Injustice in Java

In the spring of my senior year, I traveled to Jinotega, Nicaragua on a service trip. While there, I visited a coffee plantation to learn about coffee as one of Nicaragua’s biggest exports. The harsh labor conditions of this plantation were immediately apparent- workers were dirty, exhausted, malnourished, and many had their children in the fields to help the parents fulfill the daily quota. After conducting my own investigation once I got home, I learned that most coffee workers are not guaranteed their basic labor rights. 1 I was torn because I didn’t want to support a business that exploited workers, making them labor under abysmal working conditions, but I still wanted my daily roast. That is when I discovered Fair Trade certified coffee.

Fair Trade certified coffee ensures that the farmers who grow the coffee: “1) are paid a fair price for their harvest and 2) are democratically organized into cooperatives that sell direct to buyers in consuming countries.” 2 The guaranteed minimum price for Fair Trade coffee is $1.26 (US dollars) for Fair Trade specialty coffee and $1.41 for Fair Trade certified organic coffee, whereas the world price for conventionally sourced coffee is around 60 cents per pound. By receiving good and stable prices, small-scale producers in developing countries can achieve job and hunger security and farmer cooperatives can “invest in food, shelter, health care, education, environmental stewardship, and economic independence” 3.  The Fair Trade prices also enable cooperatives to engage in environmentally sustainable ways of farming. Additionally, these agricultural exports are crucial for growth and development of these communities and countries. With such benefits, Fair Trade fosters a socially and environmentally friendly relationship between producers, traders and consumers. And, as a result of all this, the Fair Trade business model ensures quality coffee.

In Nicaragua, I witnessed the harsh conditions of workers who did not receive Fair Trade prices. Coffee worker Blanca Rosa Molina said the difference of Fair Trade prices is “the difference between whether my family eats or does not eat… It means our children can stay in school and that we can have basic health provisions.” 4 According to the International Labor Organization, poverty is the most compelling reason why children work. They report that children contribute “around 20-25% of family income” and their contribution is oftentimes just enough to keep their families out of hunger. 5 In fact, in Sidamo, one place where Starbucks purchases coffee, “over half of children between the ages of 5 and 17 work 30 hours a week on their families’ farms.” 6 By working so much, their education and nutrition suffers. However, many other problems arise. I remember hearing over and over about the problems of child abuse and rape that happens on the coffee fields. Fair Trade business practices, as aforementioned, help prevent these harsh realities.

Despite coffee companies knowing fully about these harsh realities, Fair Trade makes up just 5% of the U.S. coffee market. Many companies feature only a few Fair Trade brews, while the rest are conventionally sourced. For example, the top five selling coffee producers in the US are: Keurig, Folgers, Starbucks, Maxwell House, and Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin Donuts is the only purchaser whose beans are 100% FT certified. Less than half of the coffee Keurig Green Mountain buys is Fair Trade Certified. Only 8% of Folgers and 8.4% Starbucks are Fair Trade certified. Kraft does not use fair trade coffee beans with their Maxwell House products. 7

However, these companies, with Starbucks as the biggest culprit, are able to escape criticism by using similar sounding buzz words, such as “ethically sourced” or “organic,” to try to trick the customer into thinking they are buying Fair Trade certified coffee when they are not. I have observed Starbucks promoting their commitment to buying and serving Fair Trade certified and ethically sourced coffee 8. They make consumers believe that ‘‘Every time you purchase Starbucks’ coffee, you’re also making a difference, helping to improve people’s lives, and encouraging conservation where our coffee is grown’’ 9. They use the label “ethically sourced” to essentially trick customers into thinking they are supporting a socially responsible brand. However, hidden behind the label of “ethically sourced” is a much different practice than the ethical behavior necessary to get the Fair Trade certified labels. The former label comes from Starbucks’ in-house program, called CAFÉ. This CAFÉ program is owned by Starbucks and is therefore up to Starbucks own criteria and standards of whether to label the coffee as “ethically sourced.” Starbucks’ advertising strategy to promote their brand as socially responsible is unethical in the very least.

Since Bucknell is a Starbucks campus, I was curious to see whether our cafes offered any of the few Fair Trade brews on and around campus. I have pleasantly discovered that Fair Trade Coffee is offered in all locations such as Bostwick and the Commons Café. Even the retail locations downtown always have one Starbucks Fair Trade roast a day. Even more agreeably, I have found that this Fair Trade coffee is purchased from a specific coffee plantation and community in Nicaragua. This is all attributed to the Bucknell Brigade, a campus club whose mission is to assist and support of the Nicaraguan people through service trips to Nicaragua, local fundraising efforts, and the importation of Nicaraguan Fair Trade raw beans.

Fair Trade is not only a business model but a global social movement for empowering the poor. Poverty doesn’t have to be an irreparable problem. The Fair Trade business model helps the poorest sectors in the world and it takes on many forms and can be applied to many different products and situations. We can address exploitation and poverty in the global marketplace right here at Bucknell.


  1.  “Coffee the Environment and Labor.” Starbucks / Fair Trade Campaign. Organic Consumers Association, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.
  2.  “Global Exchange’s Coffee FAQ.” Global Exchange. Global Exchange 2011, 2011. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  3.  “Global Exchange’s Coffee FAQ.” Global Exchange. Global Exchange 2011, 2011. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  4.  Litvinoff, Miles, and John Madeley. 50 Reasons to Buy Fair Trade. London: Pluto, 2007. Print.
  5.  “Working to Help Coffee’s Children.” Tea and Coffee Trade OnLine 2nd ser. 176 (2002): n. pag. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  6.  “Starbucks 2006 Corporate IRRESPONSIBILITY Report.” Justice From Bean to Cup. IWW Starbucks Worker Union, 2006. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  7.  “Does Fair Trade Coffee Cost More to the Consumer?” Equal Exchange. Equal Exchange, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  8.  “Coffee the Environment and Labor.” Starbucks / Fair Trade Campaign. Organic Consumers Association, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.
  9.  Ruzich C.M. “For the Love of Joe: The Language of Starbucks.” J.Pop.Cult.Journal of Popular Culture 41.3 (2008): 428-42.

Inside The Studio: An Exploration of Bucknell’s First Visual Artist-in-Residence Shani Peters’ Workshop

Peters explaining her work to Bucknell students
Peters explaining her work to Bucknell students

Behind the canvas, the frame, and the lights, is the studio where the artist creates. It is a rare opportunity to go inside an artist’s studio and even rarer to talk with the creative individuals themselves. When such opportunities present themselves however, I have always found exploring the artist’s workshop is the most fulfilling way to discover new artwork. By observing how they work, the media they employ, and their strategies and styles, I see the percolation of ideas, the inspiration, and, most interestingly, the rejection. After noticing images depicting contemporary and historical civil rights activism on display in Academic West, I discovered that this artist is currently working here at Bucknell. Last Wednesday, I was granted the opportunity to see inside Bucknell’s first visual artist-in-residence Shani Peters’ studio right here on campus.IMG_3122

Shani Peters, a Lansing, Michigan native turned Harlem hipster, focuses on video, printmaking, and public projects. Her work reflects “interests in social justice histories, cultural record keeping, media culture, and community building.” 1  She employs and juxtaposes historical and modern cultural and social tensions in her artwork through her messages, symbolism, and duality and contrasts of color. By comparing historical to contemporary problems, she instigates in the viewer a meditation of life cycles.shani

Many of her images investigates and celebrates the concept of self-determination. For example, the Crown Project in Academic West imagines “crowns as symbols for self-determination and the complexity of the experience of the African people following the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.” 2 Half of the photos on the crowns have historical photos of Black Americans engaged in political protests, whereas the other half showcases contemporary images, still engaged in similar protests. On the Westernized crowns, as a satire of African headdresses and diaspora, Peters’ also depicts African American tribal people contrasted against the public figures in the Western world such as the late Notorious B.I.G and the late Michael Jackson. While raising awareness about the struggles the black community face, she also strives to show the pride in the black community.

Shani’s inspiration comes from her father who was a black history professor. IMG_3129Her father studied and taught through various mediums, such as literature, theater, and music, because he wanted to do more than just teach history – he wanted to create narratives around the subjects’ lives. James Baldwin, whom her father introduced her to, was especially influential in how Shani processes her work. Baldwin famously stated, “Our crown has already been bought and paid for, all we have to do is wear it.” Shani’s crowns reflect this message by urging us to acknowledge our personal worth, take ownership for the life given to us by the sacrifices of our ancestors, and find meaning and comfort in our lives.

Her own studio at the Art Barn gives us insight into her own consciousness and techniques as she makes, remakes, layers, and undoes her work. The works that make it out of the studio are the ones that “open up a strand of thought.” In her exhibits, she wants to facilitate a space of healing, freedom, and self-reflection for all the viewers – especially for Black Americans. However, her work appeals to all, because, no matter our background, many of us understand the difficulties of the human life. With Shani’s studio at Bucknell, we have the chance to explore this perspective in depth, actualize the fullness of ourselves and backgrounds, and share stories with the artist herself.


**Shani’s studio at the Art Barn is open until May 1st.

  1.  “SHANI PETERS.” Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. N.p., 06 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.
  2. Stuart, Greg. “Shani Peters: Nesbitt Artist in Residence : Samek Art Museum.” Samek Art Museum RSS. N.p., 19 Feb. 2016. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

Nature’s Influence on Brain Health

Spring is a time of rebirth – of new beginnings, new goals, and new challenges. It is a time where the budding flowers, verdant fields, and sunny weather makes everyone feel alive again. It also signals the end of the school year, serving as a reminder to do things we always wanted to do. With the view of the Poconos from the academic quad, of the Susquehanna flowing by campus, and of the outdoor patio seating at Bull Run, the lure of the outdoors is ubiquitous. Although our studies are our main priority at college, spending time outdoors actually correlates with better test scores. Research shows that people who spend more time outdoors, are not only calmer and healthier but also smarter.

William Wordsworth preaches this in his ballad, The Tables TurnedHe believes that nature, as the ultimate virtuous influence on the human mind, allows for the manifestation of passionate emotion and thought through intellectual and spiritual development. The speaker in the poem tells his friend to come into the “light of things” and “hear the woodland linnet” because this bird’s song contains more wisdom and beauty than any piece of literature. He believes that Mother Nature, with her “world of ready wealth,” purifies our mind and body and brings sweet lore for our “meddling intellect.” Not only does nature create intellectual enlightenments, but nature also creates spiritual enlightenments, “One impulse from a vernal wood/ May teach you more of man,/ Of moral evil and of good,/ Than all the sages can.” The speaker suggests that the scientific investigation of nature can teach you more about humanity, good, and evil than even a profoundly wise person can – experiences affect the human spirit more than words. At the heart of Wordsworth’s Romantic poem is the insistence that nature and the human mind are suitable companions and all it takes it to “Come forth, and bring with you a heart/ That watches and receives.”

Wordsworth wrote this in the 19th century when a good amount of people still spent more time outdoors. However, studies now show that, compared to just 20 years ago, people spend 25% less time in nature. When we are taking a break from our textbooks, here are some compelling reasons to spend this down time outdoors:

1. Increases concentration skills

one study took a group of children with ADHD and compared their concentration levels after they were split into two groups. One of the groups spent time in outdoor green spaces, and the other group spent time playing indoors. The outside group showed fewer symptoms of ADHD than their counterparts, even while performing the same tasks 1.

2. ignites creative functions

A study published in the Huffington Post found a correlation between nature and creativity. A team of researchers compared a group of backpackers before and after they spent four days on the trail. They found that the “backpackers were 50 percent more creative after they had spent four days on the trail” 2.

3. Decreases stress levels

After just 20 minutes in a natural setting,the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public health has reported, our levels of cortisol, which is a stress indicator, decrease significantly 3. Seattle-based environmental psychologist Judith Heerwagon tells The Huffington Post. “Just looking at a garden or trees or going for a walk, even if it’s in your own neighborhood, reduces stress,” she says. “I don’t think anyone understands why, but there’s something about being in a natural setting that shows clear evidence of stress reduction, including physiological evidence — like lower heart rate” 4.

4. boosts positivity

A study published by the Proceeding of the National Academy of Science says a 90-minute walk through nature can positively affect your brain. The researchers found that, of the 38 participants, the ones who walked through the park and not the urban environment, “showed lower levels of blood flow to the parts of the brain associated with rumination” 5.  (Rumination is a pattern of thought focused on the negative of oneself). There is also the idea that we respond positively to things that are inherently good for us and our survival, “which is why trees and other natural elements can help lift our moods”  1.

5. sparks inspiration

Humans have always looked to nature for inspiration to solve problems. Think of biomimicry such as prosthetic arms inspired by octopus tentacles, the art masterpieces of Claude Monet who was inspired by his verdant surroundings, or engineering feats such as the Japanese high speed trains inspired by the shape of a kingfisher’s beak – nature is the master of inspiring innovation 7.


In the book Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the Upward Spiral That Will Change Your Life, Barbara Fredrickson observes that nature is so fascinating and soothing, that it takes away your mind from other worries. The beach is the perfect example. When I am driving or staring at my computer, I constantly think of my to-do list. My exposure to nature increases my awareness of surrounding and myself, rather than the other thoughts that occupy my day.


In one study, researchers conducted a brief memory test on University of Michigan students who were then divided into two groups. One group walked around an arboretum, while the others walked down a city street. The researchers then conducted the memory test again and the participants who had walked in nature did almost 20% percent better than the first time. The ones who took the urban route did not improve 8.

These seven reasons (among many more) show the powerful connection between nature and the human mind. By spending time outdoors and boosting your brain power, you can spend less time studying and get better grades. With spring finally here, there is no better time to make this change to your lifestyle. Wordsworth got it right – in this “world of ready wealth,” gain the “spontaneous wisdom breathed by health.”



  1.  Wise, Abigail. “Here’s Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier.” The Huffington Post., 22 June 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  2.  Leader, Jessica. “Nature-Creativity Study Links The Great Outdoors With Positive Psychological Effects.” The Huffington Post., 31 May 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  3.  Roe, Jenny J., Catharine Ward Thompson, Peter A. Aspinall, Mark J. Brewer, Elizabeth I. Duff, David Miller, Richard Mitchell, and Angela Clow. “Green Space and Stress: Evidence from Cortisol Measures in Deprived Urban Communities.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. MDPI, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  4.  Wise, Abigail. “Here’s Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier.” The Huffington Post., 22 June 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  5. Goodstein, Eli. “Stanford University Study Says Spending Time in Nature Benefits Mental Health.” USA TODAY College. Stanford University, 09 July 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  6.  Wise, Abigail. “Here’s Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier.” The Huffington Post., 22 June 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  7.  “How Nature Ignites Creativity.” THNK The Outdoors Prescription How Nature Ignites Creativity Comments. School of Creative Leadership, 09 Nov. 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  8.  Lauren F Friedman and Kevin Loria. “11 Scientifically Proven Reasons You Should Go Outside.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 09 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2016

The Unbreakable Ellie Kemper

Bucknell Speaker Series featuring Ellie Kemper, famous for her role as Erin Hannon in the NBC series The Office and current star in the Netflix series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. 

Actress and comedian Ellie Kemper, who gained IMG_3001prominence for her role as Erin Hannon in the NBC series The Office and now stars in the Netflix series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, spoke at Bucknell’s Weis Center for the Performing Arts Monday night. She is the final speaker in Bucknell’s forum series “Revolution Redefined,” which brings in speakers with multidisciplinary and diverse viewpoints to explore how society has – or has not – evolved over time. The various speakers grant us unique perspectives on how we can have meaningful impacts on society. In this particular talk, Kemper focused on her journey to success as a female comedian, encouraging the Bucknell audience to take risks, challenge opposition, and be agents of change.

