’burg and Beyond
In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknell’s students and staff make a positive and palpable difference.
Arsh Noor Amin conducts research at the Lewisburg Community Garden
Photo: Dustin Fenstermacher
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Arsh Noor Amin ’21 (left) conducts research at the Lewisburg Community Garden for a project suggested by Professor Philip Asare (right).

" "Lewisburg, Pa.
For the last two summers Arsh Noor Amin ’21 has been a familiar face at the Lewisburg Community Garden, not only volunteering to keep the weeds at bay but conducting a study to glean what volunteers gain from their garden experience.

What He Did
Tablet in hand, Noor Amin interviewed community volunteers, ages 18 to 70. He also encouraged them to tell their stories on the garden website’s blog. “You see that some find the garden’s tasks relaxing, and some find them very challenging,” he says.

Professor Philip Asare, electrical & computer engineering, proposed the project to Noor Amin in 2018, and a Library & Information Technology grant provided funding. “Digitally capturing daily activities and telling a story through media can help bring the garden to life in a different way,” Asare says.

What They Learned
That volunteers aren’t required to have vast horticulture knowledge — just a desire to contribute whatever their skills allow — is key to their positive experience, according to Asare and Noor Amin.

Noor Amin would like to see readers of the blog gain a greater understanding of the work involved in sustaining a community garden but also the positive spirit the experience engenders. He’s learned it firsthand, rolling up his sleeves as a volunteer for the garden that donates produce to local food-security programs. “It’s very rewarding to grow our own food and feed others who need it,” he says.
— Eric Butterman

" "Kanpetlet, Myanmar
Since the first Burmese student, Maung Shaw Loo, Class of 1864, came to Bucknell in 1858, the University has maintained ties to Myanmar, formerly Burma. The Burma-Bucknell Weekends, which brought diverse people to campus from 1948 to 1965, caught the eye of Janet Powers ’61. Four years of extensive campus involvement in the event inspired her lifelong interest in Burma.

Janet Powers
Photo: Khun Minn Ohn
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As a Bucknell undergraduate, Janet Powers ’61 gained a fascination with Burma (now Myanmar). Decades later, she made her way there as a volunteer.

What She Did
When the turbulent political situation of the 1960s prevented Powers from studying in Burma, she turned to Pakistan. Nearly a half-century later, she finally made it to Burma. For the last three years, Powers, professor emerita of interdisciplinary studies and women, gender and sexuality studies at Gettysburg College, has taught English to local teachers in Kanpetlet with the support of the Cetana Educational Foundation and Metta Partners. As fluency in English becomes increasingly important in the tourism industry, Powers says that access to English classes could provide jobs for her students’ own pupils. Powers kept her lessons interesting, using methods ranging from conducting practice conversations to learning the hokey pokey.

What She Saw
While in Kanpetlet, Powers witnessed changes in a mountainous region lacking many modern conveniences. During her second year of teaching, the town got its first cellphone tower, and 24-hour electricity arrived this year. Despite these radical changes, Powers says the people maintain the warmth and generosity that so touched her back in Lewisburg so many years ago.
— Julia Stevens ’20