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Media Tip Sheet: Bucknell’s February Story Ideas

LEWISBURG, Pa. — These are Bucknell University story ideas that may interest you in February.

CAPTURING VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER DATA — Since 2000, the number of volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania has dropped from 60,000 to 38,000, the Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute reported. That’s about a tenth of the total the state had in the 1970s, when its firefighting ranks measured at 370,000, yet Pennsylvania leaders do not have a reliable listing of all volunteers. Last semester, students Alec Sanders ’25, computer science, and Donovan Coleman ’26, computer science & engineering and management for engineers, worked with the Bucknell Small Business Development Center to build a database through an online management tool to document volunteer firefighter details to try to make state towns safer. “The majority of what we’ve worked on is the database itself, which relies on automation to ensure that we can add large amounts of data to our database without adding it ourselves,” Sanders says. “What makes this database special is we are planning on automating the entire process of data entry and organization.” The project was spearheaded by local businessman Brooks Stahlnecker of Milton, who spent decades as a volunteer firefighter and financial advisor, and is now offering the Financial Fire Drill benefits package to all Pennsylvania firefighters. Sanders, Stahlnecker and Ian Proud, Bucknell SBDC engineering innovation manager, presented the database in early December to Pennsylvania Commissioner Thomas Cook, Montour County Commissioner Trevor Finn and Pennsylvania Senator Lynda Schlegel Culver, and then visited the nearby Washington Fire Company. CONTACTS: Proud, 570-917-3337, ip003@bucknell.edu; Sanders, aws022@bucknell.edu; Coleman, d.coleman@bucknell.edu

LIMERENCE VS. DELUSIONSHIP — Valentine’s Day puts love and relationships at front of conversation. But what happens when these feelings aren’t reciprocated? The New York Times published an article about “limerence,” which Professor T. Joel Wade, psychology, explains as “synonymous with a type of passionate love” — similar to what often happens when individuals experience ‘love at first sight.’ These feelings of limerence can be a natural step when a relationship is beginning to form. This concept is not to be confused with “delusionships,” which Professor Wade spoke to USA Today about. Although similar, a delusionship occurs when single people “idealize potential partners prior to really knowing anything of substance about them,” and these feelings can be less intense, since even people in committed relationships can fantasize about someone other than their partner without harming their relationship. However, finding yourself in either an obsessive state of limerence or delusionship over a potential love interest can be problematic. Professor Wade says, “both limerence and delusionships can be detrimental if they are extreme — i.e., leading to stalking and other such negative behaviors,” which is the point where a harmless crush can become a dangerous infatuation. CONTACT: Wade, 570-577-1693, t.joel.wade@bucknell.edu

A SWIFTIE SUPER BOWL — Super Bowl LVIII is Sunday and the eyes of the nation will be on the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. There will be some new eyes because of the romance between pop megastar Taylor Swift and Chiefs’ star tight end Travis Kelce. Some serious football fans are annoyed by all of Swift’s screen time during Chiefs’ games, and Professor Erica Delsandro, women’s & gender studies, says at its core, the discourse has more to do with what Swift represents than with her personally. “She represents the consumer power women have and the money and political efficacy they can garner,” Delsandro says. Putting Swift and Kelce aside, the social craze surrounding them is, itself, a case study of the current relationship between gender and power, and could lead to otherwise unlikely connections according to Delsandro. “These conversations are both about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce as well as about gender roles and masculinity and who gets to decide what’s culturally important,” she says. CONTACT: Delsandro, 570-577-3029, erica.delsandro@bucknell.edu

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CONTACTS: Mike Ferlazzo, 570-577-3212, 570-238-6266 (c), mike.ferlazzo@bucknell.edu; Megan Collins, mlc048@bucknell.edu

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