As a first-year student, Erin Clark ’ 18 hadn’t considered joining Common
Ground, a five-day retreat with a focus on diversity at Bucknell. After hearing
the experiences of sophomore peers who were program facilitators, the
Schenectady, N. Y., native and managing for sustainability major was intrigued
by the program’s impact on Bucknell’s community. Clark decided to join her
sophomore year, and trained to become a program facilitator for the next fall.
Approximately 50 student participants and 15 student facilitators attend
the retreat, where team-building activities encourage discussion about race,
ethnicity, gender, sexuality and socioeconomic status.
“A big goal for Common Ground is to get people to have meaningful
conversations about areas of difference on campus,” she says. “There’s a lot of
difference that doesn’t get talked about, and that might not be something you
can observe until you talk to individuals and hear about their experiences.”
For Clark, the program is a conduit for uniting students from “all different
walks of life” and for making new friends and building a support network. “There
are some I never would have known unless I did Common Ground,” she says.
Clark, a residential adviser and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and
Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, feels that her involvement with Common
Ground has positively influenced her other pursuits on campus.
“Common Ground is a group of people who can talk about diversity issues
and facilitate conversations not just on the five-day retreat but throughout the
year,” Clark says, citing community dinners and involvement with Bucknell’s
Diversity Summit and Residential Education programing as examples of the
program’s impact throughout campus.
“Common Ground encourages people to celebrate their differences and
to genuinely get to know other people and hear about their lives,” Clark says.
“That experience helps to bring people together and create a bigger sense of
community, and I think that’s really special.” — Samantha Nolle ’ 20
Erin Clark ’ 18
President John Bravman joins seniors (from
left) Taylor McCready, Danielle Taylor and
he Class of 2017 has left its
mark on Bucknell with a
senior tribute that has special
meaning. In the amphitheater near the
South Campus Apartments, a series
of plaques articulating the Solidarity
Creed acknowledges a significant
and painful moment for the class
and the University — while serving
as a reminder of how the Bucknell
community has pledged to grow.
In 2015, after three students were
expelled for making racist remarks
on air at the campus radio station,
Bucknellians banded together to
write the Solidarity Creed. “The
creed is central to our Bucknell
experience,” says Class President
Danielle Taylor ’ 17. “It’s how we as
students responded to that incident.
“I hope people will know the
statements in this creed are
important to our class,” Taylor
adds. “I hope students will take
it seriously and take that vow as a
Bucknellian. I hope this will be part
of the University forever.”
— Heather Peavey Johns
Erin Clark ’ 18 has found Common Ground at Bucknell.