"At Bucknell, everyone can be involved in making a difference and improving the lives of others."
During a college tour at Bucknell, Gabe Gross '23 went out on a limb. He stepped away from his tour group and asked students who were not working as tour guides for their perspective on Bucknell. The answers he received helped make his college decision an easy one.
"Every single student I pulled aside had nothing but great things to say about Bucknell. I could tell that they chose Bucknell because they felt at home and wanted to be in this community."
As a markets, innovation & design (MIDE) major in the Freeman College of Management, he found his academic community in Management 101, where he partnered with local businesses to help them meet their goals and grow while also simultaneously completing a service project.
"My group was paired with the Mount Carmel food pantry, and as a way to help raise money for them, we partnered with businesses downtown to host a Restaurant Week," Gross says. "Each night we would highlight a different local restaurant and a certain percentage of proceeds would go to the food pantry. We picked only family-run businesses rather than chain restaurants because they had been hit the hardest by the pandemic."
It was just one of many experiences where Gross has seen firsthand just how much he could accomplish as a student here.
"It was really powerful to be able to make a difference in the community [with Management 101]," he says.
"A lot of times when you are taking a college tour, they tell you about all the great things you can do, but you never really think that could actually be you — it always feels like those stories are about the 10 students out of 4,000 who make a difference on campus. So it was really great to be a part of making that difference for ourselves and the community, and to learn that we are able to do that in our classes almost every semester. At Bucknell, everyone can be involved in making a difference and improving the lives of others."
Gross is happy to contribute to the campus community outside his classes as well. An avid sports fan who's been hooked on baseball from the time he learned to throw, Gross joined the club baseball team his first year and interns for Bucknell Athletics as a way to stay involved with sports even with his busy schedule. He began in operations, helping to coordinate scheduling and staffing for games and practices. Just this year, Gross discovered an interest in the production side of sports, adding to the list of interests he wants to pursue as a career after graduating.
He's gained skills and experiences working for BisonVision, which records games and sends them to ESPN+ to be streamed. He will build on these experiences as he steps into a new role this fall as the undergraduate executive intern for Bucknell Athletics & Recreation. He's also found experience in a less likely place: theatre.
A three-sport athlete in high school, Gross had never given much thought to the stage. But as he was selecting his first-year courses, an elective Introduction to Theatre Tech course caught his eye. Always on the hunt for new experiences, he listed it as a possible course to take if his other choices were unavailable. As fate would have it, Gross was put into the class.
"During the first day of classes everyone was going around and introducing themselves, and of course they're all theatre majors, so when they got to me I said 'Hi my name is Gabe. I've never done any theatre in my life, but I want to go into sports management and I think I can learn something here,' " he recalls.
Once again, his courage to try something new led Gross to a new passion. After completing his lab hours for the course, he became a paid technical assistant with the theatre department and is now a Theatre Design & Technology minor. "Learning how to run the light board, stage manage a production and build sets are skills I can take with me into the sports management world," Gross says. "But I also found something I can enjoy within academia and preparing for a career.'
In addition to sports, theatre and being a coordinator for the admissions office, Gross also serves as a teaching assistant for the American Sign Language Program. Being hard of hearing himself, he wanted to make sure students have the resources they need, especially during a time when mask wearing made lip reading impossible. He leads recitations and holds office hours to help students learn the language, how to better improve their skills and how to make other departments accessible to those in the deaf and hard of hearing communities.
"Someone recently said to me, 'You belong at Bucknell if you want to belong at Bucknell,' " says Gross. By stepping outside his comfort zone and getting involved, he has established that place for himself in the Bucknell community.