Residential College Budgets

The beginning of the school year is a very exciting, vibrant time at Rice. Upperclassmen are eager to connect with the freshmen. Clubs are holding their informational meetings. The residential colleges are swinging into action. The end of the second week of class marks a particularly important milestone: the Office of the Dean of Undergraduates calculates the final membership count of each residential college.

Each college receives a fairly large budget from the Dean’s Office – think around $40,000 per year. The budget varies on the size of the college – larger colleges get more money. This budget is in the hands of each college’s elected student government to allocate. As Internal Vice President of McMurtry College, I played a role in that process this year. At McMurtry, we asked each committee for a budget worksheet indicating their planned events and expenditures. As a group, we reviewed their requests and tried our best to award each committee its full budget. The college treasurers manage the budget throughout the semester to ensure that no committees over-spend (they also are the holders of the all-important college credit cards!). We repeat this process at the beginning of the spring semester as well to allocate the second half of our budget. (To get an idea of what a college budget may look like, take a look at the McMurtry budget here.)

Running the Housing Lottery

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. This semester kept me extremely busy…glad that it’s officially come to an end! (I’m still waiting on my last two grades, but hopefully I’ll have those soon.)

One of the projects that kept me busy this semester was working with the rest of the Student Admission Council Executive Board and the Admission Office to plan Owl Days and Admit Days. This year, we expanded the Owl Days overnight program to two nights, providing even more opportunities for prospective students to interact with current students. We hope those of you that attended enjoyed your time on campus.

Outside of the Admission Office, I’ve stayed very busy in my residential college. In early February, I was elected as Internal Vice President of McMurtry College. As Internal Vice President, I was responsible for one of the largest spring functions of our college government: room draw. This included the housing lottery for my college (determining which upperclassmen would receive housing). Every college has their own policies – McMurtry gives priority to seniors and sophomores and sends rising juniors through the lottery for available spots. At Rice, many jobs normally handled by adult staff members at universities of our size are actually handled by students. This provides us with a unique opportunity to make an impact on our community. Having the housing process handled by students in each college makes the entire college transparent and allows us to write policies that will best serve the students.

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Making Permanent Improvements

At Rice, students have a large voice in many university decisions. We maintain our own governments, both at a college level and across the university. We are trusted to manage large sums of money and determine the best uses. We have all of the tools to make many changes, some bigger than others.

A little over a year ago, I joined a committee at my college looking to solve some of the problems with our quad. During construction five years ago, a significant effort was made to save the existing trees in the center of our college while a building was built around them. With parts of the building remaining unfinished when students were moving in, they did not have enough time to finish the quad and left it unleveled. We were left with a massive mud pit whenever it rained, ruining an otherwise usable space.

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Centennial Celebration: The Spectacle

This past weekend, we celebrated Rice’s 100th birthday. Among the many lectures, special events, and reunions (more on those to come later), the Spectacle was certainly on my short list of Centennial highlights (I saw it 3 times!). The Spectacle was kept extremely secretive and was described as “a sound a light show on the Academic Quad”. Rather than attempting (and failing) to describe the Spectacle to you, I’ll let you experience it (without the surround audio effects) for yourself. Enjoy the magic and experience Rice’s history, projected in 270º onto Herzstein Hall, Lovett Hall, and Sewall Hall.

The Secret to Problem Set Success

I hate to break it to you, but college classes are harder than high school. Your homework isn’t nearly as simple as it was before and the assigned readings just keep coming. All of this work must be somewhat overwhelming. As a high school student, you may wonder how you will possibly manage it all. As a Rice sophomore, I still occasionally wonder how to balance all of my work with my extracurricular activities. The collaborative academic environment makes it all possible.

As an engineering student, I am assigned weekly problem sets in many of my courses. You may have heard of the infamous problem set by now…difficult problems that you simply can’t manage to solve on your own. Terrible, right? Well, not really….not when you are allowed and encouraged to collaborate with your friends.
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Dinner at the Master’s House

During my tours of campus, I’ve noticed that many prospective students (well, mostly their parents) are surprised that the serveries are closed for dinner on Saturdays. What on earth do Rice students do for dinner when they can’t just use their lovely all-you-can-eat meal plan? Most of my friends headed out to dinner…pretty much to any type of restaurant imaginable. I, however, didn’t leave campus this past Saturday. Instead, I just walked downstairs and rang the doorbell of my residential college master’s house.

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