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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 — Houston, TX

SA discusses pushing spring break forward

By Mengjia Liu     1/14/15 5:14pm

A committee of students, faculty members and staff members is creating a new calendar for Spring 2017 that pushes spring break back to align with that of the Houston Independent School District.

Currently, the Spring 2017 Academic Calendar posted on the Office of the Registrar’s website shows spring break taking place from Feb. 25 to March 5. A shorter midterm recess falls on March 30 and 31.

According to Aishwarya Thakur, the undergraduate representative of the Senate Working Group on the Spring Academic Calendar, the Faculty Senate brought up the idea of moving spring break a couple of weeks later because many faculty and staff members would prefer to be home with their children during the break.

“This is a popular topic among staff and faculty,” Thakur, also the Lovett College senator, said. “They wanted the campus to consider moving Rice’s spring break because HISD and most other Houston school districts have spring break during the first or second week of March.”

Students have shown interest in moving spring break later, Thakur, a sophomore, said. The proposal to change the academic calendar was presented at the Student Association Senate in October 2014 and has been developed since then to its current state. Three plans had been presented previously: one that maintained the same spring break and two that aligned spring break with that of HISD’s. One of the latter plans also proposed beginning the spring semester on a Tuesday and having the last day of classes on a Wednesday.

“We have heard from students in the past that they would like to be out in warmer weather or spend spring break with their friends from Houston schools and other campuses,” Thakur said.

Brown College freshman Caleb Suresh, who is from Colorado, supported the move even though his friends who are not Rice students are not from Houston.

“Most other people have their spring break later, so it would make more sense,” Suresh said.

Another Brown College freshman, Jack Weis, was also in favor of aligning the break with other colleges so he could see friends.

“Later is when more of my friends are around, Weis, who is from Utah, said. “It’s not too important to me, but I would kind of like to see my friends.”

Thakur said the committee, which will consider the calendar as a whole and look at other breaks in relation to spring break, needs to plan the calendar about two years in advance to allow professors adequate time to schedule conferences.

Although the decision to align Rice’s spring break with HISD’s spring break is final, the student body can express opinions on other aspects of the calendar at the Jan. 14 Student Association Senate meeting, according to Thakur.

“We want to know when students prefer to have midterm break because with spring break later in the semester, it makes sense to have a break in February,” Thakur said. “We will also check to see if students are okay with possibly shifting around study days before finals and with starting the semester earlier, such as in the middle of the week.”

In the upcoming weeks, the committee will present the Faculty Senate with a calendar the majority of the committee agrees on, and one the minority agrees on, according to Thakur.

“Possibly in late February, the Faculty Senate will vote on the calendar and make the ultimate decision,” Thakur said.

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