The Thresher reached out to the 10 newly elected — and one reelected — residential college presidents to ask about their background, plans for the year and more. See their full responses below.


NATALIE SWANSON — BAKER

Junior | English major | Business minor

What is your past experience?

  • Honor Council Representative
  • Baker Cabinet Class Representative
  • RHA, PAA, and Academic Mentor

I’ve been on Cabinet for the past two years, as an Honor Council representative and Class representative. I’ve been involved in Baker as an RHA, PAA, and Academic Mentor.

What plans do you have for your college this year?

Baker is looking at considerable turnover in the coming year with new Masters and new RAs, so communication is going to play a key role in my presidency. I’ll be focused on facilitating conversations between my college and our A-Team, as well as the SA, administration, etc.

What is your favorite part about your college?

There are so many things I love about Baker, but one of the things that stands out in my mind is how involved and self-sustaining our government is. People are genuinely invested in making Baker the best it can be, whether it’s from a programming, wellbeing, or governance standpoint. Someone, if not many people, is always willing to step up to fill a role when it opens or tackle a problem when it presents itself.

What role do you hope to play in campus-wide student government as an SA Senate member?

As a president, it’s my job to represent my constituents – Bakerites. Beyond that, my background at Rice has been in supporting wellbeing at the college level, an area I am likely to continue to contribute to in SA.


SANTIAGO AVILA — BROWN

Junior | Biosciences

What is your past experience?

President at Brown

What plans do you have for your college this year?

This semester, we are kicking off a long-term strategic panning initiative at Brown that will parallel the C2V2 going on across campus. This initiative will help redefine college values and will steer the course of the college over the next 5 - 10 years. 

What is your favorite part about your college?

Brown is sweet! The people in my college have made my Rice experience extraordinary and make we want to give back to the community every day.

What role do you hope to play in campus wide student government as an SA Senate member?

Recently, we've seen our community values threatened and so the administration, college governments, and the student association have had to act. As a representative in the student senate, I am committed to effectively representing Brown in conversations that pertain to our community values. 


Why did you decide to run for reelection at Brown?

Leading such a vibrant and cohesive community has been an incredible experience that has and is challenging me to move beyond my comfort zone. Having the experience and resources now, I'm in a good position to help move the Brown community forward. A large part of my leadership style focuses on long term planning, and having a second term to really see projects through was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.


DUNCAN: ISABEL ALISON

Junior | Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

What is your past experience?

At Duncan I have served as Secretary and Vice president, along with RA Search Committee Head and a member of the Master Search committee. I am heavily involved in Engineers Without Borders as a Project Lead for the Nica-1 Team. I was also part of the Honor Council as secretary and sophomore class rep.

What plans do you have for your college this year?

My main goal for the year is to make sure that Duncaroos feel that their voices are valued whether or not they hold an official role in Duncan government. I also hope to strengthen our connection to Duncan alumni. As a young college, we don't have a large alumni network as some other colleges. I want to start establishing those connections and hopefully start our first donor endowment woo!

What is your favorite part about your college?
I think that Duncan does a really good job at empowering its students to feel like they can make a tangible impact on the college. So many of our traditions have come from individual students rather than government or committees. So even if you don't want to be involved in government in the traditional sense, you can still make a mark and leave your legacy.

What role do you hope to play in campus-wide student government as an SA Senate member?

I mainly hope to work with our senator to make SA topics more relevant to the Duncan community and to foster discussion in the college. I also want to be a representative voice of my peers and to justly communicate my college's views in campus wide issues.


JACK TOUPS — HANSZEN

Junior | Kinesiology: Sports Medicine, Biochemistry minor

What is your past experience?

  • Hanszen Treasurer
  • Internal Vice President of Hanszen
  • Campus-Wide Head Caregivers
  • Co-president of Rice Club Gymnastics

What plans do you have for your college this year?

I plan to restructure the budget to better reflect the priorities of the college, and making the college more welcoming to everyone, both physically and financially.

What is your favorite part about your college?

