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Bucknell - likeminded housing?

filius1filius1 141 replies12 threads Junior Member
edited June 24 in Bucknell University
[Sorry to double-post this, but I didn't realize there was a forum dedicated specifically to Bucknell.]

My son is considering applying to Bucknell. It's appealing because it's one of the few universities that offer majors in the two subjects he is interested in, yet without being monstrously huge.

We are serious Catholics and the thing that concerns us about Bucknell is the dorm life. Like any secular college I assume a lot of questionable activities take place among the students and in the dorms. But I wondered whether it's possible to get roommates who
share similar values?

I assume based on experience with our older son (at a different college) that they have the students fill out some kind of a questionnaire. Would they make any effort to pair devout Christians and Catholics with each other, so that at least in his own dorm room he might manage to avoid some of the more disturbing activities?

I would appreciate any info. Thanks.
edited June 24
22 replies
Post edited by CCAdmin_Vic on
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Replies to: Bucknell - likeminded housing?

  • morrismmmorrismm 3390 replies182 threads Senior Member
    My D is a recent graduate of Bucknell and was an RA. She said there is, of course, substance free housing. She also said she knew many students who attended church each Sunday. And there are Catholic/Christian clubs.

    But she said there is no celibate housing. Does this exist at any secular school? There is no guarantee that your S will have a roommate that does not engage in sex in the room.

    I would suggest a religious college if you want a very strict environment.
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  • filius1filius1 141 replies12 threads Junior Member
    It wasn't celibate housing in particular that we were looking for, just wondering whether they would honor a request to have Christian roommates. At my older son's college (which is a Catholic college) they ask if you prefer a roommate who is neat or messy, quiet or loud, sociable or unsociable, etc., and try to match people up accordingly. So why not match up seriously religious people if they request it?

    Thanks anyway for responding, I appreciate it.
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  • NYGmenNYGmen 72 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Bucknell does match up roommates based upon a detailed questionnaire regarding lifestyle issues - for example sleeping patterns, neat or messy, studying in the room, etc. but nothing I recall related to religious preferences. I know some colleges will let you preselect a roommate (maybe a hometown high school friend who is also Catholic) but Bucknell doesn't do this. They encourage new friendships from day 1 of Orientation and usually within a few weeks the hallmates have become quite close. I do remember on the questionnaire they ask if the kids prefer single/double/triple rooms. My son was on a freshman hall with all three room configurations - maybe your son would feel more comfortable in a single where he could have the social benefits of dorm life but can go back to his room and shut the door when he needs to study or if things get too boisterous on the hall:-)
    As morrismm stated there is also Substance Free/Wellness Housing available which will eliminate any potential roommates who like to drink and party a lot. In addition Bucknell has a very active Catholic Campus Ministry(CCM) based in the Newman House, a "home away from home" for Bucknell's Catholic students. CCM offers a wide variety of activities including discussion groups focusing on contemporary faith issues, daily Masses, retreats, community service projects, etc. It is a very welcoming, inclusive place where your son would undoubtedly meet many new friends.
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  • filius1filius1 141 replies12 threads Junior Member
    NYG:

    "Bucknell does match up roommates based upon a detailed questionnaire regarding lifestyle issues - for example sleeping patterns, neat or messy, studying in the room, etc. but nothing I recall related to religious preferences..."

    Evidently religion is not considered a lifestyle issue, eh? Baffling ...

    Anyway, I appreciate your detailed response, thanks for taking the time.
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  • swampdragginswampdraggin 278 replies0 threads Junior Member
    If this is such a potential problem for your son and you find it baffling, I suggest a religious college is the only way to go.
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  • hopebrinn13hopebrinn13 - 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Does your son feel the same way you do?
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  • filius1filius1 141 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Swampdraggin:

    I think it's objectively baffling, i.e. any reasonable person should be able to see that it's strange to match kindred personalities in terms of neatness or studiousness, but ignore something as important to people as their religion or moral values. I would be interested to know what they're thinking, regardless whether my son decides to go there.
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  • filius1filius1 141 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Hope: Yes, he does.
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  • swampdragginswampdraggin 278 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Call up admissions - tell them you are objective and they are unreasonable and ask them what is their thinking?
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  • filius1filius1 141 replies12 threads Junior Member
    I didn't say they were unreasonable, I said it was strange to match based on neatness and ignore religion and morals. Presumably neatness matters because you don't want roommates driving each other up a wall on a daily basis like the Odd Couple. And religion doesn't matter because...?

