Free shipping of 2020 Campanile

Hello! We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy! Just a quick update from the Campanile yearbook regarding the distribution of our 2019-2020 book – there is a lot of uncertainty going into the fall about what campus is going to look like and because not everyone is going to return to campus, we wanted to extend the senior shipping opportunity to students in all years! The link provided is for students to sign up to have your book shipped directly to your home address (unfortunately, we do not ship outside of the US) Here is the link:…/1JlEWAcCDHVCRvt_HTdLNv_MM9S…/edit…

Feel free to contact Amy Zhang or Phoebe Dang if you have questions! Thanks and love y’all 

Experiencing Hawaii

Andrew Grottkau, McMurtry 2019

As I stood in the Los Angeles airport terminal waiting to board my flight to Hawaii, I should have been excited. I was about to embark on what I expected to be the trip of a lifetime: a two-week journey split between Maui and the Big Island.

But as I looked out over the mob of people lined up to board the plane, I felt only worry. My goal when I planned this trip with my girlfriend, Jenn, was to experience Hawaii in an atypical way. We wanted to avoid the resorts, the upscale sea bars, the tourist traps and, perhaps most importantly, the tourists themselves.

In that airport crowd, I saw exactly what I was hoping not to see: the honeymooners wearing shirts that read ‘Just Maui-ed’ on the back, the older couple carrying designer luggage and already in line for first class, and the family wearing matching neon t-shirts with ‘Miller Family Vacation 2019’ emblazoned on the back. What if I was heading for two weeks surrounded by these people?

The mob of people waiting to board the flight from LAX to Maui

Tourists are unavoidable in Hawaii. About 217,000 jobs in the state depended on tourism as of early 2019, according to an article from Travel Pulse. Tourists spent $17.82 billion in Hawaii in 2018, which set an all-time record.

My fear, then, was justifiable. Jenn and I were, of course, tourists ourselves. But we had planned the trip carefully, making sure we would only camp and stay in Airbnbs instead of getting stuck in hotels in the towns designed for tourists. There would be no avoiding the mobs of visitors who flocked to the islands to relax in luxury. At least, that’s what I believed for the duration of the six-hour flight to Maui’s Kahului International Airport. But over the next two weeks, I would discover that it is not only possible, but easy to enjoy and preserve Hawaii’s natural beauty despite the large tourism industry.

Continue reading

Rice Thresher wins 19 awards in state competition

The Rice Thresher won 19 awards, including first place overall excellence, in the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association‘s annual contest. Additionally, the Thresher swept the best use of social media, breaking news category.

Additionally, the Campanile yearbook won two awards.

1st place awards
Narrative Reporting — Critical Review
Queen and Slim
Taylor Crain

Narrative Reporting ­­– Editorial
Racism at Rice
Thresher editorial board

Narrative Reporting – Feature Story
Queer in the Country
Lily Wulfemeyer

Narrative Reporting – Sports Column
Biggest Upset
Andrew Grottkau

Production — Best Use of Social Media – Breaking News
ICE Costumes

Production – Sports Page/Spread Design – Newspaper

Production – Sports Page/Spread Design – Newspaper

Overall Excellence – Newspaper
The Rice Thresher

2nd place awards
Narrative Reporting — Breaking News
ICE Costumes

Narrative Reporting — Critical Review
Mapa Wiya
Arelia Navarro Magallon

Narrative Reporting – Feature Story
Bored Ike
Ella Feldman

Narrative Reporting – General Column
Dropping out
Eric Stone

Narrative Reporting – In-Depth Reporting
In their own words
Christina Tan, Anna Ta

Production — Best Use of Social Media – Breaking News

3rd place awards

Narrative Reporting — Breaking News
Violations in voting
Christina Tan

Production — Best Use of Social Media – Breaking News
Willy’s Pub

Production — Overall Design – Web

Schumann Brothers

Schumann Brothers Fund for Creative Expression seeking submissions


Rice University announces competition for the Schumann Brothers Grants for Creative Expression. The winners for each award will receive a $1000 grant to be used to support their proposed endeavors. The purpose of the grant is to encourage written, creative expression amongst Rice University students.


Applicants must be undergraduate students. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.


