Rice Media Pitch: Rice U. students build an upside-down room for Willy Week

By Newsroom America Feeds at 22 Mar 2018

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations


Jeff Falk



Katharine Shilcutt

Rice U. students build an upside-down room for Willy Week

HOUSTON – (March 22, 2018) – Rice University students have built a carefully constructed replica of Spider-Man character Peter Parker’s upside-down bedroom inside commons of one of the university’s residential colleges, Martel College.

The students’ work is part of Martel’s theme for Willy Week, “The Amazing Cider-Man!” Willy Week is a Rice tradition in which each residential college engages in a week of activities centered around a theme leading up to Beer Bike, an annual intramural bicycle race and water-chugging competition.

A trio of students began the build in January and unveiled their upside-down bedroom Monday. Through this weekend’s festivities, Rice students will be able to step inside, strike a pose on the floor, have a friend snap their photo, rotate it 180 degrees and voila!: They’re suspended from the ceiling like Spider-Man.

All in, the $500 project took 350 hours, during which the students stapled down real carpet and baseboards, painted the walls, hung blinds and found innovative ways to keep all of Parker’s stuff from falling “up” along the way.

“The bed is actually just PVC,” said senior Gigi Rill, a mechanical engineering major who has been in charge of Martel’s Willy Week build for the last three years. “Everything needed to be light.” Sustainability was also a core focus for the students, who used leftover paint, scrap wood, carpet remnants and their own college-created detritus -- Post-it notes from a chemistry study session, an empty jar of Nutella -- to stage the room and enhance the illusion.

Rill was joined on the build by freshman Amanda Suarez, a materials science and nanoengineering major who created theater sets in high school, and Jonathan Bunt, an electrical engineering major who last year constructed a motorized couch that he drove around campus until the wheels fell off.

Members of the news media who would like to interview the students and view the room should contact Katharine Shilcutt, media relations specialist at Rice, at kshilcutt@rice.edu or 713-348-6760.


Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Related materials:

Video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJb7RfrQOhQ&feature=youtu.be (Credit: Rice University/Brandon Martin)

Images are available for download at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ricepublicaffairs/albums/72157689052662140 (Credit: Rice University/Jeff Fitlow)

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

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