Philosophy professor Sheila Lintott, who has taught courses on feminist philosophy and the philosophy of laughter, moderated the conversation. Lintott began the discussion by asking Kemper about how she got into comedy in the first place. Kemper, with her expectedly sweet and bubbly charm, answered that she had always had an interest in acting. In fact, in high school, Jon Hamm taught her improv in her theater class. However, she enrolled in Princeton to study English Literature and play field hockey, letting acting fall to the wayside. After too many games on the bench though, she quit field hockey because she believed her time could be better spent elsewhere. She honed her comedy skills and joined the Princeton’s improvisation group Quipfire! and the musical theater group, Triangle. Yet again, she didn’t think she would pursue comedy in the future. Instead, she continued her studies of English at Oxford after graduating. After a year, however, she left Oxford for New York when she took the risk to make her dream of acting into a reality.

Throughout her story to success, she kept using the word “quit.” Though a word loaded with negative connotation, Kemper explains we don’t need to view it that way: “There is no euphemism for quit. But, sometimes it is okay to take a step back to consider what your strengths and weaknesses are in order to reevaluate your decisions.” This is often a key step to discovering true passions. Many studies substantiate that the risks taken when quitting are often worth it. Every step Kemper took led her to land her role as a co-star of The Office. In an audience full of questioning college students, Kemper’s story resonated deeply.

Kemper, rather than considering her gender as an obstacle to overcome in order to achieve success, uses her gender to promote feminism – and with a humorous twist. In the discussion, Lintott referred to Christopher Hitchens’ 2007 article for Vanity Fair “Why Women Aren’t Funny” that “investigated” the “humor gap.” He ponders, “Why are women, who have the whole male world at their mercy, not funny?” Predictably, this article received serious backlash from the female community. Kemper explains why she wrote a response to this in GQ in 2013. After Bridesmaids came out in 2011, people regularly asked her, “How did it feel to be in a movie with so many funny women?” This question, Kemper explains to the Bucknell audience, “makes no sense to me because all women are different. Some are tall. Some are short. Some women are funny. Some aren’t.” In her satiric “investigation” for GQ, she incorporates evolution, science, and logic in the same completely backwards way that the Hitchens did to challenge his senseless conclusions. Kemper aims to stop such gender stereotypes from perpetuating in order to create more opportunities for females.

During the Q and A with the audience, Kemper answers that her favorite IMG_3004scene was the airplane scene in Bridesmaids – “it was like having front row seats to a circus. Throughout the scene, there are various actors cracking up who weren’t supposed to be.” She also finally settled the question for devout Office fans, on what it was like saying goodbye to Michael Scott as a character and Steve Carell as an actor. Kemper says, “It was a very dramatic moment for me. In one scene, I am just in the background at my desk crying and I am not even supposed to be a part of that scene. I was just so choked up. Steve Carell is such a kind person, which is the reason why Michael Scott is so ultimately endearing. I am so lucky to have been able to work with him.” On this nostalgic note, Lintott concluded, leaving us in anticipation of Kemper’s second season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt coming April 15th.







“Empty Bowls, Full Hearts”

800 million people go to bed hungry every night. 3.1 million children under the age of five die of malnutrition every year. Almost 50 percent of people living in extreme poverty are 18 years old or younger. In September 2015, the United Nations set a goal to end world hunger by 2030. This may take a lot of work, but it does not require a new scientific breakthrough nor are the costs expensive – we have the tools and the resources, it’s just a matter of implementing them. What it truly takes is the power of many to make a concerted effort to fight hunger. This week Bucknell hosts the Empty Bowls Project which is an international grassroots effort in which potters and artisans donate ceramic handcrafted bowls which are then bought and used as soup bowls for guests attending the event. The event raises money for Community Harvest Meal in Milton as well as awareness for Bucknellians and the local community in the fight to end hunger.

This year the Empty Bowls Project focuses specifically on how women are disproportionately affected by hunger and poverty. Discrimination against women is a major cause of persistent hunger. According to The Bread For the World Insitute’s annual report, females’ lack of bargaining power, unpaid care work, insufficient political representation all worsen the effects of poverty on their lives. Just by “increasing women’s earning potential by boosting bargaining power, reducing gender inequality in unpaid work, increasing women’s political representation, and eliminating the wage gap between male and female labor could help stem the worldwide epidemic” 1.  Additionally, with mother and fetus as an inseparable biological and social unit. female health and nutrition are inextricably linked with their children. Maternal malnutrition increases the risk of stillbirths and newborn deaths, intrauterine growth restriction, low birthweight (LBW), preterm birth, and birth defects. Thus, improving female nutrition will result in healthier mothers and babies. When we empower women and give them the tools they need to survive, we stand a much better chance of overcoming not only poverty but also intolerance, disease, and even extremism 2.

The Empty Bowls project at Bucknell helps in the worldwide effort to end hunger, extreme poverty, and gender inequality. This annual event, in which people can buy bowls that have crafted throughout the year, raises money for the Community Harvest Meal in Milton. This event has been providing people in our neighboring community with no income in this community meals for a decade now. This year, the focus on women is not only to highlight how poverty adversely affects women but to also promote International Women’s Day which occurs at the beginning of March.

Lynn Peterson, head of the Bucknell Empty Bowls project, explained that apart from highlighting women’s rights and gender equality, it also is a great way to raise awareness in Lewisburg about the ways we can help our community throughout the year. The Community Harvest, which serves a weekly hot meal program that serves 80-120 people every Monday evening and the Lewisburg Community Garden, which donates organic produce to local food programs, are always open to volunteers. Such programs enable people struggling with food insecurity to put their limited funds towards other expenses in their lives like heating, medication, and other necessities. Lynn’s favorite part about being part of this initiative is that “it is great to see not only our campus community but also people from the Lewisburg area come together to support the EB event.”

The effects of hunger are long-lasting with long-term effects that “can be felt for the rest of a person’s life, impacting a child’s ability to grow and learn, and even snuffing out their chances of survival entirely” 3.   For a simple donation of $10, we can enjoy a simple meal of soup and bread served in a hand-crafted bowl  and then take home the “empty bowl” as a reminder of the many individuals suffering from hunger. With the momentum gathering throughout the years to end this silent pandemic, there is never a better time to act. Famine gives us the chance to transform lives and stop hunger in its tracks.


Event time & location: Thursday, March 10, from 11:30 A.M. to 2 P.M. and 4 to 7:30 P.M. in the Walls Lounge inside the Elaine Langone Center.

Hope to see you there!


  1. “When Women Flourish We Can End Hunger.” (n.d.): n. pag. Bread for the World Institute. 2015. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
  2.  “To End Hunger, Empower Women: Study.” Common Dreams. Common Dreams, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.
  3. “The Long Term Effects of Hunger – 2 Degrees Food.” 2 Degrees Food. Union Street Media, 21 Apr. 2014. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

Bill Nye The Science Guy Brings the Energy to the Bucknell Campus

“In elementary school we knew it was going to be a great day when the teacher wheeled out the TV,” Bucknell student Devon Wasson reminisced during his introduction for Bill Nye. Bill Nye, best known as the host of the Disney/PBS children’s science show Bill Nye the Science Guy spoke at Bucknell’s Weis Center last Tuesday in what could be possibly be one of Lewisburg’s most anticipated visitors all year. The auditorium was packed with students who had stood in line for hours to get tickets and for good reason. Bill Nye “The “Science Guy” was an inspiration for us all. He simplified complex matters, encouraged us to ask questions about the world and challenged us to find the answers, and even pursued some of us to pursue science as a degree. Apart from his role as science educator, he is an unapologetic champion of social reform. “Most importantly,” in the words of Wasson, “he showed us that science rules!”billnye3

Once Bill Nye jumped out on stage with his same energy and zany dance moves we know and love, the law of energy, as we learned from him years ago, was transferred from him to the audience. Like little kids again, we eagerly awaited what we would learn next. Projected on a screen on stage was photo taken of Earth on December 24, 1968. This photo was the first time human kind had seen the Earth from this perspective –as tiny little sphere suspended in the all-encompassing black mass of space. After setting the theme for his speech based mainly on space exploration, he begins his story here on planet earth.

Ned Nye “Boy Scientist” – not to be confused with Science Boy.

Before Bill Nye was born, his father Ned Nye was a construction worker during the summers on a little atoll in the Pacific called Wake Island. In 1941, however, his father and mother decided to stay on this pacific island for the year. On December 7th, the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese also bombed Wake Island among with many other Pacific Ocean targets. Nye’s father fought back for two weeks but on Christmas Eve, he was captured. His father spent 44 months as a prisoner of war- “longer than anyone else in the United States.” While Bill Nye’s father was prisoner, he used his science (and a photo of his wife) to keep him sane. Ned became fascinated by the FullSizeRender_2sky and used the shadows from the sun on a shovel handle to gauge the time. After surviving imprisonment, he continued to pursue his interest of the sundial, going on to write books about the simple yet significant scientific instrument.

Bill Nye inherited his father’s fascination with sundials. In 1998, when Bill Nye learned about the U.S. Surveyor mission to Mars, he saw that one of the scientific instruments they would use had a vertical pole attached; “It’s a sundial!” he exclaimed in striking realization. He foresaw an opportunity to merge his interest of sundials, science, and space exploration into this mission and campaigned to have sundials aboard Spirit and Opportunity Mars exploration rovers. The MarsDial revealed to be huge implications for the intergalactic world. NASA scientists were able to determine Martian time from the sundial shadows and, along the way, discovered something unexpected. Mars casts a different shadow than that of Earth. Nye coined this term orangidescence to describe the orange Martian sky (think: the poster for the movie the Martian). Since, then more Mars missions have had major discoveries, such as the evidence of water flow on Mars, proved that there is evidence of life on Mars, “which just totally rocks!”

The moment the world population changed to 3 billion at the New York City World Fair
The moment the world population changed to 3 billion at the New York City World Fair

The exploration of this planet also led to the finding that the Martian atmosphere is .007 times Earth’s. But that was in 1998 when the carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere was .03 parts per million. Now, in 2015, Earth’s carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is .04 parts per million- a discovery of major concern for Nye. Bill Nye, a strong advocate for scientific rationalism, argued that this is due to human induced climate change. In 1965, the United Nations had a total board at the New York City World Fair that estimated the world population at 2,999,999,999. Now, in 2015 it is 7.3 billion! “This has substantially more than doubled,” Nye says, “that is why the climate it changing.” Nye’s message was loud and clear: we need to be the generation that stops climate change.

To be the catalysts for change, Nye encouraged us to be like his mother’s generation. While Ned Nye and many other men were either taken prisoner or fighting in the war, she was recruited by the Department of War to work on the enigma code. She, along with most other US

The photo of Bill Nye's mother working as a Cryptographer on the enigma code during WWII. Also the same photo that Bill Nye's father had during his time as a POW.
The photo of Bill Nye’s mother working as a Cryptographer on the enigma code during WWII. Also the same photo that Bill Nye’s father had during his time as a POW.

citizens, was doing all she could to contribute to the war effort.

Such perseverance of the “Greatest Generation” – the diligence, the courage, and the optimism all contributed to winning the war. If we think about our planet like this, with climate change as our enemy, We Can Do It too. This might be the most important thing that Bill Nye has taught us yet: “with our brains, we can know our place in space with the cosmos, and with our brains… we can CHANGE THE WORLD!”

Pointing at US!
Pointing at US!








I asked a few students why they are such big fans of Bill Nye:

Bill Nye made science interesting and fun. Science doesn't have to just be confined to books but is all around- we all feel experience, feel, touch science. Even years later, he is also still present in science education. - Abigail '17 Spanish/Biology Major
I remember the first episode I watched. I was in third grade and it was about earthquakes. I wasn't good at science but he showed me how to simplify and see the basic concepts. This philosophy has stuck with me since. - Rus '19 Undeclared (most likely English)
Everything he does, I like to do! - Katie '19 Environmental Engineering



Art, as a series of rejection, absorption, and relentless uncertainty, portrays the mystery of humankind. Bucknell’s Samek Art Museum currently hosts Salthouse by Stephen Althouse, featuring unconventional photographs that capture such paradoxes. In his seemingly sculptural works, he embeds passivism, religion, the blindness to atrocities, and the lamentations of suffering and sorrow. He seeks to “acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses” while pondering human contradictions. I visited the gallery with Greg Stuart, Samek Art Museum public programs manager, to experience the physical presence of Salthouse and fully comprehend how he accomplishes this mission.

Upon entering Samek, I noticed the photographs’ intimate level of details that could not be portrayed on the internet. Looking in person created an entirely new experience. “Althouse spends hours getting his camera into the right focus,” Stuart explains, “Then, after capturing many images with different focus points and exposing them for eight minutes, he photoshops the images so all the different focuses are together in one image.” This technique creates a seemingly sculptural three-dimensional work.

The presence of bold shapes set in negative space, with the tonalities of grey and black, sets a meditative environment. Knot III, a photograph of horse armor set in the distance, ignites a tranquil yet emotional response. Althouse, as a Quaker and conscientious objector to the Vietnam war, sends an antiwar message through this image. On the helmet, braille script reads, “Are we not blind” and “My harp is broken.” Interestingly, we must remember that this is a two-dimensional image so someone who is blind cannot trace their fingers to read this and those who have vision cannot read braille. Stuart explains that this adds to “a sense of mystery and a power of the unknown.” Additionally, the helmet appears worn signifying an unknown war story behind the object itself. We are left in the dark, like the object itself, so we embed our own emotions and interpretations into the historical story, adding our own personal meaning.

I asked Stuart what resonated with him when Stephen Althouse visited Bucknell: “Stephen talks about the little moments in life, like the Broken Bow image. He was exploring a city and heard beautiful violin music playing. As he followed the source, he found a poor man playing. There was such a contrast between the beautiful and the impoverished.” Like the horse described above, none of these objects are inherently beautiful but are objects of everyday moments. Althouse uses this contrast in his photography to capture the beauty in atrocities. And the atrocities in beauty.





Open until March 20. Location: Third Floor, Elaine Langone Center, Bucknell University

*All photos provided by Greg Stuart of Samek Art Museum

“I Am Because You Are” – How Bucknell’s Ubuntu Club Is Changing Lives Across the Globe

Ubuntu is a foreign but beautiful concept. This humanist philosophy means “I am because you are,” embracing the idea that humans cannot exist in isolation. We depend on human connection, community, and caring – simply, we cannot be without each other. Gabriela Palumbo founded the Ubuntu Club at Bucknell in November of 2014 to remind students that we belong to a greater whole and what we do here can improve the lives of others across the globe, specifically South Africa. Post-apartheid South Africa is still recovering from a long period of severely constrained and social, political, economic, and cultural turmoil that left  highly divided and unequal education system. Ubuntu looks to overcome these barriers to promote a harmonious and successful community by raising awareness and funds to enable children in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to attend school everyday. Inspired by this unique opportunity Bucknell has to help assure the education quality of South African children, I chatted with Ubuntu’s Vice President Amanda Waller.

  1. First off, can you expand upon the meaning of Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is literally translated in a few different ways. Mainly though, “Ubuntu” is an African philosophy that means, “I am because you are.” By extension, this means that an individual is not its own, independent entity, it is part of larger communities it has found itself exposed to throughout its lifetime. For example, say a Bucknell student were asked how they got into Bucknell. That student didn’t get in completely on their own merit but they got in due to the collaborative efforts of the communities they were apart of throughout childhood. Their guidance counselor recommended the school, their sophomore math teacher put in a recommendation, their parents drove them to extracurriculars everyday, their coaches instill responsibility into them, and so on. All the components that made this student who they are contributed to their acceptance into Bucknell. A community is inextricable to your individuality, and one doing something to better the community is amongst the most important things to do in life; this is Ubuntu.

