How Rice Owls Support Each Other In Times of Need

Chloe Wilson ’19 (Lovett), and Mark Ditman, Assoc. VP of Housing and Dining 


During Hurricane Harvey, Rice students were well cared for thanks to the support of a dedicated team of Rice staff members, many from the university’s Housing and Dining division. Through the support of a “ride out” team of 62 staff who stayed on or near campus throughout the storm, students did not lack for hot meals and steady services.

Mark Ditman, Rice’s associate vice president of Housing and Dining, lauded the commitment of the “ride out” team, many of whom were also looking after their own families and homes. As the staff navigated challenges brought on by the storm, students also did their part, assisting with custodial work and happily adjusting to a modified dining schedule.

“I saw everybody pitching in,” Mark says. “Everybody, including staff and students, gave something to help us get through this event in a positive way. That’s a characteristic of a really strong community.”

Approximately 2,800 students on campus during Harvey.

Close to 150 faculty and staff on campus during Harvey.

$720,336 raised by the Rice Hurricane Relief Fund.

Over 2,000 faculty, students and staff volunteered with Rice Harvey Action Team (R-HAT).

Lovett junior Chloe Wilson ’19 is just one of the students who pitched in. When she became aware that staff members were short on essentials themselves, the political science and religion major and her fellow Lovett outreach coordinator, Taylor DeWoody ’20, made a plan to gather supplies from students and distribute them to staff.

“I just can’t imagine how the staff kept working, when I’m sure many of them wanted to be at home with their families,” Chloe says. “We just did the best that we could to make things easier.”

Even Rice alumni helped maintain consistency on campus. One alumnus came through campus on an antique Army truck after performing water rescues in a nearby neighborhood and allowed Rice staff to borrow the truck to resupply the college serveries with fruits and vegetables.

“There’s such dedication among our core group, and they have such a strong affinity for the university and our students. They’re going to be here no matter what. Not all employers can say that,” Mark says of the “ride out” team, some of whom were on campus for five straight days. “Rice people take care of Rice people.”

Thank you for supporting Rice’s incredible students, faculty and staff, exemplified by Chloe and Mark. Your gifts to the Rice Annual Fund foster a dynamic learning environment where Owls can support each other and the greater community.


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