Lighthearted chatter used to drift from booths filled with lush, leafy greens and fresh baked bread offered by local vendors at the Rice University Farmers Market. But what was once a mainstay on campus faced a screeching halt when COVID-19 cases started to appear in Houston. Now, the only visible remnant of the market is a street sign pointing out where the market once was.
The tower that used to house the Sid Richardson College community is quiet these days: hallways are bare and most floors are vacant. The only people living there are a handful of students from across the residential colleges, and they mostly keep to their rooms.
If you ask Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby whether he's busy, he's likely to laugh it off. "Sherry makes me seem busy," he told me during our interview. And yet Sherry Ziegner, Kirby’s assistant, may well be right.
A gap semester was always part of the plan for Neil Chopra, the Lovett College sophomore said, but he had previously planned on taking it later in college. Then, the pandemic cast its long shadow over the fall semester, and Chopra decided it was the ideal time to take a break.
What initially attracted Richard Kim to leading the Sid Richardson College kitchen was the small, tight-knit community surrounding it. “I liked the idea of a smaller kitchen where I would be able to interact more with the students and get direct feedback about the meals we produce,” Kim said. “It has been a meaningful experience to be part of the Sid community, and the smaller kitchen has allowed us to experiment with different action stations to make it more fun for Sidizens.”
Indya Porter was in her high school Spanish class when she learned that she had received a four-year, full-ride scholarship to Rice. She had not told anyone that she had even applied to Rice, not expecting that anyone would have heard of it in Chino Hills, California, where she grew up.
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.
Over the summer, face masks became the hottest accessory — and a required safety measure, depending on where you live. Along with the COVID-19 pandemic, this summer was filled with protests that swept across the country against anti-Black racism and police brutality. While she was at home this summer, Sid Richardson College senior Tina Liu found a way to aid both causes.
The moment Shirley* decided that she wanted to attend Rice was during an event hosted by Christian club Chi Alpha at Owl Days in 2019. The event was an ice cream social and “large group” gathering — Rice Chi Alpha’s weekly event where members sing worship songs and their pastor, Josh Bell, goes over a message from the Bible.
Filled with exotic plants, mouth-watering vegetables and natural ecosystems, the Houston Botanic Garden, which opened to the public last month after years of construction, is dedicated to cultivating, preserving and displaying a diverse collection of plants from around the world and from the local environment. Less than 15 minutes from Rice University by car, the botanical garden is the city’s first. And at the helm of the project is Claudia Gee Vassar, president and general counsel of the Houston Botanic Garden — and a Rice University class of 1999 alumna.