Undergraduates really do rule here, and that isn’t an understatement. When I was deciding between schools and whether to stay in state or not, undergraduate focus was the most important thing I was looking for. I didn’t want to go to an institution where I might get lost among the large populations of undergraduate and graduate students or one that is so focused on its own research endeavors that it doesn’t invest time in helping its new students. I have no regret in my decision on Rice seeing the attention, focus, and freedom in which Rice reserves for its ever strong undergraduate student population.
So many aspects of our daily lives are lie in our own hands. The residential colleges systems and college government puts the residential college community in the hands of its students. Students get to vote on what social events and physical changes they want to see within their college. Being from Martel College, our Fundeck Sundeck events get ever better with every legislation. But it doesn’t stop here. The Rice Student Association is the student government across Rice, creating important legislation at all times to change Rice as whole. Becoming more green, helping disadvantaged students, and supporting student mental health initiatives are some examples. And there groups like the Rice Programming Counsel that keeps things at Rice fun. Holding events like the Gingerbread building contest and Esperanza/Rondelet formals, the RPC keeps Rice students busy with social events to enjoy with their friends. All of this planned for and executed by Rice Students.
Overall, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised how easy it is for undergraduate students to directly have an impact on the Rice community. It’s empowering as a student and at the same time teaches us valuable lessons in responsibility, communication, and leadership. At the end of the day, undergraduates are just trying to figure out big life decisions; It’s just reassuring and exciting to know that the culture at Rice is centered around fostering that curiosity. A university built for the undergraduates, by the undergraduates.