Written expression:

  • Applicants must be undergraduate students.
  • Submissions should include a writing sample, preferably one that is related to the project you are proposing. Any style of writing is acceptable, and the sample does not need to have been published. 
  • Submissions should include a proposal no longer than one page explaining the desired project.
  • Submissions must include a projected completion date for the piece(s). The committee will approve and enforce a completion date, or the grantee will be required to return the grant monies.
  • The piece resulting from the project must be submitted to the committee for possible publication online or in print through the Office of  Student Media.
  • The committee will submit the resulting written piece and the grant request to the Dean’s office, so it can be communicated to the donors.

Travel Journalism:

  • Applicants must be undergraduate students.
  • Submissions should include a non-fiction writing sample that is related to the project you are proposing. Any style of writing is acceptable, and the sample does not need to have been published. 
  • Submissions must also include a travel budget and a proposal no longer than one page explaining the desired trip and its journalistic value. It is understood that the budget may exceed the grant amount. 
  • The trip should be taken between Aug. 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021. 
  • Submissions will include a projected completion date for the piece(s). The committee will approve and enforce a completion date, or the grantee will be required to return the grant monies.
  • The piece resulting from the project must be submitted to the committee for publication online or in print through Rice Student Media
  • The committee will submit the resulting written piece(s) and the grant request to the Dean’s office, so it can be communicated to the donors.


All submissions must be received no later than April 24, 2020 by 5 p.m. Submissions for Written Expression can be submitted here. Submissions for Travel Journalism can be submitted here.

Submissions can also be sent to Kelley Lash at


A Selection Committee comprised of student publication editors and sponsors will select finalists. If needed, finalists may be asked to appear for an interview. Grant winners will be notified by email by Monday, May 4 with a formal announcement to follow.


COVID 19 update from student media

The staff and students of student media are now working remotely due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Most buildings on campus are closed, and most of the campus community has relocated off campus.

The Campanile yearbook

  • There will be a 2020 yearbook still expected in early fall.
  • The deadline for Parent Ads has been extended to April 17.
  • Seniors can submit their senior photos and sign up for free shipping until May 31.

KTRU Rice Radio

  • Currently DJs are not doing shows from the station.
  • Specialty show DJs are working on curating playlists for their shows.
  • Spring changeover will occur earlier than usual.
  • The Outdoor Show has been canceled.

The Rice Thresher

You can direct questions to Kelley Lash, director of student media, at


Schumann Brothers Grant for Creative Expression submissions open

The Office of Student Media is accepting applications for the Schumann Brothers Grant for Creative Expression. There are two grants available — one for Travel Journalism and one for Written Expression. Applicants must be current Rice undergraduate students.

You can submit applications for Travel Journalism here.

You can submit applications for Written Expression here.

Ramblings of a confused fan in Russia

Schumann Brothers Grant for Written Expression

Juan Saldaña, Will Rice ‘18

The day after Colombia lost a heartbreaking penalty shootout to England in the knockout stage of the World Cup, I mentioned to a friend that I had teared up during the defeat the night before.

“But how does that even affect your life,” she texted back.

Frustrated at her lack of understanding and dejected from my country’s loss, I didn’t answer. “What do you mean HOW does it affect my life,” I indignantly thought in my half-made hostel bed – still wearing a wrinkled yellow jersey.

I didn’t watch the tournament for a few days. I found myself unable to look at the TV without the gut punch reminder of that final penalty miss. I almost longed for the days of my childhood where the Colombian team consistently failed to qualify.

Soon enough, however, I found myself sneaking glances at the TV. Glances turned into full games and the beauty of the World Cup captivated me again. Maybe my friend was right? Regardless, I’m still angry at that text.

I met a Peruvian in a line in to enter the Kremlin in Moscow. It was his last day in Russia, and by that point Peru had been eliminated from the tournament. However, he was the most upbeat person I’d met throughout my Russia trip. He had a constant grin that not even the eternal queue and stern looks from passing soldiers could take away.

He had been to Peru’s first two games. The first was in the remote town of Saransk and the second in eastern city of Yekaterinburg. Both had been losses, a devastating one to Denmark, and the second an expected defeat at the hands of eventual-champions France.

This was Peru’s first appearance in a World Cup in 36 years. The country qualified through a stroke of luck and was still riding the high – even past elimination.

