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check out our 2018 housing guide for tips and tricks see insert after page 6


RICE COMMUNITY RALLIES TO SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH DACA RECIPIENTS sirui zhou / thresher; photo illustration by christina tan


It is time for us to earn our rights by standing up for what is right as voting, local and active allies. Sonia Torres Hanszen College Junior

Students marched from each of the 11 residential colleges to the Rice Memorial Center on Monday night, joining other Rice community members in showing support for those affected by the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Monday marked the expiration date for new DACA applications, which was set by President Donald Trump in September. Judges in several federal courts have temporarily delayed DACA’s phasing out, ruling that the administration must continue to accept DACA renewals. Both undergraduate and graduate students read stories, poems, statements and more in front of over 200 fellow students and faculty members. Kimberly Olea, incoming vice president of the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice, spoke about her family’s path to citizenship in 2017, describing herself as “one of the lucky ones.” “As a child, I lived in constant fear of deportation,” Olea, a McMurtry College sophomore, said. “I cried at the idea of having to leave behind the only life I’d ever known. When I was 12, I waited in

line for an interview at the Department of Homeland Security office in San Antonio where I tried desperately to show the officials that I, a 12-year-old, was a good person who decided to live here because this was the place I call home.” HACER member Sonia Torres delivered a speech urging her fellow students to vote and call their representatives. “We did nothing to deserve the privilege of having papers that designate us as Americans,” Torres, a Hanszen College junior, said. “It is time for us to accept the inherent privilege of having an American passport and it is time for us to earn our rights by standing up for what is right as voting, local and active allies.” Several students gave musical performances as well, ranging from Wiess College senior Isabel White’s rendition of “The Impossible Dream” from the musical, “The Man of La Mancha”, to Austin “Kid Fig” Figueroa’s performance of “Desperado,” an original song he said was inspired by his experience with immigration-related struggles growing up in the Rio Grande Valley. “Grandpa worked that nine to five when he was only six. He’s basically the reason

child labor laws exist,” Figueroa rapped to the crowd. Figueroa said he was uncharacteristically nervous before performing because the subject was so personal to him, but seeing the other speakers address their personal connections to immigration issues inspired him to do the same. “I’m from the Rio Grande Valley, I grew up 10 minutes from the border so immigration was an issue that people in my family and my community faced on a daily basis,” Figueroa, a Brown College senior, said. “It’s hard to talk about something that hits close to home. My sister was deported when I was eight years old. It’s difficult growing up in a mixed status family when not all stories have happy endings.” After Trump’s announcement of the DACA phase out in September, Rice President David Leebron issued a response to Trump’s announcement, saying that Rice would continue to extend financial aid and other benefits to DACA students and take whatever action permissible under law to avoid increasing the risk that such students are deported or otherwise have their immigration status challenged.



Students remember Blain Padgett, student-athlete JAECEY PARHAM THRESHER STAFF / JLP9@RICE.EDU

courtesy rice athletics

Blain Padgett, a Lovett College junior and defensive lineman on the Rice football team, passed away on March 2 in his apartment. While an official cause of death has yet to be determined, according to a public statement, he is believed to have passed away in his sleep. He was 21 and pursuing a degree in sport management. On Sunday evening, during a candlelight vigil at Lovett, Lovett junior Roe Wilkins spoke about his friendship with Blain. Both

hail from Sour Lake, Texas, and according to Wilkins, the two grew up together. As underclassmen, they were roommates. “T-ball, little league and track, which we both hated. But of course we played football [together]. We did it all together. Blain and I have always been friends and he still will always be my friend,” Wilkins said. Teammate and friend Brady Wright said Padgett was a leader on the football team for the past three years, setting high standards for others to follow. “He was not only a great player, but he was a phenomenal teammate

who constantly supported others and always had his brothers’ backs,” Wright, a Will Rice College senior, said. Former head football coach David Bailiff, who worked with Padgett over the last three seasons, told FOX 26 Sports that Padgett’s passing will be greatly mourned. “It’s news that absolutely hits your heart and brings tears to your eyes,” Bailiff said. “You reflect back on the last conversations you had with him. The big gut hug he gave you when you walked out the door. Shocked, saddened.” In an online obituary, Padgett’s

sister Kenedy wrote that her brother was beloved by all who knew him. “I remember [in high school] him being everyone’s favorite person, and I was so jealous of that,” Padgett said. “Now that I look back at it, it all makes since. He was my favorite person, and he deserved all the praise he received.” Kenedy Padgett also wrote that while Blain was well known for his presence on the football team and many achievements, such as defensive lineman of the year, he will remembered for more than his accomplishments.




‘Why does my teacher suck?’: Professors weigh in ELLIOT STAHR THRESHER STAFF /ERS9@RICE.EDU

Students filled Farnsworth Pavilion with laughter and debate as they listened to Rice University professors and lecturers describe everything from bad lectures to tenure at a “Why Does My Teacher Suck?” panel on Feb. 28. At the event, Scott Rixner, Julianne Yost, James DeNicco, Betul Orcan, Simon Fischer-Baum and Lisa Balabanlilar answered questions from event organizer Ajay Subramanian and from student submissions. Subramanian, a Wiess College senior, said he wanted to tackle some of the more taboo topics about teaching that aren’t often discussed. “We seem to get really hush-hush about important systemic issues with teaching, like its place in the tenure process, our systems of evaluating teaching and quite simply, answering why a place like this has poor teachers,” Subramanian said. Subramanian presented several unflattering student evaluations of Balabanlilar, Rixner and Orcan. While discussing Balabanlilar’s evaluation, which criticized her for commenting on Donald Trump during class, DeNicco said teachers should be able to give their opinion in class. “People always think professors can’t give their opinion. As long as they let you give your opinion back, I think it’s fine. As long as you don’t shut down what they’re saying, I think it’s OK. I honestly do,” DeNicco said. Rixner also took the opportunity to defend his teaching style, which was criticized in the displayed evaluation for being “downright hostile.” “You being uncomfortable is not the same as you not learning, period,” Rixner said. “I’m not there to be your friend. That’s not my job. My job is to teach you as much as I can.” Balabanlilar stressed that teachers do care about evaluations and incorporate changes based on them, and she encouraged students to give constructive criticism in

courtesy ajay subramanian

Scott Rixner, Simon Fischer-Baum, Lisa Balabanilar, Betul Orcan, James DeNicco and Julianne Yost, professors or lecturers at Rice, answer questions and discuss undergraduate teaching at the ‘Why Does My Teacher Suck?’ panel held on Feb. 28.

their evaluations. Subramanian displayed the anonymous results of questions he had asked panelists about potentially sensitive topics such as whether they discuss teaching with their peers often, feel supported by their peers to improve their teaching and feel that teaching should be a larger priority for professors. All three of the professors from STEM departments said the faculty in their departments didn’t talk to each other about teaching. Yost said there is a discrepancy between the attitudes of tenure-track and non-tenure-track professors, whose only responsibility is to teach. “I will discuss teaching among the other non-tenure track faculty members in the chemistry department, but there’s very rarely any discussion with anyone who is tenure-track,” Yost said.

DeNicco said there is a lot of pressure for tenured professors to get published, which incentivizes them to focus on research over teaching. Rixner also said the emphasis on research in certain departments might affect the amount of time professors devote to teaching. “My department is driven by research, we’re evaluated by research, and we talk about research,” Rixner said. “Every minute you spend on teaching is a minute you’re not spending on research.”

