Who is ‘Ray Bucknell?’


Natalie Spears, Special Features Editors & Managing Editor

Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps for college students, and the University has taken advantage of this by creating multiple accounts to keep students informed of various campus events, programs, and clubs.

To keep pace with the ever-shifting demands of a tech-savvy student body, the University created an account, @IAmRayBucknell, to spotlight what it means to be a student at the University. This account is unique in that every week, a different student or alumnus controls the page and posts pictures that relate to a topic they are promoting. Associate Director of Social and Visual Communications and creator of @IAmRayBucknell Heather Johns shared some insight concerning the purpose of this account.

The Purpose of @IAmRayBucknell

The account began in August 2015 at the beginning of the academic year in a symbolic effort to reveal who “Ray Bucknell” really is. Johns learned at a conference that student-run Instagram accounts similar to @IAmRayBucknell have been very successful at other universities. Johns shared that the purpose of this project is to create an account that allows student voices to be heard through social media.

“Each week followers get an authentic and personal view of each student who runs the account,” Johns said.

She also noted that running an official University social media account is a valuable bullet for students to put on their résumé.

@IAmRayBucknell has gained more than 2,000 followers in the year and a half that it has been active.

“We launched the account in August 2015 with a really cool video done by Joey Krulock ’17 and Rory Bonner ’17 and started with about 200 followers. Since then, the following has grown by word of mouth—and I hope it keeps growing,” Johns said.

Student and alumni represent

Both students and alumni play important roles for @IAmRayBucknell in making it the most authentic representation of University life.

“Students play a large (and very important) role in sharing the Bucknell experience from their own unique perspectives as they earn their Bucknell education,” Johns said. Students have run the @IAmRayBucknell account for class projects, or to promote events, activities, and performances for which they have a passion.

There has been a variety of topics promoted on the account in the past few weeks. Madeline Kling ’17 ran the account at the end of October to broadcast the MyVoice student experience survey, Sophie Heinberg ’17 took control the following week to promote the BizPitch competition, and Maegan Mikkelsen ’19 is currently running the account representing the women’s basketball team.

Alumni play a slightly different role by contributing their post-grad perspective.

“Alumni share what it’s like to put a Bucknell education to good use,” Johns said.

Allison Friedlander ’16 was the first alumna to run @IAmRayBucknell and posted about her life as a recent graduate. Starting on Nov. 21, alumna Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce ’98 will take control of the account. She has been doing research in Tanzania, investigating a set of human footprints left in the mud from between 5,000 to 19,000 years ago.

Want to be @IAmRayBucknell?

Each Monday, a new student or alumnus temporarily has access to the @IAmRayBucknell page to share their personal take on what it means to be a part of the University community. To become “Ray Bucknell” for the week, interested students or alumni can visit the @IAmRayBucknell page on the University’s website and fill out a Google form. The applicant then has to meet with Johns to pick a week and brief content guidelines. The process is first-come, first-serve, but Johns tries to make sure that everyone gets a chance to share their perspective.

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