Bucknell Athletics is first and foremost a student-centered organization, one that strives to be a national leader when it comes to operating by a true scholar-athlete model. At Bucknell, student-athletes’ academic programs are their first priority, and providing a competitive Division I athletics program only advances the mission, values and residential learning goals of the university. To that end, the Department of Athletics and Recreation proactively seeks ways to assist student-athletes in their daily academic pursuits. Below are just some of the student-athlete support programs currently in place.
BUCKNELL BISON LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: In 2011-12, the Department of Athletics launched the Bucknell Bison Leadership Institute. This program is designed to help student-athletes learn how to be effective leaders on and off the playing fields. The Leadership Institute features programming and instruction that bridge theory, development and real experiences in an interactive learning environment. Through this endeavor, team leaders can enhance their impact on their teammates’ and their program’s performance immediately and for years to come.
BISON FUEL: In conjunction with the opening of the completely renovated Zeller Lounge in the summer of 2017, Bucknell Athletics recently launched its first all-sports “BISON FUEL” nutrition station for student-athletes. The fueling station, open weekdays from 2-4 p.m., features a variety of healthy snack and Powerade product offerings available free of charge to all Bison student-athletes. The reconfigured Zeller Lounge layout allows for ample study and open-hearth space for student-athletes to connect and study throughout the day. Behind a set of glass doors is a multifunctional space that can host boardroom-style meetings and small study groups. In addition to significant upgrades to wireless Internet access, new wireless audio/video projection technology was installed to aid students in viewing presentations and academic group projects.
FACULTY ATHLETICS REPRESENTATIVE: The faculty athletics representative (FAR) is a member of the faculty or administrative staff who is designated to represent Bucknell in its relationships with the NCAA and the Patriot League. Bucknell’s FAR is Linda Smolka, Associate Professor of Mathematics. The FAR can enhance the student-athlete experience by promoting a balance between academics, athletics and the social lives of student-athletes, which affords them opportunities to enjoy a full range of collegiate experiences.
SIDELINE COACH PROGRAM: This program is a truly unique initiative in Division I college athletics, and it involves the invitation of a member of the faculty, administration, staff or community by one of Bucknell’s 27 varsity teams. The participant has the opportunity to discuss the overall program with the respective coaching staff, including practice preparation and strategy for the upcoming contest. The sideline coach attends a practice session and an actual intercollegiate competition, where he/she is introduced to the team and gains rarely seen insight into the relationships that exist between player-coach and player-player. The purpose of the Sideline Coaches Program is to foster a better understanding by the faculty and administration of the roles played by coaches and athletes in the university’s competitive intercollegiate athletic arena.
ACADEMIC ENHANCEMENT CENTER: In the Fall of 2005, the Department of Athletics opened a study/computer lab for student-athletes on the concourse level of Sojka Pavilion. The center is outfitted with computers, a laser printer, four television monitors and a projection unit with computer and DVD player. Additionally, the study lab can be used as a meeting place for group projects, tutorial area or just a secluded and quiet study space before or after practice. In addition, the Department of Athletics owns a number of laptop computers that may be signed out by student-athletes for use on away trips.
STUDENT-ATHLETE ADVISORY COMMITTEE (SAAC): Representatives from each varsity team comprise the SAAC, which is designed to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete welfare, and fostering a positive student-athlete image. The Committee is an invaluable resource for promoting communication between athletics administration and student-athletes; promoting communication between athletics and campus-wide administration; providing feedback and insight, as well as soliciting responses into department issues and proposed NCAA legislation; building a sense of community within the athletics program involving all athletics teams; organizing community service projects and efforts; creating a vehicle for student-athlete representation on campus-wide committees; serving as a collective voice of campus student-athletes; and disseminating information to the student-athlete body. Among the programs the Bucknell SAAC has undertaken in recent years are regular volunteer trips to the Lewisburg Food Bank, and involvement with the “Orange and Blue goes Green” sustainability program.
BISON GOOD SPORTS: Now in its 10th year, Bison Good Sports is a sportsmanship awareness program designed to promote appropriate fan conduct at all Bison sporting events. Bucknell teams have some of the best fan support in the Patriot League, and we encourage all fans to enthusiastically cheer on the Orange & Blue in a positive manner.