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House Description

658 Escondido Rd, Stanford, CA 94305
East Campus
Branner Hall
Housing Theme Type: 
Theme Name: 

Photograph of Branner House Staff at campus opening 2017-18.

Branner Hall is an upper-class dorm, home to 125 students, with a public service theme.

In Branner we work to foster a caring community of engaged citizens who explore personal growth, intellectual pursuits and public service with inspiration, innovation and passion.

Through a variety of programs and events the Branner Hall Resident Fellows (RFs), Graduate Fellow, and student staff promote ethical and effective public service, deepen learning from service experiences through structured reflection opportunities, and integrate students’ service into life and study at the University.

Branner staff work to support the academic success and intellectual growth of all students while building and sustaining a healthy community.

Theme Description

Branner Hall is Stanford’s Public Service Theme Dorm.  Dorm life involves activities and events centered on public service that are available to all residents.  In addition to participating in dorm community life, up to 56 students pre-assign to live in Branner through a selective application process.  Students who pre-assign become Service Scholars and make a Cardinal Commitment - a year-long commitment to a public service program or organization.  They also explore various forms of social change, participate in structured reflections about ethical and effective service, and consider how service can be integrated with their academic work. Service Scholars receive individual support and guidance from undergraduate student staff, a graduate fellow, and Resident Fellows as they craft their public service journey at Stanford and beyond. Service Scholars are given opportunities to form strong relationships with others who share a similar dedication to public service, connections to the Haas Center and its resources, and opportunities to explore how to create a more just and sustainable world through service.  

Resident Fellows

Resident Fellow Names: 
Tom and Mary Esther Schnaubelt

Photograph of Branner Hall Resident Fellow family in JPG format.

Tom and Mary Esther Schnaubelt serve as the Resident Fellows for Branner Hall.

Tom is the Executive Director of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University. Tom studied physics as an undergraduate, earned a Master's and PhD in Education, and has worked and taught in universities in Wisconsin, Michigan, Mississippi, and now California. He grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and loves to ski, tinker with vintage Volkswagens, brew beer, and play the guitar (he’s recently started to play the banjo).

Mary Esther studied philosophy, earning an undergraduate and Master's degree. Her father was in the Air Force, which means she’s lived in lots of different places: England, Hawaii, Texas, Colorado, Mississippi, Wisconsin and California. She has experience teaching philosophy at the college level in Colorado, but in recent years her efforts have focused on improving educational equity and public health--particularly for youth. Mary Esther most recently served as the Youth Program Coordinator at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto.  Mary Esther enjoys reading, hiking, playing at the beach and camping. 

Tom and Mary Esther have a daughter, Elizabeth, who is currently a student at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Beyond family, having a vibrant community life is among the Schnaubelts' most important priorities.

Community Information

Residence Type: 
Upper Class

Panoramic of Branner Hall in JPG format.

What’s the coolest thing about your house and community?

The public service theme – it adds a new dimension to everyday life, we are constantly inspired by every resident.  Branner is a public service gathering space outside of the Haas Center (a Haas away from Haas).

Branner is a beautiful historic building with many public spaces for our community to gather for events and studying, there are sinks in the rooms, and we have our own Dining Hall!

The RFs are engaged and there is a strong upper-class dorm community.

What’s your favorite event or tradition in your house?

Community Conversations, Ano Nuevo elephant seals trip, the Service Scholar Public Service Field Trip, Mindfulness Meditation, House Meetings with great food, Faculty Night in Branner Dining, Ski Trip, Yosemite Camping and an awesome end of year banquet. But our favorite tradition is simply having meals in Branner Dining Hall with residents and their friends.

What qualities make a successful Branner staff team member?

Openness, outgoing personality, a sense of humor, service oriented, feedback savvy, proactive, resourceful, honest, kind, caring and supportive.

Branner Hall Staff Selection Process

Photograph of Jim Lock and Brian Kleis in JPG format.

Here’s what you need to know about applying to staff in Branner Hall.  

