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SA election, O-Week spur involvement

By Timothy Faust     1/29/09 6:00pm

If you're going to be at Rice for the 2009-'10 academic year and you're reading my column, then you're probably looking for one of two things: sage, unsolicited advice about how to live your life or sophomoric jokes about how awesome beer is. Today I have more of the former and less of the latter.The results of the next few weeks of this academic year constitute what is the most significant indication of how successful and fun the undergraduate population will find the next school year. Many colleges will soon elect a president and governing body; dozens of candidates and applicants are crossing their fingers and fighting for Orientation Week coordinator bids at the nine established colleges and the two mysterious new colleges; and an alarmingly charming Student Association Elections Chair announced the beginning of SA election season this past Monday.

By spring break, which is mercifully only a few weeks away, we'll know exactly which students will lead the rest of us into the new decade. Why can't you be one of them?

At the risk of dredging this column through a grimy hyperbolic pool, I believe Duncan and McMurtry colleges will offer two teams of O-Week coordinators and approximately a dozen ambassadors the phenomenal opportunity to leave the single greatest student impact on any Rice institution that we're going to see in this generation. Both colleges, barely filled by seventy-odd wide-eyed and sweaty new students, will themselves matriculate with neither masters nor any real conception of college government or college tradition. Of course, Baker and Will Rice colleges will play a tremendous role as they help the Duncan and McMurtry classes of 2013 - can we call them Duncaroos and McMurtles? - establish some sort of self-governing structure. But, alas, they will be forced to do so from the outside.

The ambassadors, and especially the O-Week coordinators, will be the very first Duncan and McMurtry upperclassmen, and it will be upon their shoulders to ensure that the new colleges design most of their individual identities. The posh new college living rooms and the terrifying, straight from 2001: A Space Odyssey pod bathrooms will form a sandbox for the whims and fancies of an enthusiastic and ambitious coordinator or ambassador. Can any of us currently attending Rice, including the presidents, claim to have left as indelible a mark upon our college as that of any of these Duncan or McMurtry pioneers? The opportunity is, quite seriously, once in a lifetime.

I have had the privilege of talking to or working with many of the people involved in the preliminary operation of O-Week 2009, their vibrant enthusiasm dwarfs mine. While many students have ardently responded to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduates' call to seize the horns of the twin bulls, most of the respondents have been members of either Will Rice or Baker. I applaud these colleges wholeheartedly for their excitement, but 2009-'10 must be a unified effort across all nine colleges. Members of Hanszen, Wiess, Jones, Brown, Lovett, Sid and Martel - do you have within yourselves the courage and drive to seize the awesome opportunity dangling before you? Will you warm these new, sterile hallways with the best sentiments of your homes? Will you baptize them in Budweiser and christen them in college nights?

Will you create a new college?

Timothy Faust is a Brown College senior and Backpage editor.

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