Ron Bucca Wins 2013 Graduate Community Award
Graduate Community Award winners were announced by Dean F. Jon Kull on May 10 at the Graduate Poster Session as part of Graduate Appreciation Week (April 6-12). The Graduate Studies Office awards the Graduate Community Award each year to recognize graduate students’ commitment to serving the Dartmouth community. Recipients contribute through participation in student governance, serving on campus-wide committees, and in the development and promotion of academic and social programs. They receive $1,000 in honor of their dedication to the community.
Bucca is a second-year student in the Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies program with a concentration in Globalization Studies. Bucca, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, has focused on researching the new modes of global communication, and is currently writing a thesis on the benefits of social media in humanitarian relief.
Since arriving on campus last January, Bucca has dedicated himself to organizing graduate students from a variety of programs and advocating for the things our students need most. As the chair of the Dartmouth Graduate Veterans Association, Bucca has boosted graduate student recognition on campus by associating graduate students with high-profile events and prolific guest speakers. The DGVA has a now-famous record of public service, which includes their work with the Claremont Food Pantry, their mentoring of underprivileged youth of Orion’s House, and their continued efforts to advocate for veterans on campus and across the Upper Valley. Back in February, the DGVA was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Award—a first for an organization in its first year—in recognition of these efforts. It was clear at that event that the top administrators at Dartmouth have taken notice of the work this group of graduate students is doing on campus. Though he’d never admit it, Bucca has been, unquestionably, the leader of these efforts.
Bucca has made it a point to dedicate himself to the entire graduate community. As the Student Life Chair on the Graduate Student Council, he has completed surveys of graduate students to assess the hierarchy of needs in our community. Once he established that extended dental and vision care were the primary concern, he has worked tirelessly to procure these services. In the face of consistent deterrence, Bucca has refused to cede defeat on these issues, and is now working with providers in the region to establish reduced pricing options for graduate students. His leadership and decision-making skills have been instrumental to the GSC this year—his fellow exec board members would echo these sentiments.
What is perhaps even more exceptional is that, despite the incredible time commitment associated with the initiatives and responsibilities listed above, Bucca still uses much of his free time for his own personal service missions. He planned and funded a trip to Haiti this fall, where he did incredible, life-changing community work in two rural villages. And he’s been helping out with Hurricane Sandy relief ever since the deadly storm struck, volunteering down at Breezy Point any time he’s home for a break.
Bucca’s incredible commitment to service and his achievements in advancing the good face of Graduate Studies here at Dartmouth are equally remarkable. That he remains a modest and thoughtful member of our community is a testament to his extraordinary character. Every student who has had the chance to work with Bucca—and there are many—will speak to his good nature, approachability, and dependability. These characteristics exemplify leadership. They represent the best our community has to offer.
The Graduate Studies Office applauds Bucca for his hard work and wishes him the best in his future community endeavors!