    Who knows? Maybe they have some reasonable reason that neither of us has thought of.

    I could call them, but I'm not sure it's worth the time and effort, or if it's even possible to find the exact person who knows the answer and get in touch with him or her. It's not as though Bucknell is my son's dream school and he won't rest until he finds out.
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  • MonicaYoungLOLMonicaYoungLOL 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
    The reason they ignore religion is because college should be a time when your horizons are expanded. Having a non-Catholic roommate may give your son the opportunity to understand other people's thinking and become a more tolerant person.
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  • filius1filius1 141 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Monica, that could be their reasoning. But I'm not sure it holds water. If learning to understand and tolerate differences were the predominant consideration, wouldn't they also want neat people to learn to understand and tolerate messy people?
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  • MonicaYoungLOLMonicaYoungLOL 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
    That's a little bit different because it impacts studying and the actual ability to interact in one's room. Messiness is irksome only because if someone has a real condition like OCD or simply has difficulty concentrating with a mess, then that could severely impact grades and ability to succeed at a school. With regards to religion, not rooming with someone of the same religion may feel awkward but it won't limit one's ability to succeed.

    I think it's awesome that your son is a devout Catholic. It's great to have that connection to a base where you can always find a home, and if he wants, he could join the church, etc. But I don't know that having rooming with someone of your like religion should be something that is a definite because the great thing about college is that you get to meet new people who think differently and similarly to you and then affirm or develop your own beliefs.

    Keep in mind that regardless of someone's religion, race, gender, etc. morals and values generally hold if someone is a good person. Jews, Protestants, Buddhists, and so on will, if they are good people, likely value honesty, integrity, respect for others and so on. Also remember that in the end, if your son really was uncomfortable with his roommate, he could switch. Honesty though he wouldn't really have to interact with his roommate aside from them living together anyway. If your son really desperately wants a predominantly Catholic atmosphere though, a Catholic school might be the best option.
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  • filius1filius1 141 replies12 threads Junior Member
    OK, let's look at the reasons Bucknell gives on its website for offering substance-free housing:

    “Bucknell's Substance-Free Living Environment was designed in partnership with students to provide a fun and exciting social environment in which alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs may not be used on the hall. While residents represent a wide variety of majors, campus involvement, and backgrounds, **they share similar values**.”

    Substance-Free Living at Bucknell || Residential Education || Bucknell University

    Note that they're not doing it because rooming with someone who is not substance-free “limits one's ability to succeed”, but rather, because the people who choose to live in substance-free housing “share similar values”.

    So evidently Bucknell believes that sharing similar values is a good enough reason to match people up; indeed they set up an entire dorm for certain people for no other stated reason than that they share similar values.

    But let's say for the sake of argument that that's not the only reason. In fairness, presumably it's also because some students don't want the temptations and distractions that drugs and alcohol present, which could indeed affect their studies. But what does this imply? It implies that it's not enough to say to these students, “Look, no one is forcing you to drink or use drugs. If you were raised right then you should be strong enough to resist temptation. And if you just find it unpleasant to be around people who are drunk and stoned, then you need to develop some understanding and tolerance for people who think differently about such things than you do.”

    Yes, I know that my son could choose a Christian or Catholic college, and maybe he will. But I notice that Bucknell doesn't say to substance-free students, that if they want substance-free housing maybe they should consider a substance-free school; or for that matter, to neat-freaks that they should consider a slob-free school. For some reason it's only to Christians that the suggestion is made to look elsewhere if they prefer rooming with kindred spirits.
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  • benrebbenreb 198 replies16 threads Junior Member
    filius1 - I am just curious since you seem hung up on the fact that Bucknell doesn't ask students about religion in their housing questionnaire. Did your older son's college ask this question? I'd be surprised if any secular college asked any sort of questions about religion. Seems like they would be opening up a whole can of worms that they probably don't want to deal with.