I’m not there to be your friend. That’s not my job. My job is to teach you as much as I can. Scott Rixner Computer Science Professor

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DeNicco suggested that some faculty are more disposed toward research and should be allowed to focus more heavily on that aspect of their careers rather than teaching, while others stressed the importance of integrating teaching and research with each other. “I think that good teaching and good research do go together and support each other,” Fischer-Baum said. “You get ideas while you’re teaching that inform your research.” Balabanlilar warned that if Rice were to allow research-oriented faculty to stop teaching, it would not be able to compete with other top research universities. “Your degrees are in part validated by the research your colleagues and my colleagues are publishing,” Balabanlilar said. “We will not be in the same club any longer. Your degrees will not mean as much. You will not

have the prestige of a Rice degree.” As for areas of improvement, several professors acknowledged that they tend to get too excited about their topics, causing them to talk too fast or inhibit student participation. “We all know how learning takes place, and it’s not always because we’re talking,” Balabanlilar said. “We know that, but it’s just really hard to shut up.” Professors lightened the mood when they were asked to describe their experiences with giving bad lectures. “You know when it’s not going well, but the thing is, you can’t leave,” Rixner said amid laughter from the audience. According to Fischer-Baum, even good lectures don’t always translate into strong student responsiveness. “If you give the best possible lecture on the Monday after Beer Bike weekend, you’re never going to get that positive feedback,” Fischer-Baum said. Jones College freshman Alex Deyanov said the panel gave him valuable insight on their side of the classroom. “I think it made my professors seem a lot more human, because they do have a lot of things they’re trying to juggle and they have their own hoops they’re trying to jump through,” Deyanov said. Subramanian said it is sometimes hard to believe teachers ever reflect on their teaching. “Seeing each of the panelists being very cognizant about their areas of improvement was both refreshing and reassuring as a student,” Subramanian said. According to the panelists, Rice is better than most research institutions at encouraging good teaching. “Rice is so exceptional,” Balabanlilar said. “This is head and shoulders above the teaching at other research institutions, in my experience. There’s so much more thoughtfulness in the administration, in the departments. Rice is exceptionally good.”



PADGETT FROM PAGE 1 “Blain was a big, tough, football player, but that isn’t what defined him,” Kenedy Padgett said. “Blain was a kind-hearted, loving and joyful man who would do anything for the people in his life. He could warm your heart with those sweet dimples, and make all of your worries go

away with big bear hugs.” Wright said that aside from his presence on the football team, Padgett would be remembered for loving life and impacting his friends. “He was an incredible athlete and great football player but more than that you could not ask for a better friend to

have,” Wright said. “He was loyal and genuine and elevated everyone around him. Blain was all around a special person. Off the field he was full of life. He loved to make people laugh and loved to just have fun with his friends. He was an absolute joy to be around.” A memorial service will be held



on March 7 at 5 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church, in Beaumont, Texas. A funeral will follow at the church on March 8 at 2 p.m. The family requests that memorial contributions go to the Blain Padgett Scholarship Fund, c/o Wesley United Methodist Church in Beaumont, Texas.


Blain Padgett sirui zhou / thresher

Community unites for DACA support DACA FROM PAGE 1 Leebron said the statement continues to stand as Rice policy. “We will continue to make available to DACA students the financial aid and other resources they need to attend Rice, as well as to advocate with our political representatives for a renewal of the DACA program,” he said. “We will also continue to work through our representative organizations, such as the Association of American Universities, to strongly advocate for the rights of DACA and DACA-eligible students to remain in the country and pursue education.” Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson, Student Association President-Elect Ariana Engles, Graduate Student Association President Sydney Gibson and GSA Vice President of Student Advocacy Jason Guo also spoke. “How is it possible that we need to have a rally to support [DACA, which] 87 percent of Americans supports, and the answer is unfortunately clear: incompetent leadership at the highest levels,” Hutchinson said. “And we stand together against that incompetent leadership. And we demand accountability against those who would divide us and try to separate us into those who belong and those who do not belong because we do not believe it. We do not believe it at Rice and we do not believe it in this country.” Former Brown College President Santiago Avila said the idea to host the event came in early February, and planning has been coordinated between the residential colleges, the SA and GSA, HACER, Student Activities and other student organizations. Brown magister José Aranda helped organize the event. According to former HACER President Alberto Maldonado, the event came together over the course of only 22 days. Maldonado said coming to Rice was in many ways a culture shock given his

small-town background. “To see all these students here today from many different races, many different backgrounds, many different parts of the country and outside the country, from different colleges and groups, it’s really impressive to see that we as Rice students are able to come together for something that’s so important to many people here on campus and throughout the Houston area,” Maldonado, a Lovett College senior, said. Brown freshman Franklin Briones said he has friends and family that are DACA recipients. Briones said it was good to see people unafraid to come to the event, although they may have been hesitant at first. “Seeing this happen here was a sign to me that it happens everywhere else and that I can find support around me as equally, I hope, other people can find support around them,” Briones said. Leebron said he was pleased to see the widespread effort on campus to express both support and concern for DACA students and staff, as well as for students who have friends and relatives who are DACA qualified or eligible. “We hope that our DACA students and staff, as well as other immigrant students and staff, will feel tangibly the very strong support they enjoy across the community, which is indeed in this sense representative of the overwhelming sentiment of the American people,” he said. Engles, who emphasized DACA as the most important issue facing Rice in her campaign, ended the event by leading the members of the Rice community in a rendition of “Lean on Me.” “We have elections tomorrow where you can take Rice’s community values and share them with elected officials,” Engles, a Lovett sophomore, said. “It is so easy to only pay attention to what is going on inside the hedges, but take a look at what is going on outside as well.”

2018-2019 Jameson Fellowship for American Decorative Arts Rice undergraduates and graduate students interested in art history, history or musuem studies are invited to apply for the Jameson Fellowship in American Decorative Arts and Painting. The Jameson Fellow will enroll each semester for a 3-credit art history internship course and spend the 2018-19 academic year as a researcher at the Bayou Bend Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

$13,000 stipend

Additional funds (up to $1,500) available for fellowship research trip.

For Jameson Fellows without access to a vehicle, some help could be available to partially cover one’s transportation costs during the year.

Qualifications include: • Excellent academic record • Interest in American art and culture of the 17th through 19th centuries Application Requirements: • A brief (2-3 page) typewritten statement expressing the applicant’s willingness to undertake the internship in 2018-19 and how the Fellowship would enhance the applicant’s other studies at Rice, plans for graduate school, career goals or general interest in the decorative arts • Academic transcripts (official or unofficial) • One letter of support from a Rice faculty member Applications should be sent to the Jameson Fellowship Committee at the Department of Art History (Herring Hall 103, MS-21) no later than Monday, March 26, 2018. Questions may be directed to Professor Joseph Manca ( or 713-348-3464).







Students should more actively voice teaching concerns

Last week, a panel of Rice professors discussed and responded to common issues in Rice undergraduate teaching (see p. 2). Students, especially STEM majors, often complain about their teachers, whether they be lecturers or tenure-track professors. One of the most persistent problems students have voiced is that of professors who excel in and focus on research, but not necessarily teaching. This is, unfortunately, an overarching issue that would require a massive overhaul of tenure at Rice, a process over which students likely have very little control. Still, all students and instructors have the ability to do their part to uphold this belief and maximize the communication channels already available in order to continue seeking further improvement. The course evaluation system is the most obvious outlet for student opinion. However, reviews are often vague, focused purely on criticism rather than how to improve, or focused on giving advice to peers who will take the class in the future. Instead, students should try to include tangible ideas that give professors and lecturers a clearer idea of how to improve — and all students should take this process as

a unique privilege to potentially impact the way an instructor approaches their class. Another option is to actually capitalize on the opportunity to engage with professors via Student Association committees and advisory boards and town halls that exist within some departments. Getting involved through standing committees such as the teaching committee or the undergraduate curriculum committee is an excellent opportunity to bring to light concerns of fellow students and work with active faculty toward achievable goals. We should also consider simple avenues for additional feedback, such as adding an exit survey for those who choose to drop a course. In the near future, proposing simple methods to incite further participation can add up to making a difference in undergraduate teaching. A new dean of undergraduates will soon take on the role of overseeing undergraduate academics by working with the faculty on teaching and curriculum. With this in mind, we encourage the search committee and applicants to prioritize teaching as one of the most pressing issues facing the undergraduate community.


