President John Bravman and Bucknell Student Government members from the Class of 2023 gather at a table on an octantal-shaped pit, with four pillars and stringed lights overhead.

Senior Tribute Aims to Encourage Togetherness, Boost Well-being

April 28, 2023

by Dave Block

President John Bravman and Bucknell Student Government members from the Class of 2023 gather to enjoy the senior class tribute — an outdoor social space in Bucknell's Grove. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

The Class of 2023 has provided an outdoor gathering space in the Grove in honor of the connections they've made at Bucknell.

"It's a serene, peaceful place on campus that we wanted to supplement by creating a spot where people could meet, do work and hang out," says Class of 2023 President Nabeel Jan '23, an English — film/media studies and international relations double-major.

The octagonal space adjacent to the Gateway Residence Center was created by clearing a grass area and installing pressure-treated timber edging and pea gravel, says Brian Fritz, associate director, Building Maintenance & Projects. River stones and boulders were placed outside the seating area, which features composite outdoor furniture consisting of a table, Adirondack chairs and lounge chairs. "Four timber posts with decorative black covers to match the nearby existing light poles were installed as a framework for overhead string lights," Fritz says.

The senior class officers were interested in making a functional contribution to the campus along the lines of the powered pergola space added through the Class of 2022 tribute. "We were looking at areas on campus where there was a lack of outdoor space that can be utilized," Jan says. "We looked at the previous class’ research and other research on how being outside helps your mental health and well-being.

"During the pandemic, a lot of classes were held outside to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We thought this would be a fitting tribute as a remembrance of how those spaces helped us and other classes."

Outdoor spaces were a critical element in the University's COVID-19 response strategy, allowing students and faculty to maintain connections and build relationships by utilizing every corner of campus for safe, in-person instruction. This addition reflects the students' gratitude for the connections they've been able to create with one another while encouraging other students to make their own, says Class Vice President Andrew Finegan '23, a civil engineering major.

The class officers provided their rationale, basic design inspiration and key concepts in their proposal to President John Bravman and his senior leadership team for approval.

"The Grove is a special place, and we hope that by adding this gathering space, students will cherish it even more," Finegan says. "I think that during my time here, simply chatting with fellow classmates has produced some of my favorite memories, and I hope the addition of this space will do the same for future generations."

Class Secretary/Treasurer Taylor Armstrong '23, an economics and political science double-major, says she is grateful to those who brought the students' plan to life.

"The Bucknell facilities staff, as always, did an amazing job making our dream a reality — while offering some insightful suggestions along the way," she says. "I am excited to return to campus in the years to come and remember all the hard work and dedication that the Class of 2023 Student Government members put into this tribute. Hopefully, its intended purpose of bringing our community even closer is fulfilled."