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Baker College sophomore Lily Sethre-Brink’s grandfather was named Willis, but she called him Grandpa Will. He was stern but witty, she said, and they would always make blueberry pie together. He did a mean Cookie Monster impression, and when Sethre-Brink was a little kid, she would pretend to fall asleep in his lap so that she could stay in his arms longer. And he always loved to hear her sing.
The past few weeks have been marked by harrowing anniversaries. Feb. 29 marked one year since Rice Crisis Management alerted the Rice community that a staff member had possibly been exposed to COVID-19 during overseas travel. March 3 was the anniversary of Rice canceling international travel over spring break and suspending all other foreign travel, and March 8 marked a year since classes, Beer Bike and other major events were initially canceled. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic.
It’s been a turbulent week. On Monday morning, a power outage caused a Harris County freezer containing thousands of vaccines to break, and hundreds of Rice community members dashed on campus and to Houston Methodist Hospital to receive the unfrozen vaccines. The power outages kept coming, hitting large swaths of Texas as unusually frigid temperatures swept across the state and devastated communities. By Friday, most households had their power and water restored, although Harris County is still under a boil water advisory.
Last August, as students were bracing for their first full semester in the pandemic, the Thresher brought you a roundup of nine outdoor destinations perfect for a life defined by social distancing. Five months later, with the spring semester unfolding and social distancing measures very much still in place, we’re back with more. Close your laptop, grab your mask and check out these five outdoor spaces in Houston — your brain will thank you.
The beginning of a semester can get costly. There’s the gas or the plane ticket it takes to get to campus. Sometimes there’s moving, which can mean lease application fees, security deposits, furnishing and more gas. Then there’s the cost of textbooks, school supplies, technology, granola bars, coffee and anything else that students need to get through the semester. These costs — and the immense barriers they can pose to some students — aren’t always talked about.
This weekend, the pandemic didn’t stop Rice students from safely celebrating Halloween. We asked and you delivered — here are some of this weekend’s best costumes.
Two days after the early voting period started in Texas on Oct. 13, Katimah Harper got in a car with her boyfriend and drove down the street to NRG Stadium. They pulled up behind a line of cars and waited for about 10 minutes, then pulled into a tent, where a poll worker checked their IDs and gave them a tablet to fill out their ballots for the 2020 general election.
A spooky movie list? In this economy? Though I doubt that anything on this list will scare you more than the horror movie we are currently living through (an exquisite mélange of “Contagion,” “Get Out” and select episodes of “Black Mirror”), these films might get your heart racing just enough to temporarily subdue your existential dread.
To kick off her Zoom meeting on a Tuesday afternoon earlier this month, Elizabeth Slator turned her camera off. It’s not how most hosts get their Zoom meetings started at Rice, but then again, this was not the usual virtual lecture, office hours or club meeting.
On a sweltering day in August, groups of students across campus braced themselves for the daunting task ahead of them: spending hours helping new students move into their dorms. Move-in day kicks off Orientation Week every year, and nearly all Rice students are familiar with the ritual of sweaty, beaming advisors running back and forth with labeled cardboard boxes as incoming students start exploring their new home.
Every time Anna Margaret Clyburn gets a Slack notification, her computer plays the monotone sound of a British woman saying “hummus.” It’s fitting — Clyburn, a senior at Martel College, is a vegan, and gets very excited about hummus, as well as sweet potatoes and peanut butter. She enjoys eating the latter two together after coating the sweet potatoes in ginger, cayenne pepper, curry powder, cinnamon and salt, then baking them for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees F.
The Founder’s Memorial, more often referred to as Willy’s Statue, is having a moment right now — and not a good one. Almost 3,000 people, including many current students and recent alumni, have signed a petition to remove the statue, on the basis of Rice having upheld the institution of slavery in various ways throughout his lifetime, including by enslaving at least 15 people.
Last month, a group of Black students published a list of demands for the administration to “address the systemic oppression and inequity that is embedded within Rice’s history by acknowledging and amplifying voices, experiences and communities that have historically been unheard.” One of the six demands is to remove Founder’s Memorial, the statue of William Marsh Rice found in the Academic Quad, on the basis of Rice’s enslavement of 15 people and involvement in the cotton trade. This demand received particular attention with “Down With Willy,” a student-led social media campaign to demand the administration remove the statue.
Content warning: This article references anti-Black violence and police brutality.
Jaylen Carr grew up playing Nintendo video games — “If it had the Nintendo seal, I probably played it at some point,” he said — and loving everything about the multinational Japanese electronics and video game company. So when he received an internship offer from the Nintendo human resources department in the spring of his sophomore year, Carr said it felt like his stars had aligned.
For the first time since our university’s founding in 1912, all instruction is taking place remotely and virtually. For the second time since our founding in 1916, the Thresher has stopped printing physical papers (the first break was during World War I, according to our records) and for the first time has transitioned to emailing a weekly online newsletter (which you can and should subscribe to here). And for the first time in its 64-year history, Beer Bike did not happen.
Over 10,000 miles from Houston, off the coast of the Maldives, reef manta rays are in their peak season: Every March and April, the massive sea animals aggregate in large numbers in the water surrounding the small South Asian island nation.
As an extremely extroverted humanities major enrolled in exclusively discussion-based courses, I’m ... ah ... slightly freaking out. How will the exciting, fascinating classroom conversations I had throughout the semester continue to engage me from my laptop? How will the apartment I grew up in become an office for three remote workers, and remain a place for us to hang out at the end of the day? How will I retain my sanity without the countless interactions I have throughout my days at Rice — walking in and out of classes, eating in serveries, working at Coffeehouse and randomly bumping into people? And how do I keep anxiety and depression at bay?
First, it was an office. Then it transformed into Matchbox Gallery, a 1,600-square-foot gallery nestled into the Sewall Hall courtyard. The space was the only student-run art gallery at Rice, overseen by the visual and dramatic arts department. In 2018, after a decade that saw numerous exhibitions, renovations and leadership changes, Matchbox rebranded as Inferno. During the 2018 - 2019 school year, Inferno hosted six exhibitions and evening gallery openings that featured music, wine and a delectable array of snacks from Trader Joe’s.