Friday, November 8, 2019

Together as one BU Family


At noontime on Wednesday on our Quad, a student demonstration took place in response to a disturbing video that surfaced on social media this past weekend. In the 30-second video, a BU student was recorded while using a racial slur a few times.

As an immigrant who has been subjected to racist language during my own lifetime, I was appalled by the disturbing language in this video and felt compelled to share a message with the BU Family. Part of my message: “As a safe, inclusive and diverse campus community, we promote and value the human dignity of all each and every day. The actions and language in the student’s video do not represent Bloomsburg University and do not reflect our values.”

My sincere congratulations to our student leaders, who on Wednesday put together an impressive campus event that was well organized, collaborative, positive, and peaceful. Along with many of my colleagues, I joined our students and marched with them. As I said to the students at the event’s conclusion in front of Carver Hall, I am proud of all of them for having the courage to speak their minds, and for keeping the event peaceful. Our collective voice joined together in a unified way, is far more powerful and will accomplish so much more.

It is my pledge to our students to continue to work with them, to join our hearts, hands, and voices for the benefit of all our students – those who have expressed their concerns and those who have not. Together as one BU Family, we will make Bloomsburg University the model institution of which we can all be proud.

    Bashar W. Hanna
    President


Friday, September 27, 2019

A Busy Start to the Fall

It’s been a busy start to the fall semester here “on the hill” in Bloomsburg.  The leaves are beginning to change on campus, the temperature is perfect under beautifully sunny skies, and Homecoming and Parents & Family Weekends are quickly approaching.

If you haven't seen our brand video, please take a minute to watch it here. You'll be inspired by the powerful message that tells the story of BU. Also, soon we'll have new banners popping up all over campus, billboards will be going up in selected markets, and our new admissions materials will be in the hands of our potential incoming students. You’ll also see many of our students on campus wearing t-shirts with the Your Onward is Upward message. We’ll have more to giveaway as the semester rolls along.


Earlier this month, we unveiled our new SEKISUI Professional Experience Lab (PEL) at the Greenly Center on Main Street.  I urge you to visit the Greenly Center and the PEL on the third floor.  Ronn Cort, President and COO of SEKISUI SPI, summed up the September 5th dedication event perfectly by saying the following: “If you consider BU a thread, SEKISUI a thread and the town a thread, when you wind them together, the thread is stronger together than separately. We want to see our workers who graduate from BU stay in the area and strengthen all of us.”  We are fortunate to be working with forward-thinking employer-partners like SEKISUI SPI who share our same commitment to our students and their success. Please click here to see a short video of the SEKISUI Professional Experience Lab dedication event.

This month we also received notice of being ranked among the top colleges and universities by Forbes, Money, Inc. and U.S. News & World Report.  These rankings are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff.  The credit goes to them, and most importantly, to our high-achieving students who are determined to achieve even more.

Speaking of our students, I’d like to close this blog post by recognizing all our students and student organizations that coordinated our annual 9/11 tribute on the Quad this month.  What a powerful tribute this was, especially when one considers that many of our students are too young to remember the tragic events in 2001.  For this reason, it is ever important to honor the memory of those we lost.  THANK YOU to our students on a job very well done!

GO HUSKIES!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Welcome to the Class of 2023!

Nothing excites those of us in higher education more than the arrival of first-year students to campus during the summer months. For four days in June and another three in July, Bloomsburg University’s Class of 2023 spent time on campus for our summer orientation sessions.

These sessions provided our students a critical opportunity to take those first steps from their high school days to their college years. Our colleagues in student affairs work hard throughout the year to prepare for these sessions and ensure that they are both informative and fun — a big thank you to our staff members and all student volunteers for their efforts on behalf of the incoming class.

To the Class of 2023, welcome to BU! We look forward to great things from you, and I know you are ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead. With grit and determination, you will show those who may have doubted you in the past to watch what you can accomplish at BU.

You’re ready to thrive and excel, and inspire those who follow in your path. I also encourage you to get involved with the many clubs and activities at BU. We offer countless opportunities for you to explore and develop as a person in and out of the classroom. Don’t sit back and be a follower — be a Husky and lead the pack!

To parents and guardians of the BU Class of 2023, you have done your part to prepare your child for the next four years. You have instilled in them the character and confidence to meet all challenges head-on. Watch what they can unleash in the years ahead.

Again, welcome to the Class of 2023 and Go Huskies!

    Bashar W. Hanna
    President


Friday, June 28, 2019

Celebrating Excellence

“Excellence means doing your very best. In everything. In every way.”

That’s a quote from Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion. It’s a quality and way of thinking we should all strive for each day.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of hosting the BU Employee of the Month honorees from the past year for a luncheon. This employee recognition program was instituted last year to recognize our colleagues who serve BU with exceptional service and distinction. The honorees represented all areas of campus, and I had the unenviable task of choosing one of them to be Employee of the Year.

