Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Meet: Relay for Life Chairs Stephanie Grayson & Jenn Rich

Jenn Rich

Hometown: Clarks Summit, PA

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Minor: Philosophy

Class: 2016 

What are you involved with on campus?

I am currently one of the committee chairs for Relay for Life, an exec member for Colleges Against Cancer, the accounts manager for the BSG Finance Committee, and a member of ADPi. I’ve also been an orientation assistant, a member of BACES, a class rep for BMES and a tutor for the TLC. 

What does Relay for Life mean to you?

Relay for Life means hope. Cancer is such a devastating disease that has taken away too many loved ones too soon. Relay gives the hope that a cure can be found, and that we can obtain a world with more birthdays. Relay is one of the few nights on campus when academic year, athletics, and Greek involvement do not matter and we all support a common cause. Bringing together such a large group of people to give them hope, to inspire them to fight back and to promote positive change in the world is incredibly powerful. Relay for Life gives me hope that one day we will no longer need to Relay at all.

How and why did you get involved with Relay for Life?

I have been involved with Relay for Life for the past 6 years. I first became involved my sophomore year of high school at the Relay for Life in my hometown. The Relay in my town is a youth-run Relay, with all of the committee members being high school students. At the time, my older sister’s friend was one of the chairs for the event, and she asked if I wanted to get involved. My mom’s best friend, who has always been like a second mother to me, had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and I wanted to help her fight in any way I could. I thought I would enjoy the experience and feel good about giving back to such a great cause, but I never anticipated how largely it would affect my life. I began to meet so many people affected by cancer, some with stories of joy and hope, and others with stories of sadness. I realized just how terrible of a disease cancer is and I wanted to do whatever I could to fight it. I ended up becoming the chair of my town’s relay my senior year of high school and knew I wanted to continue with Relay in college. I became a member of the publicity committee during my freshman year at Bucknell and decided to become co-chair my sophomore year. I am now one of the chairs for the event this year, along with Stephanie Grayson, and everyday I am grateful for how Relay has changed my life.

What can we expect this Saturday and how will this Relay for Life be different from those in the past?

You can expect an incredible event on Saturday. The committee has been planning this event for a year now, and Steph and I are so proud of all they have accomplished. This year we have three student speakers, who will each speak about how cancer has touched their lives. We also have an array of performances from groups across campus, food throughout the night, games and activities, inflatables, and more!  It will be a night of remembrance, a night of hope, a night of strength, and a night of inspiration.

This year we have been trying to reach more people on campus about getting involved. Cancer has touched everyone in some way and it’s important for us to come together as a unified community to support one another. We have been reaching out to student clubs, athletics, faculty, freshman halls, RAs, Greek organizations and other groups on campus. We would really love to see a huge attendance this year.

What have been the biggest challenges and rewards of your chair position?

Being one of the chairs has easily been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I have ever had. A lot of people do not realize how much planning goes into an event such as Relay, but it really is a 365-day process. Bucknell Relay for Life has been largely successful since it came onto campus 10 years ago, having received national recognition, so there’s a lot of pressure to live up to the past success. There are over 50 students on committee, which is split into nine sub-committees for Steph and I to oversee. We plan and facilitate weekly meetings and reach out to people on and off campus regularly about Relay. Relay planning takes up more time than some of my classes and it sometimes becomes difficult to balance everything.

However, it has been absolutely amazing working with everyone on committee and how close I have become with so many people. Steph and I only met through Relay and she has easily become one of my closest friends on campus. It’s hard not to be close with someone you spend a ton of your time with! It is also incredible to see the passion that people have about Relay and seeing how that passion can inspire so many others. I have met so many inspiring individuals over the past year and it’s humbling to hear their stories. Seeing the event finally come together on Saturday is going to be a very surreal moment, but all of the planning will definitely have been worth it.

If you could have one celebrity speak at this year’s event, who would it be and why? 

Taylor Swift, whose mother has unfortunately been recently diagnosed with cancer. Taylor is such a sweet person, and I think she could inspire a lot of people to continue fighting back. I also love her.