  1.  How do you incorporate the philosophy of Ubuntu into your club’s values?

The Ubuntu Education Fund is based in South Africa and it incorporates Ubuntu primarily through the notion of having aid from abroad play a large role in development of the Port Elizabeth community. The Fund, founded by people outside the Port Eizabeth community, provides numerous services–psychological counseling, education, career development, medical services.  Additionally, there is a sense of Ubuntu in the Port Elizabeth community itself seeing as the fund strives to take abroad expertise and instill it into the community so that one day the need for foreign aid will not be necessary and the fund will be self-functioning by the community.

  1.  Why are you passionate about this particular organization and mission?

The answer to this is twofold. First, there is a need for community bridging on Bucknell’s campus if we want to accurately assert we are a strongly knit community. Second, if we can have the power to grant aid to this community, why not? We have an impact greater than we can begin to imagine. Every bit goes a long way, so it’s worth participating in the cause.

  1.  What has been your favorite part of being part of Ubuntu?

Personally, I love the people I meet that are involved in Ubuntu. The president of the club, Meg Belinsky, our Ubuntu NYC office liaison, and other students trying to start Ubuntu college clubs that we’ve been put into contact with. Everyone has a little bit of a different personal interpretation of Ubuntu. Hearing what those different meanings are, and why these individuals find it important to spread the philosophy is continually refreshing and, at risk of sounding corny, pretty inspiring. And Ubuntu catches on pretty easily. So another joy of working with Ubuntu is watching how easily people resonate with the philosophy after being educated about it.

  1. What have you learned about yourself that you may never have learned had you not joined?

When I thought of a grass roots organization like this, I automatically thought it would have low impact, that people would wave it off as a too optimistic effort and that only the people who worked with the club would be the ones that care about it. This has proven to not be the case. So I’ve learned that as students passionate about a cause, we do hold water and we have the capacity to make a difference. I’m not saying we’re changing Bucknell’s campus entirely, but I do see small impacts Ubuntu makes. Our capacity to influence some thought has been an unexpected lesson learned.

  1. Have you met other members of Ubuntu that have left a significant impact of your own life and learnings? 

Certainly. Our president, Meg Belinsky, has been such an inspiration. She is incredibly passionate about the philosophy and works pretty relentlessly to come up with new ideas and organize club events to spread awareness. As I stated earlier, I can be skeptical about grass roots efforts like this, but having Meg as a president definitely keeps myself and the members believing in the capacity and purpose of our organization.

Leo Fotsing Fomba is another individual that has played an incredible role in Ubuntu. He is originally from Cameroon and an ardent believer in Ubuntu. We sat down to interview him last semester on what Ubuntu means to him. Every word out of his mouth made a philosophical statement, it was incredible! I think the largest take away I took from that conversation was a point he made that went as follows: As an individual, you are equipped with particular talents and strengths. Though you might want to use these for self progress and success, you have a responsibility to your community to use these qualities to better the community you find yourself situated in. You don’t have to sacrifice personal success for the community success, but you must balance it. There is a reason you have these strengths, and the only way to utilize them properly is to distribute them equally to personal and community benefit.

  1. Barack Obama has a quotation about making a difference: “[I]t is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself, that you realize your true potential” What do you think about that?

Desmond Tutu once said, “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” It was his translation for “Ubuntu” ironically, and it’s what came to mind when I read this quote. I think this is about how the potential humans have collectively for achieving goals is infinitely greater than potential of the individual. President Obama I’m sure has seen this first hand with him winning two elections and all–and running the country. Those kinds of activities take tremendous collaborative effort that simply cannot be done on an individual level. Everyone has great individual capacity but it is only enhanced when you latch on to a larger working group that aligns with a like end goal. This is essentially Ubuntu, the idea that humanity is based on the plural and not the singular.


Get involved TONIGHT!
Thursday February 4th in the Terrace Room, from 7 to 8 PM. The Ubuntu Club will be making “Ubuntu” bracelets that will be given out in exchange for donations the following week. The donations will go to the Ubuntu fund headquarters back in NYC. You can show your participation as a bracelet maker by placing a paint handprint on a big poster and they will have there that we will be using to advertise our sales the following week.








If you have any questions about the club and/or want to join, please contact Amanda Waller at


New Lewisburg Yoga Studio: Yoga Dear – Interview with Founder Leanne Matullo

Tucked into a little side street off Market Street is a new yoga studio in town. Leanne Matullo, the founder of Yoga Dear, has brought health, happiness, and a new sense of community in this new year to Lewisburg. Her mission for Yoga Dear, an acronym for “Developing self-Esteem And Respect,” is to forge a mind body connection through fitness and individualized practice in a comfortable yogi-centric community. Through the practice of yoga, Leanne believes we have the power to create a unique sense of self and place in the world. I sat down with Leanne to learn more about her background, philosophies, goals, and to discuss the joy that this creative and spiritual movement can bring to all.

When did you start practicing yoga and why? 

I was a dancer in college1434931486428 and after I stopped performing, I wanted to get into yoga. I took my first yoga class in Pittsburgh six years ago and actually really didn’t like it at first. I kept going back though. After a couple of times getting used to the foreign language, crazy poses, and focused breathing, I began to enjoy it.

What do you love most about practicing yoga and yoga itself? 

Yoga offers infinite possibilities. There is always something to work on, there is always something new to master. For me, yoga is a freedom – freedom from your mind, from around you. It is just you and the mat and your movement. That is peace to me.


Tell me about your studio. - What inspired you to open up a studio in Lewisburg?

Everyone asks where “Dear” comes from. I started out teaching for at risk youth and focused on developing self esteem and respect – so that is where “dear” originated. I want this studio space to be approachable, fun, and playful, where we can meet new friends, laugh, and interact with the energetic and enthusiastic students and teachers.

What makes your studio different/better than the ones in the local area or offered at KLARC?

Yoga Dear focuses on a more individualized practice while still building a community with the others around you. I wanted our niche to be a powerful style – we are going to work and we are going to feel it.

Many people in this country still equate yoga solely with movement and do not consider the spiritual aspect. How do you deal with this at Yoga Dear? 

Most people come here for movement but can still benefit from the spiritual aspects especially as they come further and further into the practice. Throughout the class, we weave in pranayama [breathing techniques], ancient yoga texts, philosophy to incorporate meditation and spiritual aspects. It can be a learning practice as well, since we mention the limbs of the eight-fold path to yoga. These are respect for others (yama) and yourself (niyama); harmony with your body (asana), your energy (pranayama), and last four parts [your thoughts (dharana), and your emotions (pratyahara); contemplation (dhyana); ecstasy (samadhi)] which all relate to meditation.

Since yoga combines body, breath, mind and spirit, how can someone gradually increase progress in each of those four areas? 

FullSizeRender_3Yoga is transformative and healing. It is hard for me to explain but after taking 2 to 3 classes a week, I have become more spiritual because of the results I have seen. The book Living Your Yoga explains this.*

What advice would you tell a first-timer attending a private yoga studio? 

Give me three classes and then make a decision. If you come in with an open mind and know it is okay to not know all the poses or fall, that is totally fine. Everyone falls in first yoga class. Most importantly, have a good time and laugh.

What in your opinion are the greatest health benefits of doing yoga? 

In a culture that sits a lot, I believe that overall mobility is the greatest health benefit. Additionally, yoga is a great way to use the mind body connection as a huge anxiety and stress relief. You learn that you not only can watch and observe your thoughts but control them as well.

Do you actively meditate? 

I meditate every morning to set the tone of my day. The practice is very grounding for me since I am such a spiritual person. Sometimes I do it for two minutes, sometimes fifteen, with music or silence, on my own or guided.





After we wrapped up our interview, I stayed to attend the Power Flow class taught by friend and roommate Heather Oros. In such a warm and welcoming space, I felt at ease, allowing for a deeper awareness of the interactions of my body, mind, and spirit. Although the more advanced teaching was distinct, detailed, and serious, the atmosphere remained playful and fun, enabling me to feel comfortable trying new things. By observing and feeling the overall energy in the room during savasana, it seemed that each individual found their own personal level of achievement and reward in their practices.


*Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life by Judith Hanson Lasater Ph.D. is about discovering the “meaning of yoga beyond its familiar poses and breathing techniques to include the events of daily life”


Yoga Dear Beginner, Sunny Side Up (early morning Asana class), Yoga Dear 1 (beginner/intermediate), Yoga Dear 2 (intermediate/advanced), Power Flow, Peaceful Practice, Yoga Barre, Gentle Yoga, and Asana Junkies

Click here for a description of each class

Click here for class schedule

This Friday January 29: Yoga Dear is hosting yoga and happy hour at 5:30 PM. The night is going to consist of a 50 minute yoga class and then happy hour with wine and beer! $15 for members, $20 for non members! 21+ only. Please reserve a space on the Mind/Body Connect app.

Memberships & Pricing

Yoga Dear Memberships:

  • 10 Visit Pass – $120                   Expires three months after activation 
  • 1 Month Unlimited – $100     Expires one month after activation
  • 3 Month Unlimited – $265     Expires three months after activation 
  • Yearly Unlimited – $80/month with yearly contract
  • Also, for a limited time, students can get a monthly unlimited pass for $50.

Drop-in Rates:

  • Drop-in Class – $15
  • Student Drop-in – $10 (Please bring your student ID!)

10% Discount on all services for senior citizens (65+), veterans, and active duty servicemen and women. ID’s required at time of service purchase. 

Student Rates (Please bring your ID!):

  • 10 Visit Pass – $95        Expires three months after activation
  • 1 Month Unlimited –  $90   Expires one month after activation

New Student Referral Program

Bring a new-to-Yoga Dear friend, parent, sibling, significant other to class and you’ll both get $25 off your next service.



Enjoy and Namaste!


Winter Activities in the Poconos

This article features 5 ski/snowboard mountains and winter activities at 8 Pennsylvania state parks.

Winter is the season of hot cocoa, crackling fires, and wool sweaters. For many, it is a place of childhood nostalgia – of skiing, sledding, and some slightly-mad snowday schemes. And even when the harshness of the weather manifests and the biting air, chills, and darkness perpetuate, winter reminds us of the human warmth. However, while at school, when we take ten minutes bundling up to trudge to class only to discover we forgot a mitten, we often curse this season. Robert Frost’s “Dust of Snow,” is the perfect reminder to us that beauty can be discovered in the brutality of the natural elements. In his short poem, a crow’s wings cause snow to fall upon the speaker passing under a tree, igniting “a change of mood” in the speaker’s heart, “and saved some part/ of a day I had rued.” This fallen snow has enlightened this man to appreciate the small things in life rather than seeing it as a lifeless and bleak season. We can all make our day better by appreciating and taking advantage of this weather rather than snowflakewishing for spring. We just need a push to get off campus and remember all that winter has to offer. Provided is an avenue for outdoor activities during cold weather in the Lewisburg and Pennsylvania area.


BLUE MOUNTAIN SKI AREAScreen Shot 2015-12-28 at 3.55.04 PM

Home of Pennsylvania’s highest vertical descent and the most varied terrain, Blue Mountain is the best mountain to visit to get the most out of a ski day. According to Mountain Snow Corporation, the mountain resort has the highest overall rating for best mountain resorts, for terrain parks, and falls second for best all-mountain terrain 1Additionally, as the East Coast’s leader in snow making capabilities, Blue Mountain guarantees snow days even if the weather does not permit.

Apres ski, kick back on the patio of the Summit Lodge Cornerstone or in the warm, festive atmosphere of Last Run Lounge on the top floor of the Summit Lodge or continue the adventure by snowtubing one of the 39 1,000 long lanes.Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 3.53.13 PM

Click here for more information.

Location: 1660 Blue Mountain Drive, Palmerton, PA 18071. 1 hour and 50 minutes



Camelback makes up for it’s smaller size with well-groomed trails and turbo-lifts, enabling you to spend more time on the quality trails. Apart from high-grade terrain, this mountain has the biggest snowtubing park in the US. The resort is also 100% lit for night skiing. This resort is ranked fourth for best all-mountain terrain in all of Pennsylvania.

Click here for more information.

Location: Camelback Mountain Resort, 301 Resort Drive, Tannersville, PA 18372. 1 hour and 35 minutes



Blue Knob, as the highest elevated skiable mountain of all Pennsylvania, offers 100 acres of terrain and 42 acres of night-skiing terrain. The longer runs, steeper terrain, and low crowds make this a favorite among the many Poconos mountains… and a best kept secret. Due to the lack of crowds, this is the best place to find fresh powder after a big snow fall.

Click here for more information.

Location: 1424 Overland Pass, Claysburg, PA 16625. 2 hours and 11 minutes.



This premiere Pocono ski resort makes a somewhat small mountain of 600 vertical feet feel large by having spread out trails. The black diamonds are some of the best in the Poconos, getting more advanced as you head towards the west side of the mountain. The glades, scattered between the groomed trails, range from intermediate to advanced and are the best in the region. If you want a good challenge, try the elevator, off the backside of the mountain.

The parking lot, located at the top, influences you to take more and more runs because when you try to call it quits you are already at the summit, so why not take one more run?

Click here for more information.

Location: 357 Big Boulder Drive, Lake Harmony, PA 18624. 1 hour and 23 minutes


xlargeJack Frost’s partner Big Boulder is considered more of the “snowboarders’ mountain” of the two. Jack Frost has longer runs and a higher vertical drop but Big Boulder, about five miles away, trumps Frost with their three main parks: Big Boulder Park, LOVE Park, and Freedom Park. There are various slopes for all levels but the main attraction is the terrain parks. Click here for more information.

Location: 434 Jack Frost Mountain Road, White Haven, PA 18661. 1 hour and 16 minutes

Note: You can get a double pass for Jack Frost/Big Boulder for $350. Just ask alumnus Doug Bogan who went out twice a week and weekends through January, February, and half of March. He claims the pass was “his best Christmas present” yet. Still not convinced? Ask anyone on the Bucknell ski team. Expect to be recruited mid conversation.

**make sure to use College ID for discounts on tickets 

Cross-country skiing, ice skating, hiking, snowmobiling, and more at PA state parks:

 Ricketts Glen State Park


Cross-country ski, snowmobile, or hike through this coniferous wonderland or escape the dense woods to ice skate and ice fish on Lake Jean. The 26 hiking trails offer views of 22 free-flowing waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and a beautiful terrestrial ecoregion of old growth timbers.

Click here for more information.

Location: Ricketts Glen State Park, 695 State Route 487, Benton, PA 17814. 1 hour and ten minute drive.

Bald Eagle State Forest


The Bald Eagle State Forest, named after the famous Native American, Chief Bald Eagle, is 193,424 acres and offers over 200 miles of hiking trails, 300 miles of state forest roads and trails open for snowmobiling, and 24 miles of Nordic ski trails, some beginning at R.B. Winter State Park.

Click here for more information.

Location: Bald Eagle State Forest, T420, Bellefonte, PA 16823. 1 hour and ten minutes away.

Colonel Denning State Park

Alumnus and avid hiker, Doug Bogan, raves that the views from the overlook of Flat Rock Trail, “are are amazing. You can see for maybe 30-50 miles on a clear day!” You can also cross-country ski on the hilly and mountainous terrain to catch a glimpse of these vistas, although there are no formal cross-country skiing trail system. Or skip out on the inclines and ice skate while still admiring the rugged beauty of the mountainous landscape.

Click here to learn more about Colonel Denning State Park.Scenic-Winter-Mauch-Chunk-Lake-Park-PoconoMtns_7749abe7-7213-4056-86d5-ca6cb2ca45b2

Location: Colonel Denning State Park, Newville PA. Click here for detailed instructions. 1.5 hours away

Worlds End State Parktravelers-backpacks-walking-along-road-forest-winter-mountains-view-snow-covered-conifer-trees-60547392

Discover a 20-mile trail network perfect for Nordic skiing in the heart of Pennsylvania’s mountainous landscape. Apart from cross-country skiing, enjoy hiking or snowmobiling through the terrain. The Canyon Vista Trail is a 4 mile loop that challenges hikers with rocky, steep sections leading to a stunning view of the Loyalsock Creek Gorge. Before descending, explore the rock labyrinths adjacent to the vist.