Threshie strikes again! OP-ED


Rice students, will you go to the March for Our Lives? The March for Our Lives, the protest organized by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and their families in support of gun law reform, will take place in Washington D.C. and sister cities including Houston on March 24 at 9 a.m. This is the same time as Beer Bike. Will you go? Two years ago, when the presidential candidate I supported was not elected, I began to look critically at my political engagement and personal impact. I started by attending marches that were meaningful to me. I wanted that time-honored tradition to be a part of my life. The first and by far most impactful march I attended was the Women’s March in Austin, Texas. Over 50,000 people attended that march. It was astounding to see them all; there were pink hats and colorful signs stretched out so far you couldn’t see the end of the crowd. I marched next to a drummer whose lively, steady beat resonated in my chest cavity and energized my step. The march was a resounding affirmation that my beliefs mattered — and that I could be an active part of realizing them. Some have pointed out that it’s unclear if any of the recent marches truly impacted policy or even attitudes on Capitol Hill. I’ll admit that their impact remains ill-defined to me as well, but looking back to historical marches (the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom , the 1967 Anti-Vietnam War Protest in D.C., and the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation), I choose to believe that marches make a difference. That being said, the March for Our Lives is unfortunately at the same time as Beer Bike. I want to see gun control reform. I want to see an end to mass shootings. I want to believe that high school students who saw

their classmates slaughtered can rise up and change the nation for the better … but I also want to go to my senior Beer Bike.

What responsibility do those who say they want reform but can’t be bothered to attend have to bear? There are countless others who will not attend due to inconvenience. Even if the event is enormous, the disparity between the actual attendance and all the people who say they want gun control reform will be disappointing — particularly, I think, among the Rice population. What if the movement fails? What responsibility do those who say they want reform but can’t be bothered to attend have to bear? The march is the most immediate and present way to support the #NeverAgain movement. An hour of marching to change the landscape of the gun control discussion is a good deal. I’ve yet to decide what I’m going to do. Whether or not this conundrum is of concern to you, I think it’s worth asking: Where will you be on March 24 at 9 a.m.? Marching past Ted Cruz’s office? Or peeing on Will Rice College? RACHEL BOWYER

Hanszen College Senior

Correction In the Feb. 28 issue of the Thresher, the editorial cartoon was by Esther Tang only.

cartoon by esther tang

Rice’s continued performance of ‘Vagina Monologues’ limits expression of diverse student experiences

“The Vagina Monologues” is an iconic work that has grown to become a mainstay at colleges and universities across the country since its release in 1996. Eve Ensler wrote “The Vagina Monologues” after she interviewed 200 women about their experiences with womanhood. Here at Rice, almost $3,000 was raised from ticket sales for charity, an impressive feat for any school organization. This annual event allowed some of our closest friends, both in the audience and on the stage, to feel a great sense of feminist empowerment. However, that empowerment comes at the cost of leaving out an often marginalized community, even within feminist circles. “The Vagina Monologues” makes clear that womanhood and having a vagina are synonymous. The play reiterates the rightwing and trans-exclusionary radical feminist ideology that gender is the product of one’s biology and anatomy. One of the monologues even starts off by saying, “I love vaginas. I love women. I do not see them as separate things.”

STAFF Drew Keller & Juan Saldaña* Editors in Chief Jasmine Lin* Managing Editor Shannon Klein Business Director news Emily Abdow* Editor Anna Ta Editor Cameron Wallace Asst. Editor

But what about the women who don’t have vaginas? Ensler responded to this question with “They Beat the Girl out of my Boy … Or so They Tried,” a monologue written from the perspective of transgender women that was added to the play in 2004 after Ensler interviewed a “diverse” group of them. In this monologue, we hear a narrow and trite narrative of transgender women wanting vaginas, getting one and finally entering the “female zone” after their surgeries. But not all transgender women follow this path. Some don’t have vaginas. Some don’t have the resources to get one. Some don’t even want one. Regardless, they are still women. If this play were about the diversity of womanhood, these nuanced transgender stories would be explored. Furthermore, if the play is supposed to show the diversity of people who have vaginas (a grouping that Ensler defends in an article by the Guardian), there should be stories of transgender men and non-binary people who have them. Yet, this play has none

opinions Julianne Wey* Editor arts & entertainment Lenna Mendoza* Editor backpage Joey McGlone Editor Isaac Schultz Editor photo Sirui Zhou Editor Charlene Pan Editor

spotlight Elizabeth Rasich Editor

copy Sarah Smati Editor Catherine Soltero Editor

sports Andrew Grottkau* Editor Michael Byrnes Asst. Editor

online Charlie Paul Web Editor Alice Liu Digital Content Editor

of these narratives. Ensler’s incomplete idea of inclusion is packaged into this play with strict rules prohibiting any edits or additions to the script. This results in a performance that is naive at its best, and outright exclusionary at its worst. To make matters worse, the Rice Queer Resource Center was never contacted to potentially have transgender Rice students perform the transgender monologue. We can do better than this. Other schools, like Mount Holyoke College, have scrapped the play completely saying it doesn’t do enough to include transgender people, and instead perform student-written monologues in a similar style. If Rice follows their lead, we can create an event that is truly reflective of student experiences with gender rather than try to fit performers into stories that are outdated and reductive. It would take some work to implement a change like this, but if it means the voices of transgender people at our university can be heard like never before, isn’t that worth it?

design Christina Tan Director Sydney Garrett News Designer Marlena Fleck Sports Designer Ellie Mix A&E Designer Tina Liu Spotlight Designer Areli Navarro Magallón Illustrator Esther Tang Illustrator business operations Sara Lopez Marketing Manager Joey Castro Distribution Manager Greg Campo Distribution Manager Sanvitti Sahdev Business Designer *Editorial Board member

In no way do we want to diminish the impact and amount of work put into the “The Vagina Monologues” at Rice by the directors and performers. Instead, we hope to spark conversation and bring to light some issues easily glossed over when the cisgender majority doesn’t experience them. As we all continue to push for feminist change, we hope that we can also take a step back to acknowledge the limitations of our experiences and gaps in our ideologies and actions. BROOKE ENGLISH & J PETERSON

Baker College Juniors

The Rice Thresher, the official student newspaper at Rice University since 1916, is published each Wednesday during the school year, except during examination periods and holidays, by the students of Rice University. Letters to the Editor must be received by 5 p.m. the Friday prior to publication and must be signed, including college and year if the writer is a Rice student. The Thresher reserves the rights to edit letters for

content and length and to place letters on its website. Editorial and business offices are located on the second floor of the Ley Student Center: 6100 Main St., MS-524 Houston, TX 77005-1892 Phone (713) 348-4801 Email: Website: The Thresher is a member of the ACP, TIPA, CMA, and CMBAM © Copyright 2017



Ariana Engles will become the next Student Association president on March 24 after winning a four-person race.


courtesy minh le


Current Student Association President Justin Onwenu and Deputy Parliamentarian Nick Jerge FaceTimed Ariana Engles on Feb. 28 to tell her that she would be the new SA president.


Ariana Engles first knew she wanted to come to Rice at age 12, when she wrote it down on a poster in the back of her closet with a list of future goals. Now, she’s the president-elect of the Student Association. “I have never felt more honored in my life than in the moment that I got the phone call saying, ‘You won,’” Engles, a Lovett College sophomore, said, unable to contain a smile. “It’s just crazy to me that we have this collection of such great students, scholars, professors, just people who are going to do such amazing things outside these hedges and we’re all here right now.” Engles, who got the idea to run for SA president after a friend suggested it two weeks before the petitions were due, said she hadn’t necessarily considered it before. “I said, ‘Why is it that this thought keeps coming back to me? Am I doing this for the right reasons?’ and after literally hours — I’m a very spiritual person — I came to to conclusion that I was absolutely doing this because I wanted to represent students, and I was absolutely doing this to make a difference,” Engles said. Engles, who had just come from a Rice Unites for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals planning meeting for her interview, said that one of the first things she plans to do as president-elect is to continue pressuring the administration about gaps in support services for students with DACA. “A lot of the things I work on require

• Add to DACA support services • Archive past SA senator data • Improve accuracy of SA surveys • Implement legislation-writing workshops • Address club representation and internship resources for international students

a lawyer,” Engles said. “As SA president, you’re not necessarily going to be an expert on everything, but what you can be is someone who has a lot of passion, a lot of drive, and takes the time to connect the right people with the right resources.” Engles said these gaps include limitations in study abroad opportunities, specialized well-being options, offcampus leasing, access to information on DACA-friendly post-graduation opportunities and internship, job and research possibilities. “It’s when [the gaps] all culminate that it becomes very difficult for a student,” Engles said. Engles plans to consider solutions including educational campaigns and cultural competency programs, educating magisters about procedures during ICE raids and hiring a point of contact who can assist DACA students in confidence. “As SA president, I [will] speak for the student body often, and I realize that this is kind of a political issue,” Engle said. “I want to make sure that at the end of the day, the message being sent is that we’re here to support students.” Engles said that as president, she also plans to support international students, specifically by addressing representation in student leadership positions and barriers in research and internship opportunities. Engles said that many people had concerns had about whether or not she would be able to represent all students — not just DACA recipients and international students.