The Peruvian man entertained us and himself in the line as he recounted adventures and memories. He talked about growing up when Peru last made a World Cup and waiting decades for the chance to see la blanquirroja in person at the biggest stage. He talked about the energy in the stadium that made Peru the home crowd in a tiny Russian city. Then, he casually mentioned the emergency landing that his plane had to make after a turbine had caught on fire.

The charter plane full of Peruvians managed to land in time and safely to watch the game. For him, the journey was irrelevant – he glossed over it only to mention the relief of a hundred Peruvians as they managed to see their team play.

It reminded me of another phrase I heard more than one fan utter throughout my time in Russia: “I can die happy now.”

I might have been the only person in that stadium to not Snapchat the Colombian national anthem as it echoed in the stands of the Mordovia Arena under a blinding sun.

I’m not claiming to be above showcasing my life on social media – but for once the urge was just not there. This trip to Russia, that game, and that moment was not for sharing – it was not for posting on a Snapchat story or a finely crafted Instagram post. It was not for subtly showing off how cool my summer experience was – it was for me, in that moment, realizing how lucky I was to have a dream come true.

The first notes rang across the stadium and the chorus of Colombians started screaming the lyrics.

Oh, gloria inmarcesible!

¡Oh, júbilo inmortal! En surcos de dolores, el bien germina ya.

Cesó la horrible noche. La libertad sublime

derrama las auroras de su invencible luz. La humanidad entera,

que entre cadenas gime, comprende las palabras del que murió en La Cruz 

I screamed those words unlike I ever had before. It took two days for my voice to come back. I can’t blame it all on the anthem though; after all, there was a full 90 minutes of yelling obscenities at the referee that may be slightly culpable.

A large Russian man snored next to me on the ride to Saransk. Pull out a map and you’ll realize that this town would define the phrase “in the middle of nowhere.” When I arrived at 6:00 a.m., after a 12-hour train ride, I wondered if I was the first Colombian to ever step foot in this place. Then I entered the train station and ran into thousands of yellow shirts and merengue on a speaker. I guess a few might have beat me to that honor.

I can opine for hours about how a small city with no hotels or infrastructure should not be hosting a match at the highest level of soccer play. The train rides were brutal, and the town was not prepared. Yet, the hospitality and smiles of the citizens of Saransk as 40,000 Colombians in yellow descended upon their town of 300,000, makes me unable to complain too much.

The ride back though – for 12 more hours, leaving at 3 a.m. – don’t even get me started.

I came really close to figuring out the Russian alphabet. Now, I’m not saying I understand even the vaguest semblance of the Russian language, but I spent a lot of time simply staring at the words.

My mother is a linguist, and from there I get the gift and curse of being overly conscious of language around me. In Russia, it started when I saw the most recognizable word in the world: Макдоналдс. Right, you know, the golden arches of Макдоналдс?

Now I knew Russia would be a different experience, but this struck a slightly different chord in me. McDonald’s is the most emblematic food icon in the world and my brain could simply not register it in another alphabet. So I just stared at it – for a long time. К is the clacking c noise, д is a d, н is an n, л is an l, and a c is an s. Yup – makes perfect sense: McDonald’s.

We started doing this everywhere – coming to our biggest breakthrough when we realized stop signs also literally said “stop” – not a translated version of the word, but “стоп;” literally the English word, written in Cyrillic letters.

If this doesn’t exemplify how much I’m my mother’s son, nothing does.

When I visit Colombia, people immediately know I’m from Bogota – my accent gives me away. This isn’t just me showing off my Spanish skills – it is actually relevant to this story. Thing is, Colombia is an incredibly regionally divided country. The U.S. may have states and Texas might swear they’re God’s greatest gift to the earth, but none of this compares to the strong regional ties of Colombia.

Paisas live in the mountains near Medellin – even I can’t understand half the words they say and people from Bogota, Cachacos, definitely look down on them a bit. But Medellin is a thriving city with a functional metro and a below average amount of corruption while Bogota is a traffic- ridden urban disaster of 12 million people – so maybe we should calm down the elitism.

Costeños live on the coast and are known for their vibrant culture – best expressed through music and dancing. Life moves a little slower on the coast.

