By Carly Lanning
Homecoming may have been about popularity in high school but here at UCI, homecoming is based around bringing a community of Anteaters together to celebrate the adventures this campus has provided for each student. Just ask the candidates, each coming from different leadership positions around the campus to celebrate their unforgettable memories of Irvine. After spending four amazing years growing, engaging and evolving as Anteaters, Sydney Torres and Jordan Chen, two members of the homecoming court, have used homecoming to inspire others and celebrate their remaining time at UCI.
This Zot love is one that is well-known for Jordan Chen. As a fourth-year business and economics major, Chen has spent his four years at Irvine getting involved with as many things as possible. After being a campus representative, working at the Student Center, a member of the peer education group CHAMPS (Challenging All Men To Prevent Sexism) and an active member of the coed professional business fraternity Sigma Psi Lambda, you come to wonder when it is that Chen finds time to sleep, let alone be active in his homecoming campaign. But not only has he found time, but made it a priority through his campaign for homecoming to encourage other students to try all the opportunities available to them at UCI.
“I think one thing that hurts UCI is that a lot of people think that we have this reputation that there is nothing to do here. I consider myself pretty lucky to have gotten into such a good school as Irvine and that is why these last couple years I have tried to make the most of my time left here at UCI because you only get to go to college once.”
As a graduating senior with plans to take over the world when he graduates, Chen is savoring his final months on a campus that means so much to him. With few regrets about his years as an undergrad, being a part of homecoming has been a way to celebrate all his accomplishments, friendships, new experiences and sweet dance moves. “I love UCI and I thought it would be a lot of fun to run for homecoming. When I graduate I will miss being able to go on campus and take pride in being a student. Being in the college environment, always being around your peers, it is a good time.”
For fourth-year urban studies major and global sustainability minor, Sydney Torres there are few projects or groups that she has not been a part of. Currently a Housing Advisor in Arroyo Vista, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Student Services, student assistance for the Student Life and Leadership Office (previously named the Dean of Students), and an intern for the Assistant Director of New Student Programs, Torres has created a name and home for herself at UCI.
With a talent for making balloon animals as well as being able to juggle the workload of four people combined, Torres has loved every moment of her four years at Irvine. As for homecoming, she said, “I thought it would be kind of cool to get to know the court because I work in the office so I saw that the court last year had a really good time. They are all leaders just like me from all across campus but are ones that I haven’t worked with before.”
With a desire to go into student affairs and work with student governments at universities, Torres has found a unique home at Irvine, getting the opportunities to work with professional staff and develop her interest with student leadership.
“Homecoming has been super fun and super busy but it is really exciting! I really loved spirited stuff in high school and homecoming is still my favorite event in college. I really like when everyone gathers around one common spirited event.” After finding her niche and trying every opportunity offered to her, Torres encourages all students to get involved with a club or to start with a campus job. “I want people to know how to get involved on campus and know that it doesn’t have to be the stereotypical leader. Find your niche of any shape and form and just go for it!”
For these two students, each making a name for themselves at UCI and encouraging so many others through their examples of leadership, Torres, Chen and all the homecoming candidates have reminded us through their spoken words, food-eating contests and school spirit, to be proud to be an Anteater.