Click here for more info of the Hiking Trails at Worlds End State Park.

Location: 82 Cabin Bridge Rd, Forksville, PA 18616. 1 hour and ten minutes.

Tioga State ForestPAGC_HLO_LLOUS_2

Praised as one of the best rail trails in the North East, Pine Creek Trail, one of the many trails in this state park, offers Nordic skiers a verdantly dramatic 61-mile journey through the area known as the “Grand Canyon” of Pennsylvania. There are also over 170 miles of snowmobile trails.

Click here for more information.

Location: The trail’s northern terminus is on State Forest land approximately one mile south of U.S. Route 6 on the Colton Road near the village of Ansonia (1 hour and 45 minutes). The southern terminus is on Pennsylvania Route 414 two miles south of Blackwell (1.5 hours).








A 15,990-acre park stretching across the Poconos Mountain doesn’t only offer 40 miles of great hiking but has an ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. 

Click here for more information.

Location: 3613 State St, White Haven, PA 18661. 1 hour and 6 minutes. Click here for detailed driving directions. 

Raymond B. Winter State Park

For a quick morning and afternoon adventure mid-week, explore this park that is an easy drive from campus. With 700 acres of the Appalachian mountains, this park offers cross-country skiing, hiking (Rapid Run is my favorite), ice-fishing, and snowmobiling. The 300 miles of snowmobile trails leads all the way to aforementioned Bald Eagle State Forest.

Click here for more information

Location: Raymond B. Winter State Park, 17215 Buffalo Road, Mifflinburg, PA 17844. 28 minutes away.

Crystal Lake Ski Center

Recommended to me by the head of Bucknell’s Outdoors Club, Crystal Lake Ski Center specializes in Pennsylvania’s finest cross country skiing. For an additional fee, experienced Nordic instructors are ready to guide you from beginning through skating and racing techniques.

Click here for more information

Location: 1716 Crystal Lake Rd, Hughesville, PA 17737. 1 hour away.  Click here for driving directions.


And if I can’t convince you, maybe William Wordsworth will sway you

The Tables TurnedScreen Shot 2015-12-28 at 4.48.07 PM
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you’ll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?
The sun above the mountain’s head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books! ’tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.
And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless—
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.
One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—
We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
Any questions? Please email me at


  1.  “Top Rated Pennsylvania Ski Resorts | OnTheSnow.” OnTheSnow. Mountain News Corporation, n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2015

The Power of a Good Night’s Sleep: The Correlation Between Quality Sleep and Academic Performance

English dramatist Thomas Bekker once said, “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” However, for many college students, we underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Between balancing academics, extra curriculars, and a social life at college, we view sleep as a luxury rather than biological necessity that rejuvenates us mentally, physically, and emotionally. On average, most college students get 6 and a half hours of sleep per night, almost two hours less than the recommended amount of sleep 1. While the importance of a good night’s rest may seem obvious, sometimes people aren’t aware of the benefits reaped, especially when it comes to academic performance. With finals in full swing, the very qualities we aggrandize in order to perform well on tests, such as recall, concentration, and alertness, are decreased when we suffer from sleep deprivation.

professor-foster-effect-of-sleep-deprivation-on-brain-tasksScientists have recently been able to manipulate sleep to conclude the high correlation between sleep and learning and memory processes. According to the National Science Foundation, sleep allows the brain to organize, sort, and store our learnings and experiences of that day, making it simpler to recollect at a later time. Sleep plays a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information. It can even help us expunge irrelevant information and help us “make connections between our memory and information we learned that day, even if we have not made those connections while awake.” Researchers found information can be better retained with reinforcing stimuli delivered during sleep, helping us gain a better understanding of the material and absorb the information more efficiently 2

At the National Science Foundation, scientists conducted a study to determine which information gets retained and what gets wiped away. The first experiment involved participants learning two pieces of music in a format similar to the game Guitar Hero. During the post-learning nap, only one of the Guitar Hero songs was softly played, selectively reinforcing the memory of that singular tune. The second experiment involved locations of 50 objects on a computer screen, with each location coupled with different music. Similarly, in the subsequent nap, the sounds correlating with 25 locations were softly played. In the reinforcement experiments, the nappers outperformed the non-nappers. The comparison of results proved that through selective enhancement, sleep provides an effective alternative to conscious rehearsal of memorized material 3

Prolonged lack of sleep, even just after three days, can also lead to many health issues by impacting the immune system. Study after study has revealed that people who sleep poorly are at greater risk for a number of diseases and health problems since we decrease our ability to fight off infections. We are much more likely to catch the flu or a cold or other upper respiratory infections 4. In the long run, sleep deprivation is associated with a heightened risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression. Research has discovered that sleeping less than six hours a night regularly makes you 12% more likely to die prematurely than someone who sleeps up to eight hours. Although finals week won’t put the nail in the coffin, this statistic is something to keep in mind.

To quote Arianna Huffington’s TED Talk, we can quite literally sleep our way to the top. Although for some my article may be useless or wishful thinking, but for others who have the chance to utilize their time wisely during the day, do it. Unfortunately, the irony of the loss of sleep we have during finals week can work against us. As the vehicle in which we rejuvenate ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally, we must work, rest, and refresh 

As creatures of habit, establishing a regular and healthy images-5sleep cycle can be hard – especially during finals. Even when we hit the hay, our head may be spinning with what we need to do next. Here are some ways to wind down your mind and body at night:

  1. Create a soporific environment that is dark, tranquil, comfortable, and cool.
  2. Eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before going to bed.
  3. Exercise. It can help reduce stress and increase focus allowing you to study more efficiently. Regular exercise can also help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep 5.
  4. Don’t overdrink caffeinated drinks (caffeine remains in one’s system for 6-8 hours).
  5. Don’t study in your bed. Create a separation between your bed and academics.
  6. Consume foods rich in chemicals to help you fall asleep such as salad, almonds, walnuts, bananas, whole-grain cereal, and complex carbs.


  1.  “Research Areas.” Sleep & Memory. National Science Foundation, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
  2.  “Research Areas.” Sleep & Memory. National Science Foundation, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
  3. “Research Areas.” Sleep & Memory. National Science Foundation, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
  4.  “Sleep Rocks! …get More of It!” University Health Center. University Health Center, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
  5.  “Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity.” Healthy Lifestyle Fitness. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.

Miracle on Market Street

A guide to celebrating and shopping for the holidays in Lewisburg

Lewisburg Holiday Activities

Tree Lightinglbrgxmas_06-225x300

On December 3rd at 7 PM, the heart of Lewisburg will be illuminated with season cheer at the annual Holiday Tree Lighting at Hufnagle Park.

Three Free Screenings at Campus Theater

On Friday, catch Frozen with complimentary candy canes and hot chocolate for all! On Saturday, holiday favorite ELF and Sunday, It’s a Wonderful Life will air. If you show a receipt of a purchase you made in downtown Lewisburg over the weekend, you get a free popcorn. The next weekend, How the Grinch Stole Christmas will play, “bringing cheer to all who’s far and near.”

Frozen: 8 PM; Elf: 7 PM; It’s a Wonderful Life: 5 PM; How the Grinch Stole Christmas: 5 PM

13th Annual Art for the Holidays’ Opening Reception at Faustina’s

Waltz through the gallery doors to check out original oil paintings, pastels, and watercolors from nine innovative and inspirational artists.

Show opens at 10:00 AM on December 4th and runs through December 24th (Tues – Sat), 229 Market Street

Strolling music by Cracked Walnuts

“A nutty banjo and washboard duo” will be strolling the grounds of Market Street performing pure American, old time music.

December 4th, 7:30-10 PM.

Late Shoppers’ Night

All stores on Market Street open late – many until midnight.

Danu:  A Christmas Gathering (Celtic Holiday)

Celebrate the holidays with the the acclaimed Irish ensemble, Danú, featuring fiddle, flutes, button accordion, percussion and the incredible voice of Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh.

December 3rd, 7:30 pm, Weis Center

Jazz Night at the Smiling Chameleon

Unwind with jazz artist, Jay Vonada. His smooth-flowing soundscape features melodic and stylish guitars, saxophones, pianos, trumpets.

Check out three of his songs here

December 10th, 2015, 8:00 PM, Smiling Chameleon, 235 Market Street

The fall bucknell dance concert

In a collection of seven dances choreographed by students, faculty, and guest artists, the Fall Dance Concert showcases the technique and discipline of Bucknell’s dancers. According to choreographer and dancer Emily Meringolo, “you will laugh, you will cry, etc. etc.”.

December 4th and December 5th, 7:30pm, Harvey M. Powers Theatre


glowing candles for yogaThe many candles’ light creates a lovely, luminous quality, reminding me of winter and the holidays.

December 1st, 5:30-6:30 PM, Davis Gym, Bucknell

dive In Movie

Watch the holiday classic “Elf,” like you have never seen before – in a pool! Kinney Natatorium will provide free food, drinks, and floatation devices.

December 1st, 9:30 PM, Kinney Natatorium, Bucknell


At this evening cocktail party, learn how to perfect talking about art to make you seem accomplished and worldly at art museums, galleries, and galas (no prior art education needed!). Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. Alcohol available to those over 21.

December 3rd, 5:00 PM, ELC Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell (must RSVP)

And remember to save the date: 2016 Polar bear plunge

Take a icy cold dip into the Susquehanna River. Proceeds benefit the Lewisburg Ice Festival and the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership.

The event will take place Saturday, February 6th at 2 p.m. on the St. George Street Landing. Registration will come out in next few weeks.

Lewisburg Holiday Gift Guide:

(Click name for link to website)

  1. Street of Shops: Classic records, Christmas ornaments, kitchen 20110228_oneDayStory_0001gadgets, and millions of antiques to discover at this indoor country village.
  2. Purity Candy: Over fifty varieties of chocolates such as coconut clusters, peanut butter puffs, and maple cremes to satisfy all palettes
  3. Ard’s Farm: Homemade jams, hand-dipped chocolates, baskets filled with nuts, fruits, and cheeses, and many more inspired delicacies.
  4. Country Cupboard: The acre of shopping features a Christmas wonderland shop; a pantry filled with jams, pottery, tea; and a country shop with old world ornaments, candles, and decorative accessories
  5. Pompeii Street Soap Co.: Handcrafted natural bath & body products featuring gourmet-style soaps, lotions, and body buttershomemade_soap_by_andreeagruioniu-d5cuo95
  6. Black Dog Jewelers: Buy gold, silver, and diamond encrusted jewelry all for the love of dogs! Proceeds go to help forgotten dogs find new homes.
  7. Good Habits:  Handmade jewelry, incense, essential oils, and more
  8. The Gingerbread House: Carries lotions, home décor, glassware, barware, candles and seasonal items (attached to Retrah)
  9. Urban Post: Jewelry, handbags, clothing, scarves, pottery, and more. Don’t forget to check out the gallery in the back!images
  10. Colonial Candlecrafters: Wide variety of candles and candle related items to decorate your home
  11. Advanced Skin Care Spa and Salon: Services include therapeutic warm stone massage, aromatherapy massage, facials, spa packages, and more
  12. And then the frequented Market Street apparel shops of Retrah, Dwellings, Wilson Ross, and Fusion, to name a few

Spoon University: For the Love of Food

Whether it is IMG_1880photographs of layered sandwiches, artisan ice cream piled onto chocolate waffle cones, or oozing mac and cheese, foodie voyeurism, if you will, has gone mainstream. Food culture has always been a reflection of changing times. Now with the influx of social media, it is dominating and creating a digital dining table that satiates the globe. This gastronomical hub has millions of food bloggers, chefs, and home cooks providing recipe inspirations, food trucks to try, food porn, and more. Spoon University is one of these food websites, catering towards college students. With over 100 collegiate chapters established, Spoon empowers students to write, photograph, and plan food centric events on campus and in the local community. Interested in the story behind Bucknell’s Spoon chapter, I grabbed coffee with the president and founder of this club, Dannah Strauss, to learn more.

Last September, Dannah saw Spoon University’s Instagram account and became immediately intrigued. She was compelled to establish this chapter because she wanted to pursue one of her passions at Bucknell and had yet uncovered a way to do so. She has always wanted to utilize her self-created major in Food Culture and Sustainability to educate fellow students. Spoon seemed like it could provide that much needed and useful food resource on campus she was looking for. She worked diligently throughout the fall in order to launch the Bucknell site at the beginning of second semester.

Dannah has always been passionate about food – not only the physiological importance of it but also the cultural and personal importance of it. Dannah explains, “It is a rare occurrence that everyone stops their day at the same time to do something together, but food does this. Eating functions on an emotional aspect because the table brings people together.” The college environment does not acknowledge the importance of breaking bread together, with everyone always rushing from one activity to the next. Additionally, many college students do not eat mindfully and intelligently. Dannah elucidates, “many grab what is easiest, eat fast, and continue on. Or, some count calories which is one of the worst ways to diet.” Whatever it is, many students could enjoy a more satisfying dining experience if they recognized problems and were given solutions.

Tuna stuffed heirloom tomato at Cherry Alley

Bucknell’s Spoon University provide a remedy to this college dilemma. The website and Instragram account provides many ideas of how and what to eat. From Bison and Commons Cafe food hacks, descriptions of the top restaurants, diners, drive-ins, and dives in Lewisburg to scientific articles about how to fuel yourself properly for a work out – or a nap, Spoon positively impact college students relationships with food around campus.

By becoming more mindful about food consumption, we also become more mindful about food waste. Americans waste enough food everyday to fill up the 90,000 seat Rose Bowl stadium. Last year, Bucknell students alone wasted 131 pounds of food during Bucknell’s Bostwick Cafeteria “Waste Weigh.” In this two hour lunch span, less than 700 students ate here, meaning the average student wasted .2 pounds of food. Food waste creates many social, environmental, and economical problems by contributing to climate change, hurting community health, and abetting world hunger and food security. The easiest way to deal with food waste on campus is to eliminate it.

Dannah strives to incorporate health and sustainability into her food endeavors and posts on Spoon. Her biggest frustration is her biggest hope. Although the term “foodie” is overused to the point of ubiquity and vagueness, the true definition, in my opinion, describes someone who cares what goes into a recipe, who waits that extra 30 minutes to let the spices simmer, who travels to stimulate the taste buds, and who understands the meaning behind the sustenance. Dannah is all that and, through Bucknell’s Spoon webpage, we have to chance to be that also.

Q and A with Dannah:b7vqt6Di

Favorite place to eat on campus and what? Chef David’s brussel sprouts at Daily Dish

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 8.34.08 PMIn Lewisburg? Amami’s breakfast wrap or breakfast salad. There are so many ways to mix and match flavor palettes there.

Nearby Lewisburg? Emma’s Food for Life. This restaurant has huge vegetarian and vegan pizza, veggie burgers.

Favorite food related documentary? Fed Up and That Sugar Film

Favorite food related book? Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser (in her bag as we spoke).

