Rice students participate in a lot of clubs. They go to the village and the movies. The galleria is popular too. Finally, Rice has a lot of on campus parties.
Rice rugby defines my social life. We play hard and party like crazy.
The most popular student activity is of course the Beer Bike!
There are a decent number of non-drinkers. Some of them still go to parties, some of them stay in studying, and some make groups of non-drinking friends who hang out together on the weekends. It is easier to be a non-drinker if you're Christian (built in group of non-drinking friends from bible study and Campus Crusade), but it's not that hard even if you're not Christian. Last weekend, to pregame I went to a party at the room next door, which was not well-attended because it was finals. Then I biked to a party at a friend's apartment off-campus, where there were a bunch of different groups of people, most of whom I knew or knew of. At around two, I biked back to my room on-campus, watched TV with my suitemates for a little, and went to sleep. I met my closest friends at my college. The college system definitely has pros and cons. 1) You might not like the atmosphere at the college you're placed at. This is a small con, because if you're social it's an incentive to make an effort to make other friends. There are tons of people who seem like they're from one college but are technically at another, and get the benefits of being at both. 2) Your friend options are limited within the college, so you tend to make friends with people that are pretty different from you who you may not have befriended otherwise. Good because you make new kinds of friends. Bad because there might be a reason you weren't friends with that kind of person before. 3) You have a set group of people in your grade for four years. Things get cliquey, though nobody really minds because you're usually happy with the group you end up in. 4) There is a tendency to stay within your own college. As Rice is small to begin with, having a lot of insular groups doesn't help things. After freshman or sophomore year, people start doing more and more things off-campus. You usually have to live off-campus sophomore or junior year, so parts of the social scene move off-campus too. And then there are tons of events in Houston to attend, which means there is always something to do on the weekends. The dating scene is depressing. I don't even want to write about it because it will make me depressed. I mean, if you are proactive (read: slutty) or determined, you can be satisfied, but everyone who goes out knows everyone else so random hookups are kind of hard after freshman year. It's true that when you start dating it's long term and serious, because options are limited so if you manage to snag someone you are definitely not letting go. If I'm up at 2 am on Tuesday, I've been doing homework or going to a residential college-sponsored pub night. This means free food and alcohol at the on-campus pub on a Tuesday. They are (obviously) well-attended, both by people in the sponsoring college and outside of it. If you're not part of the drug scene at Rice, you probably aren't aware of it, but you can get drugs if you know the right people. Some people smoke pot, but most only smoke occasionally and if you don't it's not a big deal.
About one tenth of Rice Students are athletes, but we're a small school and we aren't really well known for our athletic prowess outside of baseball. Many students regularly go to football and baseball games, but a few of the other sports have to recruit audiences with free food and T-shirts. For those who don't participate at the college level, Rice also has intramural sports (residential colleges compete against each other) and club sports (Ultimate Frisbee is especially popular). The Rice Outdoors Club organizes camping trips and weekly rock climbing trips. Residential colleges also put on plays or musicals and have yearly talent shows, where students can see their peers' bands, stand-up acts, dances, etc. For professional acts, Rice subsidizes trips to the symphony, opera and ballet from time to time, and students can often petition their colleges to subsidize band tickets or theater if they can get large groups to go. The social scene at Rice is in many ways defined by the residential college system. I met some of my best friends during orientation week at my college, and the others in my free time in the common room, at get-togethers, and during meals in my college Servery. As sad as it sounds, one of the main things Rice students do together on weeknights is homework; some of my best memories are from 2 and 3 am study sessions crammed into my friends' dorm rooms. Rice does not have frats or sororities, but on weekends you can pretty much always find a party in the Rice dorms; these range from typical keggers to public parties put on with the approval of the administration (also usually accompanied by keggers). Not everyone at Rice drinks, though, and it's perfectly possible to have a healthy social life here without ever touching a beer or a mixed drink.
