Since its inception in 1983 as the African American Studies residence, Seventh Street House has contributed in significant ways to Bucknell’s attempts at achieving diversity. The house has offered a residential experience that has deepened an appreciation for the struggles endured by people of African ancestry. The House has always sought “to foster a sense of community and promote campus-wide intellectual development” regarding the Black experience. Originally a house for females interested in African-American Women’s Studies, 7th Street House has changed over time. With the closing of Edwards’ House, the African-American Studies House for men, 7th Street House became co-ed. It became the only residence dedicated to simultaneously living in and learning about the Black experience on campus. With the joining of the two residences, any student seeking to live in the house had to take or to have taken one course or more in Black Studies. As this brief history is intended to convey, the mission of 7th Street House predates and embodies the goals set forth in The Plan for Bucknell.
In The Plan for Bucknell, the University commits itself to strengthening the academic core. Students who wish to live in Seventh Street House must have documented commitment to academic studies in the Black Diaspora or an intellectual interest in such studies. In doing so, students have a basis for understanding some of the reasons for the house’s existence and an academic basis on which to interact in an intellectually significant manner with other members of the household and the Bucknell community. Deepening the residential learning experience and enhancing diversity are two goals of The Plan for Bucknell echoed in the mission of the house. This residence combines living and learning through a critical appraisal of the Black Diaspora as represented at Bucknell University and throughout the world.
The Black experience at Bucknell is not confined to students from the US, or black students only; it represents the Black Diaspora. The importance of having an academic focus versus race-based criteria for living in the house allows for integration and ensures intellectual and historical context for understanding the black experience. As reflected in the three Black Studies minors at Bucknell—African-American, Caribbean, and African—the Black Diaspora is formally represented in the curriculum. Through its co-curricular activities, Seventh Street House exposes the campus community to the various cultures that constitute the Black Diaspora. As a residential learning experience, residents of the house will also be afforded opportunities to engage in activities pertinent to black people beyond Bucknell.