Facilities

Location
Houston, TX
Undergrads
3,803
Tuition
$37,292
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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5 College Freshman

Facilities: Rice students are exceptional at managing their time between making use of the library and other academic study facilities, running the outer loop or getting fit at the gym, and spending time together in the student-run coffee house or at an event hosted by one of our many clubs. Traditions are popular and mostly oriented towards the residential colleges, in which students have the opportunity to be very involved with one another and develop pride in the residential college and the university.

5 College Freshman

Facilities: The residential college system does a lot to enhance students' experience; through your college you become close with a smaller group of people who have different interests and goals than you, and you are given lots of opportunities to become involved in sports, social outings, and other events with the people in your college. The college system allows every student to be as socially involved as they are comfortable- there are parties and get togethers for those who enjoy them, and there are other outlets for those less interested in partying, which are equally popular with the students.

5 College Sophomore

Facilities: Student life is great. There is always something going on on campus. I live three hours away and have only been able to make it home once this last semester, because events pop up every single weekend. It's a lot of fun and hard to find the motivation to step away for even two days.

5 College Sophomore

Facilities: Campus is beautiful. The people are wonderful. Professors are incredible. This is honestly the best place in the world.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: I love student life here! If you want to party; we've got it. If you want a fellowship; we've got it, If you want a fun gym; we've got it. 2nd happiest place on earth.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 112nd
    Greenest Campuses
  • 146th
    Best Athletic Facilities
  • 281st
    Best Library
  • 646th
    Best Student Centers
  • 885th
    Best Performance Venues

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

The facilities at Rice are regarded by most as top-notch. Over the past 10 years, the University has spent upwards of $1 billion in construction projects, including a new recreation and fitness center, two new colleges and college renovations, several new academic buildings, and general campus beautifications like gardens.  