“I really do think I can because everything that I do has come to me out of some student voicing a need,” Engles said. “I ran for SA president because at the very least, regardless if I won, I was going to spark a conversation about issues that are very pressing, and I did that, and if I had lost, I would still have been happy that I was able to do that.”

I came to the conclusion that I was absolutely doing this because I wanted to represent students. Ariana Engles SA President-Elect In addition, Engles said she plans to decrease red tape in the SA by advocating for standardized surveys to each college, working with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to craft unbiased surveys and centralizing information from past senators in a Google Drive. “Already it’s been hard to get information about what past presidents have done and what information [has] already been gathered,” Engles said. Thinking back to writing her first bill as a freshman, Engles said she also plans to host legislation-writing workshops. “For me, it was very confusing and daunting, but it’s not actually that

confusing or daunting,” Engles said with a laugh. “It’s really important [to me that] anyone can voice that ‘Hey, this is something important to the student body,’ not just the nine to 10 people in Senate who know how to do it and go up there constantly.” Engles said she also hopes to address undergraduate academic curricula, including accreditation requirements and course sequences, through a working group and the survey of all students as well as meeting with department heads and students. To make herself accessible, Engles said she plans to eat in different serveries and host in-person as well as virtual office hours. “I want people to feel comfortable coming to me,” Engles said. “When you’re a freshman, the SA president seems so unreal, a lot of students look up to you and they’re like ‘wow that person’s so special.’ Literally, we’re just like any other Rice student.” For Engles, this moment is a marked transformation of who she was last year. “Honestly, a year ago, I was a pretty big mess,” Engles said. “I was not connected to my college, I didn’t know what was going on. And then in that year, I’ve come from being that mess to here.” Engles said her love and admiration for Rice was a big reason she decided to run. “Every student here is phenomenal,” Engles said. “I ran for this a little bit because hopefully it inspires someone else to also lean in and go for something.”



Leasing 101 Average Monthly Rent pg 4 Off-Campus Perspectives pg 5 Surviving Housemates pg 6 Surviving Without a Car pg 6-7 How to Eat While OC pg 8 Public Transit Near Campus

Design and illustrations by Christina Tan and Sanvitti Sahdev. Content contributed by Drew Keller, Juan SaldaĂąa, Andrew Grottkau, Emily Abdow, Charlene Pan, Shannon Klein and Sara Lopez.











Determine who you’ll be living with and your budget once rent, utilities, insurance and other costs are divided among you. Also, figure out whether you want to rent the house/apartment starting at the beginning or end of the summer. Many lease agreements lock you in for 12 months, but you can find some of the many Rice students who stay in Houston for the summer to sublet and pay rent for the summer. Size: Pretty self-explanatory. How many bedrooms do you want? How many bathrooms are you willing to share? Location: The key question: Do you have a car? Proximity to campus should be a major consideration in your decision of where to live. Amenities (mainly applicable at complexes): Parking, pool, gym, etc. Ask if they’re free. You’d be surprised what’s included in the rent at some developments, ranging from free coffee to complementary yoga classes and development events (if you want to make friends with a bunch of middle-aged parents).


The best idea is to start looking immediately after you know you’ll be living off campus next year. The internet is a big help in finding apartments (and in most other things). Check out sites like Zillow, Trulia or the many, many, many other services dedicated to collating and comparing apartment openings. Word of mouth is another useful means of finding possible places, especially houses. If you’re looking for a single room, the Rice Apartment/ Sublease Finder Facebook group is where people typically post for housemate search.


You should be able to arrange tours of your top choices, and it’s a good idea prior to moving in. Ask questions and try to imagine yourself in the space for a year. If a development has multiple units open, look at a few different floor plans. One month before move-in is the peak time for reserving an apartment, though it’s certainly possible to find options before and after. For houses, the time is more flexible so you can typically arrange a tour with the landlord months before move-in. Communication with the landlords is critical because they can have various house rules. Tip: Ask about furnitures and utilities. Most apartments are unfurnished and you have to set up your own electricity, gas and wifi. Houses may come with some furniture and/or utilities and chances are people moving out may be willing to sell furniture at low prices.



Once you’ve found a place that you like within your budget, go ahead and fill out a rental application. It will likely take several days to be approved, depending on how quickly you get all of the necessary paperwork in (expect to send your driver’s license, blank check and student ID). Typically, you and your roommates will be co-signing the lease, meaning you’re all responsible for any rents and liabilities arising from the rental. At apartment complexes, chances are you’ll need a guarantor as well, since you and your roommates’ combined income as students won’t reach the level required to sign a lease. Ask a parent to sign as guarantor — they’ll need to submit identification and a pay stub as well. Expect some upfront payment, typically a deposit and/or the first month of rent, even if you’re not living there right away. Your landlord may require you and your co-signers to purchase renters’ insurance, which can run $15-30 per month (Side note: Make sure to cancel this insurance after you move out! It may not happen automatically). You’ll need to figure out how you’re moving into your new place, the difficulty of which depends on whether the house or apartment is furnished. If you’re going unfurnished, a good idea is to look for students who are graduating or moving back on campus and buy their furniture, especially if they’re living near your rental (Moving can be as simple as carrying furniture from one unit in a complex to another!). To get stuff from campus to the rental without a car, recruit friends, rent a Zipcar pickup trip or U-Haul van — which are surprisingly affordable — or consider pooling with other students to pay for movers.










Sam Burke Martel College junior

Residence: Townhouse Roommates: 2 Car: Yes Meal Plan: No How far away? About a 10-minute drive. What time do you come to campus? Tuesdays and Thursdays: 10:40 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 9:00 a.m. What time do you leave? By 5:00 p.m. Why OC?:At Martel, usually juniors get kicked off. I knew one of my closest friends, [Martel junior] Adrish [Anand] had a house, so I was like, let’s go, let’s get housing early, lock it up — that way we don’t have to worry about housing jack because I’ll most likely get kicked off. How often do you cook? Almost every meal. I’d say I eat out five meals a week, which includes Sammy’s, Chik-fil-A and going out to dinner. The other meals I’m at home, usually reheating chicken tenders or bagels or cereal. Best part about living OC: It’s cheaper by a lot. I eat better food than on campus. I eat significantly more food than on campus even though I know it’s unlimited on campus, and I pay a lot less for it. Worst part about living OC: The convenience factor and being disconnected from your college. It’s definitely hard to be connected with everything going on. First semester I tried to be connected to things going on at Martel. I would do all my homework in the commons, say hi to people, but I didn’t really know the incoming freshmen and still don’t. On campus I think I would know them a lot better. Miscellaneous: The convenience is not bad. I can park in North Lot or West Lot and I end up closer or equidistant to things. I still do feel disconnected, and that’s a bummer, but the food is so much better. And the amenities are better. I was living at Martel, so I had really great rooms, but living OC I’ve got my own bedroom, my own bathroom for the same price Rice housing is. Advice: Try to find a group as early as possible and base the housing on that group. You’ll care more about having a good group and a bad house than a great house with a bad group. Another key piece of advice is: Don’t get the meal plan unless you’re planning to eat every meal on campus. Otherwise, it is not worth the price. You can pay for Tetra and then get meals swiped that way. The meal plans for less than the full amount are scams. Will you stay off? Yes

