going to take at first but I ended up really liking your post. I do think that the school is dominated by Greek life (obviously) but that is not something you find out when you come here. You know that before you decide to go here. Anyway, moving parties downtown has become so much more dangerous. The school has no control over us downtown and the amount of police citations has racked up through the roof. I live in a “party” house downtown and every weekend someone is getting sick, breaking a window, writing on the walls, or peeing on the floor. Sweet life, huh? I think that by forcing us to have any party that is going to be “fun” downtown and in turn taking away these parties and moving everyone uphill is so foolish. It shoudln’t be all downtown or all uptown. We had a delicate balance of uphill and downtown parties and it worked. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

  3. From the “Plan for Bucknell,” a 2008 planning document that includes the “student strategic housing plan.”

    “Deepening this residential learning experience is one of the University’s strategic
    goals, as expressed in The Plan for Bucknell. Achieving these goals requires strategic
    investments in the homes that students make on campus throughout the school year,
    including the facilities as well as the programs that define the quality of student
    housing. Only by doing so can Bucknell continue to offer an education that fosters
    well-rounded, independent and responsible citizens of the world.”

    Link to that appendix of larger report.

  4. Also, this is clearer about objectives the Board set.
    “Refine the housing inventory through new construction, renovation and
    repurposing to create a progressively independent living environment;
    ƒ Provide appropriate on-campus housing for all but 200 students by the 2013-14
    academic year;
    ƒ Replace Bucknell West and return all students to the east side of Route 15;
    ƒ Relocate the upper-campus fraternity houses, themed housing, affinity housing
    and a satellite dining facility on the farm area;
    ƒ Develop a model for residential colleges; and
    ƒ Explore all potential financing and ownership options appropriate for
    implementation of the Housing Plan. “


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