Students jump at new Swartz patio.

Bucknell's Class of 2021 Supports First-year Connections With Senior Tribute

May 12, 2021

by Brooke Thames

Bucknell Student Government's senior class representatives and University President John Bravman celebrated the completion of the new Swartz patio. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

As they pondered the mark they'd leave on Bucknell, members of the Class of 2021 looked back at their first days on the campus they quickly called home. With their senior tribute — a patio space located just outside James S. Swartz Hall — this year's graduates hope to further enhance the living, learning and community-building experience for future generations of first-year and sophomore Bucknellians.

"Tributes can tend to improve the upperclass experience, such as the fire pit or the Bucknell 'B', which were built in areas of campus where seniors and juniors typically live," says Senior Class President Stuart "Kip" Hallagan '21, a Spanish and economics double-major from East Greenwich, R.I. "We're taking this opportunity to pour into the collective experience of underclass students because building community is a central aspect of those first years on campus."

Located just off Malesardi Quadrangle, Swartz is one of five residence halls dedicated to first-year housing. The new patio — which will feature a collection of orange and blue tables, chairs and Adirondack loungers — presents more than a fresh, beautiful space for these students to dig into their studies, enjoy a bite between classes and build lasting bonds with peers. It also adds to the University's number of outdoor meeting areas, which have become essential during the pandemic.

Students stand on new Swartz patio

The new patio adds to the University's number of outdoor meeting areas, which have become essential during the pandemic. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

As COVID-19 protocols continue to present challenges for on-campus gatherings, Senior Class Officer Catherine Paul '21 is sure the Swartz patio will fulfill a key need for Bucknellians in the charge ahead.

"This past year has been so tough in residence halls with limited access to common rooms, especially for first-year students and sophomores, who have missed out on opportunities to get to know each other in those communal spaces," says Paul, a Spanish and political science double-major from Bethesda, Md. "While we hope things will be more normal soon, a tribute like this dedicates space for students to connect as we continue to navigate this time."

It's also no secret that "everyone at Bucknell loves these kinds of outdoor areas," adds psychology and environmental studies double-major Chris Mangano '21, who also serves as a senior class officer. "So the class is really excited about transforming this blank slate into another great gathering place that will benefit the community for years to come."

Bucknell's array of permanent outdoor installations on campus also includes an outdoor classroom adjacent to Davis Hall; an amphitheater between Swartz and McDonnell Hall; a patio near the Roberts, Trax and Kress Halls; and an electricity-powered study space outside Academic West, the Class of 2016's senior tribute. 

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