Duncan’s Quad Culture

One of the most unique aspects about Rice is our residential college system. Rice has eleven different residential colleges that students are a member of for their entire time here at Rice! Each college has different traditions, public parties, and cultures. One of my favorite aspects about my residential college (Duncan College) is our quad culture.

One of the many events that takes place in our lovely quad is Friday in the Quad. At FITQ, there is a ton of awesome activities, catered food (like from Torchy’s Tacos), and people. Furthermore, each FITQ has a different theme, ranging from Families Weekend FITQ to Petting Zoo FITQ. At our Families Weekend FITQ, we had pumpkin carving, Boba, and a photo booth. Meanwhile, at our Petting Zoo FITQ, we had mug decorating, a make-your-own smoothie bar, and, of course, a petting zoo! Overall, FITQ is a wonderful way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of our busy academic lives, to bask in the beautiful and sunny weather that we have here in Houston, and to form new friendships with fellow Duncaroos.

Another awesome activity that we have in our quad is College Night. College Night is yet another day full of fun! At our most recent College Night, we had a huge water slide, a Velcro wall, a spikeball tournament with our friendly rival McMurtry, and our own unique Snapchat filter, as well as a TON of awesome food, ranging from Cane’s to Domino’s. College Night was a great way to hang out with my fellow Duncaroos and to take a break from the books.

Located right next to our quad, we have our DuncTank, which serves as a central element of our college’s culture. You’ll often see Duncaroos sitting and studying around the DuncTank and dipping their feet in the DuncTank to cool off on Houston’s hot and humid days. You may also see a group of Duncaroos carrying one of their friends and putting them in the DuncTank. While this may sound a bit crazy, this is just another one of Duncan’s traditions! On a Duncaroo’s birthday, they may opt to get dunked in the DuncTank by their friends. All in all, Duncan’s quad serves as a place for students to eat, study, have fun, and relax!

Free T-Shirt Complex

The more time you spend at Rice, the more free T-shirts you accumulate. Although they may mostly be blue and gray, your rainbow of T-shirts will show a good idea of your time spent here, and at the end of your four years, they will be able to tell you what is important to you. Though you are allowed to keep all 65 shirts you will have accumulated, most likely you won’t actually do so. There will be one pile that goes to the clothing donation box that Rice has at the end of each year, 20 that go to a loved one to be made into a T-Shirt Quilt, and the three that you will wear proudly until the end of time. These 23 T-shirts will show you your best memories, and everyone’s quilt is filled with different T-shirts.

Welcome Back Day T-shirts

This is the most popular T-shirt at Rice. At the festival put on by the Rice Program Council the day before classes start each year, this T-shirt is handed out to the vast majority of students on campus. This also means that you will not be able to escape this shirt. Someone will be wearing it every single day of the next however many years you have left. However, no matter how tired of this shirt you become, you will feel attached to it. This shirt is a physical common bond between you and every other student on campus. This shirt is where it all started (and this shirt is also served with incredible food at the festival). You will have a glimpse of nostalgia in your eye as you give this t-shirt up for donation, because although it carries memories, the memories that you make over your time at Rice have forged stronger bonds than any shirt ever could.


The T-shirt that will never be its original color

This T-shirt will probably be worn the least out of the T-shirts on your quilt. It was worn once, you had a crazy-messy-fun time, and it is now gross. You can wash it as many times as you want to, but not even the strongest of Tide-Pods will clean away the laughter that appears as a stain the size of the entire shirt. This shirt will statistically happen at Lovett College, who takes it upon themselves to host a Paint or Foam Party every year in the fall, and turn the campus-wide water balloon fight into a mud wrestling pit in the spring. Even though you may be scared to put it back on your body, it sure does look great in a quilt.


The Job Fair T-shirts

Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do. You see that soft, 100% cotton light blue tee and you muster up the guts to talk to a company you have no interest in because you WILL earn that shirt. There is no judgment, we’ve all been there, and most likely more than once. However, this shirt will never last. You’ll collect more career shirts at info sessions and through internships, displaying pride for your current company a few months at a time. But at that eighth career fair senior year, you aren’t going to muster anything up for a T-shirt, because you aren’t going to be at the Career Fair at all. You’ll be in your room, wearing one of the 3 T-shirts that you can’t bear to let go; because printed across the front is the name of the company you’ve always wanted to work for, and on your desk is a signed contract for your dream job.

