Author: Cynthia G., ’23
Rice is recognized for its Residential College system. Within each of our 11 residential colleges on campus we have a group of adults (the Adult Team, or A-team) who, together with the student-composed Executive Council, work to ensure that the college continues running smoothly.
The A-Team is composed of the Magisters, a number of Residential Associates (RAs), depending on the size of the college population, and the College Coordinator. Both the Magisters and RAs live on campus either within or in close proximity of their college. The College Coordinator works in the college during normal business hours.
The Magister is a tenured-faculty member (a Rice University professor) who lives on campus with their family. Magisters serve a five-year term within the college. During this time, the Magisters provide support for students, help develop the community, look out for student wellbeing, oversee college activities, and guide the student government. One event my magister at Sid Richardson College has organized are weekly yoga meetings to offer a healthy outlet for stress while creating that tight-knit community we value at Rice. Magisters also help students navigate the university. For example if students are sick, the magister can help them organize with their professors alternate plans for their coursework.
Each college also has 3-6 Residential Associates (RAs). These are also members of the Rice community, either a member of Rice faculty or staff, who live and work on campus with their families. RAs can serve a college for up to 7 years. They help the Magisters in overseeing the college, student wellbeing, and work to support the Magister’s efforts in allowing the college to continue running smoothly. They serve as an accessible and approachable point of contact for students seeking academic, emotional, and social support. They are also very active members of the college community who are present at most, if not all, college sponsored events such as our “Fridays in the Quad,” Council meetings, and various intramural sporting events. They also organize informational events and “study breaks” for students. At Sid, our RAs have organized snack breaks and sporting events such as basketball and volleyball tournaments. They also organize “Floor Wars,” events in which each floor competes in various activities throughout the year such as cornhole, trivia, lip sync battles, puzzle building, pumpkin carving, and holiday decorating. Lastly, they, together with the rest of the A-team and the Associates program, have created a “Life 101” series in which they bring interested “Sidizens” together to learn about budgeting, car maintenance and other important life skills.
The College Coordinators work within the college in an office attached to the mailroom. They organize the college budget, sort mail, and send emails to students to keep them informed of deadlines and other announcements. The college coordinators are a super welcoming, helpful, and informative resource for students who just want to chat, grab a snack, get a spare key if they are locked out of their room, or if they have any questions about housing, parking and many other Rice topics. They work closely with various departments at Rice to ensure everything is running smoothly and students have the information and resources they need. They also coordinate and keep our Associates (off-campus adult members of the college community) informed of upcoming events on our campus. My college coordinator has also taken it upon herself to coordinate with dining so that once a month we can have a birthday celebration with extra dessert and decorations at lunch in honor of all the students celebrating birthdays that month.
As seen, each A-Team member plays a crucial role in shaping a positive residential college experience for students. They truly work to get to know each student within our colleges. Beyond the events and organization they provide to our college and the academic and emotional support they provide for students, they add a familial component to our lives in college. Being welcomed into a home away from home where you can play and watch Disney movies with their children, chat openly seeking life advice while you knit and drink tea, or simply petting the cat or dog are all super precious experiences, very unique to the residential college system at Rice.