You’ve probably seen them charging in your college commons, parked in the back of your lecture hall, or zooming past you on the way to a 9 a.m. class. With top speeds of around 20 mph, electric scooters can shorten trips across campus by several minutes.
Across from Valhalla, the graduate student pub, sits a small red birdhouse. It boasts a handful of books: Al Franken’s “The Truth,” Lisa Lutz’s “The Spellman Files,” texts on managerial economics and “The Maze Runner” series. This little birdhouse is in fact one of Rice’s three Little Free Libraries. Little Free Library is a Wisconsin-based nonprofit aiming to expand literacy and book accessibility through public mini-libraries, according to the organization’s website. These small, weather-resistant boxes can be found in over 100,000 locations globally.
When October comes around, students start walking around campus wearing cozy sweaters and holding hot lattes from Rice Coffeehouse. As the cold approaches, something changes within the freshman class as well: talk of midterm exams, projects and pumpkin grades begin. About midway through the fall semester each year, instructors submit midterm grades — nicknamed “pumpkin grades” because of the season — to let freshmen know how they are performing in their classes.
As life on campus returns to a semblance of normality, Housing and Dining has been making its own adjustments. The pandemic’s effects might be seen in staffing and supply, for instance. The Thresher spoke to H&D employees and students to better understand how it is currently operating.
Chris Boswell, kicker for the Pittsburgh Steelers; Erica Ogwumike, basketball player for the Nigerian national team; Nicole Mericle, professional Spartan Racer — all these athletes have put blood, sweat and tears into their sport to make it to the professional level. Now you can add Sydney, a sophomore at Sid Richardson College and new member of the Houston Rockets Clutch City Dancers, to the list.
Over the midterm recess, a few hundred Rice students had the ice skating rink at the Houston Galleria all to themselves. This wasn’t by accident, but through an event hosted by the R-ice Skating Club, which holds weekly skates for Rice community members looking for a fun social activity or an opportunity to try a new skill, according to the club’s founders Brown College freshmen Anya Gu and Imaan Patel and Martel College freshman Alice Zhou.
Throughout the past two years, crisis after crisis hit: the winter storm in February, multiple hurricanes, and of course, the ongoing pandemic. But no matter what the crisis is, one thing stays the same is that the Crisis Management Team takes on the job of getting Rice safely through it. Although the Rice community might be most familiar with their weekly COVID-19 update emails, the CMT has a host of duties to attend to.
On a Friday evening, the Old Sid Richardson College commons is mostly empty. It’s decorated with weathered grey furniture, dated Campanile yearbooks, mounted TVs playing funny cat compilations and a smattering of students across the couches. Welcome mats, potted plants and shoe racks dot the floors outside each bedroom. Right away, Old Sid is reminiscent of some homely cross between a retro high school and a corporate building.
The curated and public “rinsta” — a portmanteau of “real” and “Insta” — is maybe the most popular unofficial category of Instagram accounts. But a new type of rinsta has been brewing: Rice-related Instagram accounts. Focused on subjects from possums to bricks, these accounts show an oddly specific aspect of life on campus. The Thresher talked to the owners of three of these accounts.
When the pandemic hit, one of the first things to go was the in-person campus tour. The familiar sight of a student tour guide walking backward through the Rice Memorial Center was replaced by virtual tours. But this year, in addition to virtual tours, in-person campus tours are back — albeit not exactly the same as they used to be.
Dogs, cats, fish: these are just some of the animals that live with us on Rice campus. Coexistence alongside noisy college students, bustling student-run businesses and constant construction isn’t the typical life of a pet -- the ones that do reside here are special in this way. The Thresher met 12 pets and interviewed their humans to learn about their lives on campus.