Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bringing a new adventure to campus

A unique project is developing on our upper campus that will give Bloomsburg University students leadership-building opportunities and provide a valuable outdoor resource to an important segment of our population.

Nearly two dozen young adults in the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps are spending three days this week, April 27 to 29, helping to develop a wheelchair-accessible high ropes course near Nelson Field House for our Quest program – a leadership development program that offers extended and weekend trips and customized team-building experiences.

This innovative course, just like our current high ropes course, will help individuals and teams explore risk taking and face personal challenge, while building confidence, leadership and teamwork. Soon all people, regardless of their abilities, can enjoy adventurous thrills and the long-lasting benefits.

This type of collaboration demonstrates once again how well our university works with the community. Participants in the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps are able to hone the skills they’ve learned during their year of employment with this “signature project,” their term for a short-term, high-impact project. And with their assistance, we are able to develop the wheelchair-accessible high ropes course that’s been on our wish list. Everyone wins.

When completed, the wheelchair-accessible course will be the first of its size in our region and one of only a few nationwide. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished project. What a nice way to kick off our summer.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A spring renaissance is coming

One of the aspects of living in Central Pennsylvania my wife, Robbie, and I most enjoy is our region’s great sense of community. This warm, inviting atmosphere is most evident in Bloomsburg during events such as the Renaissance Jamboree. Held on the last Saturday in April, which is April 24 this year, the Renaissance is co-sponsored by BU’s Program Board.

Our campus community is always involved in this event, from the earliest planning stages to volunteering to work in many booths along Main Street. Each year, more than 250 craftsmen and artisans display and sell their wares, non-profit organizations offer a variety of food and groups provide games and entertainment.

Members of the campus community are among the loyal volunteers, including the sisters of Phi Sigma Sigma, a social sorority who have taken part in Renaissance for at least eight years. In addition, our Community Government Association and Alumni Association are fixtures in festival booths along the street. Other participants include Spectrum Magazine, Kappa Phi, BU NOW, Protestant Campus Ministry, History Club and Kappa Sigma.

Renaissance comes at a good time in the spring, as we’re nearing the end of the semester with finals week right around the corner. It follows Block Party, which this year was a relatively safe and sane day for BU students and alumni to relax and blow off steam before heading into the home stretch toward finals and graduation.

The Renaissance Jamboree gives the campus community a great opportunity to take a final, calm break, enjoy the outdoors and celebrate with the townspeople many of the positive aspects of having our fine university located within such a great community.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Student safety, comfort to get even better

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend time with presidents from our sister universities at the quarterly PASSHE Board of Governors meeting in Harrisburg. I always enjoy sharing Bloomsburg’s news, hearing about their schools’ recent achievements and witnessing the board in action as members make the decisions that allow our institutions to prosper.

Among the key orders of business on April 8 was bond financing approval for several construction projects across the State System, including two important projects here at Bloomsburg. This decision allows BU to take the next step in developing these projects that have been on our “wish list” for several years.

One project, a much-needed pedestrian bridge linking Honeysuckle Apartments to campus at the Haas Center for the Arts, will enable students to walk from the apartment complex without crossing traffic on Lightstreet Road. Our facilities management team is still working on the design, so many of the details have yet to be determined; however, this is great news for improving the safety for our students.

The second project calls for a complete renovation of Elwell Hall. Plans include installing air conditioning in the entire building, creating a new lobby and building new student lounges. There’s also the possibly of adding a small pedestrian bridge over Second Street to connect the residence hall with Scranton Commons. More details must be finalized for the Elwell Hall project, but the board’s decision last week enables BU to move forward with both of these projects knowing that appropriate funding will be in place.

We are also conducting a housing study that looks at current and anticipated future student housing needs on campus in the Town of Bloomsburg. The study will be completed this summer and will assist us in meeting our goal of providing a variety of housing options on campus for at least 50 percent of our students.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Our BU family comes home

Bloomsburg University’s campus will brim with excitement this weekend, April 9 to 11, when generations of Huskies and hundreds of potential students come together for our annual Alumni Weekend , coinciding with Siblings’ and Children’s Weekend. It will be a jam-packed three days spent honoring our university’s past, present and future.

I enjoy these types of events, and the campus really comes alive when we host so many people who share a love for BU. I’m particularly looking forward to talking with alumni who haven’t visited campus for quite some time. As you know, much has changed over the years as our campus has grown from a small college to a university. I’ll enjoy hearing stories from past generations, including those attending reunions of classes from the 1930s and 40s and the Navy V-12 World War II veterans who trained here and for whom Navy Hall is named.

Activity builds on Saturday with receptions at the Alumni House, campus tours, a Celebrity Artist Series concert and an awards luncheon honoring more than 425 alumni. I invite you to visit our Alumni Association’s Web site for a complete schedule of events.

While they are on campus, young children of our alumni may join youngsters related to our students, faculty and staff at free Siblings’ and Children’s Weekend activities, including the children’s carnival on the Academic Quad. This weekend event is a great opportunity to show off the campus to students’ siblings, host them overnight in the residence halls and introduce them to the great Bloomsburg experience they could enjoy themselves in years to come.

It’s not often we see so many generations on campus at one time. It’s truly witnessing the past, present and future of BU in action.