Eugenio Mesto Will Rice College junior

Sofia Russo

McMurtry College sophomore

Residence: Apartment Roommates: 1 Car: Yes Meal Plan: No How far away? 10-minute drive. What time do you come to campus? 8:00 a.m. every day. What time do you leave? After classes end. Why OC? My sister started college at a nearby school, so economically it just made sense. Money-wise, why pay for two dorms when you can pay for one? How often do you cook? Dinner every night. Best part about living OC: I get my own bathroom. Living in the dorm rooms, in McMurtry we have these stone walls. It’s not very homey. I go back to my apartment, I have stuff all over the walls, it’s my place. I like the separation. Worst part about living OC: I have class at 10 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. I will get here at 8 in the morning so I can get parking. West Lot parking is bad. I had lab last semester — it was my only class of the day and it was at 1 p.m., so I was like OK, I’ll get to school at noonish, but no. I had to pay $12 to park in a visitor parking lot. Then I learned that I needed to get here in the morning and go sit in Fondy for four hours. To park. Miscellaneous: Living on campus freshman year, you’re submerged into this culture. It’s a great culture, and I know a lot of people really enjoy it. For me, I like the ability to step back and separate personal life from school life a little bit more. When I leave campus for the day, it’s very much relaxing. I enjoy that part of OC life. Advice: Don’t be afraid of it. At Rice there’s a big stigma about living off campus because everything is on campus. It’s kind of crazy if you think about it because a quarter of us will eventually live off campus. I would say don’t be afraid of it, but definitely be proactive. I think proactive is the best term, because if you want to stay involved, you have to get involved in things. You have to put yourself out there, put your name on things, become an off-campus representative. Sign up for housing jack coordinator. There’s more effort, but if you take time to put the effort in, it’s not the worst thing that will ever happen to you. Will you stay off? Yes

Residence: House How far away? Five-minute drive, seven-minute bike ride. Roommates: 3 Car: Yes, but not last semester. Usually uses bike. Meal Plan: No What time do you come to campus? 9:00 a.m. What time do you leave? 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. — it varies. Why OC? I wanted to go off campus to try it out, see what it was like and change it up a bit. I wanted to experience something else within Rice. Most people stay on all four years, but I wanted one year to go off campus, try to cook for myself and have a little more space on my own with my friends. How often do you cook? Every dinner; use guest swipes for lunch. Best part about living OC: The best part is definitely having your own space. Here we have a massive living room, dining room, kitchen and your own bedroom with your own bathroom. I know that’s not the case for all people who live OC, but at least for me. I like being able to leave the sometimes stressful and crazy on-campus commotion and be able to go home and relax a little bit. Worst part about living OC: I like being able to talk to a lot of people and play ping pong and video games whenever. Most Rice events happen spontaneously, or without planning, so I feel like one of the worst parts is you’re not really there for that sometimes. It’s hard to commute into those things. It’s a hassle. Miscellaneous: People are really scared of off campus, but it’s an amazing experience especially if you live with people you really want to live with. I really like living off campus and I don’t suggest you be scared of living off campus. Advice: I would get a house instead of an apartment. There are a lot of houses around here that are probably a lot cheaper than apartments and you have a lot more flexibility with them. Location is also one of the biggest things. I live next to some restaurants and an HEB. I’m also seven minutes from campus by bike. Location is big because sometimes coming to class is hard and you want to skip class. Also, have some sort of plan for your roommates of what you expect for cleaning or the noise level. Obviously you’re going to have to clean more and wash all the dishes and do all these things. Just have an idea of what you’re expecting for the year so you’re on the same page. Will you stay off? No




SURVIVING ROOMMATES We all know what it’s like to have a roommate — whether you’re a freshman with an assigned roommate or an upperclassman living with someone by choice. You may be excited to have your own space, a common area or even your own room. Don’t celebrate ridding yourself of all human interaction just yet — housemates are an entirely different game. Here are some tips for surviving your housemates: 1. Unlike your dinky double on campus, you now have household chores to get done. Unfortunately, you’re not a suburban parent who can make your kids do them as a form of character-building. To avoid tension with your housemates, decide from the outset how you are planning on scheduling chores. You can make a calendar and put it on the fridge, or get creative with a spinnable chore wheel. A variety of systems could work as long as what you select is a public way of keeping each other accountable. 2. Figure out your housemate’s quirks that wouldn’t come out unless

you share communal space with them. Do they want you to take your shoes off in the house? Are they early risers that will wake you up when they make coffee? Be willing to concede on a few of their quirks but stand up for your own preferences. Just don’t fall into the easy trap of passive-aggressiveness. Does your door have two locks? Figure out if you will be locking the regular bolt, the safety bolt or both. Just don’t spend all year playing a game of chicken with your house locks. 3. We all make fun of that roommate contract that our advisors make us create with our freshman year roommates, but it’s actually quite a good idea. While this roommate contract does not have to be drafted as awkwardly as your first one, the process is still a valuable way of setting expectations. Define rules for parties, chore division, transportation to campus, cooking, overnight guests, loud music and loud overnight guests. 4. Money can be a tricky subject. It makes sense to have one person managing the rent for the

whole place, but make sure they’re keeping you in the loop with the exact rent and utilities payments. We suggest a Google Sheet that states every line item and payment amounts. Transparency is key — we all know horror stories of

people being defrauded by their roommates charging them more rent than they needed. Even if you’re not the person managing the money, make sure you know exactly how much you’re being charged — don’t become too complacent.


$1,650 -- 2 bed/2 full bath -- All utilities paid 0.7 mile walk to Rice U 0.3 mile walk to SHUTTLE stop

AROUND THE CORNER from Rice Graduate Apts !!! One story 1,105 sq ft 2 ample bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms. ALL UTILITIES PAID, incl. broadband internet. Large living room and walk-in closets. Plenty of light. Ceiling fans. Walk-in pantry-utility closet. COVERED RESERVED PARKING SPACE. Central laundry facilities. BIKE STORAGE ROOM. Complex pool and landscape grounds right off patio. Walk to Metro Rail for easy access to downtown and theater district. Very quiet, charming and safe complex on small beautiful street off Bissonnet.

Property address: 5353 Institute Ln #18, Houston, 77005 Landlord: Agent: Linda Grover 281-463-6700

ALWAYS HIRING QUALIFIED NAIL TECHS Part time or full time so we can have longer hours for college nights and weekend specials!








- 12 oz. can of tomato sauce - 1 garlic clove, minced - 12 oz. pasta of choice - ½ tablespoon italian herbs - ½ lb ground beef (to make vegan, - 2 tablespoons olive oil sub ½ cup chopped mushrooms - Salt and pepper to taste and ½ cup chopped carrots) - ½ onion, chopped

1. Heat a pan on medium heat. Add olive oil. 2. Saute the onion and garlic until onion has softened. 3. Add ground beef. Cook until browned. 4. Combine the beef, onion and garlic mixture with the tomato sauce and spices. 5. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 6. While sauce is cooking, cook pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes. 7. Drain pasta and combine with meat sauce. Enjoy! Serves four.


- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked - 15 oz (1 can) black beans - 15 oz (1 can) sweet yellow corn - 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped - 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced - ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped (optional) - 1 small jalapeño, minced

- Feta crumbles - ½ cup lime juice - 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar - 2 tablespoons olive oil - 1 tablespoon honey - 2 teaspoons cumin - 1 teaspoon chili powder - Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. 2. Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: lime juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside. 3. When the quinoa is finished cooking and has cooled down, pour in dressing and toss until quinoa is evenly coated. Add the black beans, corn, spinach, green onions and cilantro. Toss until evenly distributed. 4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

SURVIVING WITHOUT A CAR The Houston bus system can be your best friend for getting around, if you let it. It’s very extensive and you’ll never spend more than $3 a day (The first two rides are $1.25, the third is $0.50 and anything over that is free). Just make sure to stop by the cashier’s office to get your Metro card filled up and you’ll be saving money and the environment. Depending on where you choose to live, the Metro can also definitely be a good friend too. If you find yourself living outside of walking distance from campus, a bike is a solid investment. You can rent one from Rice Bikes, and the “Rice Students Selling Stuff” Facebook page is always flooded with bikes at the end of a school year. Take it from us, though, if you buy a bike that’s falling apart thinking you’re saving money,

you might end up spending just as much in repairs. Make sure you get a U-lock with your bike to protect your precious and snazzy ride. Also very important: a helmet and bike lights. Some bike helmets have lights on them too if you want to be extra safe.

may or may not feel comfortable walking or biking home at night. If you live close enough to campus, the Rice University Police Department night escort is an option. If you live a bit farther away talk to your oncampus friends and set up a place to crash on late nights. If your friends don’t have a couch, you can always leave a sleeping bag (and a toothbrush!) at their place. Your residential college may also have a locker system for off-campus students where you can store your cute pajamas, deodorant and anything else you’ll wish you had when you wake up sweaty and gross the next morning.