Students have very positive opinions about the facilities at Rice, particularly the colleges and athletic facilities. Visitors often cite the oak-lined Inner Loop as the most distinctive element of Rice's campus, while others note the uniquely Spanish architecture on campus. Either way, it's hard not to step foot on campus without noticing Rice's beauty and charm.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
430
Campus Size
295 acres
Student Centers
Rice Student Center
Campus Library?
Yes
Main Libraries
Fondren Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • Brochstein Pavilion
  • The Engineering Quad
  • Fondren Library
  • Residential college commons and quad areas
  • Rice Student Center
  • Valhalla
  • Willy's Pub
Bar on Campus
  • Valhalla
  • Willy's Pub
Bowling on Campus
None
Coffeehouse on Campus
  • Rice Coffeehouse
  • Salento Café in the Brochstein Pavilion
Movie Theater on Campus
Rice Media Center
"Green" Initiatives
Rice was kind of early on the "green" movement, starting campus environmental initiatives as early as the 1997-98 school year. Today, Rice is still big on green living; in 2006, Rice set the goal to make all new buildings LEED certified. The recreation and wellness center, Duncan College, McMurtry College, and Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen are just a few examples of buildings with LEED certification.
School Slang
  • "Beyond the Hedges": The world outside the hedges that surround campus
  • "Pub Rats": Regulars at Willy's Pub
  • 45-90-180: These numbers represent the three big slabs of granite displayed in the engineering quad, tilted at these respective angles (also known as "tipsy/sober/drunk"). This is a good place to sunbathe, read, or go "star-gazing" with a "friend."
  • Academ: An arts, humanities, or social sciences major; opposite of an S.E.
  • Archi: Those unfortunate individuals who sell their souls to the architecture department and spend most of the college career in "studio"
  • Associate: A faculty, staff, or community member who is associated with a particular college-good people to get to know
  • Backpage: Humor page of the Thresher (student paper) that serves as a forum for what the BP editors think is funny and enlightening to the rest of campus (see "Misclass")
  • Baker Fountain: Located near the Baker Institute, this fountain is fun to run through, if you can avoid slipping or getting busted by the Campos.
  • Beer-golf: Usually a Friday afternoon or College Night activity involving golf clubs, beer, tennis balls, beer, the entire Rice campus as a course, and beer
  • Big Three: Math 101, Chemistry 121, and Physics 101; the three classes that most S.E.s take their freshman year-known to convert a good number to Academs
  • BPE: Backpage editor
  • Bunny Grades: Service provided by the registrar's office informing freshmen of their spring midterm grades, generally given out around Easter
  • Campanile: The annual Rice yearbook, which you pay for with the blanket tax; also the name of the "bell tower" overlooking the Engineering Quad
  • Campo: Campus police
  • CENG (senj): A chemical engineering major
  • CIVI: Civil engineering major
  • College Night: Holiday typically sponsored once each semester at each of the residential colleges, usually involves themes to dress up or drink to
  • Cougar High: University of Houston
  • Creamy J: Creamy Jalapeno, a specialty at Chuy's restaurant. You will find plenty of this at study breaks.
  • Dead Week: Not an entire week-the four days between the last day of classes and the first day of scheduled finals
  • Diff-E: Short for "differential equations"-one of the most lamented math courses at Rice
  • EE (Double E): Electrical engineering major. Remember kids-you can't spell geek without "EE."
  • Esperanza: Fall formal sponsored by the Rice Program Council, a Sadie Hawkins-type dance in which the girls traditionally ask the guys
  • Fairy Fountain: Fountain located between Jones College and Brown College; if you live at one of the North Colleges, and you have a birthday, you are going in.
  • Frog Wall: A wall on the entrance to the Archi building that makes frog noises if you run your fingers over the holes
  • Gnome Cart (guh-no-me-cart): Golf carts that housing and dining people use to get around campus; it's a favorite item to steal when drunk and/or stupid.
  • Hedge-jumping: A favorite pastime for daring or drunk underclassmen who attempt to hurdle (or at least fling their bodies) over the hedges in the quad
  • Hedges: Bushes that line the perimeter of the University and protect us from the outside world
  • Honor Council: The protector/enforcer of the honor code, a student board responsible for investigations and trials of alleged honor code violations
  • Inner Loop: Somewhat circular road that passes through campus, approximately 1.4 miles around; it's also a popular jogging path and the route of the Rice shuttles.
  • Jack: Pulling a prank on another college, very popular during O-Week and Beer Bike
  • KTRU (kay troo): Rice's student-run radio station
  • Labbie: Fearless guides through lab courses
  • LPAP: Formerly known as "HPER," the Lifetime Physical Activity Program consists of a wide variety of P.E.-type classes; you will be required to take two before graduation.
  • Masters: Faculty members are chosen to reside with a college for five years and serve as surrogate parents. Get to know these guys; they are great connections and friends and will stand on your side if you should have a scrape with "The Man."
  • Matriculation: Opposite of graduation, this event involves walking through the Sallyport into the quad as a symbolic act of being integrated into the University.