Hanszen is the Family College, so it is no surprise that the people are my favorite part. The sense of community and "Hanszen Heart" are what make it truly special and unique.

What role do you hope to play in campus-wide student government as an SA Senate member?

I plan to be a representative of my college, fighting for what my fellow Hanszenites believe in. I also intend on helping make the push for administration to more heavily invest in the residential college system.


JONES: SCOTTY STEVENS

Junior | Mechanical Engineering

Past experience:

  • Chief Justice
  • Social
  • College Night Coordinator
  • Recreation Center Manager
  • APAC Committee member

What plans do you have for your college this year?

One of my biggest goals is ensuring that Jonesians have their opinions heard by the administration. Whether that means having administrators come to Jones cabinet and engage in discussions or finding the best method of polling the college, my job as President is to represent all of Jones campus-wide. Of course, Jones is also getting new Masters next year. I will make sure that the Achards get the amazing send-off they deserve, and Dr. Hafner's family is welcomed into the Jones family with open arms.

What is your favorite part about your college?

Jones culture is rooted in the fact that we win everything that we compete in. I'm honored to be President for what I believe will be our 45th consecutive sweep of Beer Bike, and I can't wait to celebrate it with my Jones family.

What role do you hope to play in campus-wide student government as an SA Senate member?

It is imperative I represent Jones well in all my decisions in the campus-wide government. I am particularly interested as a past social and CJ to see how the APAC discussions create change in the coming year, and how we as students can mend our relationship with SJP.


TESSA FRIES — LOVETT

Junior | Majors: English and French Studies | Minor: Politics, Law, & Social Thought

What is your past experience?

  • SA New Student Representative and served on the Student Life Committee.
  • SA Senator
  • Lovett External Vice President.
  • Rice Cheerleading

What plans do you have for your college this year?

One of my biggest pushes for this year will be accessibility, manifested in two forms: accessibility of CC members to the college and accessibility to the Rice and Lovett experiences by all individuals, regardless of background, socioeconomic status, gender or sexual identity, religious or political beliefs, or anything else. We will have $1500 available to individuals in our new accessibility fund which we hope will open doors for students. I would like to see all Lovetteers celebrated and supported by their community in their own personal endeavors. In order to stimulate this, I believe CC should focus its agenda on the needs and desires of the Lovett Community and actively work to provide a multitude of events, activities, and resources that appeal to all members.

What is your favorite part about your college?

Although Lovett has many wonderful attributes, one of my favorite things is how supportive Lovetteers are of each other. From supporting our Lovett athletes at sporting events to theatre performances to research presentations, we are truly a family. We have amazing people who are diverse, passionate, and driven, and we celebrate that.

What role do you hope to play in campus-wide student government as an SA Senate member?

I am looking forward to returning to active involvement in Senate proceedings and other SA events. My goal is to advocate for the needs and desires of Lovett College to the best of my ability. I will push for a strong connection between what is needed/wanted from the college and the SA’s agenda. The SA is actively having important and necessary dialogues, such as the discussions and legislation regarding the Bridge Act that was passed at the last Senate meeting (Resolution #4). As president, I plan on stimulating inter-college discussions on campuswide issues and translating the Lovett community’s sentiments to the SA, but, in a more concrete and legislative sense, I'm also excited about and committed to actively working on special committee initiatives.


MARTEL: DYLAN DICKENS

Junior | Majors: Political Science, Anthropology (archaeology concentration), and Policy Studies | Minor: Water, Energy and Environmental Sustainability

What is your past experience?

  • Sophomore and Junior Class Representative
  • Social
  • Constitutional Revision Committee
  • Master's search Committee
  • Coordinator's search Committee
  • Executive Vice President of the Baker Institute Student Forum

What plans do you have for your college this year?

My biggest plan is to make the Martel government more accessible and change the narrative from "only elected and active members of Martel can get stuff done" to "ANY Martelian can and should participate in decisions and help come up with ideas." I hope to accomplish this through Friday Forums, spaces of time where the President sits in a common area free to chat, more engaging Parliaments and a restructuring of the budget to allow for any Martelian to seek funds for their next cool idea.

