The concept of a well-rounded liberal arts education flourishes when students of different backgrounds are placed on one campus. This situation is also enhanced when students are given the opportunity to learn and grow not only from what the University has to offer, but also from each other. As a small liberal arts school in the northeast, an ever-present pursuit for the University is to make a consistent effort to expand the realm of student presence on campus and actively recruit a range of students from diverse backgrounds.
The Posse Foundation has teamed up with the University to ensure that students of exceptional merit are given just that, regardless of access to the ideal resources for college searching, decision-making process, or expensive tuition. The Posse Foundation has identified and recruited public high school students with extraordinary academic scholarship to become Posse Scholars. Since 1989, with the help of Posse, students in cities across the country have gained the opportunity to attend some of the nation’s best colleges and universities. Posse Scholars persist and graduate at a rate of 90 percent and are radiant additions to college campuses, where they typically excel as undergraduates.
“Posse scholars bring a diversity of experiences and perspectives to campus, which enriches the classroom as well as co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. Posse scholars are selected for demonstrated leadership during high school, so it is no surprise that Posse scholars occupy so many leadership roles at Bucknell,” Kim Daubman, associate professor of psychology and mentor of Posse D.C. 11, said.
“The Posse Foundation allows students to realize their full potential on campuses quite different from their community at home. It provides a comfortable and supportive environment by forming a group of 10 individuals from these similar communities. It gives the students a chance to thrive as leaders on college campuses,” Hayalneh Gessessew ’19, a member of Posse D.C. 11, said.
Posse is one of the most successful college access and leadership programs in the country, and has been partnered with the University for over 10 years. Through the Posse program, students are given a chance to step into the spotlight and shine as leaders academically and socially.
“Being a Posse scholar not only means having an incredible support system from my mentor and peers but it also means having a second family that will do absolutely anything to see me succeed. Every single Posse scholar on campus is bursting with a wide variety of talents and the resilience to make a change in our community. We’re super involved on campus and we make sure to leave our mark,” Gissell Botero ’19, a member of Posse D.C. 11, said.
“To me, Posse is a voluntary community. What I love about it is that you can choose your involvement. For some of us, our closest friends are in the Posse community; others are more independent,” Zoe Russel ’17, a member of Posse Boston 8 said. “But ultimately, there’s always someone who will support you, and every member, regardless of their involvement, contributes something unique and makes the community powerful and special.”
PossePlus Retreat 2017: Us vs. Them
Every year, the Posse Foundation and Posse Scholars hold an annual weekend-long PossePlus Retreat (PPR). The retreat is attended by scholars, members of the student body at large, faculty, and administration alike. These retreats are held with the goal of discussing an important campus issue, which is identified by Posse Scholars. This year, the University’s PPR was held at Best Western Premier Eden Resort & Suites in Lancaster, Pa, and the theme was Us vs. Them. There, the attendees specifically discussed divisions in the United States and how to find common ground among the wide spectrum of differences that impact individuals across the nation.
“By listening to other people’s perspectives I was able to broaden my own. It was great to hear the issues affecting the students at the University and how maybe I can work to help make a change. The experience made me wish there were somewhere on campus where we could talk in more depth about these issues,” Esha Sharma ’20, a non-Posse member who attended the retreat, said.
“We hope to bring back these conversations with us to campus and be able to openly and respectfully discuss and integrate diverse points of view in order to move forward in a united manner,” Botero said.