Author: Mabel T., ’23
Before coming to Rice, I went to a high school with a very large Asian and Asian-American student population. The city I am from in southern California has a population where the majority of residents are of Asian descent. Growing up, I have been able to attend Chinese school on the weekends, speak in Chinese with my family and my family’s friends, immerse myself in my heritage through cultural celebrations and a wide array of cuisines, and learn about other Asian cultures through my fellow students. However, not everybody has access to the same resources as I do, and not many people can connect to their own cultures or other cultures in a respectful, tolerant environment like I could. Not all students have seen them represented in a school’s student body or in higher education.
At Rice, however, there are a large number of cultural and international organizations for students to celebrate their own cultures, connect with students with a similar cultural or national background, and learn more not only about their own heritage but the heritage of students of different backgrounds. The Asian Pacific American Student Alliance, Black Student Alliance, Caribbean Student Society, Filipino Student Association, Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice (HACER), Korean International Student Association, and South Asian Society are just a few of the diverse array of cultural organizations that Rice students can join. In addition to celebrating culture and heritage, some of these organizations offer specific academic and social resources, tailor to particular academic interests, and raise awareness on issues that affect specific student demographics. It is clear that Rice’s organizations match a myriad of cultural backgrounds. A full list of cultural student organizations at Rice can be found here: https://studentcenter.rice.edu/club-listings. Rice also has an Office of Multicultural Affairs in its student center, which strives to ensure dialogues on diversity, inclusivity for all students, and provide support for all students of all backgrounds.
Here at Rice, I am a member of the Chinese Student Association, which organizes restaurant trips to Houston’s Chinatown, holds study breaks and boba sales, and participates in an annual Lunar Year Celebration. I am also a member of the Asian Pacific American Student Alliance, which is dedicated to creating a pan-Asian-American identity and raising awareness of the political, social, and cultural experiences of Asian-Americans through art campaigns, discussions, and guest speakers. While my experiences with these organizations is more of a “home-away-from-home” comfort and an opportunity to constantly engage myself with my heritage away from my family, your experiences can be completely different! Maybe you are finally finding other students who share the same background with you, receiving resources for social networking and career development, or learning about other students and their cultures. No matter what you are seeking from the wealth of cultural groups on campus, you will find groups of individuals who will support you and provide an environment of inclusivity and respect.