The Bridge Program
Since the 1950’s, Ursinus College had been looking for students of color to attend the college to increase the school’s diversity. The desire to enroll non-white students became more apparent in the late 1980’s. Many schools around the Philadelphia area and across the nation took part in Bridge Programs that sought out marginalized students to attend a several week long programs. The program entailed getting acquainted with campus, taking part in volunteer activities, and getting used the the academia that colleges and universities have to offer. Ursinus wanted to have their own bridge program, and looked for sponsors in order to pioneer one on campus. They asked the Council for Higher Education of the United Church of Christ for a grant in order to cover some of the costs of the program. In the summer of 1988, Ursinus instituted their own Summer Bridge Program.
Several paper articles went out to advertise the program, and students were given $1,000 in grant money to make up for potential lost wages over the summer. During the first few years, students took Psychology 102 that started in the summer and ended mid semester during the fall. The course entailed everything a Fall or Spring semester course would entail: papers, tests, quizzes and outside of class assignments. Supplemental to the course were guest lecturers and field trips. Activities, like seeing movies outside of the classroom, also related to themes taught in the Psychology 102 course. Other than Psychology 102, there were classes that were deemed “Language Skills Workshops”, presentations about campus life, field trips and social events (like barbeques and picnics).
This program continues today with the same purpose and similar courses activities that are like the ones that first started in 1988. The Summer Bridge Program’s name was changed to the “Crigler Institute” on February 4th, 2011. We found that there was a lack of archival information from between the late 90’s and until the year 2010. We do not mean to discredit these years of the Summer Bridge program, and hope the legacy of our page inspires others to share the impact that the program had, and discover even more information from these years.