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Catherine E. Clack, Director


The African American Freshman Experience

Welcome to our liveliest and most talked about retreat experience! Harambe (Swahili for “working together in unity” or “let’s pull together”) seeks to create a unifying event for entering African-American students, allowing them to build social and academic connections with peers, faculty, and staff. A successful event will result in a more connected class of incoming students better equipped to seek out institutional resources, peers and professionals on campus for support and guidance. Ultimately, we hope this event will result in an improved perspective of campus climate achieved though a modification of one element of campus culture.


To our incoming students…

Welcome to Rice University! We are very excited that you have chosen this amazing institution for your baccalaureate studies. Rice’s distinctive commitment to a holistic undergraduate education and experience reaches far beyond the classroom. The sooner we know you, the better!

From Ms. Kaelyn Mack, Harambe 2016 – 2017 Student Director

“Let me tell you about my initial hesitation in attending Harambe.  Like some of you, I’m sure, I thought, “I don’t need this!  I ain’t going!”  Well, my father thought otherwise, and I’m so glad he did.  Harambe was nothing like I thought it would be; it was so much better than I ever could have imagined.  Harambe ended up being more than the “sleep over” I had deemed it, but was the foundation for Rice family, friends and so much fun!  I can honestly say that nothing compares to the connections and advice that I got at Harambe.  So think again! You do not want to miss out on this amazing weekend!”


Harambe’s inaugural class!

It is an event that you do not want to miss and that is at no cost to you (meals and accommodations will be provided)! During the retreat, we will introduce you to the unifying components of the Black community at Rice and the university at large, and identify important resources and networks that exist to help you reach your maximum potential! “Inside the hedges,” as the Rice campus is affectionately known, your opportunities to learn and grow are unlimited. Rice is a community built on the quality of its students, faculty and staff, all of whom add to the culture of care and the culture of inclusion that has been fostered throughout the university. We consider that each of you will enrich the Rice community in your own special way and that Rice will be a more dynamic and vibrant campus and community partner as a result of your contributions. We believe in forging strong mentoring relationships that promote open communication, meaningful connections and academic success. During the retreat, The Multicultural Undergraduate Life Committee will introduce you to and encourage your participation in the F.R.E.S.H. Mentoring Program (Forging Relationships through Excellence, Scholarship and Heuristics), a unique initiative that seeks to mentor Rice members of the African-American student population from the outset of their undergraduate careers. We are here to guide you through your undergraduate experience, socially and academically. As you embark upon on the life changing experience that is college, consider this … it is through our affirmation of one another that we become better individuals with a greater capacity to impact the world around us.

Check out these videos from Harambe 2016.


“You have to believe in yourself. When you believe, you do!”
— Leroy “Satchel” Paige