Bucknell auctions off Mod number placards to nostalgic alumni


Michael Taromina, Assistant News Editor

Bucknell University tore down the ‘Mods,’ the Bucknell West residence complex, this winter after having withstanding the test of time for 50 years.

As the campus looks to the future and the construction of four new Bucknell West residence halls, a couple of alumni are continuing to celebrate and honor the unforgettable experiences generations have made across Route 15. 

The Mods had been a central part to many current and past Bucknell students, and months ago, when the news that they were being demolished, interest sparked creativity on how to properly salvage every last memento.

“There seems to be a sense of nostalgia for the mods and why they were created for temporary housing, so we had, anecdotally, alumni reach out to campus directors with excitement for this idea,” Amy Baker, director of annual fund outreach & participation at Bucknell University, said. 

From then on, a committee was formed cross-campus, including the Communications Department and Housing & University Advancement with the sole purpose of creating something to highlight what the Mods meant to alumni. Baker and others ran an engagement campaign that allowed alumni to send in photos and tell stories through communications.

“We were focused on how we could give the alumni a ‘piece’ of the mods, and in addition, help to say farewell to the Mods,” Baker said.

And while it is evident the purpose of auctioning off the Mod numbers to alumni were to alleviate the wistfulness of the past, it became clear that the money raised through this action could be utilized for student well-being purposes. 

Each building had at least a couple placards of the same number, and with the generous assistance of facilities, the committee was able to obtain all the numbers before demolition occurred.

Bucknell didn’t acquire necessary auction technology and resources to make the process easier, so they made use of philanthropy. In an effort to do that, they came up with the idea of a seal-bid auction. A mass email was sent out to alumni from 1972-2022 which gave them the opportunity to put in their best bid early via Google Form. After taking all of the results, the committee had 284 people make a bid, with the bidding money being anywhere from $50-$2,400. 

Building number placards from the Mods were made available to alumni through an online auction Jan. 18 to Jan. 25. More than $21,000 was raised for Bucknell’s Student Wellbeing Initiatives fund, supporting projects that focus on enhancing the well-being of students including resources, activities and events that promote mental health and healthy living across all dimensions of wellness.

“Leading up to the auction, there was an entire engagement campaign where alumni and students could send in mosaics and collages and relieve a sticker,” Baker said. “There were many ways to participate and, in the end, we were surprised by the influx of engagement there was.”

And while the committee was integral in the success of the project, other notable laureates include Amy Badal, Dean of Students, the Gift Process and Managing Team were helpful in process the processing the gifts on the giving form, Robin Adams, Director, Marketing & Digital Engagement who helped spread the word via social media, facilities for behind the scene work and many more people and groups.

“We all pulled all the groups together to find out how we could make this happen and make it fair,” Baker said.

Currently, the committee is sorting out the checks mailed in by the winners, and on Monday, the numbers will be mailed out to them. From there, because it is a charitable gift to the Student Wellbeing Fund, Dean Badal created a thank-you video which will additionally be sent to all the alumni participating in this project.

“This whole idea was to create nostalgia, excitement, and engagement with the alumni, and to benefit the students,” Baker said. “So it was a benefit to the alumni and they were able to support what students were doing on the campus today as well.” 

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