AY 2020-21 was certainly one for the books at Bucknell. It presented its challenges, had us on and off campus a few times and at times had us questioning how we would make it through all the hurdles. But this year also brought out the best in us as Bucknellians. We banded together and lifted one another up. We supported each other’s education, research, hard work, mental and physical health, social and racial rights, and so much more.
As a university, we’ve had to adapt and adjust to changes in the way we learn, teach, and engage. Technology became ever more present in our already tech-driven world. We became accustomed to erratic changes in where our classrooms and offices might be on any given day. Nevertheless, we became more unified.
As a country we saw hatred-filled acts that spawned change. The country witnessed the murder of George Floyd, the uprising that followed, and the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. As a university, we saw the response to this movement with the creation of the Anti-Racism Fund, a change in curriculum and employee training to include racial education and equality, and a rise in opportunities for black and brown Bucknellians to be truly heard. As a continued effort for improvement in diversity and inclusion, Bucknell joined over 50 other universities and colleges as an inaugural member of the new Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance to better tackle racial issues within our campus community.
We withstood a long and exhausting presidential election that in many ways divided us as a country and as a people. But we held hope, both as a country and a university community looking to the future. Many of us came together as the results were announced and for many, it marked a new beginning.
Groups of students, faculty, and staff alike banned together and inspired change on many issues. On campus in September, many rose up for student food insecurity that gained local news coverage. And so birthed the Food and Nutrition Task Force and the B-Swipes Donation Program to ensure no Bucknell student goes hungry.
In March, we were shaken by the violence against Asian Americans in Atlanta. We stood with those of Asian descent both on campus and around the world and showed our support for them and intolerance of such hatred and racism. We felt the impact of the verdict of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, both as a community and a country.
The BCSE would like to congratulate all of you that are graduating this year (we know it was no small task) and praise the continued hard work and effort of all other students. We all have much to be proud of this academic year. We’ve shown that Bucknell has heart. We’ve shown how resilient we are. We’ve shown how adaptable we are. Bucknellians are dedicated survivors, workers, liberators, and philanthropists. We are ‘Ray Bucknell, strong and proud.