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Summarizing a Rice experience in one article can hardly do four years at our university justice. Where to begin? As a senior, it's a nostalgic and difficult exercise to capture just what this undergraduate experience has meant. Whether we are graduating, have already or will be in the near future, we share a common experience that most of us can undeniably agree has changed us and will mark our futures as we leave the hedges.
Upon starting at Rice, some of us were told that we would "learn as much outside of the classroom as inside, if not more."
If you had the choice, would you want to wake up an hour earlier? I'm guessing that for most of us, the answer to that question is "no" and wouldn't be any different on Beer Bike. Regardless, Beer Bike coordinators are proposing a 9 a.m. start time to the water balloon fight in an effort to allow sufficient time for the two stops of the water balloon fight before the start of the alumni race. As an added incentive for increased race attendance, they are suggesting the colleges bring kegs to the track to increase participation and involvement. While increased focus on the "bike" aspect of our legendary event is a positive ambition, moving the schedule up is not the solution. This proposal fundamentally changes Beer Bike for participants and detracts from the greatness of this grand tradition.
Who knew Rice's Internet student services needed to be improved? It turns out, most of us are painfully aware of this fact every day. Faced with the necessary tasks of checking email, registering for classes or checking on our homework, most Rice students access the Internet on an hourly basis. Computers and the Internet have become a fundamental part of our daily lives and our academic experience. From the Common Application to applying for graduation, our time at Rice consists of a significant online component. While our university has made significant strides in many domains over the past few years, through new buildings, initiatives and research discoveries, it feels as though we have seriously stagnated in terms of our Information Technology. While we may be attending Rice in the year 2012, core online elements of our educational experience remain behind the times.
"Ugh, servery food is disgusting today." "I'm so tired of eating in the servery." "I just can't eat this anymore, let's go off campus." These comments about our on-campus dining, among many others, are much too frequently overheard at Rice, whether it is lunch time on Saturday or at dinner on Tuesday. Many students, myself included, often voice their dissatisfaction with what Rice Dining has to offer in the serveries.
Ah, the start of a new semester! With new notebooks in hand and the determination to make this a great semester, our student body attends its first week of classes. While "syllabus week" is one of the most enjoyable weeks of the semester, with the opportunity to shop for classes and limited homework, it does bring along one annoyance: buying textbooks. After most of us have finally decided which classes we will attend, or at least stay enrolled in, it comes the time to dive into the frustrating process of buying the required materials for our next semester of learning.
Many Rice students from outside the Southern United States can attest to the fact that our university is not exactly the most well-known or prestigious school on the coasts. Indeed, when telling someone from Massachusetts or Oregon about Rice, you are likely to be asked whether it's a small liberal arts school or to receive a blank stare. While there are some who have heard of Rice and a few who know what a great institution it really is, the fact of the matter is that our eventual alma mater simply does not carry the same weight as schools such as Stanford or the supposed Holy Grail known as Harvard. Here's a thought though: so what?
You'd be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't enjoy a good picnic. The idea of sitting outside and enjoying the nice weather, good company and a tasty meal has a particularly timeless and idyllic feel to it. These aspects of picnics and the bonding that they engender have led the university to pursue many of these events on various occasions throughout the year, from O-Week to Willy Week and other, more random times in between. While the intent is good and the idea behind the picnics is a great one, a growing number of students do not seem to enjoy the picnics as much as one would think. In fact, some students downright avoid them in favor of off-campus alternatives.
What could possibly be changed about the day most Rice University students and alumni agree is the best day of the year? With pre-sunrise musical wake-ups, delicious food, drink aplenty, and supposedly the world's largest water balloon fight, Beer Bike is as close to perfect as any college event could be. Or is it?
Every year around this time, a banner appears on Wikipedia's page, usually reading something along the lines of "A message from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales." Over the past four or five years, I have clicked on it, read Wales' appeals to donate to Wikipedia and then proceeded to look up my information without giving it a second thought. I can imagine others have done the same and I hope that this year, we will change our ways and not simply ignore Jimmy's request. Being asked for money from fundraisers can often be uncomfortable and sometimes even downright annoying. It often feels like you're being accosted or that people are relying on guilt in order for you to support their cause. In Wikipedia's case, however, guilt or pity are not the feelings that entice me to donate.
Information sessions, application deadlines and the career fair: It's that time again. As recruiters and job opportunities continue to arrive on campus, from listservs to the Huff House, anxious seniors, hopeful juniors and enthusiastic sophomores prepare for interview season. While students' main job focus may be on the industry, the payment or the job description, another criterion that is often overlooked might be just as important: The employer's code of conduct. While applicants have sometimes spent their undergraduate experience working toward a particular job, they often forget that they should be just as demanding of the employer as the employer is of them.Finding the perfect job seems like an impossible task. How is one supposed to find a professional position that suits one's interests, pays well, is within a good company, provides benefits and aligns with one's objectives? Many times, this combination is an ideal that cannot be found right away and one aspect of the job must be sacrificed. When looking for a job this year, Rice students will hopefully not overlook a crucial point: the employer's ethics. Oftentimes, myself included, students do not take enough time to truly know the position they are applying for. While they might know what the job is about, they sometimes forget to be as analytical when considering the employer.
Over the past few years, Rice appears to have made a serious attempt to clean up its environmental impact. Mindful of its sustainability grade on the Green Report Card, which, according to the Sustainable Endowments Institute, tanked at a C- back in 2007, the university has seen its performance rise steadily above average to a B in 2010. Since Rice has come such a long way in such a short period of time, one may be tempted to assume the university is excelling in its environmental endeavors. The new college buildings, designed and constructed to meet higher standards of sustainability and environmental friendliness, embody these "green" ambitions. However, Rice's total energy costs continue to rise, with no apparent end in sight.