For generations, regionalism was the main division in the country. It expressed itself politically and socially but even though the country was victim to violence and tragedy, politics was still a friendly conversation at the dinner table.

Over the past few years, amidst rising inequality and corruption, Colombia has fallen into the same trap as the rest of the world – increasing polarization and political animosity. The country had the chance to vote on ending a 50 yearlong war with the armed guerilla group, the FARC and against all odds voted against it. The presidential election runoff pitted a far-left populist who refused to call Venezuela’s government a dictatorship and a far-right critic of the peace process most closely aligned with an ex-president on trial for bribery and corruption.

All this to say, Colombia is divided like never before. Regionalism and classism seeps into the conversation. It’s not just right vs. left, but rich vs. poor and rural against urban.

But, amidst politics at their worst, Colombia finds itself with their best soccer team in a generation. When la selección takes the field, there’s not more conflict for a fleeting moment and we are all proud beyond comprehension at the meaning of being Colombian.

I’ve always said that no one lives soccer like we do in Latin America. Most of the world may be obsessed with the sport, but it simply does not compare to the way Latinos feel about it.

However, there is one close second place on the fandom list – the English.

England’s history with soccer is truly difficult. The country is obsessed with the beautiful game, yet rarely find themselves on the winning end of a tournament. World cup after world cup, teams of immense talent disappoint a nation that lives and dies by their successes and failures.

Here they found themselves, playing a grueling 120-minute match against Colombia for the chance to advance in the tournament. I’ve always said that I couldn’t imagine anything more stressful than watching my country in a World Cup penalty match, but I cannot even imagine how it is for the English. There is not an Englishman who is not still traumatized by the three penalty shootout losses in their history.

I left that day cursing England and everything associated with them. I felt robbed, but truth be told, that country couldn’t handle another soccer heartbreak.

Andres Escobar was shot and killed after scoring an own goal during the 1994 World Cup. It’s rare that a soccer story transcends the barriers of the sports section and became the news story of the year. This tragedy, orchestrated by an angry gambler and drug cartel leader, haunts Colombians to this day. It was the best team Colombia had fielded. It was a young player about to sign his first big contract. And in the most Colombian fashion possible, it had all been brought down by criminality, corruption, and drugs.

I’m not going to tell you the whole story, it’s too sad and too long – but it is necessary context to understand the perpetual stormy cloud that hangs over Colombian fandom.

I don’t think I’d ever seen so many adults cry in such a concentrated location. It felt like an awkward funeral in which everyone was wearing yellow. While around 2,000 Japanese fans cheered in the remote city of Saransk, 40,000 Colombians stared at the pitch in disbelief.

We’d made this entire trip to a place that probably no Colombian had before, believing we would have an easy path to victory. Then, with a 5th minute red card and penalty goal, the enthusiasm of the first touch ended and we lost a game we never imagined would not go our way.

A creepy silence overtook the stadium as the final whistle blew as we all stared at each other, frightened for what this loss would mean for the team and for the country.

I was in the Red Square the day Brazilians took it over. It’s a truly uncanny feeling to be surrounded in the most stereotypically Russian place in the world. Lenin’s mausoleum on one side, the Kremlin’s maroon brick walls on the other, and 40 Brazilians screaming their anthem and waving their highlighter flags.

I have to admit I failed. I sought to explain fandom and am leaving with more questions about it. I sought to understand my own relationship to my home country and I’ve grown even more confused.

I thought I knew what fandom was, I thought I exemplified it – I was traveling across the world to see my team. Then I met a Colombian man who sold his car to be able to lose his voice in Russia. Then I heard of a Peruvian family who mortgaged their house to book their plane tickets to Moscow.

I was naïve in thinking I could fit fandom into some logical theory of human behavior. Oh well – another excuse to be back in 2022.

Iceland and the Modern Adventure

Iceland and the Modern Adventure

Drew Keller | 2018 Schumann Brothers Grant for Travel Journalism

I’ve always loved road trips. My parents favored them for our vacations, and as a result many of my school breaks used to be spent in the car. During the many hours and thousands of driving miles these trips entailed, I used to imagine I was traveling through some imaginary place, or on an expedition into an unexplored and perhaps slightly dangerous land. Something about the North as an idea always fascinated me in particular; driving north through Banff National Park in Canada or towards Denali in Alaska, I recall imagining heading into the depths of the Arctic itself.

