Affinity Groups Build Community

Rice Alumni Pride leaders with President Leebron at their homecoming event in November 2018.

The Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade calls for an extension of Rice’s reach and impact through alumni engagement, which includes connecting alumni to the life of the university and enabling them as ambassadors of the Rice mission and values. Both of these objectives can be achieved by volunteering with Rice Alumni affinity groups. These dynamic groups bring together alumni who share interests, professional pursuits, ethnicity and even leisure activities. Without a doubt, volunteering with an affinity group can help you connect and engage. 

Here’s how volunteering for an affinity group can benefit you and the university:

  1. Flex your leadership muscles: Affinity groups need innovative leaders to envision their potential and to make things happen. Some groups, like the Rice Engineering Alumni, the oldest affinity group at Rice, annually solicit applications to recruit board officers. They also utilize alumni talents through committees dedicated to fundraising, communications, alumni honors, education and outreach, as well as grants and awards. These enthusiastic alumni carry out a number of successful events, including the Winter Social, a Homecoming reception featuring the dean of the School of Engineering, a spring picnic with students and more.
  2. Share your Rice wisdom: Affinity groups are an ideal way to engage with the next generation of Rice students. This generally happens when groups partner with like-minded student organizations. For example, Rice Alumni in Medicine holds an annual pinning ceremony the week before commencement each spring. At this event, RAM members symbolically (and literally) welcome graduating pre-medical and pre-health students as members of the Rice medical alumni community.
  3. Expand your Rice network: Volunteering amplifies networking opportunities by increasing your visibility in the community and placing you in a working relationship with other alumni. The Rice Business Network’s monthly networking luncheon is a great example of programming that is bringing Owls together. Held on the second Friday of each month at a restaurant in central Houston, these luncheons connect alumni in varying fields of business. The chair of the RBN sends out a list of each month’s attendees to facilitate further connection.
  4. Partner with the university: Affinity groups are your opportunity to stand out and speak up. Volunteers can elevate the visibility of issues they care about and have a real impact on the Rice community. During the “Celebrating 50 Years of Black Undergraduate Life” program, led by the Association of Rice University Black Alumni, volunteer leaders were instrumental in developing programming and engagement opportunities that would resonate with alumni. The hard work of this dedicated group helped to educate students, alumni and community members about the challenges, triumphs and accomplishments of black alumni and students.


To volunteer for an affinity group, please visit our volunteer opportunity page.