As you can imagine, this was not an easy decision, but Susan Sarver from the Office of the Registrar rose to the top. Our inaugural Employee of the Year, Sue is a wonderful example of someone who goes above the call of duty in support of our students and their success. Sue is a role model and exemplar to all of us, and we are fortunate to call her a colleague.

My congratulations to Sue Sarver for this well-deserved honor, and my thanks to all our faculty and staff for all that they do for our students every day. To learn more about Sue and the other Employee of the Month recipients, please go here.

Go Huskies!
    Bashar


Friday, March 1, 2019

Love what you do

The late Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

The greatest joy I have had in my first 19 months here at Bloomsburg University is the opportunity to work with so many great people. With the tireless dedication of so many individuals, BU would not be the strong institution it is without our great faculty and staff.

We recently held our annual Faculty and Staff Appreciation ceremony to honor the nearly 180 employees who were celebrating a work anniversary from between five and forty years. The total combined years of service for all these employees added up to more than 1,900 years – an amazing total and a number of which we can be quite proud.

Many times in speaking with our faculty and staff I have heard, “My plan was to stay here a few years, and then move on. But that was over twenty years ago. I realized I loved it here and stayed.”

That sentiment speaks volumes about our campus community. I am grateful to all my colleagues – not only those who are celebrating work milestones, but also those who have joined us more recently – for the great work that they do every day, for loving what they do, and for contributing to the success of our students.

A big THANK YOU to all our faculty and staff, and GO HUSKIES!
    Bashar


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Walking the earth like brothers and sisters


“We’ve learned to fly the air like birds. We’ve learned to swim the seas like fish. And yet we haven’t learned to walk the earth like brothers and sisters.” (The words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

On Monday we honored the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s timeless messages of peace, love and harmony remain as purposeful today as they were over 50 years ago when his life was tragically cut short.  

While we do many things well at Bloomsburg University, we still have work to do in some areas.  One of those areas for improvement is serving our underrepresented population of students, faculty and staff. On that note, I have recently charged a small group of BU faculty and staff – a Presidential Commission on Diversity and Inclusion – with reviewing all of BU’s offices, departments, programs and initiatives and making recommendations that will ensure ours is a welcoming university that embraces diversity and inclusion in all aspects.

I am grateful to the members of this commission; their work begins this semester.  Over the next several months, you will hear more about them, their findings and recommendations.  Please support them, and the vital mission they will be undertaking. 

I ask you to join me in making BU a welcoming community for all so that we can “walk the earth like brothers and sisters.”

Thank you and GO HUSKIES!

Bashar W. Hanna
President

Friday, December 21, 2018

Greek Life Update

In response to disturbing allegations of hazing within our Greek community earlier this fall, the University immediately suspended all new membership education activities and commenced an external investigation. In its initial findings, our external investigator (Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP) has shared with us detailed, credible and corroborated information about additional incidents within our Greek community, all of which are deeply troubling. These recent incidents include allegations of assault, forced ingestion, and physical and mental abuse. Such incidents jeopardize the health and safety of our students, and there is absolutely no place for such misconduct within our campus community.

Our students’ safety remains our highest priority. We condemn these recent incidents because they collectively threaten the health and safety of our students. The severity of these allegations, though, compels us to consider not just the safety of our students, but also the ideals of basic human decency and the general respect for the safety and well-being of others. We will not tolerate such reckless behavior, and we must elevate the behavioral and cultural expectations of our students going forward.

To that end, upon reviewing the external investigator’s initial findings, the University has placed several Greek social organizations on interim suspension. For those organizations that are not suspended, the moratorium on new member education activities will be lifted effective the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester. I want to emphasize, however, that the investigation remains ongoing for all Greek social organizations. There remains the possibility of further sanctions for any Greek organization, pending additional findings through our Student Code of Conduct.

To strengthen the overall Greek life experience, and to change the culture to one where students respect and value one another’s health and well-being in accordance with the values espoused by such organizations, we will be implementing new requirements for all members of social fraternities and sororities beginning next semester, including mandatory educational sessions on a variety of topics. I have also asked the Division of Student Affairs to conduct a comprehensive review of the process that governs recognition for fraternities and sororities. This review will include (but not be limited to) structure, membership, risk management, community expectations, and recommendations for new procedures and process.

I remind everyone that if you suspect hazing in any form within any group, team or organization, please contact our Dean of Students Office, or call the Hazing Hotline at 866-755-4293. Our ability to intervene and stop hazing depends on all of us.

The health and well-being of our students will continue to be our highest priority, and I look forward to working with our Greek student leaders, chapter advisors, alumni leaders, and my colleagues in Student Affairs in ensuring this priority. Together, we will eradicate hazing and other misconduct on our campus, we will elevate the behavioral standards and expectations for all our students, and we will change a Greek culture that desperately needs it. As a community, we at Bloomsburg University can and will do better.

Bashar