Student Government in Residential Colleges


Group of students standing next to each other during their changeover event.
Two lines of students facing each other clapping.

Upper level leadership positions across colleges consist of a President, Vice Presidents (usually internal and external), Chief Justice, Treasurer(s), and Secretaries. They make up the executive council or cabinet of the college. Terminology for this group varies across colleges.  

College Presidents are elected by their residential colleges to represent the college. They serve as 11 of Rice’s Student Association’s Senate’s 27 voting members. The President is essentially the chief executive of the college, charged with orchestrating public assemblies of the college and Parliament, representing the college at meetings of university leaders, and appointing officials of the college.

Vice President positions vary across colleges. Generally, there is an Internal and External Vice President at each college, but names vary across governments. For example, Martel College’s voting body is known as the Parliament, a term that reminds most of the British system but is in fact a reference to Martel’s Greek roots. Instead of an Internal Vice President, Martel has a Prime Minister.

Group of students standing in a line smiling.
Five students standing next to each other in one row smiling.

The Chief Justice is the head of the residential college’s college court and is responsible for overseeing its proceedings and selecting its associate justices, as well as enforcing the college’s Judicial Code. They help solve disputes between students and aid in informing the college of safety practices. 

Treasurers manage the finances of the college. They will prepare a comprehensive preliminary budget for the college and keep the working budget on hand at each parliamentary meeting. Secretaries document all official meetings of the government, keep public records of all meetings open to the College, take roll at all meetings of the college, and be chiefly responsible for its internal communications.


Baker College magister speaking into microphone with student audience in Baker commons.

While all residential colleges are going to exhibit fundamental positions like President or Chief Justice, they each have their own quirks and differences—a testament to each college’s unique culture and self-governance. 

One such position is Wiess’s Shower Representative. A role only offered at Wiess College, the Shower Representative is responsible for knowing and sharing all information relevant to or regarding showers on campus. The Shower Representative also rates and ranks all showers across campus and is the prime point of contact for all shower-related issues, questions, and inquiries. 

Ever see an improvement that needs to be made to a common room or shared space? The Ambiance Coordinators at Jones College leverage their residential college’s “Ambiance Fund” to expense new installations. Whether that’s lights to brighten up a space or funding speakers to enhance the college’s atmosphere, this job is vital to the success and livelihood of Jones College. The coordinators also work alongside Housing & Dining and other key stakeholders for many of their projects. 

Rice encourages a high level of student self-governance throughout the undergraduate experience, offering a space for students to use their creativity while developing practical skills to become well-rounded leaders.

- Devika J., Martel '24 & Naman D., McMurtry '24


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