Incoming Rice Freshman Volunteering In The Community As Part Of The “Urban Immersion” Program
More than 45 incoming Rice freshmen will arrive in Houston this month to venture out into the community and perform direct service projects, such as building houses, working with children and feeding the hungry. As part of Rice’s Community Involvement Center’s Urban Immersion program, the students will work with many local services organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Hermann Park and the Houston Food Bank.
The intensive, service-oriented program is aimed at introducing students to Houston and the service opportunities that exist. The students will spend their days volunteering with local agencies and their evenings experiencing all that Houston has to offer. They will enjoy shows at Miller Outdoor Theatre, take a dance class at Discovery Green and tour the Art Car Museum, among other activities.
The program has doubled in size this year to increase its reach. Two six-day sessions are being offered for the students to allow more flexibility and encourage more students to participate. Also, for the second year in a row, Rice was able to offer the program free of charge to the students. All students need to pay for is their transportation to Houston and a deposit, which is refunded upon completion of the program.
In keeping with the spirit of the program, participants 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, sampling the ethnic and culinary diversity of the city.
Supported by Rice’s Center for Civic Engagement, all CIC programs are based on three components: service, education and reflection. In addition to their direct service during Urban Immersion, participants will also have short readings about the agencies and social issues and have opportunities to meet local experts and staff from the agencies for group discussions.