Baker is known as the College from Hell. At rallies and college competitions, Bakerites can often be heard chanting, “We’re from Hell, we’re from Baker!”. During Beer Bike, Bakerites can always be identified by their red shirts, red face paint, and red hair. We all know that Baker has always been the best college, but it was not always the college from Hell.
This is the story of the assumption of its identity, according to Dr. Charles Philpott, Baker Master from 1968-73 and later a Baker RA. During the 1987 matriculation, a young freshman named Steven Carmichael walked through the Sallyport with dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer. He studied hard and eventually gained the respect of his peers, and a reputation as a guy who could fix anything. With these mechanical talents, it was natural that he and some friends assumed responsibility for purchasing a Baker car for the annual Beer Bike parade.
During the parade, colleges vied with each other to drive the trashiest car blaring the loudest music. Steven bought a run-down black car for $50. Most other men would have dismissed the piece of scrap metal as not being worth the money it would cost to haul it to a junkyard, and claimed that there was no way it could ever run again. But where most other men saw a car from Hell, Steven Carmichael saw possibilities.
By the morning before Beer Bike, the car was transformed. Not only was it running, but it had been turned into a convertible with the aid of the Mechanical Engineering Department and spruced up with the addition of sporty red stripes. The night before Beer Bike, the car sat abandoned in the Baker quad. Students were roaming the campus, intent on carrying on Rice’s grand tradition of pre-Beer Bike jacks. Unknown to Baker, Jones had been plotting to ruin Steven’s masterpiece. Late that night, they snuck over and coated the car in orange paint. The sudden face-lift was not only humiliating, but intolerable to loyal Bakerites, since red has been Baker’s color since inception. Frantically, Bakerites worked to salvage the dignity of the car and their college. The orange paint would not come off! Only Baker ingenuity could save the day.
By the time the parade began, the red striped car had become a fearsome, fiery machine. As Baker led the parade with its flaming car, other colleges began a derogatory chant: "The college from Hell, the college from Hell!" Although the chants were meant as insults, Bakerites shouted right back at them: "Baker! Hell yeah!" and "We're from Hell! We're from Baker!" We have since adopted the image, and Baker has since been known and respected as the college from Hell.
Baker Blues is held in the fall semester and is a unique party where we hire a blues band. We hang out in the pits, dance, and generally act classy.
Formerly known as Baker Prom Party or Baker High School Prom, perhaps in a time when Bakerites' prom memories were indeed in the 90's, this public party has since been retitled as a more general, nostalgic throwback to the glorious epoch known as the 1990's. This is held in the spring of each year..
The Christmas Tree
Every fall, the freshman class takes a camping trip to find our annual Christmas tree. Until a few years ago, each freshman class would try to outdo the last by bringing back a bigger tree than the previous year. However, after the class of 2008 spent nearly 12 hours trying to get their tree into the commons (almost doing serious damage to some light fixtures and banisters in the process), each succeeding class has acquiesced to getting a tree of a reasonable size. After the tree is in the commons, we have a holiday party with a gingerbread house making contest and a cameo appearance by Santa.
Every spring semester, Baker students organize a production of one of Shakespeare’s plays. Widely regarded as one of the best productions on campus, the Bakershake cast and crew are regularly nominated for and win the Sammys (Rice’s end of the year theater award). Any student can audition for and perform in a Bakershake play, and if you’re interested in theatre it’s a great way to get involved in putting on a show with other Bakerites.
It is rumored to be a party.
What’s the best way to celebrate the end of classes? How about 400 pounds of crawfish, and a little bit of corn and potatoes. It’s kind of messy but its all kinds of delicious.
Baker Gentleman’s Hedonist Society (BGHS)
Don’t worry, it’s not just for guys and it’s not as hedonistic as the name might suggest. BGHS is responsible for keeping Baker classy, which they do by hosting wine tastings, Coffeehouse night talent shows, Parting Glass for the Seniors, and the Baker Croquet Classic. It’s the finer side of Baker College.
A talent show put on by the BGHS twice a year. Acts vary from actual talents, like singing and playing an instrument, to improv ranting about Baker affairs and "Finger Magic." Generally enjoyed by all and an excellent break from any type of work.
Baker Loves Meat
In the spring of 2007, Baker found that it had some extra money in its PI budget. The head of the committee at the time, loved to grill, so he convinced everyone that Baker should invest in a new grill. And not only any grill. Baker would buy the best propane grill known to man - the Weber S-620. When it finally arrived, we immediately had several study breaks surrounding the grill and making something on it, including burgers, hot dogs, kabobs, portabella mushrooms, and quesadillas. When we returned to Baker in the fall of 2007, we found out that the Masters had purchased two new grills - a "Momma grill" (Weber E-310) and a travel "Kiddy grill" (Weber Q-300). With this family of grills, Baker decided that it needed to buy a smoker to complete their collection of meat cooking tools. Bakerites began joking about college cheers and how the only proper cheer for Bakerites based on our love of cooking meat would be "Baker Loves Meat." And so began the Baker cheer that would be the theme of many study breaks. After all, what's a better excuse for making 3 smoked briskets, 20 sausages, and whatever else we can fit in there than "it's for Baker?"
There are few things more exhilirating than being outdoors while naked. This is one of the purposes of Baker 13. Sorry, we're not naked, we're wearing cream! Shaving cream, that is. Menthol, if you're daring. It tingles! Only Baker College would host (unofficially, mind you) such an event. Only a Bakerite could have thought of such a past time.
Here's how it goes: on the 13th and 31st of the month ( or on the 26th if that month doesn't have a 31st) at around 10 PM, the Baker Third Entrance door bursts open to the screams of "Thirteen! Join us! Thirteen!" followed by anywhere from 2 to 196 (!) naked, creamy males and females. The two big runs are Halloween (the record was in 1995, 196) and the last run of the school year (April 26th). Fewer people run in December and January, when it can get to be "this cold out." Ask a regular to tell you about this expression.
