Author: Alyssa C., ’23
Although the residential college system is centric to Rice’s culture, it’s not at all difficult to make campus-wide connections. There are a multitude of ways to meet people from different colleges–here are some of the specific ways I formed meaningful friendships with people across campus.
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to participate in a program coordinated by the Rice Center for Civic Leadership called Urban Immersion. Not only did I get to volunteer with non-profit organizations based in Houston, but I got to do it alongside twenty-three other Rice first-years. They were the first friends I made at Rice. Throughout my first semester here, they have remained a constant, as we have a weekly reunion dinner at one of the serveries.
For O-Week (Orientation Week), Rice designed a way for new students to meet other new students at nearby residential colleges. They integrated this into our O-Week schedule by creating Rice groups. Rice groups are essentially a mix of new students from residential colleges in close proximity to each other. In my experience, I and another student from my college combined with a few students from Weiss College and Hanszen College to get to know each other by eating meals together and playing icebreaker games.
I am currently studying English and Biochemistry and Cell Biology on the pre-med track. In my STEM courses, I have formed study groups with friends I made in those classes. In my English class, I have discussed potential essay topics with my peers. Because Humanities students, specifically English majors, generally make up a smaller population on campus, I have gotten the privilege of forming close connections with others interested in the same subject area through various study breaks and even a dinner hosted by the English department that allowed us to mingle. My one semester here so far has shown me that Rice as a whole has a very collaborative environment.
Regarding meeting people who have common interests, Rice holds a club fair early on in the semester to give students an idea of what groups are represented on campus. Clubs/organizations will usually have general interest meetings that students can attend to gain more information about becoming a member of that specific club. Personally, I joined cultural, religious, and pre-med groups and have been able to make good friends through bonding over our shared passions and backgrounds.
Overall, making friends outside of your residential college is very doable. It can also make student life at Rice all the more enjoyable and enriching.