Street of Shops
Street of Shops









Bon Appétit



*All photos courtesy of @spoon_bucknell

Fatima’s Story: The Impact of the Taliban on Her, Her Family, and Her Hometown of Kunduz, Afghanistan

In the quaint town of Lewisburg, it can be easy to forget that there is a War on Terror going on across the globe. However, for Fatima Arabzada, a native of Afghanistan and Bucknell senior, she thinks about it every day. Fatima left her family in Afghanistan 8 years ago to attend high school and college in America. She is one of the first three women in her providence to leave and study elsewhere, violating the Taliban’s anti-women ideology on education. Last Thursday, Fatima shared her story in the LC Forum about the impact the Taliban has had on her, her family, and her hometown of Kunduz, the northern Afghan provincial capital. 12109044_852277168226573_4949948530725155894_n





On October 1st, the Taliban gained control of Kunduz’s food, water, and electricity, and, in a mere three hours, overtook the entire city. As the biggest Taliban victory since 2001, the loss of this major city is an ominous sign for many reasons. One, it highlights the weakness of Afghanistan’s NATO-trained forces. Two, it complicates the next move for the U.S. We had a plan to drastically cut U.S. troops presence in Afghanistan but now this plan seems unwise and obsolete. Lastly, this takeover shows the power of the Taliban forces. Fatima explained how ISIS and the Taliban have recently united – ISIS fighters are supporting the Taliban and training them to gain more power and control. However, in order for the Taliban to fully gain ISIS’s trust, the new leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mansour, wanted to show ISIS how powerful and cruel he can be. During the invasion of Kunduz, Mansour ordered Taliban troops to commit significant human rights violations against citizens, such as rape, torture, and extrajudicial murders. The Taliban, upon entering the city, had a hit list including working women. Once they invaded the homes, they gathered more information of which women worked where. Had the Afghan government itself been not as corrupt, this violence and information gathering might have been contained.

The invasion of Kunduz verifies the pervasive corruption of the governor and government as a whole. Fatima explained how the governor knew this was going to happen and did nothing to prevent it. The Taliban had been planning this attack for months. There were storage units placed throughout the city with food and ammunition for the terrorists. Fatima’s own family was unaware that their direct neighbors were Taliban members with a storage unit. Had the Afghan government put more energy in putting down the insurgency, Fatima believes this attack could have been prevented. Also, the Afghanistan government took two days to get anyone to Fatima’s province to fight agains192514Taliityt the Taliban. Two entire days. Once the troops arrived, it took two weeks for the Taliban to withdraw, enough time to cause mass destruction, trigger fear and panic, and complete the terrorists’ ultimate goal of suppression and control.

Fatima expressed how hard it was to talk to her family during this time. Every day, there were two 30 minute intervals while the Taliban members prayed when her family could come out of the basement, “even though I don’t get the point of them praying, because everything they do contradicts Islam” Fatima joked. Her brother told her on the phone how he was “going insane” – struggling between accepting he was going to die young and the hope of staying alive long enough to become an engineer. Fatima also expressed her concern for her mother, who has high blood pressure, kidney stones and asthma.  Fatima felt truly helpless. Despondent and demoralized, she couldn’t pay attention to her studies, which she values highly. She could only think about her family’s situation overseas.

On the third day of the invasion, Fatima’s father asked her to get her family out of the country. Fatima said, “I couldn’t pick up the phone back up. I couldn’t call them because I knew I needed to say no to them.” In the following moments, the packed LC Forum was completely silent as students tried to imagine how hard this must be for her, with her mother, father, and siblings trapped there. One sister is in the U.S. as well, studying at Hobart and William Smith College in New York, and three other siblings have passed away since the war began in 1979. As so many of us students trotted around campus happily this fall, Fatima has been dealing with the immense pressure to save the rest of her family from a hazardous situation. However, Fatima is grateful of Bucknell community’s support, especially from the members of the campus club ATHENA, throughout this difficult ordeal.

Bucknell ATHENA has partnered up with Save the Children to send aid to Kunduz. This week, Bucknell ATHENA will be tabling in the LC collecting cash donations in exchange for a beaded bracelet incorporating the Afghani flag colors.* The funds will be going towards helping misplaced children and their families in Fatima’s community. Please come by and support Fatima. A simple donation from can make a world of difference for these children and families, and for Fatima, one of the bravest, strongest woman I have met during my time here at Bucknell.

Fatima receives a standing ovation. Photo credit: Bucknell Athena

*Must donate at least $10 to receive a bracelet.

Photo credit: Bucknell Athena
Photo credit: Bucknell Athena

Link to donation page: here 

Link to Save the Children in Afghanistan: here

Link to Bucknell Athena Facebook page to see pictures from Thursday’s event: here 

If anyone wants to donate in cash and/or pick up a support bracelet, Athena will be tabling in the LC Student Space every day next week from 11-1 pm!
We thank you for all of your support and encourage you to spread Fatima‘s story and the donation page to any person you believe will be willing to contribute to this worthy cause!
-Carly & the Athena Chapter at Bucknell

A Guide to Susquehanna River Valley’s Wineries

Whether we were atop the rolling hills of Tuscany sipping a glass of Chianti Classico, admiring the Andes Mountains while imbibing Malbec, or strolling through the vineyards of Cape Town with a silky Pinot Noir in hand, we made a point to plan wine tours while studying abroad. Once we came back to Bucknell though, many of us stopped planning trips on the weekends, contented with the same schedule day in and day out. Visiting vineyards doesn’t have to be luxury sought after in foreign lands; it can be done right here in the Susquehanna Valley. If we maintain our curiosity and quest for adventure to discover new cultures, foods, drinks, and opportunities, we can find a host of activities all around us. 

According to the Pennsylvania Wine Association, “Pennsylvania ranks fourth nationally in the amount of grapes grown and ranks seventh in the production of wine.” Susquehanna Valley’s rolling hills foster ideal growing conditions for healthy vineyards and premium wines, making them unique from any other wines in the world. This valley is home to five family-owned wineries that host award-winning vintages. Additionally, the inside tasting rooms and outdoor patios offer views of the vineyard, valley, and river. As we pride ourselves as wine dilettantes after our experiences abroad (although our parents will tell us otherwise), why not carry our knowledge of sight, smell, touch, and taste into the vineyards right by our campus. Or, if you have never done a wine tour, take these opportunities to learn about wine-tasting and the wine country history, all the while enjoying the pleasant state of your wine buzz and the picturesque views. No matter what region, country, or hemisphere you may be in, learning about wine is bound to be a good time anywhere.

Intrigued? Check these 5 wineries out:


16140 Route 140, Middleburg. 570-837-3644. Hours: Mon-Thurs and Sat 10 AM - 5 PM, Fri 10 AM - 7 PM, Sun Noon-5 PM. 24 min away

“A great glass of wine starts with the vines”- Karl Zimmerman, Owner


The 68 acres of Shade Mountain offers a remarkable array of 40 different grape varieties. Sample these high quality wines while sitting outside on the expansive deck, taking in the views of the vineyards and fields nestled in the foothills of Shade Mountain. The winery is “housed in a 19th Century converted bank barn and has grown to produce 30,000 gallons of wine annually.” There is also a recently renovated event room that overlooks the vines.

Events to check out:

  1. Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail: Heartland Christmas on weekends of 11/21-11/22; 11/28-11/29 & 12/5-12/6. If you go, you will receive: a grape vine wreath on which to place commemorative ornaments, a complimentary wine tasting at each winery, any food &/or food & wine pairing that wineries may offer, and a 10% discount on any wine purchases during your initial visit to any of the SHWT wineries.
  2. Susquehanna Heartland’s Wine Trail March Madness Month every March18907742-standard
  3. Shade Mountain’s Annual Fall Festival (where you can actually stomp the grapes!) held every second weekend in October
  4. Live music weekends



Wine variety:

Red: Dry: 005, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese. Syrah; Off-dry: Lemberger, Proprietor’s Red; Semi-sweet: Keelboat Red, Shade Mountain Red; Sweet: Grinch Grog, Jack’s Mountain Red, Rascal Red, Willaim’s Port, Witch’s Titmouse

White: Dry: Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc; Semi-dry: Edelweiss, Young’s Hill Riesling, Shade Mountain White, Great White, Late Harvest Riesling; Sweet: Bad Moose Mead Anniversary White, Granny Z’s Mint Iced Tea, Niagara, Shade Mountain Mojitos (made with mint wine and mixed with mojito flavorings), Moscato

Blush: Semi-dry: Autumn Harvest; Semi-sweet: Shade Mountain Blush; Sweet: Evening Blush, Cool Duck

Fruit Wine: Semi-sweet: Plum, Cranberry; Sweet: Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Country Spice Apple, Elderberry, Pineapple, Raspberry, Prehistoric Peach, Smoke House Apple, StrawberryFor an in depth description of the wines click here


3 Orchard Road, Liverpool. 717-444-7211. Hours Wed-Thurs 11 AM - 5 PM, Fri 11 AM -7 PM, Sat 11 AM - 5 PM, Sun 1 - 5 PM. 41 min away

“There’s plenty of time to disconnect and finally time to connect with who & what surrounds you. And there’s wine. Lots of it” – Bill and Darlene Kvaternik, Founders.


This farm winery is located on a beautiful spot overlooking the Susquehanna River. Visitors can tour the facility, taste the wines, picnic on the grounds, or take in the views from the large 40×60 foot pavilion. 

Fun events:

  1. “Open House and Craft Show twice each year – the first weekend in June and the third or fourth weekend in October.
  2. Yoga in the Vines- “Every 2nd Thursday and last Saturday of the month from 8am to 9am. Cost is $10/person and includes a 60 minute session, a wine tasting and a glass of your favorite WHV wine or specialty drink! Reservations highly encouraged!”
  3. Corks & Crayons! Thursday, Nov 19th from 12-4pm. “Come and experience the latest trend in adult relaxation: adult coloring books! Studies show coloring can have a calming effect on the adult mind and helps promote overall wellness. Compete in the coloring contest and you could win a prize!” Reservations recommended.



Wine variety:

hv-signDry wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

Semi dry wines: Riesling, Heart of the Valley, Susquehanna Crossing

Semi Sweet wines: Valvin Muscat, Hunters Valley Red, Susquehanna Sunrise,

Sweet wines: Wedding white, Niagara, Susquehanna River Red, Hope Whispers, Spiced Apple, Summer Days

Dessert wines: Schwartzbeeren, Himbeeren, Liverpool Ruby Red, Buck’s Backwoods Brew

Sparkling wines: Celebration, Blueberry Mist, Peach Mist, Strawberry Mist

For an in depth description of the wines click here


965 JPM Road, Lewisburg. 570-568-0846. Hours: Wed-at 11 AM-6 PM, Sun 11 AM-4 PM, 8 min away

Wine bundle

“Pennsylvania Grown in the heart of the Susquehanna River Valley.” 

Discover the quality tastes of Pennsylvania craft wines made with estate grown, hand picked grapes. The fruit has a unique style that reflects the heartland of Pennsylvania. The vineyard is planted on a south facing slope overlooking the beautiful agricultural valley of Lewisburg. 



Wine variety:

White: Grüner Veltliner, Dry Riesling, White Table Wine, Pinot Gris, Semi-Dry Riesling –

Red:  Pinot Noir 2013, 1812 Lemberger, Estate Lemberger, Saperavi

Sweet wines: Sweet Blush, Sweet White, Apple, White Peach, Sweet Red, Chocolate, Sweet Niagara, Sweet Concord, Cherry,

For an in depth description of wines click here


574 Cemetery Hill Road, Montgomery. 570-547-0881. Hours Fri-Sat 11 AM - 6 PM, Sun 11 AM - 5 PM. 23 min away


With the help of the friends – hence the name-, what started off as a small vineyard became a renowned winery with more than 50 Delaware vines and 50 Cayuga vines. Situated on 33 acres, the winery features an impressive array of wines “from extra dry to sweet table wines” to satisfy everyone’s unique palettUntitled 3e. The winery consists of a tasting room with an outdoor covered deck and a wine production area that are great for parties and events.


Wine variety:

Red wines: Vincenzo, Baco Noir, DeChaunac, and personally named Jax Red, Red Sky, Beach Bum, Passion (great for Sangria!), and Summer Sun

White wines: Black Cap Riesling, Catawba, and personally named Sailaway, Whale Tail White, Diamond, Delaware, and Vineyard Harvest

For a description of wines click here. 



105 Carroll Road, Sunbury. 570-286-9911. Hours; Tues-Thurs 11 AM- 6 PM, Fri-Sat 11 AM - 7 PM, Sun 11 AM - 5 PM. 27 min away

“After all, a wine can only be as good as the fruit in the vineyard” – Tom Webb, Owner

The 75 acre farm is home to 15 acres of estate owned vineyards that bring an array of wonderful wines. Alongside the indoor tasting room in a renovated early 19th century bank barn,  the winery also includes a large outdoor patio with a scenic, pastoral view. The winery hosts many large and small events – with the outside grounds offering unlimited space and an indoor seating capacity of 130 guests. This vineyard is also known for sharp culinary skills, pairing wines with select dishes.  

27288ed592c58eeb39a67208b46ae719Wine variety:

White: Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Oaked Vidal, Seyval Blanc, Riesling, Riesling-Traminer, Vignoles, Magno Vignoles, White Duck,

Red: Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Chambourcin Nouveau, Merlot, Tam’s Red













Buy a trolley for the day and spend the day hopping from winery to winery. The trolley offers a hop on/off service to 14 different vineyards, allowing you to take in the Pennsylvania scenery while experimenting with the different aromas and winemakers’ specialties. These stops include the five wineries mentioned above and the Picking, O Donnell, Armstrong, Benigna’s Creek, Buddy Boy, Purple Cow, Juniata, Olivero’s, and Red Shale Ridge wineries.









At all these vineyards, feel the passion of the wine and winemaking while enjoying quality time with friends and/or family. This is a chance to try something new and unfamiliar – both the activity itself and the wine. If you enjoy semi-sweet wine, go for a dry wine. Test your palette and experiment because you don’t want to miss out on the regional or winery’s specialities. Also chat with the winemakers and winery owners as well, who are some of the world’s most lovely and enchanting people.

“Fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship; and pass the rosy wine” – Charles Dickensurl






P.S. You must be 21 to attend these wineries. Please drink responsibly and respectfully.

Follow up: Experiences with Meditation

This article is a follow up to my post "The Transformative Effects of Meditation," published on Oct. 22. This article features not only my experience with meditation but also three Bucknell students' and one Lewisburg resident's insight about the practice.

As promised, here is my follow up to my challenge of practicing meditation for a week. I was warned that there wouldn’t be any life changing results so I tried to pay attention to small changes in my mind and body. Here is what I noticed after meditating for 15 to 20 minutes every day:

The Super Wave: Benefits Of Theta Brainwaves And Meditation

  • Peace of mind
  • Happier
  • General sense of wellbeing
  • More appreciative of life and those in it
  • Fell asleep a lot faster and slept better throughout the night – however, I am not sure if I can completely attribute that to meditating or other changes I have been making
  • Detached from habitual thought patterns – especially negative ones.
  • More balanced perspective

I also experimented with different times throughout the day to meditate and discovered that my morning meditation is the most fruitful for me.In the afternoon or evening, I became easily distracted, often thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner or what everyone else was up to. In the morning, my awakened consciousness had not yet been agitated and engaged in the daily business of life. Nature’s tranquility- the air, the light, the sounds – generates a harmony that resonated well with me. Additionally, I enjoyed starting my day with stillness because it set a focused, optimistic, and magnanimous tone for the rest of my day.

My biggest challenge was clearing my mind. However, Jason, the professor I interviewed in a previous post, told me that this is completely normal. I realized this practice can be hard work and it will take time to achieve successful meditations.  Some people spend years trying to reach Nirvana – the ultimate goal of meditation. According to Professor Young, the professor of Religious Studies who has a concentration in Buddhism, people who meditate see Nirvana as their extremely distant goal. For many, the more intimate goal of meditators is to “live with compassion and friendliness” – this is what I was aiming for. No wonder Young believes that the happiness index of the Buddhist culture rates higher than others.

To learn more and compare my experience, I asked some friends why they meditate and how it affects them.

Dianne (wife/mother, age 70, Lewisburg resident, began a daily meditation practice in 1973): If you want to explore the innermost parts of your mind and ascertain who you really are, there is no more ideal a method than meditation. Deep relaxation, introspection or psychotherapy are not enough. Only the depth and solitude of meditation leads you to use an aspect of consciousness that does not cling to external forms and that transcends the senses and thought. Some call these states superconsciousness, or oneness, or enlightenment. These names do not matter. All that matters is getting to a state of transcendence. Even a glimpse is powerful and trans-formative and makes you thirst for more.