I was excited, then, as I peered out the plane window at the promisingly bleak-looking Icelandic heath (above) while descending toward Reykjavík International Airport this summer, ready to embark on a week-long automotive exploration of the country. Iceland offered an opportunity for me to dream those childhood dreams writ large.

There must be others like me, given the rapidly growing popularity of Iceland as a travel destination — because that’s what the country really presents, a grown-up-sized playground to live out a fantasy of wildness, adventure, expedition — all at grown-up-sized prices, of course.

We live in an age where the cult of oneness-with- nature grows greater by the day. We value our certified-outdoorsy tans; we pay to go on device- free nature retreats; in Dallas, I live beside a popular all-natural juice store (“Raw! Organic! Real! $1/oz!”). Maybe we’re turning away from our world’s excessive suburbanization and ubiquitous technologification by seeking out nature. And maybe there’s a tension between our safe, controlled lives in civilization and the pull of our wild history as humans — for most of humanity’s existence we’ve been in a state of struggle with nature, as reflected in the widespread popularity of survival literature and TV.

Wilderness, after all, is a human construct as well — it’s only defined in opposition to human civilization, and often is far more human- impacted than we believe. Scientists believe the “pristine” wilds of North America used to feature giant beavers, rhinoceros and lion species, and 8-foot-tall “terror birds” prior to the extinction- inducing arrival of prehistoric humans. The Amazon rainforest’s “untouched” biodiversity may have been shaped by millennia of Native American impact. Even Iceland’s great expanses are artificial in some sense; before human settlement, much of the island was forested, but Vikings cut down nearly all the

But we don’t worry about that. To us, wilderness is untouched and eternal. How could a 10-year- old not watch Survivor and read his adventure literature — Hatchet and My Side of the Mountain in school! — without feeling a desire to venture off into the outdoors? How could a 22-year-old not still be influenced by those internalized childhood stories in what he wants, or what he thinks he wants (if there’s a difference)?

So clearly, there’s a worldwide appetite for nature, and more than nature, for wildness, adventure, the feeling of exploration. The downside, of course, is that for most people the “true” version of these things — to the extent it exists, anymore — comes with unpleasant side effects. Let’s define a more real adventure as where, when danger or plain inconvenience strikes, money can’t help you. This sort of adventure is becoming rarer and rarer.

People want the experience of adventure without risk, danger, discomfort, disconnection, the lack of a morning coffee and lunchtime WiFi and a place to sleep after dinner if it rains a bit too hard for tents to be comfortable. People want adventure, but with a first-world hospital within a quick helicopter ride in case, you know, you slip and tweak your ankle or something.

In this regard, Iceland is a paradise, and its booming popularity makes perfect sense. It offers the ultimate 4D adventure experience, complete with stunning panoramas ten kilometers out of Reykjavík to make you feel you’re in the middle of nowhere, interactive hot springs, enough cold and wet weather to boast about your toughness to your friends back home, open roads that give you the freedom to explore your own route (provided that route follows the single paved loop road around the island), a suitably almost-but-not-quite-Arctic-Circle latitude, no pesky dangerous animals, and a narrative of adventure stretching back to those early Viking (Viking!) settlers.

Let’s talk about those settlers for a minute, sarcasm-free. They deserve it, for they epitomize this human ideal of adventure in one of the purest forms ever expressed. Long before the advent of modern lighting or heating, these people came to a cold, empty land that must have seemed like the edge of the world to eke out a marginal existence, mostly through pastoral agriculture and coastal fishing/ gathering. Forget seasonal affective disorder – from November to mid-February, Iceland offers less than 8 hours of daylight. Yet early Icelandic society persisted, even leaving a  copious literary legacy (recommended Iceland travel tip: buy an English translation of the Sagas of the Icelanders, featuring narratives such as that of a   protagonist who stabs his host for not providing him with beer).

