Posse Plus Retreat Unites University Community

Madeline Diamond, News Editor

Both University Posse Scholars and guests unaffiliated with the program participated in the annual PossePlus Retreat from Feb. 13-15.  The “plus” feature of the retreat required that every Posse Scholar invite a student, faculty, or staff member who is not part of the program. The theme of this year’s retreat was “Crime and Punishment,” which was reflected in the activities and conversations throughout the weekend.

Retreat participants and facilitators shared opinions and experiences at the University and beyond, with a focus on the importance of social justice and inequalities within the U.S. criminal justice system.

Given the theme of the retreat, the events in Ferguson, Mo. and Staten Island, N.Y. were certainly on the minds of participants, though facilitators encouraged the discussion of broader issues. A different theme is selected for each retreat, and much of the weekend is dedicated to discussing the topic.

“While the theme was relevant to the events that have occurred in the last few months, we never spoke about them directly. The facilitators forced us to think about things in a more holistic manner, which I think allows you to gain a greater perspective on such issues,” guest Catherine Bianco ’16.

The PossePlus Retreat is unique because it allows non-Posse students to better understand the program and increases overall communication among the student body. While participants spent the weekend discussing the topic of Crime and Punishment together, they concluded by discussing how they can bring these conversations back to campus and engage the rest of the student body.

“The PossePlus Retreat is less about being an individual Posse Scholar and more about Posse Scholars as a whole influencing change on their respective campuses,” Posse Scholar Danielle Taylor ’17 said.

According to PossePlus Retreat guest Jillian Korn ’16, it is easy for students to become preoccupied with life at the University and pay little attention to global issues. The retreat reminded students that issues of inequality do exist on campus and must be addressed.

“Going to [the PossePlus Retreat] gave me the opportunity to step back from the usual grind and be with other Bucknellians that are passionate about social justice and making change on campus,” Korn said. “As a Plus on the retreat, I am so grateful that Posse welcomes other students. I had the opportunity not only to learn about the Posse program itself, but also to gain a deeper understanding of the personal effects of the injustices in our criminal justice system.”

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