As with asana yoga practice, the effect of meditation is not necessarily realized on the cushion. Instead it is seen and felt off the meditation cushion. The outer things in your life soon begin to be reflective of all the inner changes that are occurring. The changes are subtle indeed. But after patient and  consistent practice, for months and years and decades, you will know what the accumulation of efforts have yielded, Eventually you reach a point where the quiescence of meditation and the activeness of daily living are integrated.


Alex Silverman (Senior, Psychology Major): I’ve been a meditator for almost a year now. I practice transcendental meditation, a meditation technique brought over from India by a man named Maharishi Yogi in the 60’s. Transcendental meditation involves the use of a mantra that is uniquely assigned to each individual who practices by a certified transcendental meditation teacher. It is a simple and easy practice that simply involves the silent repetition of the mantra with the eyes closed. The idea is that the recitation and repetition of the mantra brings the mind to its quietest state, below the level of conscious awareness. It is typically practiced for twenty minutes twice a day for maximum benefits- once in the morning before you begin your day and once before the start of your evening. However, with my crazy busy schedule, I’m lucky if I get to meditate once a day.

I sought out transcendental meditation when I was going through a rough time. I needed to find some way to rejuvenate both my mind and my body. Practicing transcendental meditation for just twenty minutes actually allows your mind to rest more than it does in an average nights sleep, consequently allowing your body to physiologically replenish itself. After just a few days of practice, I could actually feel the difference! I was happier and more energized because I was giving my mind and body the chance to get the rest they deservingly needed.

I’ve recommended transcendental meditation to several people who are near and dear to me, simply because I think it is the most useful technique anyone can have, regardless of how the practice is picked up. You don’t have to be going through a hard time to learn how to meditate. Your mind and body need rest! Anyone and everyone who picks up this practice is astounded by the benefits- a clearer mind, more energy and more happiness. There are plenty of skeptics out there- I definitely was one at first. I can safely say, though, that TM has changed my life for the better and I’m so fortunate to have learned such a helpful practice.

Grace Elliott (Senior, Majoring in Education and Autism Studies): In high school I was very involved with mediation, reflecting on it now I wish I was still as focussed on it. I did a few different types but there were two general types I benefited from and enjoyed the most. These were focussed attention meditation and Vipassana meditation.

In focussed meditation you focus on an object, the object may be the breath, a mantra, visualization, part of the body or an external object. Any of these options work- but I personally like to focus on my breath as a way to get focussed or ‘unfocused’ if you would rather think about it that way and then focus on a visualization or an external object. In high school I went on a meditation trip every summer and my favorite was to Exuma in the Bahamas. On the trip we worked on rebuilding a church. But every morning before work, during lunch, and after work, we would go to the beach and meditate. I would either focus on the visualization of the ocean and the sound of the waves breaking. Or I would sit on the shore line and meditate on the feeling of the rising tide starting to surround me.

I also recommend Open Mindfulness to everyone. It seems more stiff but is just as rewarding. I took part in Vipassana meditation. In this mediation you focus on your breathing to develop full concentration then with this concentration you focus on any developing sensation while it comes and let it pass as you focus on your breath again. So you can consider breathing as the primary focus and any sensations- smells, sounds, feelings in your body as a secondary passing focus.

My senior year in high school I went to St. Leo’s Abbey in Florida and stayed in a monastery for 10 days. Here we meditated in the chapel with Monks and I did my version of Vipassana mediation. When they would be singing their chants I would be meditating on my breath and letting the side thoughts of the sound of their music, the sounds of books opening and closing, the sounds of shoes slowly clicking across the marble floor, and the chill of the air come through my mind as a secondary thought. Once I took it in and accepted it, it would pass again as I concentrated on my breath. I would recommend this to anyone because it can be a challenge- but one that is so rewarding once you settle in and relax into the rhythm of your breath and the passing thoughts and feelings you experience based off of the environment you’re in.

Both forms of meditation are extremely rewarding and a nice option because you can practice them anywhere!

Meghan Byrd (Senior, majoring in Political Science and Spanish): I first learned about mindfulness practices as a junior in high school as a way to help alleviate anxiety. In the past few years, due to my hectic schedule (I know, bad excuse), I began to notice that mindfulness wasn’t as present in my life as I’d like it to be. As Carly so aptly describes, mindfulness can not only help manage stress, but I find it to make me a happier, more positive person.

Recently, I set a goal to get back into the spirit of mindfulness. I discovered an app called Headspace, which guides users through quick meditations. To start, they have a ten day meditation challenge, which is ten minutes each day for ten days straight. The app is great because it can be used by all levels – although it’s especially good for beginners. The narrater’s voice is calm and soothing, as he guides you through breathing exercises, body scans, and active listening. At the end of ten days, you can chose to pay a small fee for access to hundreds of additional guided meditations about all kinds of things – from how to be more mindful while cooking, cleaning, and gardening, to how to use mindfulness when taking an exam.
I loved my experience with Headspace for a couple of reasons. First, it was easy, and required little effort or prior knowledge of meditation. Second, the exercises really helped quiet my mind and made me feel very present, a crucial part of practicing mindfulness. Third, I did my ten minutes at night before bed, and I found that I had a much more relaxing and deep sleep. In addition to meditating, I challenged myself to not look at any screens (computer, phone, etc.) afterwards and if I wasn’t tired I would read a book. I went to bed feeling very much at ease.
I encourage everyone to bring mindfulness into their lives. It’s really pretty easy once you get in the habit and the mental and physical health benefits are amazing!
Online resources:
Guides for meditation for beginners by The Conscious Life and Zen Habits 
Guided meditation: Final Relaxation Body Scan. I like this a lot better because I am really bad at clearing my mind for normal meditation so this takes that pressure off. Also if you really concentrate on what he is saying, you actually can feel the energy in the places on your body you are directing it.
Resources on campus:
Try the meditation class at 7:30 Tuesday night’s in the KLARC fitness room. 
Visit the non-sectarian meditation space is located on the second floor of the Fellowship House at 628 St. George Street. The house is open daily from 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. There are also interfaith spaces in the Meditation Chapel at the rear of Rooke Chapel, Berelson Center for Jewish Life (632 St. George Street), Newman House (610 St. George Street) and the Muslim Prayer Room (Room 40 Gateway Roser).

The Future is Now

In this week’s address, President Obama remarked that the world “needs a climate-change deal to protect the planet for our children.” He reminded us that we are responsible for protecting our country, “home to some of the most beautiful God-given landscapes in the world… with natural treasures – from the Grand Tetons to the Grand Canyon; from lush forests and vast deserts to lakes and rivers teeming with wildlife.” Although Obama has made strides in promoting clean energy and lowering carbon emissions, it is not enough if it is America acting alone. This November, countries will come from around the world to the Paris Climate Conference. The goal of the conference is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate. “This planet,” Obama concluded in Pope Francis’ words, “is a gift from God.” We must unite to protect this wondrous, sacred, and delicate world in honor of the past residents’ and for the future generations.

The biggest problem we have is changing our habits to become more sustainable. We can’t keep free-riding on the actions of others. We think that our one little change won’t make a difference, but collectively, it will. Last fall, I worked with the head of the energy department, Steve Durfee, to work on a project to reduce Bucknell’s emission of greenhouse gases. Since Steve began working at Bucknell in 2012, through energy auditing, operations, and research into buildings’ electrical and mechanical equipment, he has reduced the campus’s cumulative energy consumption by almost 73,000 kilowatt hours a year – to put into simpler terms that is equivalent to 72 homes’ energy consumption. Last year, he changed all the lighting to LED bulbs in the KLARC center. This alone saved almost 500,000 kilowatt hours a year, or equivalent to 33 homes. The other day, I met up with him to hear what he has to say about the high consumption of Bucknell’s energy use.

Steve told me about some of the biggest problems he sees on campus. People continually throw contaminated items into recycling bins, “It only takes one plate of spaghetti to ruin everything.” Other problems are plug overload, AC and heat, light and power density. If we could get all the students to be aware of these problems, our university could reduce total energy consumption by 10-15%! What Steve really wants is a mentality and culture where students care because he knows, with exact numbers, the amount of change we are capable of making.

When I asked Steve if he is concerned about future, he answered, “Hell yah! Climate change is a real issue in this country. With our limited amount of resources, we need to make efficiency a priority.” He doesn’t think climate change will affect his life but he believes it will affect his kids and his kids’ kids. Obama hopes that at the climate conference this November, “the world will build on these individual commitmeglobal-warming1-687x687nts with an ambitious, long-term agreement to protect this Earth for our kids.”

Unfortunately, we as human beings are horrible at assessing and responding to risk when something isn’t an immediate threat. We must overcome these psychological barriers and acknowledge no challenge poses a greater threat to us than climate change. So I ask you to join me in the challenge to make a difference. Channeling Obama’s fundamental motif throughout his campaign, let us make “change we can believe in.”


Ways to be sustainable on campus:energy-efficient

  1. Power Down. This includes shutting off lights, computers, and other electronics when you aren’t using them.
  2. Recyle! Use the recycling bins and trash cans properly rather than interchangeably.
  3. Adopt Reusable Bag Practices
  4. Ride your bike (Don’t have one? Rent a Bison Bike here). On this small campus, I swear it is faster than driving and parking.
  5. Save Energy. Turn your heat down a few degrees or AC up a few, your body will hardly notice but the environment will.
  6. Think About Your Water Usage.
  7. Veto disposable items. Nix plastic forks, knives, spoons, cups, water bottles, and everything else that gets tossed in the trash after one use. If you need to get them, buy paper because it is biodegradable. Plastic trash can sit in landfills for hundreds of years before breaking down.
  8. Eat from farmer’s markets. Food grown locally requires less fossil fuels to transport, generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventionally produced food. Also, organic food requires less pesticides and fertilizers used, which is good not only for the environment but for you too!
  9. Support companies that support global warming. Take a look at these companies:

Beauty and cosmetics, food companies such as Unilever, Nestle, and Kelloggs, and apparel. Take a look at Pharrell Williams’ Raw Collection, a streetwear collection made from ocean garbage. Look at 7 other eco friendly fashion brands here. 

  1. Read about the more ways to be sustainable here!


☮ ✌


The Importance of Art Appreciation: An Examination of Bucknell’s Samek Art Museum’s Current Exhibit, R. Luke Du Bois’ “Portraits and Landscapes”

Art enlightens us, challenges us, and speaks to us. When we take time to study a piece of art, we observe the elements, media, and methods used in the creative thought processes while also learning the history behind the work. As we lose ourselves to the rhythm of the paint strokes or in the beautiful composition, we also discover more about ourselves and our place in the world. Art delves into our subconscious, illuminating our own experiences and truths by connecting us to our past, reflecting our present, and foreshadowing our future. For many people, art’s expressive medium brings us joy and sadness, incertitude and insight, nostalgia and surprise. In itself, therefore, art is incomplete. We must go out and appreciate it to add that final element artists’ look for: our own perspectives.

The students, faculty, and residents of Lewisburg are fortunate to have the Samek Art Museum on Bucknell’s campus. This incredible resource creates an environment where everyone can come together to engage with the pop-up exhibitions and permanent art installations that are relevant not only to art history majors but all people no matter what field, age, or background.


DuBois_SliderThe Samek Art Museum’s current exhibit hosts R. Luke Du Bois’ visual data analysis collection. As a musical composer and data and programming engineer, Du Bois was interested in how visual data analysis can be transformed into art. In his “Portraits and Landscapes” exhibit in Samek, Du Bois creates a fascinating, modern way to interpret portraiture. Portraits no longer have to be constructed through oil paintings; rather, personas can be constructed by the data analysis that we use to communicate everyday. Du Bois’ goal for his “Portraits and Landscapes” exhibit is to transform something seemingly mundane into an aesthetic masterpiece conveying meaning and substance.

To learn more about this, I met up with Art History major and intern for the Samek Art Museum, Kate Miller, to have her tell me about Du Bois’ movement. Kate begins by guiding me over to A More Perfect Union, a collection of maps revealing a dating lexicon of each state. “Du Bois,” Kate tells me, “joined dating sites all over the country and selected the most repeated word in the biography descriptions of each resident.” He examined how 16.7 million people describe themselves and what they seek for in others in their online data profiles. He geographically segmented the online daters and then used that most frequented word in place of the town name on the map. Kate explained to me how that single word can actually show what the town best characterizes, whether it involves an activity, a sports team, an emotion, or more. Through a simple heuristic, such as New Orleans word as “flood,” he identifies people who are lonely, confident, promiscuous, struggling, athletic, grief-stricken, and more. This map powerfully reveals what matters most to the residents, whether they are conscious of it or not.

Du Bois uses a similar technique in his 2008 piece, Hindsight 2020, a collection resembling eye charts in a doctor’s office. In this metaphor of LincolnSOTUEyeChartvision, Du Bois took most repeated words in each president’s State of Union Address and arranged the eye chart to have the most used word as the largest on top. George Washington’s most repeated word was gentleman, Lincoln emancipation, Hoover unemployment, Nixon (ironically) truly, and George W. Bush’s terror. Kate explains how this “panoramic perspective highlights what was most important at the time. The most repeated word is the keystone of their presidential influence, relating to their historic legacies.”

Another chart, Self Portrait, consists of a force directed graph presenting every email Du Bois has ever received by 1993. Kate ex3d61b_sep7_wesleyan_imageplains, the chart is “based on frequency of emails and emotional language such as I love you or I care for you.” Rather than a photo of just someone’s face, Du Bois’ self portrait shows “who he is as a person, what he values, what he is willing to devote time to.” By using computer algorithms to make his art statistically significant and precise, Du Bois creates an aesthetically pleasing artistic media portraying his humanistic identity.

After examining and learning about a few more of Du Bois’ pieces, Kate and I chatted about how Richard Rinehart, the director and curator of Samek, lines up relevant and innovative exhibits that constantly challenge, engage, and inspire all types of visitors. Head up the stairs in the ELC and discover or lose yourself in a tiny self created world right on campus.


Coming soon:

Gallery Engagement Team (G.E.T) Presents: Frequency

Frequency is G.E.T.’s Fall Gala in conjunction with R. Luke DuBois exhibit: Portraits and Landscapes

When: Friday November 13th 6-8pm in the Samek Art Museum (top floor of LC)
Includes: DJ (Liam Moore), food, trivia, and prizes

And if you go, please take Samek Art Museum visitor participation survey:

The Samek Art Museum aims to gain a better insight on the visitor experience regarding exhibitions and events. The data collected will help staff improve future programming. The survey will take at most 10 minutes to complete. The data collected will be strictly anonymous and we will not share the information you provide with any outside organizations.



The Transformative Effects of Meditation

This article features an interview with Jason Leddington, a Bucknell Philosophy Professor and avid meditator; my own research and personal experience with meditation; and a challenge I am giving myself and anyone who wants to join in.


Yesterday morning, I met with Jason Leddington, a Professor of Philosophy at Bucknell, who has been practicing meditation for well over a decade. Once we settled into a wooden bench warmed by the sun, he tells me how he awoke in a panic this morning because he had too many assignments to complete in too little of time. Torn between staying in bed or facing his seemingly Herculean tasks, he decided to sit down and perform a guided meditation. This ten minute body scan was all it took to completely shift his perspective. He felt more compassionate and less resentful to the people asking him to do things and he felt lighter from his stress relief. And now, here he is sitting with me, with a warm cup of coffee in his hand, crossing another commitment off his list. He notes, “A lot about life is difficult. We can’t change that. What we can change is our perspective.”

Jason first began practicing Zen meditation twelve years ago, the main form of Mahayana Buddhism that focuses on the meaning of life itself, before moving to Vipassana meditation, a meditation about psychological insight of one’s self. Vipassana, a less mystical and more practical approach than the former, focuses on the four noble truths -the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. These truths offer a relief in one’s own suffering, which can be reflected in our daily life. Jason explains, “even just sitting for three minutes has the ability to change our relationship to the world around us. Our experience is malleable.” With his peace of mind, compassion, and thoughtfulness, he alters his life in small yet significant ways.

