We’re gonna need a bigger bubble

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Amanda Maltin, Opinions Section Co-Editor

Bucknell is a historically small university, with many comparing its composition to a large high school. 

For a lot of prospective students, this is the appeal.  Students like having small classes where they can make and maintain close relationships with faculty and often mention their enthusiasm about the “Bucknell Bubble,” a term used to describe the close-knit culture on campus. 

However, as retention rates and applicant pools change in response to an evolving university landscape, Bucknell has begun to increase its class size, posing interesting opportunities and challenges for students and faculty alike.  I encourage students to embrace this change as an opportunity to broaden their horizons as they come into contact with new perspectives and on-campus experiences.  

For the second year in a row, Bucknell University has increased its class size.  There are 1,039 Bucknellians enrolled in the class of 2026, a slight increase from last year. It appears that this trend will continue in upcoming academic years.  So, what does this mean for students? 

Well, for one, class sizes may slightly increase and you might see more students around campus, but, because of the very gradual increase, we are not likely to notice huge effects until several years out.  

Daly Stoop ’24 elucidated on the fact that this is simply a trend that we can see among other small universities. “Lehigh is doing it too, which in the short run, is increasing the school’s acceptance rate.  But, it’s also increasing diversity on campus and extending its alumni network in the long run, which I think can help smaller private institutions rival larger public institutions when it comes to postgraduate opportunities for students like graduate school and jobs,” Stoop said.

Some students fear that an increasing acceptance rate will dull Bucknell’s prestige, but others are more hopeful.

“It may slightly increase the acceptance rate, but, overall, small increases to the class sizes will have huge payoff when it comes to helping the school extend its influence nationwide, and, for international students, across the globe,” Allison Lista ’24 said.

As class size increases, the Bucknell Student Government and administration will have to work to accommodate emerging needs and new requests.

“If in the case of an increase of the student body, BSG will continue to work and think creatively to engage with all facets of the student body.  Whether this be through increased tabling in the ELC or by directly reaching out to the plethora of clubs and organizations on campus, we are dedicated to ensuring that all of the needs of the student body are being heard,” Bernie Maramis, President of Student Government, explained. “Some ways that the administration should work in accommodating for a larger class size would be ensuring that there is sufficient housing and parking available for all students.”  Luckily, it appears that the administration is preparing for this development, with the recent announcement that new residence halls will be constructed at Bucknell West. 

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