Quick q’s:

Caffeine fix or sugar high to Relay-ing all night? Caffeine!

Favorite aspect of the Relay event: My favorite part of Relay has always been the Luminaria Ceremony. It’s a very beautiful and moving ceremony, but it reminds everyone why we Relay, and why we must continue to fight.

Snapchat or Instagram? Instagram (jenn_rich_)

Little known fact: The first time I ate a blueberry was second semester of freshman year.

Stephanie Grayson

Hometown: Syosset, New York

Major: Psychology

Minor: Children’s Studies

Class: 2017

What are you involved with on campus?

I am a chair for Relay for Life, an executive board member of Colleges Against Cancer, a member of the Bison Pals Club, a member of Delta Gamma , and a Reunion Student Ambassador. 

What does Relay for Life mean to you?

For the past four years, I have worked with children with cancer through a day camp and a connecting hospital program. So to me, Relay means having the ability to do everything in my power to fight for them and others afflicted with cancer. Many of my campers do not have the privilege of having a “normal” childhood because they spend a majority of their time in doctor’s offices and hospitals, undergoing painful treatments. Going to school, socializing, and playing games is not always an option for them like it would be for other children. Many of them also do not have the physical and mental strength to participate in these activities. The American Cancer Society not only raises money for research to eradicate cancer, they also have a multitude of programs designed to help children and adults through their difficult journey.

How and why did you get involved with Relay for Life?

I became involved with Relay for Life in my freshman year of high school because of the amount of people I personally knew who were impacted directly or indirectly by cancer. It is both terrifying and devastating that almost every person knows someone who is either battling cancer or has lost his or her battle. When I started working at the day camp for children with cancer and saw firsthand the extent of suffering these kids had to undergo, I knew that the American Cancer Society was always going to be a charity I would be honored to work with. When I found out Bucknell had its own Relay for Life, I knew it was something I had to be a part of.

What can we expect this Saturday and how will this Relay for Life be different from those in the past

This Saturday you can expect a luau themed night filled with fantastic student performers, inspiring student speakers, tons of food, games, and blow-ups. This year we are hoping to get the entire campus involved to make this a memorable and powerful night! We have been working with both the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council to have a large Greek presence and we are also reaching out to as many organizations as we can to make this an event for every single person on campus, including faculty and staff!

What have been the biggest challenges and rewards of your chair position?

The biggest challenge has been coordinating all of the little details of the event. There is a lot more planning that goes into our Relay event than people would imagine. The biggest rewards of my chair position are seeing the entire Bucknell community uniting for a truly important cause and working with Jenn, my amazing co-chair.

If you could have one celebrity speak at this year’s event, who would it be and why?

I would choose Ellen DeGeneres. She has a kindhearted and upbeat persona, which would be a perfect fit for our event. Relay is a time where we celebrate. We celebrate life, the people who mean the most to us, and the hope that one day we all won’t have to fight the battle against cancer any longer.

Quick q’s:

Caffeine fix or sugar high to Relay-ing all night? Caffeine fix.

Favorite aspect of the Relay event:  The Luminaria ceremony. I am not going to give anything away, but the ceremony brings to light all of the ways cancer has touched us all

Snapchat or Instagram? Snapchat because I actually don’t have an Instagram.

Little known fact: When I was 10, I had a pretend boxing match with Muhammad Ali in an elevator in the Bahamas.

Elizabeth is a senior at Bucknell University, majoring in English and Spanish. She was born and raised in Northern New Jersey, always with hopes of one day pursuing a career as a journalist. She worked for her high school paper and continues to work on Bucknell’s The Bucknellian as a senior writer. She has fervor for frosting, creamy delights, and all things baking, an affinity for classic rock music, is a collector of bumper stickers and postcards, and is addicted to Zoey Deschanel in New Girl. Elizabeth loves anything coffee flavored, the Spanish language, and the perfect snowfall. Her weakness? Brunch. See more of her work at www.elizabethbacharach.wordpress.com 
Similar Reads👯‍♀️