He is also able to make a change in his students’ lives as well. In his Consciousness class, he teaches mindfulness. For the students who engage seriously in the class, Jason is able to notice subtle changes – not through their presence in class but in their weekly journals. His class creates the opportunity and framework for students to discover amazing things about themselves. Not only can Jason see the differences, but there is plenty of research studies showing the benefits of students practicing mindfulness and meditation. No matter what class, meditating for a few minutes at the beginning can give students and the teacher a sense of serenity that calms the mind, eases stress, subsequently increasing intelligence, creativity, concentration, and alertness. One study found that a whopping 41% of students allocated to the meditation group improved in both Math and English scores. 1

The reason I contacted Jason was because my own teacher in eighth grade had planted a seed in my mind about the benefits of meditation that I returned to years later. Last January, I joined over 6 million people who have learned Transcendental Meditation. Transcendental meditation is one of three types of meditation techniques, all differing with regard to the sensory and cognitive processes they require, their neurophysiological effects, and their behavioral outcomes. 2 Rather than just focusing on breathing and chanting, like a normal meditation, TM encourages a restful state of mind beyond thinking – a state of pure consciousness. Hundreds of scientific studies conducted at more than 200 universities and research institutions over the past 40 years discovered the benefits of practicing TM, including reduced cortisol (the “stress hormone”), normalized blood pressure, reduced insomnia, lowered risk of heart attack and stroke, reduced anxiety and depression, improved brain function and memory, and greater inner calm throughout the day. 1 Meditating students also “have significantly higher scores on affectivity, self-esteem and emotional competence.” With some extra time on my hands before I went abroad, I attended a week long clinic to try out this practice for myself.

Confession: since that clinic ended, wwwI have not practiced TM once. I am glad I contacted Jason because he reminded me how fifteen minutes can transform one’s day. I told him one of the reasons I didn’t practice was because I could never calm my mind and get thoughts of out my head. He told me, “The only way to not be good at meditation is to not do it. Our minds can be chaotic messes but we just don’t let that chaos determine how we are going to act.”

This week I am taking the challenge to practice TM twice a day every day for one week. I am also having my dad and others participate to get more feedback and learn about their own experiences. If anyone wants to contact me and join in, my email is Stayed tuned for my next article in which I will provide feedback.


  1. “Transcendental Meditation®.” Benefits of Meditation. Maharishi Foundation USA,, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
  2. Orme-Johnson, David W. “Comparison of Techniques.” Truth about TM. David Orme Johnson, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
  3. “Transcendental Meditation®.” Benefits of Meditation. Maharishi Foundation USA,, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

The Magic of Autumn: Embrace the Ephemeral Beauty of the Season

“Twilights are long, but darkness comes suddenly; the sky turns from dull orange to blue-black before one can take five steps, and with the light goes the last ray of the day’s heat,” Harper Lee’s shimmering description captures autumn, Scout’s happiest season, beautifully. Autumn, to me, has a certain magic. Maybe because it is so fleeting. Maybe because it seems forgotten – lost between summer and winter. Or maybe because it is mother nature’s best kept secret. We all can see the blazing orange and splendid red of leaves, breathe the cool brisk air, and feel the warm light, but only the wise treasure it and are enchanted by the beauty. They are the lucky ones who capture and embrace the mirthful, youthful spirit fall bestows. Like a passionate and ephemeral romance, fall leaves us with memories we long to go back to.

Magnificent landscape photograph captured by my friend Julia Pilzer
Magnificent landscape photograph captured by my friend Julia Pilzer

With the flurry of foliage in this Pennsylvania valley, Lewisburg offers the quintessential autumn experience. We are fortunate enough to go to school or live in such a beautiful area with fall activities everywhere. Carve out time to enjoy a hayride to the pumpkin patch, navigate through a corn maze at Ard’s farm, go apple picking, and, most importantly, bite into those cider doughnuts that taste like childhood. Because, “Oh, let [us] never grow too old to be bewitched by autumn’s gold.” 


Here are some places that offer autumnal activities right by us:

Ard’s Farm:
Heading to the pumpkin patch
Heading to the pumpkin patch

A simple drive from campus, Ard’s Farm has hayrides to the pumpkin patch, corn mazes, a farm full of furry friends, and more.

Hayrides to the Pumpkin Patch: run every Saturday and Sunday from now until October 31st from noon until 4pm. (Must be in line by 3:30.)  Rides are $5.00 per person and includes the pumpkin. Pumpkins are also available for purchase at the market everyday.

Corn Mapumpkinze: Closes November 1st. Open Friday’s from 5-9 PM, Saturday’s from 12-9, and Sunday’s from 12-6.

Location: Ard’s Farm Market, 4803 Old Turnpike Road, Lewisburg, PA 17837 (9 minute drive from campus)

Dries Orchards:

applessKnown for quality and freshness of their fruit, Dries 200-acre orchard yields apples, pears, peaches, grapes, nectarines, cherries and raspberries. After picking and creating a fruit basket of pure ambrosia, be sure  to try their freshly pressed, delicious apple cider and the apple cranberry cider. The cool crisp taste of the apple cider can be enjoyed all year round.
Location: Dries Orchards, 506 West Mountain Road, Paxinos, PA 17860 (27 minutes away)


K Schlegel Fruit Farm:

peachThe 25 of the 75 acre farm “boasts about twenty-five acres in apple production (well over twenty-five varieties) in addition to several acres in peach, sweet cherry, apricot, pluot, aprium (a plum and apricot cross) production.” Besides from variety, the farmers are also committed to growing fruit ecologically, calling themselves “certified IPM, Eco-apple Growers.” Karl and Betsy Schlegel explain, “We live on this farm.  We want to be as safe and responsible as we can. That’s why we work with scientists to reduce our pesticide use as much as possible and still grow top quality fruit.” According to their website, Karl and Betsy have proof of their philosophy. “In 2008, the Schlegels decided to augment their insect monitoring efforts by using mating disruption to control insects on the entire orchard. In one year they were able to reduce their pesticide application by 80 percent.” Basically, hardly any pesticides can be found on the farm and no pesticides can be found on this sustainable farm’s delicious and quality fruit. Additionally, the owners also actually teach you how to pick apples so you don’t damage the trees.

Location: K Schlegel Fruit Farm, 1426 Pennsylvania 147, Dalmatia, PA 17017 (38 minutes away).


imgp2508This twenty-acre property, owned by Professor David Krisjansen-Gural, includes vegetable and perennial gardens, two ponds, and a beautiful, restored farm house and a whimsical historic barn. The huge area right in Lewisburg also has many trails great for walking, running, cross country skiing, or snowshoeing. 

*Note: Must be a member to go

Location: 2099 Beaver Run Road Lewisburg, PA 17837 (Less than 15 minutes from campus)

Some other ideas:
  1. Join an intramural team that plays outside or go as a spectator. This is sure to bring back memories of autumn nights playing soccer or tennis under the lights.
  2. Golf on Bucknell’s beautiful golf course.
  3. Hike (See previous article for locations).


drinkPumpkin propositions: (click for link)
  1. Carve a pumpkin – click here for inspiring ideas
  2. Make a pumpkin cocktail 😉
  3. Roast pumpkin seeds
  4. Make pumpkin piecandle
  5. Whip up pumpkin puree or pumpkin butter
  6. Exfoliate or moisturize with pumpkin body butter… ? Let me know how that goes
  7. Decorate with floating pumpkin candles, a pumpkin serving platter, or look here for 12 other ways to decorate.pancakes
  8. Create a pumpkin air freshener
  9. Feed the earth! 
  10. Or check out Cooking Light’s variety of pumpkin recipes


Apple ideas:

  1. Scour Cooking Light’s 30 apple recipes apple
  2. Like this recipe: Brie, Apple, and Arugula Quesadillas
  3. Or this: Fresh Onion and Apple Soup
  4. Or this: Rhubarb Apple Pie
  5. Refresh your face (apple’s pectin is a natural boon to the beauty routine)face
  6. Make tea light holders 
  7. Stir up an apple cocktail
  8. Create an apple center piece
  9. Make apple spice potpourri 
  10. Or just bite right into it!





Stop the Silence: The Solidarity March and the Spotlight on Human Rights

Tuesday evening, hundreds of students silently marched from Bucknell University’s Academic Quad to Hufnagle Park in honor of the many victims silenced by hate, discrimination, and oppression. Once in the park, the silence was broken by students’ performances, reflecting how this silence must end. Many students of all different cultures, social classes, ethnicities, religions, gender identities, and more, came to support the cause. As the introductory speaker Cindy Pelletier, pointed out, despite all of us looking different, look at the blood that runs through our veins – “our hearts, our bodies, all of us feel pain.” At a time when the mass shooting at Oregon College is on our minds, now more than ever, we must get rid of hate and crime. Solidarity means strength. And there are strength in numbers.

Last year, three Bucknell students were expelled for making racist comments and slurs during a campus radio broadcast. Outraged, 1,700 Bucknell students gathered together after the scandal to promote justice and equality, showing signs of hope for change. Despite this, there are still subtle problems on campus, whether it relates to race, gender, mental illnesses, or any type of “differences,” harming college students everyday. These however aren’t as easy to change. The various poems, songs, and interpretive dances at this fall solidarity march conveyed the ways in which students on campus are still silenced by their differences.

“I know in my heart what’s true/ that someone else can change Bucknell/ but I dare you to.” This line in Amarachi Ekekwe’s poem captured the overarching theme of the eight performances at this fall solidarity march. The following interpretive dance of the student group, Extreme Creativity, translated human emotions of abuse and hate, as well as acceptance and love, into dramatic expressions with thought-provoking responses.

Ella Johnson and Danielle Taylor also expressed their own struggles on campus through their passionate reading of the poem “We Be Two Little Black Girls.” The powerful delivery, strong voice and rhythm, and spot-on unity captured the audience’s full attention. Ella also individually performed her own poem about her womanhood, moving the audience through various moods, and creating feelings in the richness of her words. She says, “I am that girl who is so sweet you might just get diabetes,” but “I am also that girl who used to think women were the most powerful until I learned that they can hurt.” Her anaphora adds a powerful poetic element that further emphasizes her lack of control over her own image.

Student Mary Oloukun also sang about these problems of abuse and marginalization. In her soulful, deep voice, she sang John Legend’s “If You’re Out There.” “If you hear this message, wherever you stand/ I’m calling every woman, calling every man/ We’re the generation. We can’t afford to wait/ The future started yesterday and we’re already late.” The message, along with her beautiful vocal chords, resonated in the crowd, making us aware that “tomorrow” must start today.

Following the performances, six student-run clubs came up on stage to remind and/or enlighten the audience about their purposes on campus and in the greater community. Black Student Union’s member Kwaku read a poem about his struggle as an African-American student, stating how his dad told him he has no “business in studying business because melanin doesn’t go well with millions.” Active Mind’s member Steph talked about the stigma around mental illnesses. She told us a frightening statistic that 19% of Bucknell students seek help at the counselling center – 7% higher than the national average. Of that 19%, 6.7% have had suicide thoughts or feelings (keep in mind these are just the students that seek help).

Then Provost of Diversity Bridget Newell spoke for Bucknell’s chapter of Athena, an organization that seeks to support, develop and honor women leaders. She spoke of eight attributes that reflect women’s contribution to leadership: authentic self, relationships, giving, collaboration, courageous acts, learning, fierce advocacy, and celebration and joy. She asked us, both males and females, to examine the meaning of these attributes and ask how we can apply them in our own lives. How can we undertake courageous acts to change campus? How will we become fierce advocates to position change for Bucknell, Lewisburg, and beyond?

LGBQIA+ also asked us to bring about awareness of certain problems. The two spokespeople, both in “celebrate different” t-shirts, gave a brief history of the LGBT history, beginning with the Stonewall Riots, and then educated us on the different symbols for gender, such as the pansexual and asexual flags. Then the students for Free Tibet explained Tibet’s history, focusing on China’s harsh restrictions on Tibetan human rights and how that caused 143 Tibetans to self immolate, including a young 15 year old. We held a short candlelight vigil and moment of silence to commemorate these martyrs and activists.

Lastly, international student and Ubunto spokesperson Leo, from Cameroon, Africa, concluded with a personal story. One night, a few years ago, Leo’s father was found bleeding in the street. He had been mugged by a teenager. Leo’s father, instead of charging the teenager for assault, invited him on a walk. Leo’s father chatted to the teenager about the danger in their community and how this boy is now contributing to the unsafe environment that people they both know and love live in. When Leo questioned his father’s actions, his father replied, “Son, people are haunted by their bad deeds because they haven’t been in contact with their inner beauty.” Now, the teenager, who is now an adult, is an advocate for community safety.

Leo’s father, as well as all the speakers and performers, show that every action we take not only affects our own future but others’ futures as well. This march brings to light issues on campus that must change. By rising to the challenge and making a difference, however big or small, we not only better our personal growth but someone else’s too. We have the power to transform our campus. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Happiness, however, is a sweet result. 

First year Beck Ho-en holding a sign that says "There is only one race, the human race."
First year Beck Ho-On holding a sign that says “There is only one race, the human race.”











FullSizeRender (14)
Students participating in the Solidarity March


Mary Oloukun sings with guitarist Jonathon Leung
Students, faculty, and professors gather at Hufnagle park

Breaking Bread Together: The Importance of Traditional Dining in a College Setting

Breaking bread together is one of the most ancient forms of developing and fostering relationships. We like food, we need food, and we have a socially profound urge to share food. Throughout history, we have come together to satisfy our daily hunger cravings by pumping fuel into our body. Eating fulfills our most basic physiological needs and, as a group event, the act of eating in a traditional dining setting also satisfies our entire hierarchy of needs from safety to love, esteem, and self-actualization. Consequently, when we don’t eat together, we can suffer academically, psychologically, and physically.

Research shows that dining together enhances students’ academic performance. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University “found a striking relationship between frequency of family meals and grades. In 2003, the percent of teens who got A’s was 20% of those who ate with their families 5 or more times per week compared to only 12% of those who ate with their families 2 or less times per week.” 1 Although this study refers to family meals, college students are able to replicate this when dining with close friends because intimate meals allow us to be emotionally content and have positive peer relationships. This enhancement of our social and emotional well being carries into our cognitive abilities, resulting in heightened academic performance. Additionally, what seems like a mental break from the day is actually a relaxing way of expanding our knowledge as we constantly learn from our discussions and expand our perspectives. In Alice Julier’s book Eating Together, Julier “argues that dining together can radically shift people’s perspectives: It reduces people’s perceptions of inequality, and diners tend to view those of different races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds as more equal than they would in other social scenarios.” 2 Communication, especially in the welcoming environment of a dining area, is the key to understanding others as well as ourselves.

We cannot reap these cognitive benefits with the wrong dining environment. A healthy dining experience facilitates conversations that provide us the opportunity to bond, connect, and share with each other, creating a unifying feeling of warmth and amiability. That means no phones and other forms of technology. Without distractions, we are bound to have spontaneous and unpredictable conversations, allowing us to discover more about each other, whether it is an event from that day or a story from our childhood. When we appreciate the good food and even better company, dining can bring simple joy to our day. 

To enhance your dining experience, try actually cooking the meal. Although, we can bond in the Bison or the Commons, making food with our friends (or family) gives a lasting meaning to tradition and our cultural heritage. When we cook together, we have more time to connect, interact, while contributing to the gradual emergence of a great meal. It invites us to learn more about each other’s backgrounds – perhaps the oregano sprinkled on top was advice given by an Italian grandparent. Additionally, if you cook with just one other person, there is “ truth to the idea that if you cook it well, they will come,” according to Janet Peterson, author of the book, Remedies for the ‘I Don’t Cook Syndrome.’ 3 Even those friends who are busy still have to eat.

