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

Neighborhoods & University Theme House FAQs

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

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Neighborhoods FAQ

  • Why neighborhoods? Neighborhoods are distinctly Stanford in that they imply an informality and are about relationships. They keep friends together while offering 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. All these things are possible in our vision for the undergraduate residential community.
  • 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 has its own professional staff, neighborhood council, and community gathering spaces, all designed to bring people together. 
  • How will the process of naming the neighborhoods work? Will students have input? The S-T-A-N-F-O-R-D names of neighborhoods were a temporary placeholder while we got feedback from students, alumni and university stakeholders on what the long-term names of our neighborhoods should be. We are thrilled to share that each neighborhood has been named after a tree species, in honor of the Stanford mascot and the long standing tradition of naming buildings after the beautiful trees that cover our campus. In winter quarter 2022, neighborhood councils engaged neighborhood students in recommending options for tree names and other identity elements that will represent their neighborhood for generations to come. 
  • You say “neighborhoods,” but the houses are not contiguous. How do 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 are all filled with students and staff that you know. Each neighborhood includes:
    • A core group of RF-led houses. 
    • A cluster of Row houses close to one another and to the RF houses where possible.
    • Lower Row houses and apartments,  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 residential student leader assignment outside your neighborhood. 
    • For students who simply want to change neighborhoods, Housing Assignments communicates with students in winter quarter with information on how to  file a neighborhood change request. This process is designed to support a student’s desire to live in any neighborhood but their own; it does not allow for an applicant to pick their new neighborhood. 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 are encouraged to do so! These are not gated communities. Stanford neighborhoods are 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. Each neighborhood council hosts at least one all-campus event that brings students from different neighborhoods together.
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University Theme House 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 has a neighborhood home. At the same time, our University Theme Houses are open to all students across the neighborhoods. You have the opportunity to apply to live in the UTH of greatest interest to you. 
  • What University Theme Houses are 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 is be able to live in a UTH for a third year if the student is a residential student leader in that house or is in an executive leadership position in a fraternity or sorority.
  • How are themes selected for University Theme Houses - Academic (UTH-A)? The Committee on Residential Learning (CoRL), a faculty-led committee under the Faculty Senate with faculty, students, and staff, leads the review and recommendation process for UTH-As, which takes place every four years.  CoRL evaluates theme house program plans based on leadership, interest and demand from students, learning and intellectual vitality, and institutional commitment to the program.  
  • 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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For more information on housing assignments and dining, please visit the Residential & Dining Enterprises website.

Fountain outside Hoover Tower. Credit: / Deposit Photos