Politics at Bucknell and surrounding area

Can anyone provide feedback on the political climate at and around Bucknell? My daughter is looking to apply but has some concerns that it may be too right-wing for her. She’s into causes like climate change, social Justice and LGBTQ rights and wants a community that is supportive of those causes. I know Central PA is very conservative, are there like minded kids at Bucknell or will she be an outlier? Not trying to start an ugly thread, just want to make the right decision for her.

I will send you a message.

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Union County voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2020 by 61-37.

If your D is interested in LACs, there are many others which would dovetail better with her causes/interests than Bucknell.


Depending on what your daughter wants to study you may want to consider Dickinson as an alternative to Bucknell. I think your daughter would find like-minded students at this school. Here are links to a couple of programs that might be of interest.


I know this story made our local news a year ago:

If it were a student I were advising, I’d tell them to find an email of a liberal or social justice type club president and email them their question to see how they feel the political climate is there at this point. They ought to know.

In general here Bucknell tends to be known as more conservative and very Greek. It attracts applicants I know of who feel they fit that profile.

Dickinson or Franklin & Marshall would be a couple options to consider for a different vibe, pending what major she’s looking for (neither have engineering).


Consider adding some of the Quaker schools (in addition to Dickinson and F&M, both of which I think are fine options)?

Assuming you guys are actually from Bend (and it’s not just a random user name) there are dozens of colleges which would 'fit" a progressive kid from Bend better than Bucknell.

Is there something specific about Bucknell she likes?

Yes, we are from Bend and have lived here for 12 years. She likes the idea of the East Coast for a change. We are also looking at BC, Lehigh, Villanova, Elon, UVM. Bucknell is a little smaller size than she wants but the alumni network is great. She’s likely majoring in comms or poli sci.

I should also say she’s a preppy, outdoorsy kid who would likely go Greek. She really likes the study abroad programs offered by Bucknell and Elon.

Based on her indicated preferences, your daughter also may want to look into the University of Richmond.

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All colleges have great study abroad programs and access to great programs run by third parties. I wouldn’t choose a college based on study abroad programs. Many also allow students to take programs run by other colleges.


Regardless of where she attends or what she believes, at least 35% of the surrounding area will disagree. That is true almost everywhere in the US, per 2020 election records, so it is good to be tolerant.

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Look at the Maine LAC’s; Bryn Mawr, Mt Holyoke, Smith if she’s willing to consider all-women. Hamilton, Middlebury, Clark, Holy Cross…

Don’t know her stats so these are random.

I don’t believe there is anything exceptional about Bucknell’s alumni network, btw…

Agree, but upwards of 70% of kids at these schools study abroad. The Global engagement is prioritized at some schools.


Middlebury and Hamilton look amazing, but she’s a 3.8 UW student so not likely.

I’ll add Gettysburg to consider. If she’s at all interested in FL, she could also like Eckerd - worth a look online to see.

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I don’t know the vibe of all of these campuses, but I think your family might want to look into some of these as there’s a big focus on study abroad and most of these are near outdoor opportunities and have a strong Greek life:

• Dickinson (PA )
• Colgate (NY)
• Trinity (CT)
• Furman (SC)
• Washington & Lee (VA)
• Union (NY)
• Wheaton (MA)
• Skidmore (NY)
• Connecticut College
• Roanoke (VA)
• Hollins (VA) (all-women)

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Thank you! Some that I know of are a little small (ideally she wants 6-10k). But I will research the other NE and mid Atlantic options!

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You might want to consider the University of Rochester. You said that Bucknell is smaller than she preferred while UR at 6200 students is more in line with the size of the other schools on your list. Like Bucknell, there is Greek life at UR.

UR offers majors in both of her potential areas of interest, Communications and Poli-Sci. Their approach to Poli-Sci is interesting in that it is incorporated in the same department with International Relations. Study abroad is encouraged and is supported with fellowship funding. UR also participates in the Washington Semester Program and again university funding is available to support students in that program. UR also sponsors internships with local government and in Washington with grant money available.

For a student with an interest in the climate crisis, UR offers 9 separate majors and/or minors on climate, the environment, and sustainability. In addition, housing options include a special interest dorm called GreenSpace for students interested in a sustainable lifestyle and learning from others with the same interest.

WRT LGBTQ+ issues, it scores 4.5/5 on the campus pride index. Another special interest dorm called Marsha’s House is for students’ with various queer identities. Overall the campus leans left/moderate although there is a conservative element on campus.

UR sponsors 70 study abroad programs, but it’s approach to international education begins on campus with the 2nd highest % of international students (28%) in the country, representing 47 different countries. About a third of the domestic students study abroad at some point in their college careers.

Academically, your daughter is an excellent match. The average high school gpa of this year’s freshman class was 3.75 with 45% admitted without submitting test scores. The acceptance rate for this class was 41%.

For an outdoorsy kid, Rochester is an underrated, very livable city. New York State has the largest and most developed state park system in the country, and a lot of the best of its system is available to UR students. The Erie Canal is now a linear state park and runs right through Rochester. It is great for canoeing, kayaking, jogging, and biking.

About 40 minutes south of town is 14,000 acre Letchworth State Park with 3 dozen waterfalls, 3 of them 70 feet or more and 66 miles of hiking trails. It was once voted the most beautiful state park in the country. An hour or so to the east is the 6 million acre Adirondack Park, the first in the nation attempt at resource management & sustainability back in the 19th century. It was the model on which the national park system was based. Endless opportunities for outdoor activities including skiing, hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, etc. It is the largest public park in the lower 48, 3 times the size of Yellowstone.

Just a suggestion.


I grew up Lewisburg where Bucknell is located and most of my family is still there. If you are interested in the school, I would try to visit to form your own opinion. The town itself is small but very nice and filled with a very diverse population of people from all over the world. Do not judge the town or college based on the voting history of the surrounding county. Yes it is a rural area that leans republican but that will have little impact on your student because they will likely never travel beyond the town. I would think the biggest concern is whether you like the more rural area. However if you are looking for a university that feels like the whole campus body is pushing social justice causes, Bucknell probably isn’t the place for that. There is significant Greek life, but I know that according to my they have cracked down on many of the frat houses and off campus housing because the town was tired of all the loud parties. It would a question to ask about on a tour.