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Campus Celebrity: Irene Bucken

Meet this week’s Campus Celebrity, Irene Bucken! Irene is a senior who has been very involved all across campus. Find out about her work with Relay For Life, her time in South Africa and her most embarrassing moment at Conn! We are so excited and honored to interview Irene for our last Campus Celebrity article this year and wish her all the best in her future adventures after Conn! 

Name: Irene Bucken

Year: 2014

Major: Sociology, Government minor

Hometown: Pepperell, MA

Extracurricular Activities: Gospel Choir co-chair, Think S.A.F.E (Sexual Assault Free Environment) Office Intern, Relay for Life Committee, Fusion, Eclipse, and Vagina Monologues 

Favorite movie: That sappy Will Smith movie, Hitch. I’m a secret Will Smith admirer, and Rom-Coms are definitely a guilty pleasure of mine.  

Favorite song to dance to: Because I’m Happy (“Happy” by Pharrell) 

Coffee or Tea: Tea! When I do drink coffee under dire circumstances I put more sugar, cream, and chocolate syrup in it than coffee. 

Favorite Harris meal: Chicken Stir fry

How did you get involved in the Gospel Choir?

Freshmen year I knew I wanted to sing, but ended up not getting into the a cappella groups on campus. This turned out to be a blessing, though, because then I turned to gospel and absolutely fell in love with the group. I have been co-chair since my sophomore year, and it has been amazing building partnerships and relationships with local churches in the area and expanding our repertoire. 

What are your plans for next year?

I was accepted into a program called the Children’s Corps New York, where I will be a trained case worker in child welfare at St. Dominic’s Home in the Bronx. I will be focusing on foster care placement and preventative care for children and families in need. This has become somewhat of a dream job through my experiences with sociology and my personal story of being adopted. I am very excited!

Graduation is coming up! What has been one of your favorite Conn memories?

Fortunately I have a lot! I have to thank my friends for that though because there are never dull moments with them. But a great time was when I went sledding with a few of my friends during a snow day this year in the Arbo. The entire ski team was there and they had made a jump at the end of the hill. We also used our sleds as snow boards and met a bunch of local high-schoolers who were enjoying their snow day there too. It was a great way to spend the day off!

Most embarrassing moment at Conn?

Haha there are too many. But it was probably when I fell down the entire front staircase of KB my sophomore year in front of my closest friends, who just stood there and laughed at me on the ground. That’s typical of me, though… it’s a miracle I haven’t broken any bones.

Any items on your Conn bucket list that you haven’t checked off yet?

Yes! I really want to have a picnic on Mamacoke Island… I’ve made the treck out there before and it’s so beautiful. Hopefully I will have the chance to do that during senior week!

Can you tell us about your time in South Africa?

It was unbelievable and life-changing… I’m actively trying to figure out ways that I can get back there. Spring semester my junior year I was on a Community Health and Social Policy program in Durban, where I studied the importance of HIV prevention programs in schools. I loved it so much that I ended up extending my visa for an additional three months and moved to Cape Town, where I completed my CELS internship at a human rights non-profit organization called Black Sash. I learned more about myself, my strengths, my culture, my privilege, and my aspirations in those seven months than I can even say.

Why did you chose to be a sociology major?

I took Intro to Sociology with Professor Jafar my freshmen year, not knowing anything about it. I realized how applicable it could be to nearly anything and everything and I completely fell in love with the discipline. Professor Jafar often mentions the acquisition of “soc goggles,” where you can’t look at anything the same way again without this sociological perspective. Basically anything I read, watch, or listen to I analyze the crap out of. It’s a blessing and a curse in many ways, but I feel like I have a better understanding of how the world works now. 

What’s it like to be a part of  Relay for Life?

Relay is the best!! After getting a dishearteningly limited amount of money from SGA this year we surprised everyone by raising over $22,000 to donate to the American Cancer Society, surpassing our original goal by $2,000. It is a great way to be surrounded by peers who are so passionate about the cause that directly affects so many of our lives. It also provides a good support system for those on campus to celebrate, remember and fight back in honor of their loved ones who have been touched by cancer.  

How do you feel about being campus celebrity?

I am surprised and honored! I think it is nice that we get to showcase the lives of different members in our community. Thanks Her Campus! 

I'm a sophomore American Studies major. In addition to HerCampus, I am a member of the Student Activities Council and a volunteer at the local elementary school!  
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