October Late Night Highlight: Rice University

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October Late Night Highlight: Rice University

Posted by Ryan Morgado on Oct 26, 2018 4:26 pm

My name is Ryan Morgado and I am the Assistant Direct of Campus Events in the Student Center at Rice University in Houston Texas. I’m here to tell you about Rice and our brand new late night programming series, Owls After Dark: https://studentcenter.rice.edu/owls-after-dark!

 

Rice 101

Rice University is a small private institution with around 6,500 students total, 4,000 of them being undergraduates and 2,500 graduate and postdoctoral students. It is a high academic achieving institution and has around a 25% international population between both undergraduate and graduate students.

 

We have a Residential College system (you can read about it in detail here), but essentially undergraduate students are randomly assigned to one of 11 different residential colleges where they live throughout their time they are here. Each college has its own colors, coat of arms, history, etc. so needless to say the Residential College becomes a salient part of the Rice experience. This leads to a high number of students that live on campus, around 80%.

 

Owls After Dark

There are few organizations, the programming board (Rice Program Council) being the main one, that host consistent late night events. With some office restructuring and a goal for our office to increase campus vibrancy, we launched Owls After Dark as a new initiative this year! With the budget we can comfortably offer around six events a semester.

 

Before doing any big programming we sent out a survey to poll the campus on what days and times they would be interested in seeing these events and what they would be most interested in attending. Using that data we found

  • Outdoor movies was the most popular option, with interactive events like escape rooms, laser, and make-and-takes following behind
  • Friday was the most popular day with Thursday and Saturday being close for second
  • Preferred run time of events: 8pm - 10pm, 9pm - 11pm, and 10pm - 12am
 

From there we decided to do three movies per semester and three interactive events. I am the sole staff member overseeing the program with support from the Associate Director of Campus Events. We hire our front Info Desk workers to support the programs on event nights.

 

Insights

So far the movies have had the highest attendance, so we’re curious to see what the turnout will be for the remaining programs. We do some on-site surveying to know how they heard about the event and what they would have been doing otherwise. We’ve found that facebook events reach the highest audience and that many students report they would have been doing nothing or studying if our events weren’t happening. We are in the process of designing an end-of-semester survey, so if anyone has resource on what is important to include please let me know!

 

It’s been exciting to develop a brand-new initiative at Rice and we’re excited to continue the momentum we’ve built into the spring semester! If you have any questions, general advice, or wants to share resources please reach out to me at rm57@rice.edu.

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