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Bucknell November Tip Sheet

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The following are Bucknell University story ideas that may be of interest in November.

A SOLAR SOLUTION — Working on homework shouldn’t feel like a dangerous act. But when the sun sets on refugee camps in the Middle East’s Lebanon, nightly blackouts force families to make a difficult choice. In some families, students venture out into the dangerous streets to study under streetlights. In others, family members try to unlawfully patch their homes into the electric grid, risking death by electric shock. Shehryar Asif ’21, an electrical engineering major from Lahore, Pakistan, joined electrical & computer engineering professor Amal Kabalan, on a 10-day trip from Bucknell to Beirut to offer a solution to this problem in the form of solar backpacks. Each Solar Backpack, designed by Kabalan’s SolarBrite Solutions initiative, includes a detachable battery pack that can be charged by the sun as students walk to and from the refugee camp’s makeshift school. After dark, students can switch on the battery pack’s power-efficient LED bulb and use its built-in USB port to charge their devices. Asif spent his time in Beirut educating students how to use the backpacks as well as a larger lesson about protecting the planet through renewable energy. CONTACT: Kabalan, 570-577-1867,; Asif,

UNIVERSITY PRESS APPLAUSE — University Press Week is Nov. 3-9 and the Bucknell University Press (Bucknell UP) certainly has reason for recognition. Now under new Director Suzanne E. Guiod and housed in its new location in Hildreth-Mirza Hall, Bucknell UP just celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and has more than 1,200 titles in print, including approximately 25 new books each year. Bucknell is one of only three liberal arts undergraduate colleges in the nation (joining Amherst College and Wesleyan College) to have a university press. While it continues to concentrate on its mission to publish scholarly work in select subject areas, it occasionally reviews and considers some literary nonfiction. “We’re also interested in acquiring trade book projects of regional interest,” Guiod said. CONTACT: Guiod, 570-577-1552,

CHANGING DIVERSITY’S ECONOMIC EQUATION — Bucknell economics professor Nina Banks participated in the Oct. 29 panel discussion “Changing Thinking in Economics and Changing the Profile of Economists,” right beside Janet Yellen, former chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve (2014-18). In it, Banks encouraged economists to change their focus from diversity to inclusion. “When I talk about diversity, I talk about diversity of thought, but when I talk about inclusion, I talk about it in terms of those populations that have been excluded historically — and that’s a matter of justice, not a matter of diversity,” she said. When describing historically excluded groups, Banks also says they shouldn’t be framed as “women and minorities.” “The problem with that terminology is that it implies that women are white. And so I try to be very careful when I talk about the historically excluded groups to say ‘woman and men from underrepresented groups,’ or ‘women and men of color,’” she said. “I think we need to have more powerful language.” CONTACT: Banks, 570-577-1652,


CONTACT: Mike Ferlazzo, 570-577-3212, 570-238-6266 (c),

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