Spring Break at Rice

Spring has finally arrived to the city of Houston. After a rather cold and dreary winter, at least by Texas standards, the sun has finally decided to show its brilliant face. Through the stress of midterms and problem sets, we as a school have collectively survived. This has created bonds between each and every single one of us that are extremely difficult to break. And yes, I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no, not the covalent kinds. Within the eyes of each student, a subtle emotion of excitement exists. The academic year is coming to an end, summer is steadily approaching, and Beer Bike is only weeks away. All is good and all is right at Rice. As these positive thoughts fill our minds, another one begins to form. One that comes at a slow yet sure realization: “What am I going to do for Spring Break?”. The short answer is: there is tons to do both inside and outside of Houston during our break! Of course, I must acknowledge and respect the desire to stay indoors and simply relax for break. Afterall, allergy season is at full force. However, going out and exploring Houston and surrounding areas is a fun activity to do with the amazing individuals you meet at Rice. Here are my top three of the many things you can do during Spring Break:

Houston Rodeo

The Houston Rodeo is both a major fair of the city and the largest livestock exhibition of the world. It runs from the 25th of February to the 17th of March. Between then, be ready to experience near daily artist performances at the NRG stadium located about a 15 minute train-ride or 10 minute car-ride away from Rice. The NRG stadium sits around 70,000  people and can often host major performers like Cardi B and George Strait. This year, Rice’s Passport to Houston program offered free tickets for the Panic! At the Disco concert to selected Rice students.

Houston Rodeo

Visiting Hermann Park

Located a block from Rice, Hermann Park is a perfect place to escape the bustling city life of Houston. If you want to see even more trees and vegetation, this place is perfect for you. Dotted with sculptures and other art, Hermann Park is a 445 acre stretch of well gardened land surrounded by museums, golf courses, and a zoo. Inside the park, you will be able to find the Japanese Tea Gardens of Houston, the Miller Outdoor Theatre perfect for weekend performances, and the McGovern Centennial Gardens.

McGovern Centennial Gardens

Texas Road-trip with Friends

If you have the time, energy, and an amazing group of friends (which I’m sure you’ll make when in Rice), leaving Houston and traveling to cities like San Antonio and Dallas is a perfect week-long getaway that allows students to experience more of the proudly proclaimed “yee-haw” state. Bus companies like Greyhound and Megabus are able to offer cheap alternatives to cars for traveling to these places.

Tower of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas

 

A Homage to the Trees of Rice

As you may have known, Rice has a beautiful campus filled with memorable artistic structures and unique, Byzantine-styled buildings. However, when most visitors arrive on campus, this structural beauty is quickly overshadowed by the bountiful greenery that lies within the university grounds. A greenery that has allowed Rice to seamlessly become an acclaimed arboretum even while being located within the fourth largest city in the nation. Strikingly, it’s even been said that the number of trees on campus outnumber the entire undergraduate student population at Rice! This takes the designated “Tree Campus USA” title we got back in 2017 to an entirely different level.

As a student, I appreciate the almost ethereal sense of nature that the trees provide me with. They give shade to offset the sun’s heat in the summer months, a place for students to be able to relax or study, and, more importantly, they provide a home for Rice’s smaller residents: the squirrels. Each wooded path you may encounter portrays a different side of Rice—one which reminds you of your humanity and clears your mind from the transitory things in life that may be experienced. At around every corner, you will undoubtedly be greeted by one of over 4,300 trees on campus, each of which contain their own history by acting as symbols of significance and longevity.

As a tree lover, I really enjoy to simply be lost in the presence of trees. Whether this be achieved by either leaning against a tree-trunk while enjoying a good book next to Fondren Library or by jamming out to a Beyoncé song under the canopy of my favorite tree near Brochstein Pavilion is up to the mood I feel or want to feel. This ambiguity allows each tree to represent something different for each individual. It allows students to create their own atmosphere and to be able recognize trees as integral constituents of Rice’s culture of wellbeing.

A morning at ease.