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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

'Stanford' shaded in the neighborhood colors with 'Welcome to the Neighborhood' in white. Credit: Sean Mckibbon-Ray

Outdoor House

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


Located in Trancos, Outdoor House aims to be a bastion for thought and discussion about coupled human natural systems, sustainability, and conservation. The experiential components of our house are essential to this mission. One-unit weekend courses with faculty leadership will provide opportunities to learn about the history of environmentalism by retracing Muir’s footsteps through Yosemite and sustainable buildout while toeing the San Andreas Fault.

One of Outdoor House’s primarily institutional sponsors and sources of academic support will be Stanford Recreation and Wellness and specifically the SAP and the Stanford Outdoor Education (SOE) program. SOE focuses on the development of the needed skill sets for being outdoors and for developing leadership skills. We envision a pipeline between Outdoor House members, SPOT leaders, and other sanctioned outdoor recreational activities. Recreation and Wellness is poised to provide human and fiscal resources to help with supporting the mission of the Outdoor House.


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 Associate Director for Environmental Education at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve of 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 House

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Theme Requirements

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

Community Engagement

  1. Attend  ≥10 academic house events
  2. Organize (1-3 co-leaders)  ≥1 academic house event
  3. Attend ≥1 community retreat
  4. Attend ≥1 faculty-guided trip
  5. Attend ≥2 academic house practicums
  6. Attend ≥3 common adventure trips organized by community members
  7. Organize (lead/co-lead)  ≥1 common adventure trip for your community
    • Recruit ≥5 community members (per organizer) to attend your trip
      • Ex: Three organizers = 15 attendees
  8. Enroll in ≥1 unit OUTDOOR and/or LEAD courses (Optional but strongly encouraged for pre-assigns; required if applying to RA in Outdoor House in future years)
    • Pre-approved classes*: 
      • OUTDOOR 103, 106, 119, 198/199
      • LEAD 104, 105, 106, 121, 123, 126, 129, 150, 198/199
      • Other relevant classes may be approved upon review

Community Norms

  1. Residents will 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 at the beginning of the year and revisit/update these norms at the beginning of each quarter.
  2. Residents will ensure that all house and event guests adhere to the community norms. 
  3. Residents will actively participate in creating an inclusive, lively, warm and caring outdoor community.
  4. Residents will actively help support house activities/programs and aid in planning and implementation.

House Activity Descriptions

Academic house event

Any themed presentation, discussion, meal-time conversation, workshop, film-screening, or colloquium. These happen every week, totaling 30 events per academic year and will be centered around topics, such as the climate crisis, amplifying BIPOC and minority voices and participation in the outdoors, indigenous land stewardship and fire mitigation in the West, etc.

  • Examples might include the relationship between diet and climate change or the history and cultural significance of Sheraps and mountaineering in Nepal.

Faculty-guided trip

A weekend or week-long trip to an off-campus location to learn about ecology, natural history, and other relevant topics. The goal of each trip is to be affordable, accessible, and to expand access to knowledge that is best gained through experience.

Academic house practicum

A hands-on experiential event focused on the intersection of the human enterprise with the natural world. Practicums will emphasize innovation, social issues, science, and wellness. 

  • Examples of practicums include writing a grant proposal in conjunction with faculty, advocating for local policy changes through phone-banking and other outreach, connecting with the Rumsey Map Center to explore environmental history, partnering with Stanford Outdoor Outreach Program to lead trips for underprivileged children in the Bay Area, or supporting the cleanup of and research on the health of local ecosystems such as Jasper Ridge or San Francisco Bay.

Community retreat

An off-campus, once-quarterly, overnight trip organized by the RA team. All residents are strongly encouraged to attend. The goal of these retreats is community building through exploration, outdoor skills acquisition, and discussion of quarterly house learning goals. 

Common adventure trip

An excursion off-campus to put into practice the values and academic theory we explore in house events through a range of outdoor activities. We intend to have multiple common adventure trips occurring each week. These more casual, peer-initiated activities are excellent opportunities for residents to make and build new connections, learn new skills, explore the local area, and enable experienced residents to share their passions and knowledge.

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

Students on house trip to Yosemite. Credit: Unknown