One of the inspirations for CheeriO-Week was the “Bee Happy, Bee Healthy” tagline for Honey Nut Cheerios, which spoke to the three of us as what we ultimately wanted our New Students to be thinking about as they came into Rice. We picked this theme most of all because it matches the goals set out in our Mission Statement, which is as follows:
During CheeriO-Week, we want to encourage New Students to be confident in their uniqueness and what they individually can contribute not only to Duncan, but to the Rice community. We hope to facilitate an environment in which students feel comfortable challenging their judgments and taking risks while also being mindful of their physical and mental wellbeing. We want the New Students to appreciate the supportive network the Duncan family provides and feel included no matter what their backgrounds, beliefs, or experiences may be. By the end of the week, we don’t expect the New Students to have their college career figured out, but hope to have inspired them to set goals and to utilize Rice’s many resources in order to reach them.
Rice is consistently ranked among the top institutions in the country, but of note, we consistently rank high in ratings such as “Best Quality of Life” and “Happiest Students.” These rankings speak to the faith and pride that Rice students have in their university experience. However, it can be intimidating, and rightfully so. Starting with our most recent win of Princeton Review’s Happiest Students, in 2016, Rice students began to have more visible conversations about what happiness means, and the dangers of having our university’s reputation being based on student happiness. You can see for yourself some of the conversation in Rice’s official statement, here, and in a few student op-eds from the campus newspaper, the Rice Thresher, here and here.
Finding happiness with yourself and your life is not something that can be accomplished just by checking things off a to-do list, nor can Rice simply bestow happiness on every student that matriculates through the Sallyport. Rankings capture a general satisfaction Rice undergraduates have, but they does not necessarily encapsulate every student’s experience. Everyone at Rice and in Duncan is encouraged to seek out happiness and health, but they are also equipped with resources and a stable support system for times when those goals seem a little more distant.
Happiness means something different to every Rice student and is something that must be continually worked on. Staying healthy – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and in any other ways are important to you – is also a constant work-in progress. We want each Duncan New Student to be unafraid to seek out the things that make them happy, whatever that means to them, and to always remain mindful of their personal wellbeing. In a sentence: the goal of CheeriO-Week is to begin conversations and reflections about what it means for each new student individually to “Be Happy, Be Healthy” at Rice, and, just like a tasty and nutritious breakfast, get you started.
Buzz Lightcheer: To Infinity & Bee-yond
Cinnamon Toast Dunc
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fiber
No Pain, No Grain
Parks & Chex
Pirates of the Coffee-bean
Waffle House of Cards