Despite its rich history, culture is not the reason to visit Iceland — not like it is for, say, Spain or France. Sure, there’s the kitschy Viking Museum, but to me the closest I felt to Iceland’s past was at the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík (left), an imposing Protestant church whose simple, unadorned shapes and decorations reflect the bleak, sacred emptiness of the country. Even at Þingvellir, the crown jewel of the Golden Circle tourist route and the location of Iceland’s historic Althings, there’s not much remaining in the way of human culture — the main attraction there is a waterfall and tectonic rift (next page — see two tectonic plates at once! as well as historic execution sites: Gálgaklettur, “gallows rock,” Gálgaeyri, “scaffold beach,” Brennugjá, “burning gap,” and Drekkingarhylur, “drowning pool”).

This isn’t to say that modern Iceland and Icelanders have no culture or history. Of course they do; anywhere does. It’s just harder to find physical places that reflect this in this tourism- soaked destination. With regard to the people, summer travel in Iceland feels surprisingly like being in a cosmopolitan New York or London in terms of the diversity of origins — more specifically, perhaps like walking around an REI in New York, since tourists tend to be of the outdoorsy-chic type (what’s the British equivalent of REI? I have no idea). “We just wanted to be out in the wild for a change,” my seat-neighbor on the flight from San Francisco explained to me. She and her “Not all those who wander are lost”-shirt-wearing fiance had bought a flight out on an impulse a few weeks earlier.

Last year, Iceland saw nearly 7 times as many tourists as it has residents. The fact that these tourists overwhelmingly visit in the summer means that the majority of people you’ll meet in Iceland, wherever you go, will be tourists. From North Americans to Western Europeans to Russians, Chinese and Indians, Iceland in tourist season is surprisingly multicultural for a country whose resident population is 93% Icelandic ethnicity.

People don’t come to Iceland for the intercultural exchange either, though, notwithstanding Reykjavík’s allegedly “popping” through-the-midnight-sun weekend nightlife (warning: this hyped-up phenomenon, of whose existence I am dubious, seems to be a weekends-only event; on a Tuesday night, for example, Reykjavík’s streets and bars were largely empty by midnight or 1 am). What unites all these (sub)Arctic travelers is the pursuit of Iceland’s nature, the path to that hallowed story of adventure.

And Iceland does have copious natural beauty. It shares that quality of other wide-open landscapes closer to home — the deserts of the American west, the tundra of Alaska, the prairies of the Great Plains — the ability to make you feel small, to confront you with scales of distance an order of magnitude beyond what your brain is capable of comprehending. The empty space, the arrow-  straight roads, the omnipresent water are meditative. It’s an almost- paradox: a therapeutic desolation.

Why therapeutic? We could turn to religious history for one answer. The original settlers of Iceland practiced what we call paganism: the polytheistic north Germanic variation of the historic Indo-European religion. Pagan practices were largely stamped out as Christianity became established in subsequent centuries, though recently a reconstructed neopaganism has emerged, with a temple currently under construction in Reykjavík. Of course, some pagan traditions persisted despite the adoption of Christianity (famously including “elf” folklore), and it’s hard to not still perceive some philosophical influence on how modern Icelanders see the world.

This complex heritage — Christian influence atop a pagan substrate — is shared across much of the Western world. There’s a line of argument that pagan ideals still infuse much of how we conceive the world around us, perhaps increasingly so as Christianity recedes in our day- to-day lives. At the core of the “pagan” worldview is that divinity is within the material world rather than outside it; meaning comes from fusion with the world around us, not separation. I can’t help but wonder whether this is what many of Iceland’s travelers are seeking: a harmony and communion with nature that lets them feel part of something greater. Or maybe it’s something even deeper: simply a human instinct, an inherited feeling that these obviously-natural settings are where we are “supposed” to be.

So, hypothesizing aside, what is it actually like to travel around Iceland? Well — it’s expansive. A car is a must – be ready for slow speeds (though the kilometer-based speedometer makes you feel speedy when you see “130”) and lots of passing. English is ubiquitous. Gas stations famously feature Icelandic hot dogs, essentially the cheapest food you can buy at “only” ~$5 each. They’re also a great place to socialize with your fellow roadtrippers. In Hella, I chatted with a three-car company carrying an extended Indian family finishing a four-day circumnavigation of the island; in Vík, with an Australian couple lamenting Iceland’s cold, having just come from South America (!).

