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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Students on house trip to Yosemite. Credit: Unknown

Outdoor House Theme

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Outdoor House (ODH) is a center for exploration, thought, and play focused on natural systems, sustainability, and conservation. The experiential and academic components of our house are essential to this mission, with adventure and community driving our collective transformational learning. We work with faculty to bring intellectual rigor and academic expertise to our community in order to deepen the meaning of the time we spend outside.

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What is Outdoor House?

As Outdoor House, we have the important responsibility to do the much-needed internal work as a community to reshape and redefine a more inclusive and welcoming outdoor experience,  including actively disrupting biases, norms, and practices that promote exclusion. Inclusion and a sense of belonging for all are central values of our house, and as a community we have much more work to do to fully live these values.

One of Outdoor House’s primary institutional sponsors and sources of academic support is Stanford Recreation and Wellness, specifically the Stanford Adventure Program (SAP) and the Stanford Outdoor Education (SOE) program. SOE supports Outdoor House’s development of outdoor recreation knowledge and leadership skills to support our intentions of building meaningful and safe relationships with the natural world. Stanford Recreation and Wellness provides human and fiscal resources to help with supporting the mission of the Outdoor House.

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Theme Requirements

Outdoor House pre-assigned residents are expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Attend  ≥1 house retreat (hosted quarterly)
  • Organize  ≥2 house events (≥1 academic, ≥1 social)
  • Attend  ≥3 house events 
  • Attend ≥2 academic field trips 
  • Attend ≥2 faculty events

For Returning Pre-Assignees

  • Mentor 1-3 new pre-assignees (mentees/mentors matched Week 1 Fall quarter)

Optional, but strongly encouraged

  • Enroll in OUTDOOR 103 and/or 106

Community Norms

  1. ODH Residents contribute to the development and maintenance of community throughout the year. At a minimum, all contribute to the collective creation of community norms in ways that are meaningful to them. This occurs at the beginning of the year and is revisited/updated at the beginning of each quarter.
  2. ODH Residents ensure that all house and event guests adhere to the community norms. 
  3. ODH Residents actively participate in creating an inclusive, lively, warm, and caring outdoor community.
  4. ODH Residents actively help support house activities/programs and aid in planning and implementation.

We are seeking to build a community that shares a common passion for 1.) developing deep, mutualistic relationships with the natural world and 2.) creating a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable outdoor community at Stanford.


Open House Info

Field Day
Saturday, April 8th, 2:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m. at Arguello Field
Come hang out to snack and chat with current/incoming staff, current pre-assignees, and the RFs. If raining event will be in the ODH/Trancos lounge.

Brunch and Stroll
Sunday, April 9th from 11:00 a.m. - Whenever at Wilbur Dining + The Dish (or other campus walk)
Come nom on Wilbur brunch with current ODHers and staff. Afterwards we’ll casually/slowly walk The Dish, or some other beautiful spot on campus (Arizona cactus garden, Papua New Guinea sculpture garden, arboretums, etc.)

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need previous experience in the outdoors?

No. We are seeking to build an inclusive community that celebrates diversity of experience and relationships with the outdoors and intentionally works towards building racial and social equity in natural places of wonderment.

Do I need to have particular academic interests and knowledge?

Not at all. Curiosity is our only prerequisite!

Can I go abroad during my year in Outdoor House?

You are not able to pre-assign if you are going abroad in Fall quarter. We strongly prefer that pre-assignees commit to living in the house for the whole year in order to support community continuity and a sense of belonging….and amazing stuff is happening every quarter…..we don’t want you to miss out.

Am I required to rock climb, kayak, go big, send it?

Ha, no no no. Coming together as a community can take many forms. Hiking, surfing, and other more “extreme” outdoor activities can be part of your Outdoor House experience, but so can learning to forage on campus, strolling around swampy Lake Lag, or volunteering to restore estuarine habitat around the Bay. There is extensive outdoor recreation experience in our community (held by both students and professional staff), so this community is also a wonderful place to begin your intentional relationship with the outdoors, and learn new ways to challenge your body and mind.

Students who pre-assign to Outdoor House commit to living in an experiential learning community designed to deepen their knowledge and engagement in the natural world. As an upperclass house (sophomores, juniors, seniors, undergrad coterms, transfers), we expect residents to come with a wide range of experience and varied outdoor interests.