What is your favorite part about your college?

My favorite thing about Martel is the people. I am always amazed by how Martelians can, in the space of a single hour, be both some of the most fun-loving and goofy people at Rice, and the most critically-thinking and articulate students. The people are why Martel isn't just a college, but a family. Even if we didn't have our amazingly spacious common rooms and jealousy inducing sundeck, the people of Martel would still make us the best college.

What role do you hope to play in campus-wide student government as an SA Senate member?

My primary role in the SA will be to represent the interests and opinions of Martelians, though I do hope to take an active role in campus-wide government beyond that. As someone with a limited record of SA participation before this point, I hope to bring a constructively critical outside eye to the SA, balancing college-level interests with those of the university as a whole.


WALDEN PEMANTLE — MCMURTRY
Junior | History and English major

What is your past experience?

  • First Year Representative
  • Hall Representative, Food representative
  • Interim SA Senator
  • McMurtry EVP president
  • Thresher A&E Editor

What plans do you have for your college this year?
I just helped draft our college's proposal for an initiative to be more accessible to students of low socioeconomic status. I know it's been a buzzword around campus, but I think it's important work and am excited to see the proposal through to implementation. Ideally, nothing at McMurtry will cost more than a nominal amount of money by the end of my term. I also think there's a lot to be done in the way of making everyone at McMurtry feel spoken for by our EC. It's an issue that's always hard to address but I'd be remiss if I didn't try to make the voices expressed through our government more diverse.

What is your favorite part about your college?
I get away with wearing a kilt in the quad at least once a year.

What role do you hope to play in campus wide student government as an SA Senate member?
I've started sitting in on APAC meetings, so coming up with solid improvements to the alcohol policy is my first campus-wide priority. Besides that, I hope to keep the campus-wide conversation going on issues like better compensation for O-Week coordinators and campus safety.


GRIFFIN PALMER — SID RICHARDSON

Junior | Mechanical Engineering 

What is your past experience?

Over the last year I served as Sid's Chief Justice. I was an Associate Justice my sophomore year. I am also one of the captains of the Lacrosse team and I was one of the staffers for Impact Rice this past January.

What plans do you have for your college this year?

I'd like to have more frequent smaller events at Sid. We have fantastic spaces around the college (i.e. the Country Club) which we use rarely. I think that utilizing spaces like this can help to reinvigorate our culture. Secondly, I'd like to get the Associates and RA's more involved within the college. And lastly, I'd like to reconnect the general Sid body to Sid's government.

What is your favorite part about your college?

I've always enjoyed the commons culture that Sid has. Each time I come to the college, I'm sure that people will be in the commons working or talking. It makes Sid feel much more like a community than just a living space.

What role do you hope to play in campus-wide student government as an SA Senate member?

Over the last year, I've had the opportunity to develop a full understanding of how different organizations work around campus. I will use this to represent Sid's interest on a campus-wide level while making sure that Sid's community is heard.


TAY JACOBE — WIESS

Junior | Economics/Policy Studies

What is your past experience?

  • Wiess Sophomore Representative, External Vice President
  • Wiess O-Week fellow (advisor), Mentor (fellow)
  • Wiess Diversity Committee, Team Knitting Wiess
  • DREAM mentor, Camp Kesem Diversity Committee, KTRU DJ

On Wiess Cabinet, I have served as Sophomore Representative (2015-2016) and External Vice President (2016-2017). I have also been involved at Wiess O-Week for the past two years, as a gopher when I was a sophomore and a fellow (AKA "advisor" at any other college) as a junior. I also took part in forming Wiess' Diversity Committee this year and rebooting Team Knitting Wiess, a group that meets up weekly to knit and hang out (yes, I am aware that this is typically a hobby for retired old folks, but knitting is actually quite enjoyable!). Academically, I serve the college as a mentor (AKA "fellow" at any other college). In past years, I have been involved around campus as a DREAM mentor, Camp Kesem Diversity Committee member, and KTRU DJ; however, this year, my main focus has been Wiess.

