Each year, the Bucknell Brigade sends two teams of volunteer "Brigadistas" to perform vital service work in Nicaragua, typically in January (prior to the start of the spring semester) and March (during the spring break holiday). Students, staff, and faculty who are interested in joining the Brigade are expected to attend one of two information sessions that are held early in the fall semester. The selection process for identifying participants includes an online application and group interviews. Space on both trips is limited, and efforts are made to recruit diverse teams representing a broad cross-section of campus. Applicants are notified of the results in October. Learn more about the trip from our fact sheet.
Expectations and Requirements
As a true service-learning experience, the Brigade's mission is not solely to help the residents of Nicaragua through direct service, but also to promote cross-cultural understanding by educating Brigade participants and other members of the Bucknell community about the political and economic factors that are limiting progress in Nicaragua, and the role that the United States and other world powers have played in Nicaragua's developmental history. To this end, Brigadistas will participate in the following:
All Brigadistas are expected to serve as program ambassadors. Although the primary focus of the Brigade is the service trips in January and March, participation in the Brigade spans the entire academic year. Brigadistas are expected to volunteer at least 10 hours per semester towards fundraising efforts, soliciting medical supply donations, publicizing Brigade efforts, leading educational forums, etc.
Brigadistas will attend four mini-curriculum sessions that are designed to enrich the experience of participants by fostering learning and discussion regarding a variety of topics relevant to traveling and working in Nicaragua, including disaster response and recovery, ethical volunteerism, the U.S.-Nicaragua historical relationship, and economic/political theories such as neoliberalism and cooperative models. Additionally, these sessions are used to impart critical information for the trip, such as packing lists, travel safety, and medical information, and provide an opportunity to promote group cohesion before the teams travel to Nicaragua.
Additional Opportunities for Involvement
For Bucknellians unable to participate in the January or March trips, Bucknell in Nicaragua is an intensive, three-week, credit-bearing summer course focusing on sustainable grassroots and community development models is open to all undergraduate students. Participants will focus on development issues and how local communities struggle to define and achieve their goals.
There are myriad ways to support the Bucknell Brigade right here in Lewisburg! Please visit Opportunities for Involvement for detailed information on how you can make a difference.