  • Mech E: Mechanical engineering student
  • Mecom Fountain: Located at the intersection of Main and Montrose, a dip in this fountain is an expected birthday tradition for those turning 21.
  • Meet Sheet: This is a newcomers guide published every fall that contains pictures, names, colleges, and interests of incoming freshmen and transfer students. Freshmen are usually reduced to a row, column, and page number by upperclassmen.
  • Misclass: This is part of the Backpage that takes humorous comments out of context. Contributions can be emailed to backpage@rice.edu.
  • MOB (Marching Owl Band): This is the pride of halftime shows at Rice football games-they're not your average marching band. Go check them out.
  • Montrose: This is an artsy area based around the intersection of Montrose and Westheimer; it's also the center of the gay district in Houston.
  • MSCI (Miskee): Materials science and engineering
  • OC: Off campus
  • Orgo: Chem 211-212, organic chemistry
  • Outer Loop: This is a loop that circles around the outer edge of campus; it's approximately three miles and a popular jogging path.
  • Owls: Visiting high school seniors who have been accepted to the University
  • PDR: Private dining room, located in the commons area of many residential colleges
  • Pledge: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unauthorized aid on this homework/quiz/exam." This sentence is a key component of the Rice University Honor Code, and it must be signed on almost anything you hand in at Rice. You may as well memorize it now.
  • Prospective: High school students who come to Rice to check it out, also called "prospies"
  • Pumpkin Grades: Service provided by the registrar's office informing freshmen of their fall midterm grades, typically given out around Halloween
  • Purity Test: Test containing 100 yes-or-no questions attesting to the relative "experience" of a person; this is normally administered during O-Week and at the end of senior year to see how much Rice has corrupted you.
  • Rally Club: Male exclusive club that meets before home football (and occasionally baseball or basketball) games; they wear white overalls, drink lots of beer, stumble to the games, and yell offensive cheers at opposing teams.
  • Rondolet (Ron-duh-lay): Annual spring formal held around Beer Bike time where guys traditionally do the asking
  • Rustication: Discipline option in which student is barred from attending campus events other than class
  • Sally Club: Female equivalent of Rally Club
  • Sallyport: Big archway in the middle of Lovett Hall
  • SE: A science or engineering major
  • SMR: Student Maintenance Representative; call this guy (or gal) if you want to rearrange your room, report unwelcome guests (e.g., ants, roaches, roommate's significant other), if something gets broken, or if you get locked out.
  • Steam Tunnel: This refers to a system of underground tunnels connecting all the buildings at Rice. Exploring them is a "must do" before you graduate, but if you get caught, see "Rustication."
  • The Trasher: The April fool's newspaper, in no way affiliated with the Thresher
  • University Blue: Rice's literary outlet for students is filled with poetry, stories, photography, and artwork; it's published in the spring and also known as, "U-Blue."
  • William Rice's Marsh: A play on the name of our founder to express what happens to campus whenever we have a good heavy Houston rain
  • Willy's Statue: Located in the middle of the quad, Willy's ashes are inside this memorial, making Rice the largest cemetery in the state of Texas.
Traditions
  • "Screw Your Roommate" : Annual Rice Program Council event in which people set up their roommates on a blind date and brainstorm creative ways for them to meet (e.g., find each other in the massive crowd that gathers on the quad). The Meet Sheet is an excellent resource to pick out potential dates. An example of a set-up: woman dressed as Princess Jasmine meets a man wheeled in on a cart, dressed as Aladdin and singing "A Whole New World." At worst, the night is a bad date and a way to meet someone new; at best, people have actually found true love!
  • Baker 13 : The proud Rice tradition of stripping naked, covering your body in shaving cream, running all around campus, and leaving body prints on various glass plate windows. Takes place on the 13th, 26th, and 31st of every month. If it is 10 p.m. on any of these days, and you catch the faint scent of shaving cream in the air, get indoors very quickly. The runners will usually try to break into the residential colleges to leave prints on the inside, but are usually met by fierce (and often creative and borderline cruel) resistance. A few things to note: they will try to convince you to join them by chanting in zombie-fashion, "Join us!" The two unofficial rules of Baker 13 state that they can't touch you, and they must stop for all photo requests.
  • Bakerfeast : B-feast is "rumored to be a party," and you might not get much more information than that from anyone that has attended. This medieval-themed event dates back to the days when Jones Residential College housed only females, and Baker College housed only males. The Baker lads invited the Jones ladies for a formal feast in their swank commons. Only Baker and Jones seniors (and lucky 21-year-old invited guests) are invited to attend this costume event. The only further information to give you is that food and drinks are free flowing, and the "rumor" is OH-so-true.
