One of the newest discussion forums on campus, the Bucknell Christian Association (BCA), strives to create an open forum for Christian students and faculty to express their opinions about faith as it applies to different areas of study. The BCA formed as a result of many riveting discussions regarding issues of science and faith.
“We had anecdotal experiences related to us from students about how students who are Christian at Bucknell did not always feel comfortable about expressing themselves or identifying themselves on campus because there was a sense that faculty would be critical of them,” Associate Professor of English Alfred Siewers said.
In an effort to make students feel at ease speaking about their religious preferences, student and faculty-based discussions became more frequent. The goal of the association is not to reproduce the other Christian and religious groups on campus. Rather, it is geared towards the idea of incorporating different Christian perspectives into areas of study, such as engineering, and how religion plays a role in these areas.
“We also made a conscious effort to include a very international sense of Christianity and Christian traditions,” Siewers said.
The association encompasses many different sects, such as conservative Anabaptism, Pentecostal Christianity and Eastern Orthodox.
The core group of faculty organizers, from many different departments, includes Siewers, Associate Professor of English G.C Waldrep, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Richard Crago, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Charles Kim, Associate Professor of Religion Paul Macdonald and Professor of Russian Slava Yastremski. There is a large emphasis on diversity within the association, in order to bring different perspectives and thoughts on a myriad of issues relating to religion.
The general attitude among the students is a positive one.
“I think it’s a good resource for students. It is also a good outlet for Christian students because it’s a nice way for them to connect to students and faculty with similar viewpoints,” Charlotte Kress ’15 said.
There are a large number of upcoming events, including, “Counter-culture Christianity: Am I allowed to think that … social justice and faith go together?” which will be held on Oct. 11. As one of the newer associations on campus, the primary goals of the organization are to raise awareness and create a safe space for students to share their opinions while hearing differing ones.