Alyssa Alvis, a Hanszen College sophomore, has been riding out Hurricane Harvey at McMurtry College. There, she’s seen students adapt to the storm in a variety of ways: watching Mulan, playing Cards Against Humanity, cheering on Rice football during the game against Stanford on Saturday. McMurtry students also gathered in the commons to watch the McGregor-Mayweather fight and in the college’s movie room for the Game of Thrones finale.
At Alvis’ home college Hanszen, student government has planned out a number of events for the week. Hanszen External Vice President Nikolas Liebster said the college has hosted movie screenings of The Princess Bride and Wonder Woman as well as dodgeball against Wiess College
“It doesn’t seem like people are sitting around on their own, but rather are coming together and fighting off boredom together, both in public and private spaces,” Liebster said.
With all of the events planned for Hanszen in the coming days, he said, it “almost feels like Willy Week.”
Other students have also been taking the lead in hosting activities to stave off boredom. At Hanszen, sophomore flute performance major Megan Torti organized a spontaneous concert along with Hanszen sophomore Ben Lanners on cello, as well as Baker sophomore Gregory Martin and Brown sophomore David Danjul on piano.
“We traded off and played some flute and piano sonatas, cello and piano sonatas, and a few works for cello, flute and piano,” Torti said. “It was a great way to pass the time and those who were in the commons told me how much they enjoyed listening.”
At Duncan College, college leadership has also been coordinating activities for students. On Tuesday night, there was a dodgeball game against McMurtry (Duncan won); soon there will be a talent show and a trivia night. Resident Associate Jenifer Bratter has seen “nonstop puzzles in the commons” with different people contributing over the course of the day.
“It's been amazing to see our committee heads and student governance come together to help make sure students have healthy outlets for their time off,” Bratter said.
Others, like Alvis, went to evaluate the flood damage at Rice and surrounding areas.
“Some of us went out and adventured to see what was flooded,” Alvis said. “By [the Rice University Police Department station] was thigh deep.”
In a similar adventure on Monday, Hanszen junior Nick McMillan went to Hermann Park and saw several homeless people sheltering under a pavilion.
“Everyone was really nice and what struck is that the only thing they asked for was if we had food,” McMillan said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have any on us at that time but told them that we would come back.”
They gathered up the food they were keeping in their dorm rooms as well as some clothes and returned to Hermann Park to tell the homeless people to take what they needed.
For Martel sophomore Jacob Diaz, the hurricane was also an opportunity to volunteer to help those stranded by Houston floodwaters. He and two other Martel sophomores, Mustafa El-Gamal and Matthew Wester, attempted to volunteer at the George R. Brown convention center, which is being used a shelter for refugees. They were turned away due to the number of volunteers already at the shelter. Rather than go back to Rice, they took McMurtry sophomore Caroline Siegfried’s white pickup truck and loaded it up with relief supplies from Secret Group, a downtown bar,to deliver to distribution centers like the Salvation Army.
Over the past week, Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson has toured residential colleges and found students “taking the chance to spend time together,” according to a Facebook update.
“The upside to this whole situation has been a shared experience resulting in a social bonding opportunity,” Hutchinson said. “The storm has brought everyone together and strengthened our ties to one another.”