Letter to the Editor 2


Within my first months of being a student at Bucknell, it became apparent to me why many referred to our community and culture as the “Bucknell Bubble.” Situated in Lewisburg, Pa. with little stimulation, with the occasional exception of activities exemplifying quaint, small-town charm, many students have few reasons to even leave campus during the academic year.

The focus of on-campus student life creates a distinct (but by no means unique) culture at Bucknell University: the bubble. After all, humans are conditioned to react to what they experience, and so the student body tends to put the majority of their time and effort into campus affairs.

The bubble has many benefits, and is what many enjoy the most about their time at Bucknell. President Bravman spoke to this. In a speech entitled “Men of Character,” Bravman addressed those interested in rushing fraternities, discussing the responsibility fraternity members have to each other to make wise and moral decisions given fraternities’ propensity as scapegoats for heinous college actions. In doing this, he cited how many at Bucknell feel “invincible” because of the culture that permeates our college.

The low level of campus crime, the relatively high level of students who come from means, and the abundance of goods and services provided by Bucknell, combined with our tendency to remain in one physical area, provides us with a strong sense of security. For these four years, we really do feel invincible.

Like many on this campus, I was disgusted by the reports of racist slurs used on our very own WVBU. Given the times and social environment we are living in, with heightened levels of scrutiny at almost all levels of society, it is beyond me why anyone would think and act in such a way.

Yet while I was abhorred by the comments, I did not find myself overcome with surprise. The more I think about the situation, the less surprised I am, and the more obvious the cause becomes: the bubble culture at Bucknell. Yet the problem is not the “Bucknell Bubble,” but the Bucknell Bubbles. If there were one self-contained community at Bucknell, such a problem would never arise. The real problem lies at the bubble culture’s tendency to create many bubbles.

Within this school, many tend to gravitate to individuals who share commonalities with them. Understandable, as this is a universal tendency to some degree. Upon further examination, however, this process manifests itself as one of the most destructive elements of the bubble culture. Within our self-formed communities at Bucknell, we feel secure. We may perform certain actions or say certain things because we know that these will have no consequences as long as they remain within such a group of people.

In our own bubbles, we feel invincible. On March 30, we all learned the consequence of feeling such invincibility. The racial slurs used on Happy Times did not remain in a small bubble of listeners. Now, we are dealing with three expelled students as this situation slowly gets national attention.

While I do blame the current Bucknell “bubble culture” for this event and other elements of campus life that detract from an inclusive environment for all, I do not believe that a bubble culture is inherently destructive. In fact, I believe that we can make the “Bucknell Bubble” a positive force among college campuses, but that starts with the student body. We find ourselves in a small town in Central Pennsylvania, many of us without cable, and therefore isolated from the racial tensions and other social problems that abound American society.

Let us take this unique opportunity to act in spite of these things. Let us form a community that is immune to bigotry, that welcomes diversity of both skin color and thought, and that takes pride in being above the silly distinctions that divide a community. This process will not be overnight, and by no means should be limited to Bucknell’s campus, but who are we as a generation to back down from such a challenge?


Zachary Krivine

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