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For the students still staying in the south colleges, one noise rises above the rest: the sounds of construction on the new Sid Richardson College building. Although most major buildings on campus have been closed, all construction projects on campus have continued due to their continued classification as “essential” under Houston’s stay-at-home order.
For the less than 10 percent of the undergraduate population remaining on campus past March 25, campus life in the midst of the pandemic comes with changes to their living spaces, daily routines and the overall atmosphere of the campus.
For our lovely readers, you may know that “The Weekly Scene” is a regular fixture of the Thresher’s print A&E section that promotes local arts events both on campus and throughout Houston every week. However, due to campus and citywide restrictions on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 outbreak and our subsequent inability to print issues for the remainder of the semester, the Weekly Scene is sadly obsolete at the moment. Thus, to fill the gap in my heart left by my beloved little column, I’d like to present the Weekly Screen: a short list of TV, movies and videos to check out from the socially-distanced comfort of your home.
Without a word or warning, elusive singer-songwriter Frank Ocean resurfaced from his sea of isolation this past Friday with the release of two new tracks, “Dear April” and “Cayendo.” Both intimate ballads stripped of rich instrumentation and centered around Ocean’s emotional vocals, the two tracks popped up out of the blue on Ocean’s website in October 2019 in the form of preorder vinyls which just shipped out last week, coinciding with the songs’ digital release.
After recently celebrating the restoration of its original call sign letters last fall, KTRU has entered yet another new chapter in its vibrant history: completely remote operations. Rather than surrendering the airwaves to Robo — the station’s “robot” automated system which plays prerecorded music and announcements on loop — the DJs of Rice Radio have found a way to preserve the human touch that makes KTRU a destination for eclectic music lovers across Houston and beyond.
Virtually every traditional movie theater across the country has closed indefinitely by now, which has thrown a wrench into several upcoming movie releases, including highly anticipated blockbusters like Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” and Disney’s live action remake of “Mulan.” Box Office Mojo says U.S. movie theatres have grossed only $5,000 in each of the past two weeks on average, several orders of magnitude less than this time last year. Films that were scheduled to come out this spring and summer have been pushed back several months, and for those which have not, expect them to be delayed soon. Here are the major delays grouped by production company:
Alyson Riley and Leah Kanihan met a little over a year ago and started dating right after they got back from summer break in fall 2019. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 this spring, they have had to suddenly transition into a long distance relationship, like many other couples at Rice.
As we all exist in isolation from one another, it can be grounding to take a moment to reflect on where we are and how we're doing, and hear the same from others. With that in mind, the Thresher asked for brief stories from the Rice community about what living in social isolation has been like. Here’s what people told us:
Best Song: The entire album
Rice’s budding student-run arts magazine ASTR* will release its second issue online as a result of the campus shutdown. Its editors talk about thriving on chaos and collaboration, and how the current situation has influenced the production of their magazine.
March Madness brackets are a familiar sight — 64 teams face off, with one team crowned the winner. But a bracket created by an informal group of Rice students showcases a different competition: a showdown between 64 of pop artist Taylor Swift’s best songs.
Editor’s Note: The identities of some students and sources mentioned in this story have been removed to protect them from possible backlash. Anonymous students who are referenced multiple times were given false names marked with an asterisk. Any questions about our anonymity policy and sourcing should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rice will offer temporary housing for medical personnel who work in nearby Texas Medical Center hospitals at Wiess and Hanszen Colleges and relocate students currently living there, according to an announcement from President David Leebron on Sunday afternoon.
Rice announced that it is implementing a staff hiring freeze effective immediately, according to an email sent to division leads and administrators on Wednesday night. The email, which was obtained by the Thresher, also said that there will be no pay raises for staff for fiscal year 2021.
Restaurants across Houston have suffered reductions in revenue, some over 50 percent, after Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo suspended dine-in service in the county in an order on March 17 as a response to increased concerns about COVID-19 in Houston.
This infographic was paid for by Rice Program Council in place of a physical advertisement insert.
With half of the semester suddenly cut short and students now in isolation, methods of self-expression through clothing are limited to a tiny Zoom screen. We asked fashionistas and planners alike to send us their missed-fits — missed opportunities to wear an outfit this semester. All photos submitted by students and designed by Christina Tan unless otherwise noted.
On a sunny Friday afternoon, hundreds of seniors took their highly anticipated walk through the Sallyport, which traditionally marks graduation and the end of their time at Rice. But the date was March 13, 65 days earlier than expected. In a blend of spirits that can best be described as bittersweet, seniors from each of the 11 colleges walked through the Sallyport into a crowd as members of the Marching Owl Band played music.
When we ran for our Student Association executive team positions and defined our platforms, we did not anticipate the arrival of COVID-19. Due to these unusual circumstances, we as members of the executive team have been rapidly thrust into our roles. We have relayed student concerns to administrators and have made an effort to amplify student voices as much as possible. We have been strategizing how we can best communicate with all of the Rice community during the coming weeks as we resume our virtual classwork. But throughout it all, one question has remained on our minds: How can we establish and maintain an intimate, engaging Rice culture and connection while members of the Rice community are so physically distant from each other?