One challenge that arises from not having a car is buying groceries. If your roommate has a car, problem solved. If not, consider picking a time that works for all of you, taking an Uber or Zipcar, and buying all the big heavy things that will be a pain to restock. Once you have all the basics, it’s easy to replenish your stash of cereal and pasta. Finally, don’t forget that you live in Houston. You’ll definitely need to invest in a sturdy Another thing to think about is traveling at umbrella and rain boots, and be prepared night. Depending on your situation, you to look for rides on the many rainy days.




YOU’RE OFF CAMPUS For students moving off campus, the prospect of adapting to life without the consistent and reliable food provided by the serveries can be daunting. Adjusting to life without a meal plan does take some work, but ultimately it can be cheaper and allow you to have more control over what you eat every day. Before you decide to forego meal plans completely, consider the different options Rice Housing and Dining offers. Rice has five meal plans, ranging from 20 meals per week to 50 meals a semester. It is important to consider how often you expect to be on campus when decided which meal plan is right for you. If you need to be on campus throughout the day, you may want to consider choosing one of the more expensive meal plans. If you expect to be able to go back to your off-campus housing for most meals, you might consider purchasing the smallest meal plan.

a full meal plan. No matter your schedule, there are ways to get by without a meal plan. By making lunches and dinners to take to campus in advance, you can prepare for your servery-free day. Even the busiest of students can take a few hours one day a week to meal prep for the entire week. Simple meals such as sandwiches and wraps pack well and can be stored in lunchboxes. Fancier meals can be packed in tupperware, stored in college refrigerators and heated up in the many microwaves around campus.

When moving off campus, one of the first things you’ll need to do is stock up your kitchen and pantry. Essential kitchenware for surviving without a meal plan include pans, pots, mixing spoons, spatulas, a baking dish and lots and lots of tupperware. It’s very difficult to cook for one person, so it’s always a good idea to make a few servings of what you’re preparing that Another option to consider is can be frozen or kept in the purchasing Tetra and using fridge for later. it whenever you need to buy food on campus. Tetra friendly If all else fails, there are number of healthy options include Sammy’s, a 4.tac0, Coffeehouse, Flo microwavable frozen meal Paris, the Campus Store and brands, that won’t break the even the serveries across bank at your nearest grocery campus. Having Tetra on your store. Just remember to plan Student ID is a happy medium ahead so that you don’t get between bringing food to hangry or use up your friends’ campus everyday and having guest swipes.

Each dish you make will require different ingredients, but some basic items to keep stocked include:

• dry pasta • pasta sauce • rice • frozen vegetables • chicken/beef/vegetable broth • eggs • olive oil

MEAL PLANS Option A: $2,180/semester includes 20 meals per week & $50 in Tetra. (On-campus meal plan) Option B: $730/semester includes 85 meals and $50 in Tetra. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Option C: $1,340/semester includes 170 meals and $50 in tetras. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Option D: $680/semester includes 85 meals. Lunch only. Option E: $400/semester includes 50 meals. Lunch only.

HOUSING CLASSIFIEDS Updated 2bd 1bth, 1105 sqft unit in prime location one street from Rice Graduate School housing. ALL UTILITIES INCLUDED. Condo features a sparkling pool, central laundry facility, and beautifully landscaped grounds. Additional features include private patio and assigned carport. Close to the Rice shuttle, city bus and light rail stops. $1,700 per month. Please email or call 713-703-6616.

1 bedroom FURNISHED condos from $750-$950 available for a 1 year lease at 7901 Cambridge, Houston, TX 77054. Please contact Elaine Morris at 713-410-9104 or Clean, quiet furnished rooms walking distance to Rice Campus. Individual rooms in a guest house with a sharing bathroom and kitchenette. Monthly rent of $560.00, includes all utilities and internet.

Laundry available. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS WELCOME. Availability summer and/or School Year 2018. Deposit to reserve $300.00. Address: 2434 Wroxton Road, 77005. Email inquiries to: Call/text 713-703-6372.






PUBLIC TRANSIT NEAR CAMPUS map courtesy of RideMetro

LEGEND METRORail Bus every 15 minutes Bus every 20 to 30 minutes Bus that only operates during peak weekday hours








5 7

Crosswords by Isaac Schultz Backpage Editor /

7 8 9







7 8

ACROSS 1 National 5 Places 7 Soccer’s active GOAT 8 Narrow cove 9 Interstellar robot companion

DOWN 1 U.S. mental illness organization, for short 2 “Well, _____ you the lucky one!” 3 Car brand launched into space 4 Sensational light-show emitter 6 Plops down

ACROSS 1 Home to Austin Powers 4 Weight measure in the EU 6 Tree-hugging marsupial 7 _____ it down for the reader’s sake 8 Alternative to almond or 2%

DOWN 1 Like some priests 2 “Remember the _____!” 3 Major film and audio producer 4 Shipley’s opponent, on the stock market 6 Stagers of Dhamaka



7 9

7 Answers will be posted on and on the Thresher Facebook page.

PARTY PATROL: MARDI GRAS spotlight designer

will rice senior

baker junior








C There’s something particularly sad seeing an empty room while masses of people grab beignets and leave.

A+ Fortunately, I was one of those who grabbed a beignet and left! They were very good!!!


Reminiscent of an ironically bad sitcom bachelor/bachelorette party.

CUncomfortably cheer on a person who has taken the pole too seriously.






9 7


BThere must’ve not been many people there if they asked someone who browned out to do this...but hey at least the empty room gave me more space to dance.

B+ An RUPD officer cheered me on as I chugged my IPA.


Can’t recall hearing any music, but my memory is a bit hazy tbh.

CSomeone got gum in my hair.


P ratchet if you ask me.

C Few people on the dance floor, but those who were there got into it. The pole was a sight to see.

A Never had a beignet before, was not disappointed.


Fun, pole-y music, some bangers near midnight.

C A girl called Melisa was called up to the pole. I got really excited because I had heard great things – sadly she failed to show up.


Wish there had been more people and more designated dancers.


ARTS entertainment


From New York to Texas: How Southern living changed my lifestyle AMELIA CALAUTTI THRESHER STAFF / AMC35@RICE.EDU

“Are you gonna bring a cowboy home?” and “You better invest in some boots!” were just some of the ways my friends and family teased me after I committed to Rice. I knew moving from my New York City suburb to Houston would be a culture change, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. My knowledge of Texas stemmed only from stereotypes of Southern hospitality, fried food and thick accents sprinkled with lots of “y’all”s. Yet, upon my first six months of living at Rice, I found that these were just exaggerations, especially in a diverse, urban city like Houston. However, there are some notable lifestyle differences that have rubbed off on me from living 1,600 miles away from home. I’ll never forget my New York roots, but I can justly say that the South has shaped me in ways that New York could never have. From how I dress to how I talk, here are some of the ways I assimilated to my new Southern life. ATHLEISURE Coming from a high school full of skimpy tops and exposed pierced belly buttons, I was surprised to be surrounded by tiny girls wearing XL T-shirts. Texas fashion is much more laid back, and I now find myself throwing on athletic shorts, big T-shirts and my Adidas on a day-to-day basis. By contrast, in high school I would typically wear jeans, heeled booties and a nice top, further accessorized with a collection of rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. I still dress up for class occasionally, but for

illustration by areli navarro magellón

the most part, Texas emphasizes comfort, and I’m here for it. ‘HEY Y’ALL!’ For my entire 18 years, I’ve been a huge advocate for “you guys”; it’s casual and gets the job of addressing a group done. This all changed when I was exposed to the linguistic wonder that is “y’all.” Never before have I used a word that is so smooth and just rolls off the tip of the tongue. “Y’all” has infiltrated my speech, making its way into practically every one of my sentences. It’s just so damn efficient that I can’t help it — sorry, New York!

courtesy engadget


‘Y’all’ has infiltrated my speech, making its way into practically every one of my sentences.

