Rage Crew questions social culture on campus

Siobhan Murray, Staff Writer

What defines “Bucknellian?” According to Urban Dictionary, to be considered one, “You gotta work hard, party hard, and look good while doing both.” On Dec. 2, the University’s Rage Crew facilitated a community conversation to challenge this stereotype and create a more inclusive campus environment. The goal of these events is to create tangible action steps for change. The Back Up the Bison Tailgate and the Dance Marathon were both initiatives that emerged from previous Rage Crew Conversations.

“The event helped people to open up and talk uncensored,” participant Jonathan Leung 17 said. “After all, everybody wants to improve the University. It’s just a matter of how.”

The group proposed creating a “Presidents Club” to facilitate communication between the separate circles on campus, or revamping the model of the IN Network to put information about activities easily accessible to students. Other action steps included an upper-underclassmen mentoring program within academic majors, more co-sponsored events like a multi-fraternity-hosted party, and activities such as the First-year Dinner and Playfair that initially brought students together during New Student Orientation. Rage Crew facilitators said that simple, individual-level efforts are essential as well. While structural changes to the administration take time to be implemented, looking up from one’s phone and to say hello to one another can effectively create a more open campus community.

After a complimentary dinner and video presentation, the approximately 50 students in attendance divided into groups to discuss the collective University identity. Only some believed that the stereotype actually exists, but many agreed on its failure to address the unique complexities of every University student’s identity. Many campus clubs, particularly multicultural groups, face difficulties reaching out to and attracting a community audience beyond their own members. Part of the discussion included the social divide on campus, particularly between Greek and non-Greek life.

“Bucknell exists as two different worlds,” one student participant said.

Students challenged the custom for Greek organizations to exclusively promote their events to other fraternities and sororities.

“The different circles rarely merge,” another student said.

The primary issue discussed was the lack of communication between groups that results in many students not knowing what events are planned on a given day.

“We are unaware of the resources and opportunities we have,” one student said.

The Bucknell Rage Crew Conversations were launched five years ago by Alumni Association member Lisa Bogan ’78. They are completely student-run initiatives to discuss campus issues and generate tangible action steps to address them. Bogan acts as an adviser to the Rage Crew and serves as a communicator to the University’s administration.  

“It seemed there was an opportunity for students to be heard in a grassroots effort that you don’t always get from the top-down approach,” Bogan said. “It’s our own little way of breaking down the silos and realizing we are one community.”

 This latest conversation theme was prompted by the Campus Climate Report on the campus’s rigid social divide, and the administration has been doing its job to listen. It supported the Dance Marathon and the Back Up the Bison Tailgate in November, which were both proposals at the last Community Conversation.

Dean of Students Susan Lantz sat attentively at the event, adding that “the most effective initiatives on campus have been student-run because they end up being the ones most student-appreciated.”

“I loved it because people were open in talking about their frustrations with the University, a place where people are kind of encouraged to keep things to themselves,” Leung said.

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