    If your son does end up applying to Bucknell, it seems like a single room might be the way to go, although he will certainly find students who engage in "questionable activities" living right down the hall. Whether or not he can deal with this is something you two should figure out ahead of time.

    I absolutely LOVE Bucknell, and my soon-to-be-a-sophomore son is having the type of experience there that I had always hoped he would. He has made great friends, is involved in activities, and has developed a close, personal relationship with his professors that has lead to his staying on campus this summer to conduct research. That said, it seems like Bucknell is not the best fit for your son. Greek life is huge on campus and I'm sure there are lots of parties, etc. Obviously your son would not have to participate, but it will certainly be going on around him (as it would at most any other secular college in the country).
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  • hopebrinn13hopebrinn13 - 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
    While substance free is a concrete yes or no, how religious you are is pretty different. Many, many students who identify as Catholic do not have socially conservative values at all. They may only occasionally practice or not at all. Some very devout Catholics might be on the verge of leaving the Church. They might not hold all the beliefs of the Church.

    I think asking for a sex and substance free dorm is more what you're looking for. If that's what you want, then say that.
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  • morrismmmorrismm 3390 replies182 threads Senior Member
    Fillus1--Bucknell is now a secular school. I believe all ( or the vast majority) of secular schools do not use religion as one of the criteria for roommates. Sophomore through senior year, your son can choose his own roommate. So if he finds a like minded friend, all is good.

    I actually understand your argument about religion being used as a criteria for a roommate. But then, sexual preference and political affiliation, by the same argument, should be used. So in the spirit of diversity and inclusion, neutral only habits are considered, such as neatness, sleeping hours, etc.

    I think one of the ideas of a secular liberal arts education is an introduction to many idea and cultures. Yes Bucknell is not as diversified as some schools and communities, but I understand it is doing many things to improve in this area.

    Btw,^^my D was not Greek and she had many friends and was involved in all sorts of things. Most of her friends were independents too. But she did go to a formal with a christian guy at a dry frat. The dry frats are not usually completely dry, but less "Animal House."
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  • filius1filius1 141 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Benreb:

    I'm sure I do seem hung up on it, but really I was just asking a simple question and was ready to let it go after the third or fourth post on the thread. Since then I have just been responding to the ways people have tried to justify Bucknell's policy or lack thereof.

    For you to say that Bucknell is "not the best fit" for my son because bad things may be "going on around him", would be like saying to a student requesting substance-free housing that Bucknell is not the best fit for him, because substance use will be "going on around him". Yet nobody says that to substance-free students, only to Christian students. What's up with that?

    I know that morally "questionable" stuff will go on all over the place, and I'm not very worried about my son being exposed to it or succumbing to it. I, for one, work full-time and have to deal with all kinds of people. I don't feel that you have to be completely sheltered from un-Christian attitudes and activities in order to live a Christian life. But I'm sure most would agree that there's nothing wrong with wanting a Christian atmosphere -- or at least not an anti-Christian atmosphere -- at least in the place where I live and sleep. Which, again, is precisely the reasoning behind substance-free housing.
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  • filius1filius1 141 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Hope:

    "I think asking for a sex and substance free dorm is more what you're looking for. If that's what you want, then say that."

    What I want is for my son to have the option of choosing to live with roommates who "share similar values", like the substance-free students have.
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  • MonicaYoungLOLMonicaYoungLOL 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Filius, I understand where you're coming from. Generally people feel most comfortable with people like them. In asking that sort of question on a questionnaire though, it could make it really uncomfortable for some students who don't identify as strongly with religion or have been struggling with their beliefs. My best suggestion is that you call Bucknell should your son gain admittance to their program and see what they can do for him. I'm sure they'd be able to work something out.
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