What plans do you have for your college this year?

  • Inclusivity, especially of groups that may feel not included by Wiess’ current culture or activities
  • Accountability, accessibility, and availability of student government members
  • Thoughtful consideration of our traditions, legislation, and culture and how it could be improved

I have three main "pillars" for what I'd like to focus on during my presidency at Wiess:

1) Inclusivity, especially of groups that may feel not included by Wiess' current culture or activities. This pillar includes planning a wider variety of events that appeal to interests that are typically underrepresented, strategically engaging with populations that may have lost touch with Wiess, and exploring the possibility of forming class committees to represent each class' interests and encourage class bonding.

2) Accountability, Accessibility, and Availability of student government members. With this, I will be making myself available for feedback as often as possible by holding Presidential office hours and actively encouraging use of an anonymous feedback form. Along with this, I am going to try to ensure that all cabinet members live up to their campaign promises and are actively trying to engage with and improve the college.

3) Thoughtful consideration of our traditions, legislation, and culture and how it could be improved. This final pillar is about experimenting with new ideas. As one of the original four colleges, Wiess has a lot of long-held traditions that make us unique, but sometimes we forget to question why our traditions exist and whether they could be improved to reflect the views and ideals of current Wiessmen. This also includes redrafting our college constitution.

What is your favorite part about your college?

When I look back on my first few years at Wiess, I see how much has changed during my time here. "Wiess Apathy" used to be a buzz word used by student leaders, but now it feels like the term has completely disappeared from our vocabulary. So many people at Wiess are dedicated to seeing our college improve; we challenge one another to try new ideas and think outside of the box. The familial bond that we have allows us to work together at a team with common goals of inclusivity and support. That's my favorite thing about Wiess. I am really encouraged by the improvements I have seen during my college career, and I am excited to keep that momentum going.

What role do you hope to play in campus-wide student government as an SA Senate member?

Although I have never been largely involved in the SA or campus-wide student government prior to my election as President, I am excited to be able to contribute on a campus-wide level through my position as a President. In past years, Wiess has been relatively disconnected from the SA, and I'm hoping to improve that and encourage more Wiessmen to engage with the SA.

Given the increasingly controversial political climate in the United States, I am expecting that this year will be an important year for the SA. On a campus level, one of my main goals is to promote awareness of diversity-related issues. Student government has the ability to make the campus more inclusive and supportive of students who are members of minority and/or typically-oppressed groups, and I want to utilize that. As a social sciences major, I'm also hoping to promote resources and recognition for non-D3 majors.


MICHAEL DEVINE — WILL RICE

Junior | Mechanical Engineering

What is your past experience, in college government and in other Rice organizations?

This past year I was a Co-Secretary on the Will Rice Executive Council. In the past, I have held other roles at Will Rice such as College Night Coordinator and Theatre Committee Head. Outside of Will Rice, I have been Secretary and COO of Underwater Exploration for Kinda’ Sketchy.

What plans do you have for your college this year / what do you hope to accomplish?

This upcoming year I hope to continue discussion about ways to improve lower income accessibility and focus on other minority student concerns, to draw upon the different communities at Will Rice to develop conducive conversation, and above all be a President that is approachable. I wish to be a President that members of Will Rice can trust bringing issues to and expect action and support from.

What is your favorite part about your college?

I love the culture at Will Rice. I knew it was something I wanted to contribute to and be involved since my freshman year O-Week. Will Rice’s values have been molded and passed down from generation to generation since our founding in 1957. Each and every Will Ricer is encompassed within our vibrant culture that extends beyond Sweeping. Will Rice fosters our best selves as we unite in supporting each other. This culture is what I wish to nurture during my term as President.

What role do you plan or hope to play in campus-wide student government as an SA Senate member?

I have been given the unique opportunity to be a voice for those at Will Rice. In this responsibility, I hope to accurately represent the views of the members of Will Rice college, address issues in a balanced manner, and be an active, contributing member in discussions at Senate.