  • Beer Bike : By far the most-hyped event on the Rice social calendar, more alumni return for Beer Bike than for Homecoming (at least, more young alumni). Undergrads begin prepping for this springtime event sometime in the fall. To break it into its simplest components: Beer Bike is a relay race of 10 bikers per team (men, women, and alumni) from each of the residential colleges and the GSA (graduate student association). These bikers are joined by a team of 10 chuggers, who stand on a platform near the bike pit as each bike comes in, and must chug 24 (male) or 12 (women and alum) ounces of water or (yuck) warm and flat beer before the next biker can leave the pit. Most colleges (with the exception of Wiess) select a Beer Bike theme, print T-shirts, dye hair, paint faces, and more. They also fill water balloons-thousands and thousands of water balloons. These will be used for what will undoubtedly be the wildest, craziest, most painful, and fun water balloon fight of your life. The Beer Bike parade that heads from Lovett Hall to the bike track erupts in a colorful and wet exchange of ammunition between the colleges. Imagine it: almost every undergrad student at Rice participating in a cross-campus balloon fight. Oh yeah, it is that sweet.
  • Fountain tossing : Namely involving the Fairy Fountain and Mecom Fountain-this tradition is mainly popular with members of the North Colleges (Martel, Jones, and Brown) because of their closer proximity to the Fairy Fountain. If you should be lucky enough to have a birthday during the school year, you will be hunted down when you least expect it (or perhaps exactly when you expect it), and nabbed, carried, and tossed into the Fairy Fountain. The general idea is that you should run, fight, or resist, but not to the point of hurting anyone.
  • NOD (Night of Decadence) : Cited by both "Playboy" and "Rolling Stone" as one of America's top-10 college parties, NOD has actually gotten a bit tamer over the last few years, due to the influence of a few concerned faculty members. Thrown by Wiess College every year around Halloween, the party usually sponsors some witty play-on-words theme, such as: "Wizard of Nod," "Nod to Authority," "NeverNeverNod," "NODty or Nice," "2001, A Space Nodessy." The goal is basically to wear the least possible amount of clothing and still somehow fit with the theme. If you want an alternative activity for the evening, a lot of students choose to volunteer to work security, remain clothed, and look after their peers (if you are lucky, they might let you use walkie-talkies or gnome carts!).
  • O-Week (Orientation Week) : This is the week before school starts in the fall, intended to welcome and acclimate Rice freshmen and transfers. While you will have to sit through a number of semi-boring discussions and meetings about policies, schedules, and more, O-Week is really fun. You will be assigned to a random group of students from your residential college and to several upperclassman advisers who will be your guiding light in times of darkness or confusion. You will also get to experience exciting O-Week activities within your college, like scavenger hunts, fun mixers, mock beer bike, skits, and broomball. Don't expect a lot of sleep this week, but come with an open mind and get ready to meet amazing people and have a great time!
  • Sallyport : At matriculation, during O-Week your freshman year, you will be marched through the Rice Sallyport, a large archway in Lovett Hall. You will walk from the opposite side of Lovett Hall into the quad. You are greeted on the other side by a group of cheering advisers. This is symbolic of your entry into Rice. The tradition is that students cannot walk back out through the Sallyport again until the day of graduation. After receiving your diploma, you walk from inside the quad, through the Sallyport, to the opposite side of Lovett, where your cheering friends and family members will greet you. The story goes that if you should walk through the Sallyport again at all during your undergraduate career, you will be cursed and will never graduate from Rice. Even if you don't believe in such superstition, the walk out at graduation is especially rewarding if you have actually waited the entire four years.
  • Willy Week : This is the week leading up to Beer Bike. Rice Program Council schedules events and TGs throughout the week, giving away T-shirts and other Rice paraphernalia. Also, it's crunch time for Beer Bike preparations, and the most popular time to play "jacks" on rival colleges. Students try to infiltrate other colleges, locate their stash of water balloons, and steal or destroy them. Many colleges have Willy Week vigilantes who stand guard, wearing camo until all hours of the night to protect from balloon raids and other "jacks."
Urban Legends
  • A group of engineering students in 1988 decided that they were fed up with some recent decisions made by the administration and concocted a plan to rotate the 2,000-pound statue of William Marsh Rice (located in the quad) 180 degrees, making Willy face Fondren Library for the first time in 58 years, thus turning his back on the administration. The students elaborate plan was simulated on computers and tested off campus on a 2,250-pound Toyota. According to legend, they removed the lights around the quad two weeks prior to the prank, so that they could work in the dark without drawing attention. They also convinced campus police that the large A-frames used to rotate the statue were part of a school project, and were given a police escort to Entrance 8 when hauling the frames back onto campus after testing. The way the legend goes, the plan worked beautifully, except that one student, Patrick Dyson ('88) was caught. The University hired a group of real engineers to turn the statue to its rightful position, but these engineers somehow managed to damage the statue in the process (they claim the damage was done by the students). Dyson was given the responsibility of paying for the repair cost, as well as the cost of the engineering team. Students rallied behind Dyson. They printed and sold T-shirts that read, "Where There's A Willy, There's a Way," and actually made a profit after reimbursing the University. What took the Rice students one hour and $400 to do took professionals three hours and a rumored $1,500 to $2,000 to undo.
