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Rice in a Box finalized

By Tina Ou     11/17/10 6:00pm

Twenty-five, 50, possibly even 100 years from now, with the help of a few boxes of memories, it will be possible to reconstruct the college experiences of Rice students. This is the goal of Rice in a Box, a Student Association initiative designed to collect the history of student experiences at Rice for each graduating class.According to SA Secretary Georgia Lagoudas, the name "Rice in a Box" is intended to be a fun representation of the project premise. She said boxes for collection of memorabilia will be placed at colleges and around campus and will later be stored in the off-campus Fondren Library storage facility. Examples of items for Rice in a Box include brochures, pamphlets, T-shirts, glassware, photos and event programs.

SA President Selim Sheikh said in addition to physical objects being stored in the climate-controlled storage site, there are plans for a digital compilation of paper items and the like.

The project is being headed by Lagoudas, a Lovett College junior, and Duncan College Senator Louise Bentsen, with help from Sheikh, Centennial Historian Melissa Kean, Professor of History John Boles and Vice President for Public Affairs Linda Thrane.



Lagoudas said a committee will be formed to manage and continue Rice in a Box. The 15-member committee will be co-chaired by Lagoudas and Bentsen and will include a vice-chair, a graduate representative and one representative from each of the 11 colleges. Lagoudas said any interested students should e-mail a letter of interest and a résumé to sapres@rice.edu by 11:59 p.m. today.

Lagoudas said her motivation behind the project for a student archive originated from her position as secretary for the SA. Originally, the project started as a way to collect history on the SA, but it expanded to involve the whole Rice campus. She said she hopes the project will be like a time capsule, compiling material that can be pulled out by students during their class reunions.

"I feel it's the responsibility of the SA to have this mechanism for bringing students together to create the student history and represent the culture of students during their time here," Lagoudas said.

Bentsen, a sophomore, said that as a history major she is interested in gathering the history of students at Rice and wants to learn more about archiving information. In addition, Rice in a Box is an opportunity for her to learn more about other colleges at Rice. She said Rice in a Box is a way to bring students together and promote unity among the colleges.

Boles (Will Rice '65), who suggested the idea of Rice in a Box, said the project is mainly a way to keep a record of student experiences at Rice in any given year. He said while the Thresher maintains records of larger events, evidence of activities such as speakers at individual colleges and small things that represent the school year do not last.

"There's always the Thresher," Kean said. "But the Thresher can't give you the feel of student life at Rice. That's what we're after. We want to give future historians a feel of the texture of student life in this era."

Boles said he is interested in the changes at Rice over time, and he hopes Rice in a Box will become a student tradition that continues into the future.

Kean said Rice in a Box will be incorporated into the Centennial Celebration, but how it will be incorporated is still undecided. She said preserving the constantly changing student life at Rice is difficult, even as administrative files and records are maintained over the years.

"Historians can't perform experiments to get new data," Kean said. "We're completely dependent on what gets preserved and left behind by people."

Sheikh, a Martel College senior, said the SA has not finalized plans for Rice in a Box yet, but he is looking to make it a sustained, long-term project. He said he wants Rice in a Box to become a tradition that will give people years into the future the opportunity to take a field trip into the past.

"As we look forward to Rice's first centennial, I am proud to say that this student initiative will be one of the first milestones in capturing the unconventional creativity and brilliance of Rice's second," Sheikh said.



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