Like so many Rice alumni living outside of the Gulf Coast area, I have spent the past month reaching out to friends and loved ones who were affected by Hurricane Harvey to stay updated on their recovery progress. The storm’s impact has been nearly impossible to comprehend from a distance, and the stories of loss and hardship are overwhelming. Rice, however, has provided some of the brightest moments: the storm left the Rice campus unscathed, and members of the entire Rice community, including our alumni, have dedicated considerable time and energy on recovery efforts. If you have been able to help out, thank you; if you have been affected by the storm, we are incredibly proud of your resilience and strength.
I’d like to let you know about some modest ways that the Association of Rice Alumni and the alumni board have been helping as well:
- We have established a housing-match program for alumni along the Gulf Coast, helping to connect alumni who can offer temporary housing with alumni who need it. If you live in the Gulf Coast area, you should have received an email about this program. You can also read more about it here.
- Alumni regional groups across the country have been holding fundraisers in support of the Rice Hurricane Relief Fund, which will be used to support Rice employees and students who have been negatively affected by Hurricane Harvey and Rice outreach activities to benefit Houston in its recovery efforts. You can make your own contribution to the fund here.
- During the weekend of our September meeting in Houston, board members participated in volunteer relief efforts and collected items for those in need.
Like many of those affected, the board also has been moving forward with business as usual. Building on last year’s work, we have developed a set of task forces dedicated to specific issues. Some will work on strengthening the Rice network while others will strive to enhance the board’s own operations, and all are dedicated to the board’s core purpose of connecting our alumni to Rice.
The board is also continuing its work in connection with President David W. Leebron’s Vision for the Second Century, part two (V2C2) strategic planning process. We have provided our input into the V2C2 process in several ways with an emphasis on extending the reach of the Rice brand, building the Rice network and engaging alumni. We look forward to continuing our work with President Leebron on implementation of the V2C2 to directly benefit the Rice alumni community.
You can join us in this endeavor and lend your voice to the university’s newest chapter by providing feedback on the V2C2 draft which will be shared with you in the coming days. As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions.
Matt Haynie ’03
President, Association of Rice Alumni