We are excited to welcome everyone to this community, from those who are just beginning to explore their relationship with nature, to those who already have deep experience and expertise to bring to the community. Together,  the community has opportunities to learn about various aspects of the natural world, including sustainability, traditional and indigenous knowledge, outdoor adventure, geology, bioregionalism, climate change, environmental social justice, habitat restoration, and much more.

Our community is a collaborative space, bringing together other student communities, faculty, and community organizations who are committed to protecting natural areas, engaging in transformational adventures, and ensuring equitable access to the outdoors for current and future generations. Residents receive support and guidance from their community leaders (RAs, Resident Fellows, and Faculty/Staff) as they craft what they want to gain and contribute to the outdoor community at Stanford and beyond.

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Our leadership is composed of faculty members and students who share a passion for the outdoors and believe that an Outdoor House can be a positive hub for engagement in the topics of sustainability and experiential outdoor education. Faculty will ensure the continuity and longevity of the house by advising student leaders, helping author and review written reports, providing leadership, teaching Natural World themed house/neighborhood led courses, and spending time around the house.

Our team includes faculty who are well known for their work at the confluence of their respective fields and the natural world. 

  • Rob Dunbar, the Keck Professor of Earth Science and a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. He spent 12 years living in student residences at Rice University and is a strong proponent of intellectual engagement through ResX. Professor Dunbar will support Outdoor House by participating in House leadership, stewarding/enhancing broad and diverse faculty engagement, and maintaining learning goals of the house.
  • Roz Naylor, William Wrigley Professor in Earth System Science, Senior Fellow at Stanford Woods Institute and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the founding Director at the Center on Food Security and the Environment. Roz has deep expertise in conflicts between farming practices and conservation throughout the globe and is also an accomplished outdoors person with a love of outdoor education.
  • Margot Gerritsen, Professor of Energy Resources Engineering, School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, Associate Director, Stanford Data Science, and Bass Fellow in Undergraduate Education. Margot regularly leads educational outings for Stanford alumni and student trips to locations such as Mount Kilimanjaro and Alaska’s North Slope.
  • Jorge Ramos, the Executive Director of the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, and a Lecturer in the Department of Biology at Stanford University, provides an important community connection through his work at Jasper Ridge with underprivileged Bay Area Schools to expand access to outdoor education.
  • Jeff Schwegman, Assistant Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences who has done vital work with Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and is prepared to teach a weekend course on the history of land ownership and the evolving definitions of “management” of outdoor places for the House. 
  • Alex Accetta, the Executive Director of Recreation and Wellness, will assist Outdoor House with his experience in educational leadership and research on creating belonging and achieving community-building targets. He was the President of Oregon Disability Sports and had an active role in co-op leadership as a Stanford undergraduate.
  • Dustin Schroeder, Assistant Professor of Geophysics. Dusty supervises undergraduate research projects every year and studies modern and past change in glaciers and large ice sheets and regularly engages in remote field work in Antarctica and Greenland.
  • Erik Sperling, Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. An ardent proponent of education in the outdoors, Erik brings expertise to instruct  on the geology of California and mountain belts. 
  • Ryan Petterson, Director of Field Education, School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences. Ryan will soon transition to directing field education for the new School of Sustainability and will cement the House relationship with this school with academic field work.
  • Sue Lowley, Director of the Stanford Adventure Program and Outdoor Education brings over thirty years of experience teaching students how to safely undertake outdoor activities. 
  • Beanie Zollweg, Associate Director, Outdoor Programs & Leadership recently came from the University of Michigan where they custom designed team building and experiential education and implemented DEI efforts to increase employee morale, awareness and community building for the Alumni Office.
  • Alyson Chun, Assistant Director, Adventure Sports, spent two years in Botswana as a Health and HIV/AIDS Capacity Building Volunteer in the Peace Corps.
Trancos is located in...

Hyperion (T)

Wilbur West, 664 Lomita, Enchanted Broccoli Forest, Jerry, Narnia, Toussaint Louverture House (610 Mayfield), and apartments in Mirrielees and EVGR-A Duan Family Hall

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Find more information about Wilbur West residences on the Residential & Dining Enterprises website