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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

 Students living in Junipero House arrive at Frost Amphitheater for the 131st Opening Convocation Ceremony. Photo: Andrew Brodhead

Neighborhoods & UTH FAQs

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Find answers to frequently asked questions about the neighborhood system and University Theme Houses (UTHs).

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Neighborhoods FAQ

  • Why neighborhoods? We think neighborhoods are distinctly Stanford in that they imply an informality and are about relationships. They will keep friends together while continuing to offer a variety of housing choices, including the option to move from dorms to more independent living in the junior and senior years. At the same time, we know some students will be interested in living in University Theme Houses (co-ops, ethnic theme, fraternity and sorority, and special interest houses) for a year or more, and others may want to switch neighborhoods entirely. Our vision seeks to make all these things possible.
  • How will cohesive neighborhood communities be developed? We are inviting students to take the lead! Most will stay in their neighborhoods for four years and play a big role in creating and keeping traditions. In addition, each neighborhood will have its own professional staff, community council, and community gathering spaces, all designed to bring people together. 
  • How will the process of naming the neighborhoods work? Will students have input? We’ve been talking with students about how to name our neighborhoods. There have been a lot of great ideas including things like naming the neighborhoods after trees, elements and colors. We want to take some time to work with our community to find the right long-term names. Until then, we will be going with the most traditional of names, S-T-A-N-F-O-R-D. Each neighborhood will be one of the letters of the Stanford name (Neighborhood S, Neighborhood T and so on). This temporary approach reinforces how each neighborhood will be an integral part of our community as a whole.
  • You say “neighborhoods,” but the houses are not contiguous. How will they work as neighborhoods? Stanford’s undergraduate neighborhoods are not only about physical proximity; as important, they are about being able to easily stay with the same group of friends and acquaintances throughout your time at Stanford. Some people have called this “community continuity.” While some parts of your neighborhood are next door, and a few might be a jaunt across campus, they’ll all be filled with students and staff that you know. In designing each neighborhood:
    • We put together a core group of RF-led houses. 
    • We worked to have all the Row houses in a neighborhood close to one another and to the RF houses where possible.
    • We worked to distribute lower Row houses and apartments among the neighborhoods so that every student can have the opportunity to live in one of these spaces.
  • Can I change neighborhoods? To build cohesive communities, the ResX Task Force envisioned incentives to encourage students to stay in their original neighborhoods. Higher priority in your neighborhood assignments process is one such incentive. 
    • You may live in a residence outside your neighborhood, if you are in a university theme house, for two of your three upperclass years. You may add a third year if you accept a student staff assignment outside your neighborhood. 
    • For students who simply want to change neighborhoods, there will be a process for students to file neighborhood change requests available next spring (for the 2022-2023 year) when current seniors are preparing to leave their neighborhoods. More details on this process will be available next spring. Exception: Students who have verified OAE or Title IX reasons for changing neighborhoods will be prioritized for immediate reassignment with no penalty. 
  • What if students want to venture outside their neighborhoods? They’ll be encouraged to do so! These won’t be gated communities. Stanford neighborhoods will be much like what you’d find in a big city made up of a bunch of communities, each with its own character, all open to visitors, and offering much to share.
  • What happens to RFs and RAs? Students and alumni made this clear: student staff and resident fellows are part of the heart and soul of our residences. Their roles will be amplified and coordinated; one way we’ve already addressed this is creating equal pay for all student staff and broadening their roles to help all student staff be able to support all of our students. We also know that students might want to become staff members in neighborhoods other than their own. They are welcome to do so.
  • Why all-frosh houses? A multi-year partnership with Jamil Zaki, associate professor of psychology, has allowed us to better understand social connections and well-being in our student community.  Jamil's research demonstrated that students in our all-frosh houses have more interconnected social networks, and also report greater well-being than first year students in some of our other residential environments. Our students have also shared that, for many, these houses create strong, fun, vibrant communities, and we don’t have enough of them. Having said that, we know some frosh will seek alternatives, so we’ll continue offering ethnic theme houses and academic theme houses. To help the class bond as a whole, we’ll retain all the traditions in place now, beginning with New Student Orientation.
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University Theme Houses (UTHs) FAQ

  • I’m interested in living in a University Theme House (co-op, fraternity, sorority, ethnic theme dorm or academic theme house). Can I choose to live in a theme house in a different neighborhood? You might be thinking, “I’m looking forward to having a neighborhood home, but I’ve always wanted to live in Ujamaa. Can I do that too?” Yes! Everyone will have a neighborhood home. At the same time, our University Theme Houses are open to all students across the neighborhoods. You will have the opportunity to apply to live in the UTH of greatest interest to you. 
  • What University Theme Houses will be available to me? Check out this page for more detailed information! 
  • How do I apply? All University Theme Houses fill 100% of their spaces through the pre-assignment process.
  • How many years am I able to live in a University Theme House? Students are able to live in UTHs two of their three upperclass years. A student will be able to live in a UTH for a third year if the student staffs that house or is in an executive leadership position in a fraternity or sorority.
  • How were themes selected for University Theme Houses - Academic (UTH-A)? Historically, there has been a broad collection of theme and pre-assignment houses on campus. All current theme houses and any new proposals for theme houses were able to apply to be considered a UTH-A in the new neighborhood model. The Committee on Residential Learning (CoRL), a faculty-led committee under the Faculty Senate with faculty, students, and staff, led the review and recommendation process for UTH-As. The application process launched on February 4, 2021, with the ResX announcement, and closed on February 24, 2021. CoRL held two information sessions and two drop-in Q&A sessions to help support applicants before the process closed, and the chair met individually with groups interested in submitting a proposal. CoRL evaluated theme house program plans based on leadership, interest and demand from students, learning and intellectual vitality, and institutional commitment to the program. CoRL then made recommendations to the Undergraduate Residences Governance Council (URGC) to review. URGC reviewed the recommendations and made final decisions on approval, placement, house type, and timeline. While reviewing CoRL’s recommendations, the URGC applied a few key principles in their decision-making process: 
    • Honoring CoRL’s recommendations. 
    • Supporting and advancing the core principles of ResX including: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Community and Belonging; Intellectual and Personal Growth; and Health and Well-being. 
    • Placing all UTH-As in residences that have a Resident Fellow to ensure continuity and support for these critical programs. 
      • Twelve applications were submitted to CoRL. URGC approved nine as UTH-As for this academic year or next academic year.
  • I’m a member of a housed fraternity or sorority. Do I need to be assigned to the neighborhood my house is in to be able to live in my fraternity or sorority? No. Regardless of your neighborhood, you will be able to live in your organization’s house, as space allows.
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Look here for more information on housing assignments and here for more information dining.

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