The Rice community is eagerly anticipating a return to some kind of normal in the fall semester. Still, it’s clear that not everything will be the same as before the pandemic — but maybe for good reason. While the past year has been undeniably difficult, the Rice community can leave it with important takeaways. We asked administrators, faculty and student leaders what they have learned and what they envision for Rice when distancing, masking and virtual interactions are not the default procedures of the campus experience.
On April 13, a mild spring afternoon, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas announced they may begin emergency operations and called for energy conservation from Texans. Four hours later, ERCOT ended the appeal, but questions about Texas’s energy situation remain. Since extreme weather and an ensuing power crisis struck the state over two months ago, many media outlets, including the Thresher, have gone to Rice civil and environmental engineering professor Daniel Cohan for an expert explanation. The Thresher caught up with Cohan for a follow-up conversation.
During the month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar, Muslims fast for 30 days, eating and drinking only before sunrise and after sunset. Since the Islamic calendar is lunar-based, the month of Ramadan falls earlier every year. This year, Ramadan, which lasts from April 12 to May 12, lands in the midst of midterm season and continues through finals. The Thresher caught up with students observing Ramadan right now to find out how they’re navigating the fast during school.
Learning a second language is never easy, let alone learning a third, fourth or beyond — especially in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 20 percent of Americans can speak two or more languages — but some Rice students are up for the challenge. The Thresher spoke with four Rice students who speak four or more languages to learn their secrets for success.
Ever since Adulfo Amador, a McMurtry College senior, was a young child, he knew he wanted to attend Rice. As a native Houstonian, Amador visited campus often with his family, and when the time came, he applied early. The day he received his acceptance was a memorable one — it quite literally took his breath away.
In November 2019, the Thresher spoke to students about their mental health challenges in the wake of students speaking up about negative experiences. Over a year later, in April 2021, the Student Association passed a resolution calling for improved support for students with mental health concerns.
Throughout the ages, countless figures in history have been quoted about food — each saying something different. "Food is fuel," some say, a mere means of getting nutrients. But Josh Furman subscribes to a more complex view on the matter.
Erin Liu, a Sid Richardson College junior who is returning from China to the U.S. in late April, said she started planning her return last November due to the complicated logistics involved.
Last semester, when McMurtry College senior Joy Wang was researching the bubonic plague in medieval Spain, she started by looking for cross-century comparisons and insight into how people experienced and moved on from a pandemic. According to Wang, she found parallels between the attacks on the Jewish community during the Black Death and xenophobia and hate toward the Asian and Asian-American community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While most Rice students have written at least a handful of essays and papers, few have written entire books — and gotten them published. The Thresher spoke with four student authors about their writing and publishing processes.
“To the guy on the 2nd floor at Brown, you’re cute but I’m too scared to talk to you.” “To the hot shawty in Duncan 5th floor, u can ride me over when u do ur beer bike practice.” “To the guy who emerged from fondy wearing a blue&red flannel w Addidas sweatpants - u single?” These are just a sample of the student submissions featured on Rice Missed Connections, an Instagram account that gives students a platform to shoot their shot anonymously with other students.
Maddy Scannell first started debating her freshman year of high school, almost eight years ago. Just last month, as a member of Rice’s debate team, the Martel College senior reached the quarterfinals in the National Parliamentary Debate Association 2021 Championship Tournament.
When Edesiri Mushale was in high school, he thought he wanted to be a doctor. “My mom is a nurse and I really liked helping people,” Mushale, a McMurtry College senior, said. “I didn’t really realize how long the process [of becoming a doctor] was going to be.” However, his experiences on various robotics teams led him to change his interests. Mushale first joined the robotics team in the seventh grade; in high school, he continued with the activity and joined a larger team.