The Association of Rice Alumni has asked alumni not to participate in Saturday morning activities at their residential colleges during this year’s Beer Bike; instead, according to the ASA, the alumni tent will open earlier and offer expanded amenities.
Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations Marthe Golden said the goals of the changes are to not only enhance the alumni experience, but also to give undergraduates the opportunity to have their own unique Beer Bike experiences in the residential colleges on Saturday morning. Student safety has also previously been an issue with alumni on Beer Bike.
“We are sensitive to concerns in the colleges regarding having alumni present in the students’ residential and private areas, and in some cases, creating a potentially unsafe environment for students,” Golden said. “We are committed to supporting the well-being of our students and alumni, in order to make Beer Bike the best possible event it can be.
According to Rachel Mis (Will Rice ’10), a member of the alumni Beer Bike host committee, alumni will still be able to take part in other activities at their residential colleges before Beer Bike.
“There are various events throughout Willy Week that the residential colleges are inviting alumni to attend, but we are being asked to respect that many of the Saturday morning activities are intended for the current undergrads,” Mis said.
Each residential college will hold an alumni tailgate on Friday, according to the ASA. The alumni tent will open at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, earlier than in past years, and will have more food and drinks as well as a disc jockey. However, alumni will also have to pay a $10 admission fee to make up for the added costs.
According to Mis, the ASA developed this year’s changes due to several factors, including feedback gathered by the alumni office. Mis said the Houston 2.0 Group, made up of alumni who graduated more than 10 years ago, showed particular interest in adding alumni Beer Bike activities.
“When you’re only one or two years out, it’s very easy to return to Rice for Beer Bike because you still know a lot of current students,” Mis said. “But once you’re five, 10, 20 or more years out, there’s not much for you to do. We hope some of these alumni tent improvements will meet this need.”
Mis said she hopes the changes will increase alumni participation in Beer Bike.
“With these changes, I think we have a chance to make Beer Bike an all-around better experience for alumni,” Mis said. “If we can build up the number and quality of alumni-focused events during Beer Bike, then alumni will be more likely to return year after year.”
According to Mis, the ASA will continue to look for ways to improve the way alumni participate in Beer Bike.
“We’ve implemented some experimental changes this year, and we’re going to have to see what works best and what doesn’t so that Beer Bike can continue to be the amazing experience that we all love,” Mis said.