Jones’ sci-fi flick ‘Mute’ is a derivative, convoluted disaster MICHAEL VERMEULEN

LESS IS MORE I can confidently say that I wore makeup every single day of high school. Nowadays, you can find me on my way to my 9 a.m. bare-faced with a messy bun. Hardly anyone at Rice wears makeup everyday, let alone a full face, influencing me to ditch my routine on early mornings or busy workdays. This switch to a more natural approach has not only made me more confident in my own skin, but also more appreciative of the times when I do put on makeup. BIRK INVASION Back in New York, I was surrounded by Timberlands and Uggs. At the end of my senior year, I knew about two people who owned Birkenstocks (and they were made fun of for their choice in footwear). Little did I know that every single person at Rice would own a pair of Birks. And not only do they wear them everyday, they wear them with socks — a fashion crime for sure up North. This is one trend that I haven’t quite hopped on yet, and I’m not sure I ever will. However, I might be coming around to the idea of jandals. I do wear flip-flops 90 percent of the time, so that’s a step in the right direction, I guess. QUESO? Okay, but seriously, what is with Texans’ obsession with queso? Before Rice, I only knew queso as the Spanish word for “cheese” and vaguely as that dip in a jar that you buy at the supermarket and microwave. Now I can’t go to a restaurant without seeing it on the menu or visit a Rice event where it isn’t the main attraction. From what I collected in the past six months, it is, in fact, possible to prepare melted cheese differently — nothing gets a Texan more heated than bad queso. Honestly, I’m not mad at the trend because it does taste pretty good, although I don’t quite understand the mania. That being said, my day does instantly brighten when I discover the servery has queso.


MUTE Running time: 126 minutes Rating: TV-MA Genre: Drama/Mystery

In 2009, director Duncan Jones released the low-budget science fiction movie “Moon,” his feature film debut. Considered by many to be a contemporary sci-fi classic, the film showed Jones’ tremendous promise. Sadly, his flicks have progressively worsened since then, even when he returns to the genre that made his name. Such is the case with the new Netflix original “Mute,” a dull shamble of a motion picture that fails on many basic levels of storytelling. The movie follows Leo (Alexander Skarsgård), a mute Amish bartender, navigating a futuristic Berlin’s criminal underworld as he searches for his missing girlfriend. Simultaneously, Cactus (Paul Rudd) and Duck (Justin Theroux), a pair of American surgeons, help out members of this underworld while hanging out around the city in their free time. The film’s main problem is that most of its elements lack purpose. The sci-fi setting, which should be a foundation for the story, has next to no effect on the plot whatsoever. The world is generic and even inconsistent, at its best looking like a second-rate “Blade Runner” knockoff and at its worst modernday Berlin with a couple of CGI creations plastered in. Details like robot strippers and food delivery drones feel like they are in the film because Jones thought they would be cool instead of contemplating what would naturally fit in with the tale he is telling.

The science fiction aspects are not the only trivial ones. Many character traits are unnecessary or underdeveloped. Leo’s titular muteness seems like a plot device designed to make the story more complicated rather than a vital influence on his personality. His Amish background acts similarly, only there to justify his muteness in the future setting as well as to make a half-baked point about the difficulty technologically-challenged people face in our technology-centered society. The most infuriating example of this ham-fisted character building is in the case of Duck, whom Cactus discovers to be a pedophile about halfway through. Not only does this horrifying revelation have no bearing on the rest of the storyline, it does not even affect the tone of the next scene, where Cactus and Duck smile and laugh as they drive to get some food. The only possible bearing this plot thread has is on the attitude the audience has toward Duck near the movie’s end. Skarsgård, Theroux and especially Rudd all try to inject life into their respective roles, but the script prevents them from doing so. Watching Paul Rudd perform against type as a mustachioed, sociopathic knifewielding doctor should be captivating, but it just falls flat. This blandness is partly due to the lack of narrative focus, as two completely unrelated movies seem to be playing at the same time: the surgeons’ friendly interactions and the mute bartender’s investigation. The film cuts between these stories seemingly without rhyme or reason before they eventually come together in the final act, where the conjunction comes out of nowhere and is horribly sloppy in its execution. Overall, “Mute” is an utterly pointless sci-fi yarn that wastes the time of everyone involved, from the actors on-screen to the viewers unfortunate enough to watch it on Netflix. Original sci-fi films often provide inspiring examples of creativity that deserve all praise they get, but this is certainly not one of them.



This year, the biennial festival brings Indian photographers from around the world to Houston for several weeks of incredible photography. While exhibitions will take place throughout Houston, the opening party is this Friday at 8 p.m. at Silver Street Studios. Admission is free.



Start spring break with live music and french food at the annual French Cultures Festival kick-off event. The Blind Suns, Tomar and the FCs and The Great Novel will be performing. The event begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. Admission is free.

The Shepherd School of Music will put on this Mozart opera about the comic missteps of a few couples looking for love. It will be sung in Italian, with English subtitles. Show dates are March 5, 7 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students.

Although it started earlier this week, the Houston Jewish Film Festival still has four films to show. They run in genre from romcom to comedy to thriller. Tickets are $10 for students, check the website for details.

Various Locations

Discovery Green

Shepherd School


Various locations







Owls prepared to face challenges of C-USA tournament MICHAEL BYRNES

all of these teams pretty well and we know we’re capable of beating every single team out there.” One potential concern for the Owls in the Frisco-based tournament is their home-road splits: Though the team was 12-1 at home, they were just 8-7 on the road. But according to Langley, the team believes the neutral site shouldn’t affect their play too much. “I actually think we’re pretty excited about it,” Langley said. “I think there’s a security when you’re at home, but I think the longer we play together and the more that we have [non-home] games, that we continue to get better.”


As the final buzzer sounded on Saturday to seal a 47-45 win over the University of North Texas, it marked the conclusion of the most successful regular season for the Rice’s women’s basketball team since 2004-05. The Owls’ 20 regularseason wins eclipsed last year’s total of 18 and secured the team the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Conference USA tournament, their highest seeding since 2012. Rice started the season on a tear, recording a 17-3 record through its first 20 games for the best start in program history. But since the second week of February, the team has posted just three wins against five losses, all at the hands of conference rivals. Head coach Tina Langley said that injuries have played a significant part in the team’s recent struggles, but the team avoids dwelling on the past. “We’ve battled a lot of injuries the last few games; we’re out there with a lot of people playing very sore,” Langley said. “[But] we don’t spend a lot of time in the past. Our mindset is about the process, what we have to do right here in the moment.”