  • One of the most classic and notorious Rice legends is simply the story of the mysterious demise of our founder, William Marsh Rice. Rice's valet, a man named Charles Jones, conspired with a crooked attorney, Albert Patrick, to kill Rice on September 23, 1900 and claim his fortune using a forged will. An autopsy, ordered by Rice's attorney, Captain James A. Baker (founder of Baker college), revealed evidence of poison. Jones testified against Patrick in order to receive immunity from prosecution, and in 1901, Patrick was convicted of murder and sent to Sing Sing. He was pardoned in 1912. Baker's actions allowed for Rice's actual will to be followed, and his estate left to the founding of Rice University. Rice's remains are buried under a large statue in the University Quad.
  • Rice pranks, or "jacks" are numerous. Some are clever while others are simply vile. One group of Brown College students once went out to eat at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, and then snuck over to Baker College, where a Shakespeare production was underway. The students forced themselves to vomit all around the Commons and entrance areas to the building. Another prank, rumored to be motivated by the same Brown "mastermind," resulted in all the plumbing to Jones College being shut off for nearly a full day. In addition to preventing students from practicing good hygiene, the news of the prank did not travel fast enough to prevent several students from using the toilets, leaving an unpleasant smell to linger for the rest of the afternoon. For more historic Rice pranks, visit http://staff.rice.edu/staff/Pranks.asp.
  • The guy running Baker 13 went through a library window naked covered in shaving cream.
Favorite Things To Do
On campus, you can go swimming, pump some iron, or practice other sports at Autry Court. Students can also get a coffee, smoothie, beer, or sub sandwich at the student center; take in an independent film or use the photo labs in the Media Center; see an exhibition of a contemporary artist at the Rice Gallery in Sewall Hall; or go see a play or musical in Hamman Hall or any of the residential colleges. You can also go to a pub, see music performances, study, chill in the quads with guitars and people, have picnics, play baseball, and barbecue. Pub night on Thursdays at Willy's Pub is very popular with most underclassmen, although seniors and grad students prefer to go to the calmer Valhalla pub (also on campus). The Rice Coffeehouse in the student center does good business late into the night (closes at 12 a.m.), and it sometimes hosts open-mic nights, poetry slams, and small concerts. Shepherd Music Hall is a source of frequent, free, amazing concerts and operas. Rice Dance Theater, the Rice Philharmonics (an a capella group), and Spontaneous Combustion (an improv comedy group) all perform frequently in various spaces on campus, often to large crowds. The Rice Players and the residential colleges put on amazing theatrical productions, many of which are student produced and directed. IM sports are huge, and some varsity sports are popular, as well, with free admission to students.
Student Organizations Web Site
www.ruf.rice.edu/~stact/clubs.html
Student Newspaper
The Rice Thresher
www.ricethresher.org
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
There are more than 300 student organizations on campus.
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Marching band
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Opera
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Student-run film society
  • Symphony orchestra
  • Television station
  • Yearbook
ROTC
Air Force ROTC: Yes
Navy ROTC: Yes
Army ROTC: Yes
Did You Know?
  • Each residential college has a commons, library, media room, game room, and other special purpose rooms (e.g., gyms, prayer rooms, meditation rooms, etc.).
  • Rice's entire campus is a registered arboretum. The wooded campus is full of beautiful and stately live oaks. The campus attracts weddings, conventions, and other special events each year. There are often photographers near Lovett Hall in the Academic Quad taking prom, wedding, and quinceañera pictures.

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 31 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

How would you describe the student center/union?    Based on 45 responses

  • 7% The student center is in need of a major renovation.
  • 20% The student center serves its purpose but is not a popular hangout.
  • 53% The student center is great but isn't central to student life.
  • 20% The student center is state-of-the-art and the hub of student life.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 34 responses

  • 3% I hate my school and have no school spirit.
  • 6% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 35% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 56% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.

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