Click here for updates on the evolving COVID-19 situation at Rice
Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Thursday, June 24, 2021 — Houston, TX 94°

Sidizens prepare for move-in to new Sid in the spring

Apple Li/Thresher

By Talha Arif     11/10/20 11:25pm

Sidizens are preparing for move-in to the new Sid Richardson College building for the spring semester by participating in room draw and parking jack and using PODS located at various residential colleges in the coming weeks.

On-campus Sidizens lived this semester at Brown College, Duncan College, Martel College, McMurtry College and Wiess College, according to Sid President Nia Prince.

Sid Magister Michel Achard said the biggest challenge will be organizing the move for all Sidizens who are currently housed in different colleges as well as off campus.

“We were told that the building should be finished for the first day of school next semester,” Achard said. “In case of delay, different levels of priority have been given to the different areas of the building so that the building can be fully completed and regular college operations can be carried out without any problems.”

Prince said at a college meeting on Nov. 2 that Sidizens should not move back on campus if they are not comfortable with spring COVID-19 guidelines being similar to the fall.

“If you are thinking about new Sid for next semester, and you do not like the guidelines that are currently on campus, and you’re not comfortable with the COVID-19 restrictions and that kind of lifestyle, you’re probably not going to enjoy it and you really should not move into this situation,” Prince, a senior, said.

PODS will be provided for on-campus Sidizens and off-campus Sidizens who are moving into new Sid, and students will not have to pay to use them, according to Sid Vice President Sarah Mozden. Mozden said Sidizens who are staying on campus over winter break will be able to stay in whichever college they are currently in and move into new Sid after the break. 

David McDonald, senior business director for Housing and Dining, said H&D has added serving and production capacity at Seibel Servery in anticipation of a third college being added to the servery.

“These upgrades will definitely handle the slight increase in numbers when new Sid opens, since we are nowhere near normal capacity during the pandemic,” McDonald said. “For the spring semester, we are waiting to hear from the colleges about student intentions to live on campus … once we know how many students are attending in the spring, we will have a better idea of how to manage the capacity.”

For room draw, Sidizens can request a “bucket” group of up to six other students to select rooms with at the same time, according to Sid Vice President Nyla Vela. In this system, up to three roommate pairs can sign up to choose their new rooms together, though it does not guarantee that everyone in a “bucket” will get placed on the same floor.

“So that gives you a higher chance of getting the same floor in the interest of keeping your friends on the same floor so you could see them during these times,” Vela, a junior, said.

Mozden said at the meeting there will be set freshmen rooms assigned to each floor, with floors having half freshmen and half upperclassmen.

“This will allow [freshmen] to kind of just branch out and hopefully get a little bit more of a mentorship relationship with other Sidizens … because that is something that Sid has always valued in the past, making sure freshmen are allowed to mingle with other upperclassmen,” Mozden, a junior, said.

Mozden said sixth floor of new Sid will be the designated quarantine floor for Sidizens who are not positive for COVID-19 but may need to quarantine, because it is the lowest small residential floor. 

“[Quarantining] students can take the staircase rather than the elevators because we’re not allowing quarantining students on the elevator, for safety reasons,” Mozden said. “So it allows them to have their own staircase, where they don’t have to travel up 13 flights of stairs.”

Vela said planning for room draw is difficult because there is still a lot of uncertainty among students.

“It’s really hard for students to come to us and say, ‘I am definitely going to live on campus next semester’ because we really just don’t know the state of the nation, and also the state of people’s individual lives,” Vela said. 

Mozden said their biggest priority is moving in students safely.

“We don’t want any of our students feeling pressured to make a decision and we want to make sure that we move them in as safely as we possibly can,” Mozden said. “I was an [Orientation] Week coordinator [this year] and it was already pretty tough to move in our freshmen safely then.”

Priyanka Velappan, another O-Week coordinator at Sid this year, said if any of the remote new students ask for help in finding a roommate, the coordinators would be more than happy to help them find a pair. Velappan, who was remote this semester but hopes to move into new Sid in the spring, said she is excited to have the Sid community back together again.

“This semester has been a bit of diaspora for everyone at Sid, but it will definitely be nice to be back in our own space and reunite,” Velappan, a junior, said. “I think it’ll especially be great for new students who haven’t been able to experience Sid culture in its full capacity quite yet, and hopefully we’ll also have additional resources and technology to continue to include students who will be remote throughout next semester as well.”

More from The Rice Thresher

NEWS 5/29/21 8:47am
Rice announces student vaccine requirement for fall semester

All members of the Rice community are expected to return in person for the fall and all students who come to campus are expected to be fully vaccinated before the fall semester, President David Leebron announced in an email Friday. Students who receive a medical or religious waiver must continue to test weekly and wear a mask indoors, according to the email.

NEWS 5/27/21 8:27am
Leebron to step down in 2022, reflects on past years

President David Leebron announced that he will be stepping down from his role after this coming academic year on June 30, 2022 in an email to the Rice community Tuesday morning. Next year will mark Leebron’s 18th year as president after taking on the position in 2004. 


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.