Besides our inner state of being, our physical bodies also improve when we dine in a group setting. Since it takes the brain 15 or 20 minutes for us to recognize when our stomachs are full, people who eat fast are more likely to overindulge. In fact, a study from the University of Rhode Island “found that those who ate slowly ate 1/3 less than those who ate fast. 4 While conversing with friends, we slow down our eating by talking, granting us more time to recognize when we are satiated. Additionally, eating on the go leads to overindulgence. This could be attributed to thinking we are exercising and rewarding ourselves or it could be to mindlessness. We are focusing on our destination and not our food. As a caveat, however, it can be easy to binge in social settings, even with one or two other people. Don’t let your companions’ habits affect how much food you consume. Stay mindful to your own food intake so you can continue to eat socially without the guilt of overeating.

We can’t let the traditional family meal end in college just because we don’t have our mothers calling out to us that our food is getting cold. In college, intimate meals and a healthy dining environment are just as important as they were in our child and teenage years. In the words of sagacious Virginia Woolf, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”




  1. “Family Meals.” Springer Reference (2011): n. pag. Purdue University. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
  2. Delistraty, Cody C. “The Importance of Eating Together.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 18 July 2014. Web. 05 Oct. 2015.
  3. Campbell, Carolynn. “Bond with Your Family: Eat Together.” Power to Change Bond with Your Family Eat Together Comments. Power to Change, 27 May 2013. Web. 05 Oct. 2015.
  4. Cohen, Jennifer. “9 Bad Habits That Make You Fat.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 24 Apr. 2012. Web. 05 Oct. 2015.

Reduce Your Stress and Read a Book

Literature invites us into a coffe and book
fictional world that can be a wonderful escape from our daily tasks and stressors. When we read, we create a beautiful stillness between us and words on the page. As much as we college students don’t want to read for our leisurely activity when we have so much required reading, it is a proven fact that reading is the best and fastest way to calm nerves. Picking up a book for pleasure, even for just six minutes, can be enough to reduce our stress levels by more than two thirds. 1

Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis found that reading reduces stress levels by 68 percent, as compared to listening to music which reduces levels by 61 percent, having a cup of tea or coffee, which lowers stressors by 54 percent or taking a walk, which lowers stressors by 42 percent. 1 Psychologists “believe this is because the human mind has to concentrate on reading and the distraction of being taken into a literary world eases the tensions in muscles and the heart.” When we find the time to relax during college, what matters is how we define our priorities rather than our capabilities. We could either flip on the television or reach for a book, but if we are searching for the key to ultimate relaxation, studies suggest the ladder. 

From my own personal experience, I have found the correlation between reading and relaxation to be true. Three years after spending far too long trying to fall asleep, in my senior year, I discovered that reading before bed, something I had done before college, is my antidote. A mere fifteen minutes of reading is all I need to feel the soporific, ataractic effects.

If you don’t see yourself seeking the company of a friendly book, but you want to set aside the worries of life for a little, you could be read to. This sounds childish and odd and I am not suggesting you ask your R.A. to read to you after a stressful day… but there are other alternatives. Bucknell offers many poetry and fiction readings throughout the semester. Last night, I attended Bucknell’s Stadler Center for Poetry to hear an exceptional fiction writer and poet, Mark Brazaitis, read aloud his award-winning prose. His enrapturing imagery, impactful anaphora, and enchanting metaphors allowed the audience to easily enter into his character’s world and forget about our own. And, by stimulating our senses, he adds to the creation of our alternative existence. For example, he spoke of how the “night radiates with brilliant indifference,” with the “the moon blazing above,” and how the fur was “like the leather of her father’s jacket.” I never have felt so relaxed in those uncomfortable wooden pews.

I believe that this is the time that we, as 18-22 year olds, need literature the most. Unfortunately, this is also the age that we highly neglect leisurely reading due to our other habits of relaxation and our hesitation to read for pleasure instead of for work. Yes, reading helps us relax and unwind but the benefits extend far beyond this. Literature expands our world view and perspectives and allows us to reach a deeper understanding of ourselves, helping us grow morally and ethically. However, that is a whole different topic, so for now, reap the benefits of reading as you lose yourself in the dusty pages of a long, lost friend.


Next readings at Bucknell (located at Stadler Center for Poetry, also known as Bucknell Hall):

October 6, 7 PM-8 PM: Harold Schweizer and G.C. Waldrep Poetry Reading

October 26,7 PM-8 PM: Paula Closson Buck Fiction Reading


  1.  “Reading ‘can Help Reduce Stress'” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 30 Mar. 2009. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
  2.  “Reading ‘can Help Reduce Stress'” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 30 Mar. 2009. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

From Farm to Table: Support Lewisburg’s Farmers Markets

With fall comes a flood of seasonal farm-fresh produce. The aromatic smells, blazing colors, and energetic atmosphere of farmers markets draws in locals, making the process of buying food an experience rather than a nettlesome task. Although the convenient Weis and Giant nearby carries all the items we could ever need, the chain stores somehow don’t create a feeling of abundance or sense of inspiration like a market does. The plethora of ripe tomatoes settled next to the basil, with wafts of sausage coming from the nearby vendor, calls for a recipe to be made. The fruit section especially, with the pink apples, purple eggplants, white raspberries, fuses into an immaculate color scheme that keeps us reaching for more. Every week, the new set up and produce stimulates our sight and scent differently to inspire a new dish.

The authentic beauty of the bounty reflects the power of nature and a hard day’s work. This old fashioned feel of farming and harvesting is hard to find elsewhere. At farmers markets, people connect with their community. Parents chat over fresh brewed coffee as their children diligently pick out the “best” pumpkin, butchers suggest new cuts of meat to their loyal customers, and bakers entice teenagers with their samples. The market itself is a celebration of life. So, support your local and/or college community and check out these nearby markets!


  1. The Lewisburg Farmer’s Marketfarmers-market-photo1

600 Fairground Road, Lewisburg, PA 17837

Every Wednesday 8-7 PM 

The half indoor, half outdoor, Lewisburg Farmer’s Market has a plethora of meats, cheeses, vegetables and fruit, organics at the peak of their flavor and nutritional content. There’s a wonderful vitality in the food and atmosphere here. Due to the sheer size, you could spend hours here talking to the passionate and knowledgeable farmers and butchers. If you are going to make it to any farmers market in the area, I highly recommend this one. 






2. Susquehanna Valley Growers’ MarketIMG_1281

Brook Park Farms, Lewisburg, PA 17837

Every Friday 2-6 PM

This quaint farmer’s market has about ten to fifteen booths specializing in local products and all IMG_1283things for your picnicking needs. Features include fresh cheeses, apples, vegetables, homemade BBQ sauce, and meats.

For more info, click here.


3. Ard’s Farmers Market

20080707-marketscenela-corn4803 Old Turnpike Road, Lewisburg, PA 17837

Hours: Monday- Thursday 7 AM-8 PM, Friday and Saturday 7 AM-9 PM, Sunday 8 AM-8 PM.

Ard’s Farm is a great union-pumpkinsplace to buy fresh local produce as well as Ard’s own cheeses and other locally made products. Vendors include the family-run Shaffer Farms that specializes in growing hormone and antibiotic-free beef; a local woman’s company, In a Jam, that produces delicious homemade jams, jellies, and pickles; and the Rip Rap Bakery that uses locally grown organic wheat to bake sourdough, focaccia, and more. During the harvest season, take a hayride down to the pumpkin patch to pick out the freshest pumpkins and squashes. And with the Holiday Season coming up, Ard’s displays local wreaths, tress, roping, and greens – all the essentials you need to decorate. Ard’s also has a restaurant, farm, corn maze, and gift shop.

For more info, click here


4. Route 15 Flea And Farmers Marketberries

150 Silver Moon Lane Lewisburg PA 17837

Every Sunday 8-4 PM 

This indoor and outdoor market has over 125 vendor spaces, offering fresh produce, baked goods, candies, and also flea market items such as candles, books, and all types of collectables. The outdoor market is where the best fruits and vegetables reside with fresh melons, peaches, apples, carrots, asparagus, and more. Be sure to check out the Antique Mall at the back of the market that has an array of antique furniture and vintage clothing. This mall is open every day but Tuesdays, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

For more info, click here.


5. Dries Orchards Roadside Produce Stand

Rt. 405 across from the Fence Farmer's Market: Buckets of Apples at Market

Restaurant, Milton, PA 17847

Monday – Friday: 9 AM – 6 PM, Saturday: 9 AM – 5 PM

(Seasonal: May – October)

Located on a country road, this is the quintessential and iconic farmers stand. Pick up tasty tomatoes, sweet corn, crisp apples and even fresh-cut flowers that were just gathered just off the tree, vine or bush that morning.

For more info, click here.


If you are interested in exploring farmers markets outside Lewisburg, here is a guide to Pennsylvania’s farm market and stands: PaPreferred.



Happy hunting,


Get Out and Hike – Great Adventures Await in Lewisburg’s Backyard

  1. Falls Trail

Falls Trail is 3.2 miles of mountainous terrain within Ricketts Glen State Park’s verdant wilderness. falls5Along the climb, catch sight of 18 of the 22 cascading waterfalls, including the breathtaking 94-foot Ganoga Falls. Or, if you are feeling up for it, hike the full 7.2 mile loop that includes both the upper and lower sections. Hikers on this trail should be physically fit, experienced, and wearing appropriate clothing.

Besides hiking, the 13,050-acre park offers an array of activities such as fishing, biking, horseback riding, picnicking, and the winter activities of cross country skiing and snowmobiling. You can spend all day here, or, if you want, pitch a tent and stay all weekend!

Click here for more information.

Trail Difficulty rating: 3.2 mile loop- moderate/ 7.2 mile loop- difficult

Note: The Falls Trail is closed in the winter except for properly equipped ice climbers and hikers.

Location: Ricketts Glen State Park, 695 State Route 487, Benton, PA 17814. 1 hour and ten minute drive.


2. The Mid State Trail

The Bald Eagle State Forest, named after the famous Native American, Chief Bald Eagle, is 193,424 acres and offers over 200 miles of hiking trails and an array of other outdoor activities. baldeagleThe best known trail of Bald Eagle State Forest, The Mid State Trail, grants hikers a breathtaking vista of the Bald Eagle and Rothrock State Forest, across the Lauren Run reservoir, and into the valley beyond. Be sure to wear hiking boots on this difficult trail because parts of the trail consist of hopping from rock to rock. baldeagle2

Click here for more information.

Trail difficulty rating: Moderate/Difficult

Location: Bald Eagle State Forest, T420, Bellefonte, PA 16823. 1 hour and ten minutes away.

3. Flat Rock Trail

Flat Rock Trail located in Colonel Denning State Park was highly recommended to me by a Bucknell alumn, as well as avid hiker, Doug Bogan. “The views from the overlook are amazing. You can see for maybe 30-50 miles on a clear day!” he says. The stunning vista of the verdant Cumberland Valley and beyond is one of the many rewards of the 5.1 mile hike.

Click here for a detailed guide for the hike.

Friend Colleen taking in the beautiful view.
Friend Colleen taking in the beautiful view.

Trail difficulty rating: Moderate

Also be sure to check out the other activities the State Park offers here.

Location: Colonel Denning State Park, Newville PA. Click here for detailed instructions. 1.5 hours away.

4. Canyon Vista Trail

The Canyon Vista Trail in Worlds End State Park is a 4 mile loop that challenges hikers with rocky, steep sections leading to a stunning view of the Loyalsock Creek Gorge. The Penn Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website suggests for hikers to “explore the blocky maze of the Rock Garden adjacent to the vista. A second rock labyrinth is found in the easternmost section of the trail where it runs parallel to Cold Run Road.” And, on the descent, if you are feeling aggressive, try trailblazing straight down to the river approximately 600-800 feet below instead of using the switchbacks.

Click here for more info of the Hiking Trails at Worlds End State Park. canyon2

Trail difficulty rating: Moderate/difficult

Location: 82 Cabin Bridge Rd, Forksville, PA 18616. 1 hour and ten minutes. 


5. West Rim Trail

Deemed the “Best Hike in Pennsylvania” by Outside Magazine, the West Rim Trail treats hikers to  several vistas that overlook grand1Tioga State Forest and beyond. The 30 mile West Rim Trail is just one of the many trails located in Pine Creek Gorge, commonly called the PA Grand Canyon. Don’t worry though – you do not have to commit to the full 30 miles. There are many trails that feed into the West Rim Trail so hikers can explore just a few miles. If you want to commit to the full 30 miles however, 2.5 days is recommended. October is the best time to hike due to the spectacular foliage.

Trail difficulty rating: Moderate

Click here for more information about the West Rim Trail and the other hikes and activities of Pine Creek Gorge.

Location: The trail’s northern terminus is on State Forest land approximately one mile south of U.S. Route 6 on the Colton Road near the village of Ansonia (1 hour and 45 minutes). The southern terminus is on Pennsylvania Route 414 two miles south of Blackwell (1.5 hours).

6. The Pinnacle overlook
Friend and hiking enthusiast Bogan absorbing the beautiful scenery.

Share your birds eye view of Lehigh Valley with the many hawks soaring at the peak of the Pinnacle Trail. According to Hike America, “Many Appalachian Trail thru-hikers claim the views at the Pinnacle are the best views on the Pennsylvania stretch of the Appalachian Trail.” 1  Another striking feature of the trail besides the wildlife and view is the huge boulder formation culmination at the top. Bogan says,  “The boulder formation has a cavity through the entire thing, so you will usually find people climbing the inside of the formation.”

Trail difficulty rating: Easy/moderate

Click here to learn more about the trail.

Location: The Pinnacle Overlook, Holtwood, PA 17532. 2 hours and 20 minutes


If you are looking for a different outdoor activity other than hiking, swing off a 15 foot platform into a refreshing river running through a verdant forest of Evergreens. Or, jump off one of the three platforms, with the tallest measuring about 35 feet above the IMG_1169water. This simple trip to this rope swing was one of the best afternoons I have had at Bucknell.

Location: 524 Pardee Road, Hartley, PA 17845. The GPS will say you have arrived but you need to continue down the street a little more and veer right where there will be a fence and a little path. Park there, walk down the path about 400 feet and the rope swing will be on your left. 35 minute drive.

If you are looking for a quick getaway:

1. Buffalo Valley Rail Trail
FullSizeRender (10)
My favorite running path near campus.

The Buffalo Valley Rail Trail is a 9.2 mile path that stretches between
Lewisburg and Mifflinburg, PA. The flat and open trail right off campus provides views of pastures, fields, farmhouses, the occasional horse and buggy, and lots and lots of corn. Completed just two years ago, the path of asphalt and gravel is great for a bike ride or long run. It runs parallel to Route 45, so at about mile 4 you can traverse off the path to go to FullSizeRender (11)Ard’s Farm.

To learn more about BVRT, click here.

Location: <1 mile away from campus. Go west on 45, turn right on 13th street to find parking and the start of the trail.


2. Turtle Creek Dog ParkIMG_1083

Explore Turtle Creek Dog Park, an entanglement of nature paths that lead to a serene little creek with a Monet-like bridge and picnic table. The fenced in area is a great place to bring your dog, if you are lucky enough to have one, play and run off-leash.

Location: Supplee Mill Rd and Furnace Rd, Lewisburg, PA. 5 minute drive from campus. 

Friend Kate’s dog Clyde enjoying his time off the leash.
Clyde makes a friend!








Sometimes, it may seem like a hassle to schedule one of these outdoor activities into our busy weekends, but the reward is far greater than one would think. Trying something different is when we make the best memories. To quote my favorite Romantic poet, William Blake, “Great things happen when men and mountains meet.”

  1. “Appalachian Trail: The Pinnacle.” Demand Media, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.