Bucknell Establishes Center for Community Engaged Leadership, Learning & Research; Introduces New Related Minor

July 9, 2024

by Mike Ferlazzo

Bucknell students (L to R) Matt Otto '24, Olivia Jaye '26, Kathryn Wrynn '26 and Christopher Oko '26 conduct EMT training as volunteers at the William Cameron Engine Company. Photo by Emily Paine, Marketing & Communications

Bucknell University has announced the establishment of the Center for Community Engaged Leadership, Learning & Research (CCE), transforming the former Office of Civic Engagement, effective July 1. The new center aims to enhance the University's community engagement efforts and support community-identified priorities.

In conjunction with the launch of the new center, the University is introducing a new community engaged leadership minor this fall.

The establishment of the center reflects a new mission and vision to guide the University's civic engagement initiatives. The mission is to build intentional and transformational opportunities for Bucknellians and community partners to collaborate and learn equitably around identified priorities and strengths to impact our world positively.

"This update reflects developments in the field nationally and internationally and the evolving landscape of community engagement," says Lynn Pierson, director of the new center. “The new name more effectively highlights our efforts to support community-identified priorities as engaged Bucknellians.”

Ralf Cesar '25, Elmer Cruz '25 and Jahnia Treadwell '25 stand in front of a Giant Mobile Food Pantry truck.

Bucknell Community Impact Summer Interns Ralf Cesar '25, Elmer Cruz '25 and Jahnia Treadwell '25 stand in front of a mobile food pantry, which aims to enhance food security in local communities. The interns have been instrumental in ensuring produce is harvested at the Bucknell Farm and Lewisburg Community Garden and then transported to a local food pantry. Photo by Lynn Pierson, director, CCE

Over the past two years, the previous Office of Civic Engagement has achieved several milestones, including:

  • Completing the civic action plan ahead of schedule.
  • Successfully creating and sustaining the Engaged Bucknell Coordinating Council, which aims to enhance and coordinate the University's community engagement efforts, especially in the Central Susquehanna Valley communities, primarily Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties.
  • Implementing the Engaged Bucknell platform to provide the infrastructure and resources to bring together students, faculty and staff with external partners to engage communities in meaningful ways.
  • Establishing a local summer internship program to support community-identified priorities.
  • Collaborating closely with community partners on initiatives ranging from food security to environmental sustainability.
  • Reinvigorating the prison education program through sustained teaching, research and collaborative group work at SCI Coal Township and SCI Muncy.
  • Creating a faculty fellow in a community engagement position.

Establishing and launching the new minor was another milestone. Developed in partnership with the Engaged Bucknell Coordinating Council, the minor aims to enhance students’ ability to work with community partners, lead with empathy and initiate social change. The program includes two interdisciplinary foundational courses on engaged leadership topics such as active listening, conflict negotiation, and understanding power and privilege, along with 260 hours of community-focused work.

"Bucknell students are encouraged to participate in community engagement activities through volunteer work, community-engaged student organizations, academic classes, clubs, sports teams, and fraternities and sororities," Pierson says. "These opportunities allow students to share their talents, engage and learn locally, and develop valuable life skills beyond college."

The new center will still be located at 119 Bertrand Library and can be contacted at community-engagement@bucknell.edu.