Anyway, we run out of the Third Entrance door, past the sode machines, and on to Hanszen. When we get there, curiously someone asks "What time is it?" to which we all reply "Who cares? Hanszen still sucks!" And the first of many attacks starts. Hanszen tends to be pretty lame, usually only throwing one (1) water ballon. After Hanszen, it's on to Wiess. Runners let out a savage cheer of "Cream! Wiess! Cream! Wiess!" And we do just that. Wiess is pretty good about attacking us. Trashcans full of water, firehoses, super-soakers, and water balloons. And of course, when someone attacks you, you are allowed to reward them with a naked, shaving cream hug. One of the most noble and highly regarded things one can do as a runner is to attack the wielder of the fire hose and turn it on the attackers. It's not recommended for first-timers, but a seasoned veteran will protect the other runners without flinching. Sid is next.
Sid is nice to us - they use warm water. On those cold runs, nothing beats getting doused with a bucket of nice warm water. And on more than one occasion, they've had coffee and donuts available. I'm sure they didn't expect a bunch of naked people to pillage their study break, but hey, they should have planned for it. In the event that they don't have coffee and donuts for us, we unleash our fury on their commons tables using our most personal attack - the Table Slide. It's to encourage them to bring donuts next time. After Sid, it's Will Rice. We fall into formation and rally around a leader who gives us a motivational speech to make the attack extra brutal. Following the speech, we charge their commons and leave their windows looking like it snowed outside. Then on to Lovett, who is extremely good at dropping buckets of water and running back into their 2nd floor rooms.
After Lovett, we saunter over to the Allen Center parking lot where we form a blob and express our disgust with the administration. Afterwards, we line up single file, military style, and count off. The Career Services house is next. By running around nearly naked, we understand that we can never get real jobs and here is where we acknowledge and mourn this. We bring the Baker 13 virgins to the front of the group and we sing a song (usually a request from one of the virgins). We reform our ranks,and then stealthily sneak off to the North colleges, ninja style.
First target up here - Jones East (aka Brown). They used to leave us human sacrifices to protect their college, but they have foolishly stopped appeasing us. We pick a couple of floors to pillage there. Beware the other floors attacking from the stairwell. On Halloween , they put up the most intense resistance, using picnic tables, hammocks, and other make-shift barricades, tying their doors shut with rope, and filling about 20 trash cans full of water balloons. From Jones East, we head off to Jones Central (aka Jones).
Jones Central usually is the most fun place to run through because there are many nooks where Jonesians like to hide. Once, they coordinated about 20 trash cans to make a consistent wall of water falling from up to 4 stories high for about 30 seconds. I laughed and applauded them. From there we head to Jones West (Martel), who usually has two or three anti-Baker 13 fans who consitently show up and form miniature resistances against the runners.
From here, traditionally we pass through Abercrombie and pass by Ryon and Mudd to give the "late night all work and no play" students a little excitement. Due to construction, this part of the run has been temporarily suspended. The next stop used to be Valhalla where we would receive free beer, but recently this part of the run has stopped due to TABC restrictions and the fact that no one has an ID on them. And then it's on to Fondren for the memorial service for the 13 runners of the past, present, and future. Then after a brief moment of silence, it's time for LATERALS! Women are picked up and leave full body prints horizontally on the Fondren windows. Then we move onto the Brochstein Pavillion, our new favorite building with four solid glass walls. In protest of the sellout coffee shop in there (Dirk's) and in support of our fellow students, we shout "This is for Coffeehouse!" as we charge at it. With all the important buildings sufficiently creamed, we head back to Baker, with an air of reverence and respect for this highly-regarded Rice tradition. That's it, it's over. You've done your part. And you will want to do it again and again...
Baker 13 is fairly anarchistic, but there are rules that must be followed to avoid dire consequences. The reading of the rules precedes every run, and to violate them is to risk death and dismemberment by the regulars. They're quite simple, actually.
- 1. Stop at all stop signs. <--- very important
- 2. Pose for all pictures.
- 3. Don't attack unless attacked.
- 4. Glass only; no bricks or other stuff.
- 5. Always keep the most important part of your body covered - YOUR FACE! (Most runners skip this rule as the shaving cream get in your eyes and stings *VERY* badly. If you require anonymity, please feel free to follow this rule)
- 6. THERE IS NO RULE NUMBER 6!
Anyway, JOIN US! Run 13! Meet at 10PM in the Baker pits.
Baker 13 was first run in 1975. Since then, the tradition has been passed down from Bakerite to Bakerite and even to exchange students who have taken the tradition with them back to their universities. For a few years in the early 1990's, there was a brief period where Bakerites lost the ethusiasm to run Baker 13 and Hanzsenites claimed 13 for themselves. During this time, they started calling their runs "Club 13." Baker quickly reclaimed their tradition. In an attempt to maintain an influence in 13, Hanzsenites started a rumor that Baker would start being charged for the clean-up after their runs and they should keep the name "Club 13," which successfully fooled most students for about 10 years.
Baker 13 is an important part of Rice's public image and has marked several historic Rice events. In 2002, as a precursor to the Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City, the Olympic torch passed through Houston and Rice University. While it passed through the Rice campus, two Baker 13ers (who remained anonymous thanks to rule #5) ran in front of it. On April 26, 2008, Baker 13 officially christened the newly opened Brochstein Pavillion, which boasted 4 walls of glass. In protest of the new Dirk's Coffee in the pavillion and in respect for the student-run Coffee House on campus, the students shouted "This is for Coffee House!" as they fully covered each wall with body prints. This cheer has since become a part of every run.