Otero is an all-freshman dorm located on the east side of campus, in the community of dormitories known together as Wilbur Hall.
The house is comprised of one-room doubles, with one-room singles available under special condition. In addition to the resident fellows, Otero has six student staff members, all of whom are available to the 85 freshmen who reside there. Otero is located on the southwest corner of Wilbur Hall.
Many in-dorm activities and “off-the-Farm” events are planned throughout the year for both intellectual and recreational purposes, ranging from soccer games and Snow Trip to camping and cafe night.
Ben and Jill Patton, the Resident Fellows in Otero, started as frosh at Stanford in 1999. Jill earned her bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies in 2003 and a coterminal master’s degree in Media Studies in 2004. Highlights during her time at the Farm include two summers as Sierra Camp staph, serving as a student instructor for the Outdoor Education Program, running the climbing gym as president of the Stanford Climbing Wall Club, and co-founding SOOP, the Outdoor Outreach Program. She lived in Larkin, Kairos, Potter and, again, Kairos (as the kitchen manager), in addition to quarters in Santiago, Chile, and Stanford in Washington. She hails from various states in the Midwest and from Raleigh, North Carolina. Jill is currently senior editor for STANFORD magazine, the bimonthly publication serving Stanford’s 220,000 living alumni. She returned to the Farm in 2014 after nearly a decade in daily journalism.
A native of Seattle, Ben is Vice President of Finance for Solar Frontier’s U.S. solar project development team. He also serves on the advisory board of San Francisco Baykeeper, a pollution watchdog for the Bay. His work has been devoted to developing business and market mechanisms for positive environmental impact. Ben has a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and a minor in East Asian Studies. He started out his Stanford days in SLE and ended up on the Row; along the way, he led Outdoor Education Program trips, raced with the cycling team, and studied abroad in Kyoto. He also took a year off to complete a ceramics apprenticeship in Karatsu, Japan, with Takashi Nakazato, a nominated Living National Treasure. These days, you’ll find him surfing at Ocean Beach, kitesurfing under the Golden Gate Bridge, grilling salmon on the back porch, or traveling to space in couch-shaped rockets (with his kids).
Joining Ben and Jill in Otero are Wyatt, 6, and Cora, 4, who enjoy baking cookies, shrieking with delight, balancing precariously on various pieces of furniture, watching Disney films on repeat, and pushing buttons on their parents’ iPhones until operations are temporarily disabled.
What To Expect
Our latest signature program is News Salons, which involve gathering in the cottage over cappuccinos and a meal to discuss current events and issues, ranging from cancel culture and impeachment to climate change and campus speech. Other offerings: day hikes in the Coastal Foothills, beach and surf trips, soccer on Wilbur Field, baking in the cottage, board game nights, and easy access to kids' toys and cat-petting. Also expect visits from alumni from a variety of fields to talk shop about their careers.
What’s the coolest thing about your house and community?
The STAFF and the RESIDENTS and the community they create together, and the respect, affection and inclusion that hold us all together.
What qualities make a successful Otero staff team member?
FLEXIBILITY, DEDICATION, EMPATHY and HUMOR.
What’s your favorite event or tradition in your house?
COCOA & COOKIES in the cottage—the nights when we relax together in a homey environment and eat chewy sweet things anchored by chocolate chips and sometimes surrounded by oats, raisins and sea salt.
Selection Related Information
What You Should Know About Staffing in Otero
Otero will be your home, your community, your work, and what might feel like your life for much of the year. Staffing in an all-frosh house is extremely rewarding and equally demanding, so be ready to juggle your already busy lives with the many needs of 85 incoming freshmen. It is a unique leadership and personal growth opportunity, and you will get out of it as much as you put in—come prepared to put in a lot!
We as RFs are here you support you in your endeavor to create a welcoming, supportive, and engaging community. We want you to feel ownership over the space, and we will help you achieve your vision for the dorm.
Come full of ideas about what interests and passions you would like to share with Otero. Be ready to open your door to the frosh for all types of issues. Be ready to be a role model. Be ready to be pushed outside your comfort zone. We will help you through it all as you and the residents create the magic of O-love together.
Notes: We require the 4 resident assistants to handle on-calls throughout the year (Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., during Autumn Quarter, and Friday and Saturday nights, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., during Winter and Spring Quarters). The staff are asked to have at least 1 person covering on-calls during Thanksgiving break and Spring break. All staff are required to stay through the end of each academic period and are all required to attend 2-hour weekly staff meetings (time TBD), as well as the weekly House Meeting on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
What You Should Know About Selection
We are looking for dedicated, caring, responsible, empathetic students who are eager to put their energy into the community. We are also seeking people who work well in teams. We have three basic steps to our application process:
A written application and two recommendation letters are required.
A 1:1 in-person meeting for 30 minutes to get to know each other (first-round interview). (We schedule these with you directly during the first three weeks of February, typically late evenings Monday through Friday and weekend afternoons).
A small group working session with other candidates to see how we operate as a team (second-round group interview). (These will likely occur February 9 and February 23.)