Tunnel vision for the future: Bucknell West tunnel to be Class of 2018 tribute

Megan Hays, Senior Writer

Each year, the graduating class has a sum of money left in their account; this money traditionally goes towards a class tribute — a way for seniors to give back to the University. This year’s graduating class pursued a project to renovate the tunnel connecting the main campus to Bucknell West for its class tribute.

Last year, the Class of 2017 installed the Solidarity Creed at the South Campus Apartments outdoor amphitheater. Other recent examples of class gifts include the tables outside of Academic West and the ECOscreen in the athletic center lobby.

“The act of giving back to Bucknell is to show appreciation for the place graduates have called home, and will continue to call home for the rest of their lives,” Bucknell Student Government President Chandler Houldin ’20 said.

The Class of 2018’s tunnel restoration will include a brick facade on the retaining walls and the arches above the entrance, chalkboard paint on the interior walls, sustainable LED lights to be added to current lights as well as new external light to brighten the entrance and walkways, new landscaping, and “’ray Bucknell” signs above both entrances. The project is set to be completed by April 20.

“As BSG President, I was kept in the loop as to the Tribute decision by Gabriella [Gomes ’18] and [Associate Dean of Students Kari] Conrad throughout the semester,” Houldin said.

“Facilities has also been instrumental to this project and would not have happened without their time and effort,” 2018 Class President Gomes said.

The Senior Class Congress is responsible for the planning of the Class Tribute. The process entailed discussions regarding what the tribute should be, a formal proposal to be approved by the University, and communication with administration, facilities, the State of Pennsylvania, and others involved in the construction.

“When many members of the Class of 2018 were living in the Mods [Bucknell West] our sophomore and junior years, we recognized that the tunnel does not meet the structural and aesthetic caliber of other buildings on campus. To contribute to the constant renovation and improvement that has occurred over our four years on campus, we chose to pursue a project that would leave a strong legacy for our class as well as improve a neglected area of campus for future students,” Gomes said.

Many students have felt unsafe when walking through the tunnel at late hours of the night due to the poor lighting and overgrown shrubbery. In addition, a high number of students use the Route 15 intersection to get to campus, which causes a safety risk.

With stricter parking restrictions going into effect in the fall, students who live in Bucknell West will no longer be able to park on campus. Therefore, the tunnel will likely see a large increase in foot traffic.

“With more pedestrian traffic by both Mod residents and athletes, the 2018 Tribute will promote school spirit and unity,”  Houldin said.

“With this renovation, the Class of 2018 aims to improve a significant and visible area of campus frequented by students, faculty, and University community members. The key goals are to improve access between the two sides of campus, enhance campus aesthetics in the area, and increase both the perception and reality of safety when walking through the Tunnel,” Gomes said.

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