Politics at Bucknell and surrounding area

Wow this sounds like a great match and wasn’t on my radar. Many thanks for the thoughtful input!

Great feedback thanks. We visit Villanova, Lehigh and Bucknellin June so we will get a feel.

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We are from western Pennsylvania and visited Bucknell with my 2020. We lean left, but are used to being in the minority politically.

When we visited, I made a point to ask kids, particularly students of color, what they thought of the school. The general answer is very similar to what the Lewisburg native who posted indicated. Bucknell doesn’t have an especially politically inclined student body. There seem to be a lot of wealthy east coast kids there who likely come from fiscally conservative, but more socially liberal families. The look of the kids in general — which doesn’t tell you much about politics — is pretty mainstream. A preppy, outdoors type would likely fit right in.

As far as Greek life goes, they don’t allow students to rush until sophomore year, which seems like a great idea. Our tour guide said that by that point many students have found their people elsewhere and don’t rush. My sense was that Greek life was important to the social life of campus, but actually being Greek wasn’t critical. The % Greek (which I don’t specifically recall) didn’t seem especially high.

I agree with you that Bucknell does prioritize study abroad and just because it is available at all schools doesn’t mean that it is as integrated and part of the core values at all schools. One example of the way that it is in the fabric is that they are able to facilitate a far higher percentage of engineers studying abroad than most schools do.

Again, as the poster from Lewisburg said, it is rather isolated. We are from a small town about 3.5 hours away. We liked the school and though the town is cuter than where we are from, my 2020 decided she wanted a different experience than what she had had for 18 years. My 2022 is a city lover, so she didn’t even apply.

My 2020 did get a large merit scholarship with fantastic research and other opportunities. It wasn’t enough to sway her, but it would have been a good experience.

Good luck in your search!


Latest common data set says that the percentage in fraternities and sororities was 34% and 42% of all undergraduates (however, this means that it is closer to 45% and 56% of non-frosh who are eligible to join). This is actually fairly high among all colleges and universities.


These sites show Bucknell by Greek participation in a comparative context:



My daughter attended Susquehanna University, which is only a 20-minute drive from Bucknell. While she found a lot of similarly liberal-minded students on campus, she found the political atmosphere and racism in the community to be really oppressive. Her boyfriend during college was black, a local young man who had a hard time dealing with people’s attitudes. My daughter had planned to live in PA when she graduated, but decided she just couldn’t and moved back to Portland (Maine). Good news for us, she convinced three of her friends from PA to move here, too!


University of Rochester is 3 hours directly north of Bucknell, and so could easily included in this trip. And 3 hours should mean just that because there will be absolutely no traffic on this drive.

If you’re coming so far, why not? You can fly into Philly for ‘Nova and fly out of Rochester when you head home


For some people, this may be just a political difference that can be put away when not doing anything political.

However, for some people, this may go beyond political difference and be a quality of life issue, as indicated by the following anecdote:


Well, 39% of the local populace voted against Trump, so hopefully those sort of attitudes you mentioned are rare. There have been racist incidents this week in NY, CA-pretty much everywhere, sadly

Living in a similar area of the same state, I wish those attitudes were rare in the population. If one has a differing political opinion one will need a tough skin or remain quite quiet among a fair number of the typical population.

If one makes the drive to Bucknell from pretty much any direction, political signs outside will show the leaning off campus. Bucknell is between U Rochester and our house. My Rochester boy and his friends (a generally liberal area) always remark about the signs when they come visit.

On campus the OP really is best emailing one (or more) similar minded people on campus to ask their thoughts. Campus populations change every year. Off campus not much is likely to change. One can get on the NYT or other websites to see how the area voted in our primaries yesterday.


40% of the County population near Bucknell isn’t really a small number, so perhaps views of some are just more vocal than others. Of course, Rochester itself is right next door to the recent racist event in Buffalo. Monroe county, NY, where UR is located, went 55% for Biden in 2020. Obviously, that means 45% of voters did not support him. Rochester, like most of the US, is far more evenly split than most people think, with about 1/3 strongly in each position and the swing voters in the middle. We shouldnt excuse racism anywhere, but it isnt always obvious which areas are most affected.

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That is high. We visited earlier in our search so it must not have struck me as high as it is because I didn’t have context. Thanks for the correction.

The incident in Buffalo that you’re referring to was perpetrated by a youn man who lived outside of Binghamton, NY, 230 miles away from Buffalo. He drove well over 3 hours to get there. It’s similar to the racially motivated shooting in El Paso. In neither case was this a racist element of the community lashing out at others within their community. Both were cases of someone from outside targeting a particular community specifically because of its racial composition.


Please get back to the OT.

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BC, Lehigh, and Villanova lean more conservative than the typical Northeast college. UVM could be a fit. Not sure about Elon.

How about BU or Syracuse for communications?

Sounds as if William and Mary might strike the balance she’s looking for, but it might be too reachy.

U of Delaware is a smaller flagship that offers strong programs in her areas of interest, and has the “preppy” feel she is looking for. Maybe this program would appeal: World Scholars | University of Delaware UDel is only a 45 minute drive from Villanova, so you could check it out on your campus tour trip pretty easily.

Agree that Syracuse could be a fit as well. And also U of Miami which is similar in size and admissions profile (but not in weather!).

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Any post entitled Politics…. Is going to be closely watched. This thread has remained civilized so far, but let’s stay on topic.

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Someone mentioned Bryn Mawr earlier.

If a women’s college is an option, when you visit Villanova you can see Bryn Mawr 5 mins down the road. BM is tightly aligned with Haverford, which is another 3 minutes down the street. As a student at BM, it’s likely she’d spend time a Haverford.

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OP is saying that even Bucknell, with 3700 undergrads, is a bit smaller than they prefer. BMC and Haverford combined only have 2600. My sense is that all of the small LAC’s being suggested here are being rejected as too small. (Hence my thought that UDel, while a little larger than their stated size range, might appeal - it’s on the smaller side for a state flagship, with about 18K undergrads.)

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Here are a couple of other possibilities that have come to mind:

If the colleges mentioned previously were too small (though I’d still take a closer look at Colgate with its 3100 undergrads), these are some other schools with high proportions of students studying abroad. A 6-10k enrollment is not a sweetspot for schools in this category, at least on the east coast. I’ll be interested to see how your daughter likes the colleges on your trip to Pennsylvania this summer.

  • Wake Forest (NC): 66% of students study abroad and there are about 5500 undergrads

  • Loyola U Maryland: 63% of students study abroad and there are about 3800 undergrads, plus it’s part of the Baltimore Collegetown consortium so your D could take classes at other colleges, including Johns Hopkins

  • Butler (IN): not the east coast, but a definite change from Oregon. 44% of students study abroad, there are about 4400 undergrads, and its location in the state capital means there are lots of political & communication opportunities.

  • Fairfield (CT): 44% of students study abroad and there are about 4600 undergrads

  • Syracuse (NY): 42% of students study abroad and there are about 14k undergrads

  • Providence (RI): 37% of students study abroad and there are about 4200 undergrads. It is super close to the state capitol which means lots of potential opportunities related to your D’s interests.

  • Roger Williams (RI): 29% of students study abroad and there are about 4100 undergrads

  • SUNY Geneseo (NY): 29% of students study abroad and there are about 4500 undergrads

  • U. of New Hampshire: 27% of students study abroad and there are about 11k undergrads

  • Sacred Heart (CT): 26% of students study abroad and there are about 6700 undergrads