We know we’re capable of beating every single team out there. Wendy Knight Senior Guard The Owls’ focus now shifts to the postseason. This Wednesday, they take on No. 12-seeded Old Dominion University in the opening round of the C-USA tournament. The tournament has 12 participants in a four-round bracket. The top four seeds receive a first-round bye. As the top seed playing in the first round, Rice will face the lowest-seeded team in

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Freshman guard Sydne Wiggins drives to the hoop during Rice’s 47-45 victory over the University of North Texas on Saturday. The win secured the No. 5 seed for the Owls, meaning they will face off against Old Dominion University in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament.

its first game, with a potential first-round win advancing the Owls to a matchup the against No. 4-seeded Middle Tennessee State University. If the Owls manage to make it all the way to the championship game on Saturday, they will have played four games in four days. According to Langley, this intense schedule makes resting the players paramount to success. “It’s really [the coaching staff’s] job that we rest [the players] well,” Langley said. “I think it’s the most important thing that we do going into the tournament, [so] that they can be sharp mentally and physically as [they] take the floor.” Throughout the season, the Owls have relied on a combination of prolific outside shooting and tenacious defense to outscore their opponents. On the offensive side, Rice ranks first in C-USA with 8.5 3-pointers made per game and is second in 3-point accuracy at 37 percent. Defensively, Rice has held their opponents to just a 28.5 percent success

rate from 3-point range, and their overall scoring defense places them in the conference’s top three. The Owls will likely look to sophomore guard Erica Ogwumike and junior forward Nicole Iademarco to provide the backbone of their offense, as they have done all year. Ogwumike was named to both the All-C-USA First Team and the All-Defense Team, leading Rice with 17.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game. Iademarco secured a spot on the All-C-USA Second Team, leading the team with 66 made 3-pointers and ranking second with 13.5 points per game. Together, the two players accounted for 46 percent of the Owls’ total points scored and were the third-highest-scoring duo in the conference. All in all, senior guard Wendy Knight said the team is confident that they will perform well in the tournament. “I feel like we’re definitely going to be prepared,” Knight said. “We’ve scouted






This conference is tremendously tough. Everybody that you play can beat you. Tina Langley Basketball Head Coach In their only matchup this season, Rice defeated Old Dominion 53-45 on Jan. 28, a game in which the Owls trailed 23-16 at halftime before outscoring the Monarchs by 15 in the second half on the back of 64 percent 3-point shooting. On the whole, Old Dominion struggled through the regular season, recording an 8-22 record that places it last among the teams in the conference tournament. Despite the Owls’ advantage on paper, Langley said they aren’t taking anything for granted. “The conference is tremendously tough,” Langley said. “Everybody that you play can beat you, so we’re going in with a fresh start.” But more than anything, Langley said the team is excited to return to postseason play. “We want this season to last as long as it can: This is a tremendous group of people that really enjoys being together,” Langley said. “We just want to go down [to Frisco] and do our very best.” bracket by marlena fleck











Baseball wins 2 Rice fails to qualify for conference tournament out of 3 against ANDREW GROTTKAU Houston Baptist SPORTS EDITOR / ABG4@RICE.EDU

martin zhang / thresher

Sophomore pitcher Addison Moss delivers a pitch during Rice’s 6-0 win over Houston Baptist University on Sunday. Moss had allowed just one hit in 3.2 innings before being removed from the game due to injury. The team has not yet commented on a timetable for his return.


Rice baseball rebounded from a fourgame sweep in Palo Alto by winning two out of three games this weekend against Houston Baptist University this weekend. At time of print, Rice’s road game at Texas State University was ongoing on Tuesday night. Rice’s pitching had mixed results during the weekend. Sophomore pitcher Matt Canterino threw seven innings in Friday’s game, allowing no runs and striking out a career-high 12 batters. Saturday, senior pitcher Ricardo Salinas gave up three runs in just three innings, and the bullpen surrendered another five over the eight innings as the Owls fell 8-7 in extras. Sophomore pitcher Addison Moss and senior pitcher Willy Amador helped Rice rebound on Sunday by combining on a four-hit shutout in a 6-0 Owls win. On offense, Rice averaged nearly eight runs per game over the weekend. Senior center fielder Ryan Chandler, sophomore third baseman Braden Comeaux, freshman second baseman Trei Cruz, junior shortstop Ford Proctor and senior first baseman Chace Sarchet combined to go 31-for-63 in the series for a batting average of .492. A scary moment in Sunday’s win dampened the mood for Rice, as Moss exited his start after just 3.2 innings pitched. After a pitch, the pitching coach and athletic trainer visited him on the mound and removed him from the game, apparently due to injury. Up to that point, Moss had an ERA of just 1.69 in 16.0 innings. At time of print, there had been no update from Rice regarding his status moving forward. Additionally, junior catcher Dominic DiCaprio attempted to return from injury in Friday night’s game but exited after two at-bats and did not appear in the series again. He has missed seven of the team’s last eight games. Up next, Rice will play on the road at Lamar University on Wednesday night before returning home for a fourgame series against Gonzaga University Friday through Sunday. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday. It is Rice’s busiest week of the year, as the Owls play six games in seven days.

The first season of head coach Scott Pera’s tenure came to an end over the weekend, as Rice men’s basketball failed to qualify for the Conference USA tournament. The Owls finished the season with a record of 7-24, 4-14 in conference play. Despite the record, junior guard Connor Cashaw said he was proud of how the Owls performed. “Any team could’ve separated, packed it in, went their separate ways, gave up,” Cashaw said. “This is adversity, obviously. Our response was fighting every single game, fighting for each other, coming closer.” The Owls entered the weekend with an outside shot of qualifying for the conference tournament. They needed to beat the University of Texas, El Paso and the University of Texas, San Antonio and for UTEP to lose to the University of North Texas on Saturday. Although Rice was able to defeat UTEP 76-70 on Thursday, the Miners’ win over North Texas eliminated the Owls just moments before Rice tipped off Saturday night against UTSA. Rice went on to fall to the Roadrunners 79-60. According to Pera, the news of UTEP’s win was difficult for the Owls to handle. “Finding out before tip what happened with UTEP was challenging, to say the least, on the staff and the team,” Pera said. “I guess I could’ve done a better job of trying to get us more prepared. I couldn’t.” A year after losing six of its top players and its head coach, Rice fell from No. 5 in C-USA to No. 13. The Owls finished the season winning two of their final four games largely thanks to the performances of freshmen Najja Hunter and Malik Osborne, who averaged 16.8

points per game and 11.8 points per game, respectively, over that stretch. Osborne added 7.5 rebounds per game in that stretch. Hunter, who won last week’s C-USA Freshman of the Week Award, said he felt like he settled into his role as the season progressed. “I’ve always been that type of player,” Hunter said. “Basically, for me, it’s [getting a feel for] the confidence and the speed of college basketball. People say you gotta run your own race, and my time is now. [Osborne] started really early, getting his flow, and I’m getting my flow now.”

We gotta add more depth, we gotta add some more talent, and both of those things are on the way. Scott Pera Basketball Head Coach The loss to UTSA concluded the first year of Pera’s tenure. It was his first season as a college head coach, though he had 12 years of prior experience as a high school head coach. According to Pera, he has a lot he can take away from his initial season. “I learned every day from the kids how to coach them, how to love them, how to be there for them and hopefully how to push them,” Pera said. “Obviously, this is a very important time for this program because I believe we are heading up. I’m very excited about everything that is going on.” Rice graduates just two seniors, forward Bishop Mency and guard J.T. Trauber. Additionally, two graduate transfers,

forward Dylan Jones and guard A.J. Lapray, have exhausted their eligibility. This leaves Rice with 10 returning players including sophomore guard Josh Parrish, who sat out this year after transferring from Texas Christian University. The Owls will also add four freshmen, two of whom are rated as three-star recruits by 247Sports. Pera said he is optimistic about the team heading into next season. “This program is on very solid ground,” Pera said. “Culture starts with great kids, because great kids care about the program … and that’s what I have. I have a group of those guys. We gotta add more depth, we gotta add some more talent, and both of those things are on the way.” For Trauber and Mency, Saturday’s loss to UTSA was their final game in a Rice uniform. Trauber made the first start of his career, playing a season-high three minutes. Trauber said he is honored to have had the opportunity to play for Rice. “It was a night filled with a lot of emotion,” Trauber said. “I wish we could’ve gotten a different result, for sure, but it was a night and it’s a game that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. As some of the guys were telling me after the game, this is not the end, it’s the beginning. I’ve made a lot of lifelong friends here.” Mency said he will cherish the chance he had to work with his coaches and teammates. “It was a special night for the both of us,” Mency said. “I’m just proud to be a part of something, proud to be a Rice Owl … Winning and losing, yeah, everybody wants to win, but just being a part of some of the camaraderie, that’s more [important] than anything else. I’ll consider myself a winner for the rest of my life knowing that I’ve got these guys as my friends and brothers.”

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The Rice Thresher | Wednesday, March 7, 2018  
The Rice Thresher | Wednesday, March 7, 2018