The memories you make at Rice make getting dressed a whole lot more fun.

Looking the part: Hairstyles


O-Week Bonding! Best friends in the first week!

First day of school, freshman year. Fresh from back to school shopping, ready to reinvent yourself. Outfit looks great and your hair cut looks safe. Yes, you get to be whoever you want in college, and most people want that to be a person with friends. By society’s constraints, people come to Rice wanting to impress others, looking particularly plain and approachable. And we will be completely not-surprised to see that it works! All new students with any hair cuts will find friends.There is nothing wrong with this! Going off to college is scary, and it is so natural to want to fit in. Luckily, that basic period of time is something that Rice has come to minimize. Going through an entire week of orientation with people you will live with for the next 4 years makes people very comfortable, very quickly. The people you meet (roommates, o-week groups, etc.), are chosen, by hand, to be people you will like. And they will like you right back.


A rockin’ hair cut to go with international travels! Study abroad!

Coming back from winter break, sophomore year. Settled in and doing things we enjoy (like your German Fairytales class).  Hair cut: fresh and free. Finally solved the riddle of how to find happiness: being yourself. Not only have your old friends decided that they like the real you (the you who has ventured into Acroyoga), but a ton of new people have realized how awesome you are as well. Your close community grows bigger so that your support system now stretches across the entire campus. Your hair cut reflects how you try new things (like becoming a site leader for an alternative spring break), and maybe you didn’t know how growing organic vegetables was going to turn out, but you made a commitment, and you are still living through it. Because you rock the most at being yourself.


Why not try all of the colors at once? BEER BIKE

Beer Bike, junior year. Hair cut: TBD Stress, we all feel it. The academics are hard, you’ve picked a major that you aren’t really sure about, you’ve been through your first heartbreak, and the servery is having green beans and mashed potatoes, again. Good thing that we plan a week around being incredibly spontaneous and ridiculous. It’s great that you, as a typical Rice student, stay on top of your work, because you aren’t going to want to open a book this week. You don’t have to worry, because no one is worrying. Your hair has changed three times during the week: dyed, cut, and filled with Holi powder and mud. This is a great week of your life. You realize that your summer internship is going to be amazing, you are doing well in your classes, and you love green beans. Everything you’ve been doing the past 3 years has, and will be worth it. Relax! And breath in this beautiful weather Houston gives us around this time of the year.


You’ve made it! Looking like the well put together adult you are. 🙂

Graduation, senior year. Hair cut: perfect. Not only are you finished, you are ready. You have become substantially more yourself at Rice. An incredibly smart, well spoken, and friend-having graduate. You’ve just finished an incredible senior thesis about the correlation between gender and drug prices, you’ve impacted an incredible amount of lives through your volunteer work in the Medical Center, and you realize how good you are at problem solving. The last four years seem like a blur, so it is a good thing everyone documents everything in this generation (specifically to remind you of the time you forgot you had a presentation so you improvised on the topic of “Theory of Business Principles in 1920’s Cinema”).With your job lined up and ready to go, and your cap and gown on point, all you have to do is walk out of the Sallyport.

But your legs want nothing more than to take another lap around the inner loop.

New Perspectives on War

Where can you see thought-provoking images of war with your friends, complete with a one-hour tour given by one of the curators? At the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

On Wednesday, I, along with several other members of McMurtry, my residential college, had this opportunity. One of our Resident Associates (a faculty member who lives at the residential college), had organized the event, and had gotten us discounted tickets.

The photographs were hauntingly beautiful. The curator explained how we often forget that there are people behind those images. These photographers risk their lives while not even being soldiers, while not even being in combat. They gamble with their lives to preserve pieces of history.

One of the images that stuck with me is simple at first glance. It shows some grass, dirt, and soldiers from two different angles. The curator explained that the photographer took the photos right after he had mistakenly stepped on a landmine.

This exhibit is running until February 3rd, but there are many interesting upcoming exhibits, including “The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning,” “Princes and Paupers: The Art of Jacques Callot,” and “Picasso Black and White.”

A fantastic aspect of Rice is that thinking goes beyond the hedges. There are events like this that make it easy for students to look at the world with new vantage points.