Application Review:  Tom and Mary Esther, the Branner RFs, will review all of the applications submitted. Please be sure to include a letter of recommendation.  Letters from other RFs are greatly preferred. If that is not possible, please include a letter from someone who can speak to your work in community and your approach to responsibility and leadership. Since student staff share the responsibility for the public service theme, we look for evidence of involvement in public service activities (we define public service as activities that touch upon one of the pathways outlined on the Haas Center’s website).  You don’t have to be a public service fanatic, but you do have to have ‘walked the walk.’

Group Interviews: Once the applications are reviewed, applicants moving forward in the process will be invited to a Group Interview.  These interviews are a mix of candidates and we anticipate that these interviews will take place between January 27-February 3 (2020). Participation in a Group Interview is required to move forward in the process.

Individual Interviews: : Candidates selected from the Group Interviews will be invited for an Individual Interview.  In most cases this interview will be conducted by Tom and Mary Esther together, possibly also with a current staff member.  We anticipate that these interviews will take place between February 6 - February 21 (2020).

A few Things to Know About Staff Requirements in Branner Hall

In addition to the general requirements for staff communicated by ResEd, Branner Staff are also required to do the following:

  • Participate in the public service theme;
  • Assist in the selection of next year’s cohort of Service Scholars (pre-assignees);
  • Provide guidance to residents about public service;
  • Collaborate with the RFs and Graduate Fellow to plan public service activities;
  • Participate in weekly staff meetings (Mondays, 8pm);
  • Organize and attend every House Meeting (5 per quarter, every other Wednesday, 10pm);
  • Eat regularly in Branner Dining.

Requirements to Qualify for Pre-Assignment

Branner staff in house swag in JPG format.

Branner Hall Pre-Assignment Process

Pre-Assignment to Branner Hall is a selective process.  We have space to accept up to 56 of our applicants for pre-assignment to Branner. If selected, pre-assigned residents become Service Scholars with unique commitments to the program and the community.

Applicant Qualifications: Pre-assignment to Branner Hall will be considered for students who fulfill the following conditions:

  1. A history of participation in one or more of the pathways of public service and civic engagement.
  2. Demonstrate a basic understanding of, and commitment to, the principles of ethical and effective service. (see Haas Website)
  3. An interest in reflecting and focusing more deeply on the issues and challenges of living a life of public service.
  4. A commitment to live in Branner all three quarters of the upcoming academic year.

Applying: You may apply as an individual or in a draw group (up to four people). Each member of the group must complete their own application. All applications will be evaluated based on individual merits; however, draw groups will be accepted or declined as a group.

Room assignments: All pre-assigned residents are in two room doubles unless there are special considerations that require a single room. Pre-assigned residents have their own draw in advance of the in-house draw.

Tier Requirement: Pre-assignment to Branner requires the use of a TIER TWO housing choice.

Commitments, if Selected: If you are selected to pre-assign to Branner Hall you will become a Service Scholar and are expected to make and keep the following commitments:

  1. Make a Cardinal Commitment: a service commitment to a program or organization that continues throughout your three quarters in Branner.
  2. Active involvement and participation in Branner based public service activities throughout the academic year. This will include participation in five Service Scholar Community Conversations (in Branner Hall), exploration of the six Pathways of Public Service, and engagement in at least one direct service activity in the local community with the Branner community during the year.
  3. Participation in a one and a half day Kick Off event at the start of Fall Quarter. (September 25 & 26, 2020)
  4. Participation in a one-day off campus service field trip at the start of Winter Quarter. (January 9, 2021)
  5. Participation in the Service Scholar Reflection Event at the end of the Spring Quarter. (Date TBD)
  6. A commitment to ethical and effective service.
  7. A commitment to creating a reflective and supportive public service community in Branner Hall.
  8. A commitment to live in Branner all three quarters of the upcoming academic year. 

We will host a Pre-Assignment Open House in Spring Quarter 2020  in the Branner Lounge.

Requirements for Residents of Branner Hall

House Staff

Community Resident Assistant (RA)
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