I got to breathe the same air as Joe Biden!

At Rice, you know something’s really big when you hear about it from not only all of your friends, but also secretaries, multiple Facebook pages, and a certifiable metric ton of emails.

Granted, Biden isn’t your average Joe.

As part of the Baker Institute’s Medicine, Research and Society Policy Issues series, the Vice President of the U.S. was invited to speak at Rice last Friday about the White House Cancer Moonshot Initiative.¬†This once in a lifetime opportunity had me ready to get in line. The ticket prices did too: as a Rice student, I didn’t have to pay a thing to attend! In my book, free tickets to see the VPOTUS talk = win.

joe-biden

Note the word free: every college student’s dream.

On the day of, I discovered that this equation seemed to hold true for the rest of Rice, too:

biden-audience

Tudor Fieldhouse packed to the seams!

The line to get in to the Tudor Fieldhouse (a huge auditorium used for assemblies, the career fair, basketball games, and more) blocked up a good length of sidewalk along the inner loop, but somehow everyone managed to squeeze in like the family we are.

As Biden entered, we rose to the occasion by giving him a couple of standing ovations. Many rounds of applause followed as he related his own experiences with cancer (his son, Beau Biden, died just last year from cancer at 46) and his own vision for the initiative.

As a freshman, this talk brought me to a realization. Sharing “unconventional wisdom” is the norm at Rice. Whether it’s the talk of a single politician or the results of a flotilla of doctors and researchers, you have¬†access to the pulse of the world. People of all sorts come to speak and interact with us: the next generation of movers, shakers, and world changers.

At the intersection of so many brilliant minds, what can’t we accomplish together?

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