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Public Service & Civic Engagement (Theme)

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Otero is Stanford’s Public Service and Civic Engagement Theme House. 34 residents are first-year students who are interested in learning about and engaging in public service, and 45 residents are upperclass students with a demonstrated interest in public service and civic engagement. 

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View the Otero House Page

More About Public Service & Civic Engagement

As the PSCE Theme House, residents will have opportunities to learn about various approaches to public service, engage in service activities on and off campus, consider how service can be integrated with their academic work, and connect with other students, faculty, and community organizations who are committed to social change efforts.

Residents also have an opportunity to make a Cardinal Commitment - a year-long commitment to a public service program or organization. Students receive individual support and guidance from undergraduate student leaders, a graduate fellow, and Resident Fellows as they craft their public service journey at Stanford and beyond - as well as support from our colleagues at the Haas Center for Public Service, the hub of public service at Stanford. 

Students will have opportunities to form strong relationships with others who share a similar dedication to public service and explore how to create a more just and sustainable world through service. 

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Leadership Team

  • Luke Terra, Associate Director, Haas Center for Public Service and Resident Fellow, Otero Public Service & Civic Engagement Theme House
  • Megan Terra, Resident Fellow, Otero Public Service & Civic Engagement Theme House
  • Kemi Oyewole, Doctoral Candidate in Education, and Graduate Fellow in the Public Service & Civic Engagement Theme House 
  • Juliet Brodie, Peter E. Haas Faculty Director, Haas Center for Public Service, Professor of Law and Director of the Community Legal Clinic at the Stanford Law School
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Theme Requirements

Theme Overview

The Public Service House is open to all students regardless of experience. To do that, we organize the theme into four tracks that pre-assigning students can choose from depending on their interests. The minimum expectation for all theme participants is to attend two events per quarter - from faculty dinners to service trips. These tracks are meant to be flexible, recognizing the different interests and availability students bring to the house. Students can also change tracks at any time.   

  • Explore. Designed for students who have other significant commitments or responsibilities, students in the Explore track commit to participating in just two theme events per quarter. This track is designed to ensure that all students can participate in the theme, regardless of other commitments. 
  • Engage. Designed for students new to public service and/or new to Stanford, programming will provide introductions to various issues and organizations on campus and in the community through service trips, guest speakers, and community partner visits. Students in this track take one quarter of our 1-unit course, Pathways of Public Service, specifically for Otero residents to learn about various approaches to public service. Taking this course also fulfills the minimum participation expectation.  
  • Sustain. Designed for students who want to engage in ongoing service during their year in Otero, students in this track will make a Cardinal Commitment, a service commitment to an issue or organization. Students can design their own commitment or work with one of the 100+ student service organizations and community partners through the Haas Center. You do not need to have a commitment identified in advance - we can support you in finding one at the start of the year. Students in this track take two quarters of our 1-unit course, Pathways of Public Service. 
  • Lead. Designed for students who are ready for leadership positions in service efforts, whether in a student service organization, a student staff position at the Haas Center, or a leadership position in Otero. Students in this track take two quarters of our 1-unit course, Pathways of Public Service. Students in this track may apply for a single (see optional question below).

Commitments in the Public Service House

  1. A commitment to attending a minimum of two events per quarter or fulfilling the expectations of your selected track.
  2. A commitment to ethical and effective service and to building a reflective and supportive public service community in Otero.
  3. A commitment to the active practice of inclusion, embracing the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and values that make up our community.
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Otero is located in...


Enchanted Broccoli Forest, Jerry, Kappa Alpha, Narnia, Otero, Rinconada, Soto, Toussaint Louverture, Trancos, and apartments in Mirrielees and Duan.

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For more information about Wilbur West residences visit the Residential & Dining Enterprises website.