Meet the 2016-2017 Rice University Student Association officers

The newly elected Student Association (SA) officers participated in a Q&A to help the Rice community get better acquainted with them. Their responses appear below.

Griffin Thomas

Griffin Thomas

Name: Griffin Thomas.
Office:  President.
Class: 2017.
College: Lovett.
Major: Political science.
Hometown: Bennington, Vt.
Why I came to Rice: I had mostly looked at small, liberal arts colleges in the Northeast but when I visited Rice, it just felt like home. I was really struck by how important community is here and the respect with which students treat their peers. Students care deeply about their fellow students and are endlessly collaborative. Rice is also able to meld an intimate liberal arts education with the research opportunities of much larger institutions in a really dynamic way. I am still excited to be part of such a supporting and vibrant community.
Why I joined SA: I have been involved with the SA for my entire time at Rice, either in an elected or appointed position and was always impressed by the amount of influence the SA wielded. I love Rice’s spirit of student governance and for the past three years have tried to preserve and further it. I had never expected to run for SA president, but when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it. I was just wrapping up my term as Lovett College president and was looking for an opportunity to continue to work on campuswide issues, and the SA seemed like the perfect venue. I love advocating for students and working through tough problems, so I am excited for the year ahead!

Komal Luthra

Komal Luthra

Name: Komal Luthra.
Office: Internal vice president.
College: Hanszen.
Major: Kinesiology-sports medicine.
Hometown: Friendswood, Texas.
Why I came to Rice: Rice has a very unique culture that sets it apart from other prestigious institutions across the country. When I first visited Rice for a campus tour, I was amazed by how welcoming, friendly and passionate the students were. I also liked the diverse tight-knit communities created by the residential college system. In addition, there are so many opportunities for students outside the classroom, including study abroad, research, service and much more. Rice encourages students to become well-rounded individuals and explore different things. After being here for two years, I can definitely say that I am a proud Owl. I am glad that I made the decision to call Rice “home.”
Why I joined SA: From the very beginning of my Rice career, I was really passionate about making change on campus as a student leader. During the past two years, I have served as a new-student representative and committee chair on the Academics Committee. Through these experiences, I really learned about how the SA addresses student concerns and works on various projects to improve the experiences of the undergraduate students. I had the opportunity to develop leadership skills and collaborate with a diverse group of students. Most importantly, I gained a great understanding of the culture at Rice and what students value. As the internal vice president, I am focused on improving the team-building activities and leadership development in the New-Student Representative Program and standing committees. I am excited to continue my involvement in the SA this upcoming year, and I hope to make great contributions.

Hannah ToddName: Hannah Todd.
Office: External vice president.
Class: 2018.
College: Wiess.
Major: Spanish, Latin American studies, policy studies, pre-med.
Hometown: Austin, Texas.
Why I came to Rice: When I visited as a prospective student, I fell in love with Rice. The people were some of the warmest and friendliest I had ever met, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was where I needed to be. I thought this felt like a place where I could not only be pushed to thrive academically but also simply be happy.
Why I joined SA: I joined the SA because I believe firmly in the existence of a loop. I get so much out of my Rice experience but in order for that to work, I believe that I must do my part to make Rice the best it can be for not only myself but also my peers. The SA provides me a vehicle through which to bring about change and progress of this kind. Additionally, I think it is hugely important that students’ voices be heard and value my role as a liaison between students and student government, faculty and staff.

Sonai PaiName: Sonal Pai.
Office: Secretary.
Class: 2019.
College: Hanszen.
Major: Bioengineering.
Hometown:  Saratoga, Calif.
Why I came to Rice: It was the perfect distance from home! Also, with a stellar engineering program and an optimal location in the Texas Medical Center, Rice bioengineering was too irresistible.
Why I joined SA: I want to make a difference on the campus; allowing more people to voice their concerns through the SA would be a starting step. I love being able to see the change I am making, and the SA provides the best opportunity for that.

Maurice FrediereName: Maurice Frediere.
Office: Treasurer.
Class: 2019.
College: Duncan.
Major: Policy studies and economics.
Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
Why I came to Rice: Rice’s unique culture and to be surrounded by multitalented and passionate peers and brilliant and accomplished professors.
Why I joined the SA: To give back to the community that has made my first year at Rice incredibly rewarding and do my best to make sure students’ concerns are addressed.


About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.