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Friday, February 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

Letter to the Editor: Thanks to students who brought warmth to line for vaccines

2/23/21 9:13pm

I wanted to write a quick note of thanks to the Rice students who braved the coldest day in Houston in over 30 years to bring people waiting in line for a vaccine on Feb. 15 hot water, hot chocolate and snacks.

I don’t know if those students received a (miraculous, lucky, surprise) vaccine — I hope they did. In any case, it was such a warm (literally) reminder for myself how generous and kind the Rice community is. 

I stood in line with my mom, a Rice professor, for two and a half hours, with no certainty about whether or not my mother would actually receive care. It was 18 degrees with a windchill that made it feel like nine. It was bleak and it was hopeful: imagine telling my grandparents we nabbed my mom a vaccine on the first real snow day we’ve experienced in 24 years of living in Houston. 



My mom made a joke about the opportunity for an enterprising student to make a few bucks selling coffee. A few minutes later, someone came around with a box full of snacks. That was fast, I thought. But then more and more students came by, giving up what I’d imagined would be the rarest Houston snow day spent napping and watching “Gilmore Girls” reruns to pace the 1,000+ person line offering snacks and hot drinks. One student gave me a banana muffin. Another brought around tissues and fresh masks. One handed out hot cocoa that she had mixed herself. Then a trio came around with a whole sleeve of insulated cups and a hot water carafe, followed by another person with a trough to take away trash. When we were within yards of the gym’s entrance, I took a box of Golden Grahams (which I certainly haven’t eaten since I was seven) from a bin that I think I saw Lovett College Magister Mike Gustin bring over with a few students (if it was you, hi Mike!) to stress eat for the final crawl. While the vaccines ran out before us, it was one of the few times in the last year where I felt part of a community of people, generously helping each other persevere and hold on to the hope that what we all want and need so badly is within reach if we stick it out together. It was also just really nice. You reminded me that there are good humans — strangers — who will cheer you on when you need it. 

Thank you.

Emily Nichol

Wiess College ’13



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