Spontaneous Combustion, Rice’s improvisational comedy group, has had one goal since 1995: make people laugh. This year, due to the pandemic, SpoCo will be bringing their humor to people’s headphones for the first time ever with their new podcast, “The Lighter Side with Spontaneous Combustion.”
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.
As life in China has started to look like it did before the pandemic and Chinese cities have relaxed social distancing rules and mask mandates, the Thresher caught up with a group of Rice’s Chinese international students who are taking online classes at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China. From navigating time differences to making new friends, students shared what it is like to study and live on a campus other than Rice.
Ghostbusters are on campus. They’re not a fictional group of men fighting supernatural beings, but a team of Housing and Dining staff led by Noel Romero, tasked with sanitizing hand-touched surface areas and performing other duties that help to stop the spread of COVID-19 around campus. The Ghostbusters team, along with many other H&D staff members, are trained to use an electrostatic sprayer, which uses a positively charged disinfectant that coats surfaces and cleans them.
In the first week of Nicole Tan’s freshman year, Hurricane Harvey arrived in Houston and devastated the city. Tan, who is from Philadelphia, said she had never experienced a natural disaster like Harvey before. “I had experience with hurricanes before, but not to this level,” Tan, a Sid Richardson College senior, said. “It was very much a bonding experience for my class.”
Most people outside of the Houston area would be surprised to see a hot dog topped with cream cheese, grilled onions, crunchy fried onions, honey mayo and curry ketchup. However, at YoYo’s Hot Dog in Rice Village, that is the norm.
When Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman first emailed the undergraduate student body back in March to announce that classes would be shifting to a remote learning format due to the unfolding pandemic, she took extra care to address the class of 2020.
In a traditional year, the socials committee at Sid Richardson College plans Sid ’80s — Sid’s annual public party. This year’s Sid ’80s would have been the last one in the original Sid building, until social gatherings went from being opportunities for fun to potential disasters.
Filled with elaborate dance routines, emotional poetry and comedy skits that elicit roars of laughter, Africayé never ceases to catch the eye of students across campus. At the helm of the organization behind this lively cultural event this year is Eden Desta, current president of the Rice African Student Association.
When Karen Martinez Perez first met Daniel Ling in person after spending countless hours talking on FaceTime, she was relieved to find that the person she had been calling every night wasn’t a catfish. But Martinez Perez was mostly shocked, she said — she did not expect the familiar face on her phone to be 6 feet, 3 inches tall, towering over her 5 feet, 5 inches of height.
This semester is unlike any other, and that may be most true for remote students, who can’t pick up Coffeehouse drinks, study at Fondren or chat with friends on the outer loop. The Thresher caught up with four remote students in different parts of the country to hear about what their experiences have been like so far –– from eating home-cooked meals to attending classes with their pets right next to them.
Any Google search of COVID-19 will bring up lists of symptoms — fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath and more — but these lists don’t always account for everything. Missing is the impact the disease has had on the mental health of people, regardless of whether they contracted the virus or not.
The enticing aroma of spicy rice cakes wafting down the street. The stark contrast of the chilly winter air. These are some of Sarah Kim’s favorite childhood memories: walking down the street near her apartment in Seoul to get rice cakes from street vendors with her parents and younger brother. The Baker College senior said her experiences living in South Korea with her family hold a special place in her heart.