Groups I heard a lot about on-campus were the newspaper, athletics (college and intermural, esp. baseball), student admissions council, south asian society, etc. The biggest positions are, of course, the colleges' councils. I was really involved in R2, which is a literary magazine. We put out very professional looking magazines with really great-quality literature by Rice undergrads, and I was really proud to work with that group, although we did have the reputation for being sort of a clique on campus (there aren't many writers). The dating scene on campus is pretty lame -- people don't go out much, although there are some exceptions. I wanted to move off campus immediately so I could, uh, have my own room for that sort of thing. Everyone knows your business. All the time. Trust me, they will. People attend the sporting events pretty regularly, and theater (especially college theater) is really popular. Guest speakers are way too boring for the average Rice student, although when Bill Clinton came, people were really psyched about that. If you're awake at 2 AM on a Tuesday, you ARE studying. And everyone around you probably is too. People party a lot on the weekends, although it's never as exciting as it looks -- usually it's just a keg of beer and a lot of sweaty people standing around. The good parties happen off-campus, or in small groups in private rooms. The public parties generally suck. Off-campus, if you have a car, is great. Awesome museums, shopping, restaurants, nightlife, etc. It's probably your best bet for entertainment in Houston.
Intramural sports are very popular on campus. Theatre also have a large community here. Each college does their own production once a year (possibly once a semester, but each college is different) in their own commons. Additionally, the Rice Players and the Theatre department each do a production each semester. Religious groups are also popular on campus, with groups available for every religion/denomination. Rice brings in a large number of lectures and seminars in every subject area. A lot of the student life at Rice revolves around the residential college system. Residential Colleges differ from dorms in that they are student-governed and that the entirety of their budget is dedicated to student life. Each residential college hosts a public party (open to the entire campus) each semester. Additionally, they plan lots of other fun college activities (barbecues, college nights, etc.) to foster community. Many students make their best friends in their residential colleges. Come visit campus to truly understand how awesome the Residential College System is. All campus dining halls (called Serveries on campus) are closed Saturday nights. Most students will go out to dinner off campus. The Rice Village is a restaurant/shopping area located within walking distance of campus. Rice runs shuttles there on weekends. Additionally, Rice students have free access to the Houston public transportation system, which includes the MetroRail. The light rail has two stops along campus and will take you straight into the heart of Downtown Houston.
My group of friends is mainly seniors. We all live off campus. I lived on campus for 3 years and moved off for my senior year. We are all "normal" and played sports in high school and college. We are all white and come from comfortable homes. We all are part of Baker College. Athletics are not popular at all, except for baseball. The dating scene doesn't exist. I've been on multiple dates while at Rice, but they have coincidentally always been with guys who recently graduated from Rice. If I'm awake at 2am on Tuesday, I am studying. Either that, or going to college pub nights. Traditions: college nights, college pub nights, beer bike, willy week People party every weekend at the beginning and end of each semester. There is always a lull leading up to finals. We have no fraternities. We have the college system. Last weekend I was on spring break. This weekend is Beer Bike, so I will be partying tonight, tomorrow, and all day Saturday starting at 6am. You can go to movies or shows downtown on Saturdays if you dont drink. Off campus, we go to the Village (a group of bars about a mile from Rice) or to Midtown. You can also go shopping at the Galleria.
I'm involved with soccer and it is very demanding. I enjoy it though. Makes it hard however to participate in other groups. Yes everyone always has an open door. You can usually just walk into a friends room whenever to stop by and say hey. Athletic events -- aside from baseball -- aren't exactly high in attendance. Lots and lots of guest speakers of all sorts in all fields on all topics. Dating is hard at Rice. Not too big of a scene. A little incestious feeling though because campus is so small. Through my dorm and then dating. Usually at Pub or chatting about random stuff with a few friends. Oh...and most likely eating. BEER BIKE!!!!!! 2 nights a week. I personally more though out of season. There is no Greek system at Rice I went out one night, stayed in and hung out with friends another, went to an easter lunch, and did homework. It was a quieter weekend becasue it was Easter. Hang out with friends, go bowling, dinner, movie etc. Go eat a lot because there is amazing food around Houston.
Most students spend weekdays doing homework and studying. I don't drink, but a lot of my friends do, and they usually party about once a week. Some students party several days a week, but we usually wonder how they can afford to. I can usually find someone to hang out with if some of my friends are partying, and we usually find something to do. Every year we have Beer Bike, a relay race that consists of chuggers and bike racers from each residential college. The race is a relay of the chugger chugging water (or beer if he or she is 21 or older) and the biker doing one lap around the bike track. The week before Beer Bike is called Willy Week, where there is a lot of campus craziness leading up to Beer Bike. On the day of Beer Bike, there is a huge parade on campus and each residential college fills up thousands of water balloons for a huge water balloon fight.