nationwide Catholic Campus Ministry Association, based
in Cincinati. Although he knew his new post was in a community weathering tough times, Moran was stouthearted.
Fueled by what he witnessed students achieving across
4,000 campus ministries, he thought service learning might
help turn things around in Mount Carmel.
Many people at Bucknell understood that Moran’s intimate knowledge of the University and the coal region could
bring the two together so well that his name would become
as synonymous with the partnership as coal itself. Moran quietly pitched the partnership idea to Mount Carmel movers
and shakers: the school district and public library; Downtown Inc., a nonprofit revitalization group; Cimino and
borough council; and the Mount Carmel Area Ministerium.
The partners cut a deal for Bucknell to rent space for the
Coal Region Field Station in a former convent in Mount
Carmel, which reopened in April 2015 as the Mother Maria
Kaupas Center, honoring a Lithuanian nun whose charitable
work there was anchored by her words, “Always more, always
better, always with love.” Moran assembled a team to form
the center’s board.
“When Father Marty put the concept together, it did
sound a bit out there, but I just said ‘Yes,’ ” says Kaupas
advisory board president Herman Weimer ’02, who knew
Moran from his Bucknell days. “I was a first-generation col-
lege student. Rural America is where I grew up, so I know
what it is up against. This was classic Father Marty. It’s his
gift to pull together divergent people with different back-
grounds to do good work.”
On campus, the partnership landed at the Bucknell
Center for Sustainability & the Environment under Shaunna
“Because the community partners come up with the proj-
ACHIEVING MAXIMUM IMPACT
ects themselves, we thought our students could have a real
impact, particularly when there’s so much synergy working
in a town,” Barnhart says.
The notion that university-community engagement teaches
students more and better is not a fresh one. Neither is the
idea that universities have a responsibility to address needs
of nearby communities.
Bucknell’s three-pronged approach to the partnership —
student/faculty research opportunities, volunteer projects
and classwork — was designed with interconnections
in mind and clear goals. Professors of management, the
humanities and social sciences especially brought the
partnership into their classrooms, with students piggybacking internships onto earlier class work. Thanks to Bucknell-funded, one-time research grants, success and national
attention came quickly, especially via two early projects: a
forthcoming book, Pain and Politics in Small-Town America, by
Professor Jennifer Silva, sociology; and The Kubek Project,
a website by then-visiting professor Nick Kupensky ’07,
comparative humanities, devoted to research and translations of writings by the Rev. Emil Kubek, a noted Mahanoy
City priest, journalist and poet.
The partnership has shown incredible reach, blossoming
into summer sports camps led by Bucknell students and
coaches for coal-region kids, plans for community gardens,
and another class project by Jacob Hannah and a team of
students who researched the feasibility of protected status
for Centralia, the ghost town turned urban-explorer mecca.
If Moran laid the partnership groundwork in Mount
Carmel, Kaupas Center Director Jake Betz oversees the connections that make things happen. Betz also volunteers at
Chloe Poltonavage ’ 20 of
Shamokin (right) teaches
field-hockey skills to
Slodysko in a clinic that
Bucknell’s coach and
players offered this
summer in Mt. Carmel.