By Lauren Buckley
University students and local families put on their sweatbands and running shorts and gathered in Gerhard Fieldhouse on Sunday morning to walk, run and Zumba up a sweat to raise money for the Lewisburg Pool Pass Project. Over 150 people attended and raised a grand total of $2,000. The event itself raised enough money for 10 families to have subsidized passes, but with the existing funds that the project already had, they will be able to provide 20 passes for this summer.
Students in Educ 318 (Multiculturalism and Education), with the guidance of Sue Ellen Henry, associate professor of education, created the Lewisburg Pool Pass Project in conjunction with the Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority (LARA). The 5K Fun Run and Zumbathon was coordinated entirely by these students as well as members of the Panhellenic Council.
“I appreciate this event because it demonstrates my values of living in a community that helps children play safely with their families. Our fund is sensitive to the fact that not all families have access to the same financial resources; some families have to make difficult decisions around money. I’m proud that for three years, students at Bucknell have supported local families of low income to not have to make these trying decisions,” Henry said.
This initiative commemorates the lives of 11-year-old Assunda Rotolo of Lewisburg and her cousin, eight-year-old Les Davis Jr. of Mifflinburg, who drowned in the Susquehanna River, which they were swimming in because they could not afford pool passes.
“When I think about the fact that right here in Lewisburg two kids drowned because they couldn’t afford pool passes, it makes me furious and want to do better. It’s a good reality check for Bucknell students. We get to live a pretty privileged lifestyle away from home, while some townspeople down the block do not,” said Ashley O’Connor ’13, an Education 318 student.
Combined with existing funds and the money raised from the 5K Fun Run and Zumbathon event, the Pool Pass Project will be able to provide 20 pool passes to families this summer. In its first summer, the initiative was able to provide pool passes and swimming lessons for five families, and in its second year, 16 families benefited from the money raised by the Pool Pass Project. This goes to show that the project has expanded and is still growing.
“I’d like to formally thank the businesses that supported our project, Facilities staff, LA Posse 2 and members of the proposed new sorority Mu Sigma Upsilon for volunteering the day of our event. I look forward to working with Panhellenic Council next year, when they take over this philanthropy project,” Henry said.