Well-amenity’d campsites are other ideal spots for people-meeting and -watching. In a communal kitchen at Skaftárhreppur, I watched a middle-aged Austrian woman carefully measure and grind her marijuana before returning to a large cabin-tent. After a few nights of camping in perpetual mist, though, it’s hard not to give in to the temptation of a warm hostel by a waterfall (below).

Most of the sightseers I met had well-scheduled itineraries for their journeys around the country, slightly offending my sensibilities: A road trip with an itinerary isn’t an oxymoron, but it should be! An itinerary subverts the total freedom a road trip is supposed to stand for — that idea of freedom that helps make road trips an American ideal, leaving aside the ways cars trap us financially, environmentally, in urban design.

“Adventure,” “wild,” “nature” — asking those you encounter the motivations of their trip, you’ll hear these same words repeated, and say them yourself. You’ll join hundreds hiking two miles across an empty plain to a plane’s wreckage, an apocalyptic setting where it’s easy to imagine shots of a lone survivor crawling out of crash and limping across desolate sands, while the camera pans out and music swells. The reality, again, is a bit less dramatic — all crew members parachuted to safety.

In general, no one seems too disappointed that Iceland’s adventures are on a rather smaller scale than the grand ideas my campsite-mates and I are chasing — maybe because they seem taxing all the same.

Rather than eating seals like Shackleton, we’re struggling to heat ramen on a rickety camping store in the rain. Rather than being mauled by a grizzly a la Leonardo DiCaprio, our car’s windshield is getting lacerated by a pebble thrown up by the truck in front of us (this little rock shattered the rain-detecting photodiode in the windshield, costing me $2000 upon the return of the rental. Luckily, my travel insurance ultimately covered the incident).

That’s probably because most of us find what we’re really looking for in Iceland: a way to reconcile our adventurous dreams, created from stories, with our customs of lifestyle and experience. After all, if not from instincts, from inherited ideas, from the media we consume, where else could our goals and motivations come from? (Just because the aspiring doctor’s aspiration originates with Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t delegitimize it.) Iceland demonstrates the degree to which people from all over hunger for wildness — and, like a Icelandic lamb stew after a day in the rain, it offers a kind of satiation.


Thank you to the Schumann Brothers and Rice University Student Media for making this trip possible.

Campanile, Thresher win 16 national awards

Eric Stone | The Rice Thresher

 Rice Campanile and the Rice Thresher won a combined 16 awards at the joint Associated College Press/College Media Association convention in Louisville, Kentucky last weekend.

The CMA’s Pinnacle Awards, along with the ACP’s Pacemakers and Individual Awards, recognize the nation’s best in college student media for the 2017-18 academic year.

Campanile won a first-place Pinnacle from the CMA for Best Yearbook Entertainment Spread. It placed second in the overall category, Yearbook of the Year. It also received honorable mentions for Best Yearbook Cover and Best Divider. Joanna Yang and Kira Chen were editors-in-chief for the 2017-18 Campanile, entitled “Outside the Lines,” and current Campanile Editor-in-Chief Charis Wang accepted the awards.

“Winning the awards was honestly very humbling,” Wang said in a written statement. “There were so many outstanding books, and it made me realize how much work, time, and collaboration it takes to create something that even closely resembles a yearbook.”

The Thresher was a finalist for the ACP’s Newspaper Pacemaker award, which recognizes the best student newspapers in the nation. This is the second straight year the Thresher has been a finalist and the fourth time overall. The 37 Pacemaker finalists represented the top seven percent of newspapers which entered the competition, according to the ACP.

The Thresher and its staff came in first in three Pinnacle categories, including Best Newspaper Sports Spread, Best Podcast and Best Newspaper Nameplate. Other Thresher Pinnacles included a second place for Best Advertisement and honorable mentions for Best Sports News Photo, Best Photo Package, Best Sports Section and Best Social Media Main Page.

Both the ACP and CMA recognized then-Thresher Sports Editor and current co-Editor-in-Chief Andrew Grottkau for his long form piece, Immortality: An Oral History of the 2003 Rice Baseball Team. The piece garnered a second-place ACP Individual Award for Best Sports Multimedia Story and a third-place Pinnacle in the same category. The Pinnacles also recognized Grottkau with an honorable mention for Best Sports Columnist.

These awards follow the Princeton Review’s recognition of the Thresher as the third-best college paper in the nation.