Incoming Rice students set to serve Houston community

first_imgShareCONTACT: Jessica StarkPHONE: 713-348-6777E-MAIL: [email protected] Incoming Rice students set to serve Houston communityUrban Immersion program engages students in collaboration between city and universityForty-eight incoming Rice University freshmen and transfer students are venturing into the community, about a month before school starts, so they can perform service projects and experience the Houston culture. As part of the Rice Community Involvement Center’s Urban Immersion program, students will work with many local service organizations, including Target Hunger and the Houston Arboretum. They will also learn about pressing social issues in Houston to equip them to better serve the community. Media opportunities are availableJuly 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Target Hunger, 2814 Quitman, where students will sort food donations for distribution to Houston nonprofit organizations.July 20, 6:30-7:30 p.m., at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas St., where Stephen Klineberg, professor of sociology, will speak about history, culture, demographics and social issues relevant to Houston.July 22, 9 a.m.-noon, at the Houston Arboretum, 4501 Woodway Drive, where students will perform maintenance and clean up trails. July 22, 8:30-10 p.m., at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney St., where students will gather to watch a film about immigration in Texas.Urban Immersion is an intensive, service-oriented program aimed at introducing students to Houston and the service opportunities. The program supports Rice’s Vision for the Second Century by fully engaging students in the partnership between the university and Houston. The students will spend their days volunteering with local agencies, such as The Beacon, Star of Hope, The Women’s Home and Main Street Ministries, and taking in lectures to learn about important local social issues. The students will spend their evenings experiencing all that Houston has to offer. They will enjoy a performance by the Houston Symphony, take an international folk dancing class, attend a poetry slam, sample local cuisine and tour Houston’s museums, among other activities. Established in 1995, the program continues to grow. Two six-day sessions are now offered for incoming students to allow more flexibility and encourage more students to participate. Also, for the fourth year in a row, Rice is able to offer the program free of charge to the students. Participants pay only for their transportation to Houston and a deposit, which is refunded upon completion of the program.In keeping with the spirit of the program, the students will live together in the communities they serve. This year’s program will be housed in Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston. This is an off-campus experience, and participants will have safe and secure — but simple — living conditions. Meals will be taken together as a group, and many dinners will be out in Houston so students can sample the ethnic and culinary diversity of the city.Supported by Rice’s Center for Civic Engagement, all Community Involvement Center programs are based on three components: service, education and reflection. In addition to their direct service during Urban Immersion, participants will have short readings about the agencies and social issues and have opportunities to meet local experts and staff from the agencies for group discussions. Evenings will conclude with group reflections. Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings with the group as a way of processing each day’s events. FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThislast_img