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Thursday, September 28, 2023 — Houston, TX

Every theme, everywhere, all at once


Courtesy Robert Heeter 

By Paige Fastnow     8/29/23 11:50pm

As new students settle in after the largest Orientation Week in Rice history, it’s time to start asking the real question: Which college had the best theme? This week, the Thresher is taking a look at all 11 themes so you can decide for yourself.

Baker College: “Squishmalloweek”

Named after the trendy plushie company Squishmallows, this clever theme plays on the positive brand the marketing team has built: Squishmallows are happy and inviting, connoting a friendly environment for new students. However, while all of Baker’s O-Week groups had creative names and cute artwork, most of their puns revolve around the same three words: “squish,” “plush” and “mallow.” 

Will Rice College: “AerO-Week: Spread Your Wings”

Will Rice generally has fantastic branding, but that also gave the Will Rice coords gigantic shoes to fill. “AerO-Week: Spread Your Wings” connects to the Phoenix mascot and introduces the college well, but the title is a bit clunky. That said, AerO-Week had some of the most creative group names, like “Spotifly,” “Kite at the Museum” and “The Godfeather.” 

Hanszen College: “TotorO-Week”

TotorO-Week strikes a fine balance between recognizable, cute and unexpected. However, TotorO-Week was a great theme in spite of its pun-ability, rather than because of it. The Hanszen advisors made fantastic group names, but when a third of them had to use the same word, “Chihiro,” the theme began to show its limitations. 

Jones College: “GLO-Week”

Evoking the imagery of a Jones exit sign during one of their frequent power outages, “GLO-Week” was easily one of this year’s most hype O-Week themes. The GLO-Week Instagram page is full of flashy graphics, neon colors and lightning bolts. However, while hype, GLO-Week was not the most pun-able theme. More than half of the O-Week group puns pulled from the word, “Glow,” and while advisors were creative about it, it seemed like they had little room to work with.

Brown College: “MythO-Week: Your Legend Begins at Brown.”

Like Will Rice, the MythO-Week stretches to use an actual “O” word, but the concept stands out as one of the best. Not only does it elicit feelings of adventure and mystique, but it also led to some of the best group names of the year, including “Game of Gnomes,” “All the Single Hades” and “Loki Charms,” to name a few. 

Lovett College: “UNO-Week”

Not only is this theme a reference many new students are likely to know, it also treats O-Week as a fun, play-intensive first week on campus, which reaches the heart as to what O-Week is all about. By picking UNO-Week, the coords showed that they were not trying to blow anyone’s mind or change the game, but simply play it well. 

Sid Richardson College: “Camp Ω-Week”

If Lovett showed Rice how to do a standard O-Week theme right, Sid Richardson College showed Rice how to change the game. Referencing Percy Jackson, Camp Ω-Week separated O-Week groups into “teams” loyal to rivaling Greek and Roman deities. Although there were no puns, it made up for it with its cohesive background and identity for each O-Week group. 

Martel College: “Trader JO-Week”

As everyone knows, when Martelians chant “10 percent more,” it’s because they always give their 110% to every task they approach, especially “Trader JO-Week.” Trader Joe’s is a brand most people recognize, and its vast array of branded products allow for creative group names like “Hex-O, Hex-O, Gossip Grill” and “Everything But The Bagel, Everywhere, All At Once.” 

McMurtry College: “BistrO-Week”

Unlike Baker or Hanszen, “BistrO-Week” prioritized room for puns over specificity. While new students may not have felt the same buzz of excitement reading an email titled “Welcome to BistrO-Week” than they might from Camp Ω-Week, the group names like “McChelin Stars,” “French Onion Snoup Dogg” and “Bahn Migos” made up for any lack of energy.

Duncan College: “RetrO-Week”

Although RetrO-Week as a theme was much closer to Lovett’s approach to cohesion than Sid’s approach to originality, Duncan used this theme to reinvent its approach to hype. Between retro-themed Instagram graphics and presentations, Mario Kart and Just Dance floor mixers and a Houston night out hosted at an arcade, RetrO-Week’s boogie fever ran high. 

Wiess College: “Team Family Wiess”

For those unfamiliar, Wiess does not do O-Week like the other colleges. Instead of picking a different theme each year, Wiess approaches O-Week in what is simultaneously the most and least original way possible: by not having a theme. O-Week groups at Wiess ended up with great names like “Wiess Spice” and “Piggy Azalea,” it felt like the groups were creative in spite of the tradition, rather than because of it.

More from The Rice Thresher

FEATURES 9/26/23 11:52pm
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Whether it’s College Night, Beer Bike or just another quad event, Rice’s residential colleges often shop for some unique items. From inflatable gorillas to 188 individual Squishmallows, the Thresher took a look at some of the colleges’ silliest acquisitions.


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