Roble Hall, which turned 100 years old in 2018, is Stanford’s oldest continuously operating dorm and its largest four-class house. It is the home of the Roble Living Laboratory for Sustainability at Stanford (ROLLSS). ROLLSS includes a range of sustainability-centered activities: programs and competitions to promote more-sustainable living by dorm residents; work on the house itself and on the ecosystem surrounding it; field trips, including to Yosemite National Park and a sustainable-food tour of Marin County; and a speaker series, called Hard Earth, that features Stanford graduate students whose research bears on sustainability.
As part of ROLLSS, Roble has received a variety of recent physical improvements: the Roble Makerspace, which is focused on sustainability and art; the Roble Hall Organic Teaching Garden, which students help operate;; and potential future retrofits of Roble, one of Stanford’s iconic buildings, to improve its energy and water efficiency. ROLLSS is designed to make Roble sustainable for its second century.
Helping guide ROLLSS and catalyze sustainability throughout the house are Roble Sustainability Leaders. Each lives in a single room on one of Roble’s 11 halls. The RSLs work as a team, in close coordination with Roble’s resident fellows, Roble’s student staff, and Roble’s Graduate Sustainability Fellow, a PhD student who lives in the house, to help design ROLLSS programming and to facilitate Roble residents’ participation in it. RSLs also take part in special activities, including dinners with sustainability-focused guests, interaction with sustainability-focused faculty and researchers around Stanford, and sustainability-focused field trips. During the 2018-19 school year, the RSLs organized activities including a hall-versus-hall sustainability competition in which a majority of Roble residents chose to participate.
If you’re passionate about sustainability — about wrestling with the messy realities of implementing it on a daily basis — then we’d love you to apply to become a Roble Sustainability Leader. This is a chance to make a real impact on the world — and to have a lot of fun doing it.
Jeff Ball and Becky Bull are Roble's resident fellows. Jeff, a writer focusing on energy and the environment, is scholar-in-residence at Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, a joint initiative of the law and business schools, and a lecturer at the law school. His research focuses on how to deploy cleaner energy globally -- and particularly in China.. Jeff is a longtime journalist; his writing has appeared in Fortune, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other publications. He came to Stanford in 2011 from The Wall Street Journal, where he was environment editor and spent more than a decade writing about energy and the environment. He grew up outside Washington, D.C., and he majored in history at Yale University. He runs, makes a mean pasta puttanesca, and speaks passable French.
Becky, a Pilates trainer, works at a Pilates studio in Los Altos, predominantly one-on-one. She specializes in working with clients who have injuries or other medical issues. Professionally and personally, she’s committed to developing health and wellness — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. She has practiced meditation for 10 years, and she tries to exercise every day. She grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and she majored in journalism at Southern Methodist University. For many years after college, Becky worked as a newspaper reporter; later she was the fundraising director for the ACLU of Michigan. More than 12 years ago, Becky decided to follow her passion and become certified to teach Pilates. Becky loves walking the family dog, Kuro, in the Stanford Arboretum. When she has free time (and there is never enough free time), she loves reading, particularly fiction and about current events.
Jeff and Becky met while working as newspaper reporters in Corpus Christi, Texas. They have two daughters: Ella, 17, and Eden, 15. Ella, a junior at Palo Alto High School, loves running track and writing. She spent a semester of her sophomore year studying in France. Eden, a first-year student at Palo Alto High School, swims competitively and is passionate about global health. She plans to spent a semester of her sophomore year studying in Argentina.
For more information about Roble Theater and the booking process, please visit our Planning Events page.
Additional Community Information
What’s the coolest thing about your house and community?
Roble is one of Stanford’s most richly diverse and creative dorms. The house, which turned 100 years old in 2018, has some 300 students across all four undergraduate classes. Half are first-year students, meaning more first-year students live in Roble than in any other dorm. Roble is a delicious melting pot: of actors and athletes, of scientists and singers, of dancers and designers. It’s a big community that contains innumerable micro-communities, and that gives Roble staff members an unparalleled opportunity to translate their passions into programming of almost any sort. Roble has a newly renovated lakeside courtyard in which we hold biweekly dorm barbecues; The Real Roble, a quarterly night of TED-style talks by and for Roble residents; a weekly yoga class, and an array of student-initiated activities, from hikes to writing workshops to artistic get-togethers. A signature Roble programmatic focus is sustainability. An initiative called the Roble Living Laboratory for Sustainability at Stanford, or ROLLSS, includes the Roble Hall Organic Teaching Garden, in which we hold frequent gatherings around food; Hard Earth, a biweekly speaker series featuring Stanford graduate students whose research focuses on tough environmental dilemmas; and dorm activities designed to help students minimize their use of energy and water. One of Roble’s coolest and most popular spaces is its makerspace, which opened in spring 2018 and whose programming is led by Roble’s students and focuses on sustainability and art. (You can find out more about ROLLSS at roblesustainability.stanford.edu.)
Through ROLLSS, through Roble’s many other activities, and in ways unrelated to specific programming — just through the daily feeling of community in the dorm — Roble aspires to provide its staff and residents the latitude, support, and encouragement to grow. Welcome to Roble. Welcome home.
What’s your favorite event or tradition in your house?
Move-in day. With music blaring, Roble staff members hang out on the ivy-covered dorm’s front balcony and scream the name of each first-year student who’s walking in. The coffee is flowing. The energy is electric. As it has every September for 100 years, the storied building called Roble is becoming, anew, a home.
Requirements to Qualify for Pre-Assignment
Pre-assignment to Roble will REQUIRE the use of a TIER THREE housing .
About Pre-Assignment at Roble
Roble Hall, Stanford’s oldest continuously operating dorm and its largest four-class house, is the home of the Roble Living Laboratory for Sustainability at Stanford (ROLLSS). ROLLSS seeks to create a culture of sustainability in Roble, a 300-student dorm that is a microcosm of the world in that it’s home to some people who are deeply interested in sustainability and to many people who aren’t. ROLLSS includes a range of sustainability-centered activities: undergraduate seminars taught in the dorm; a speaker series; programs to engage Roble residents in reducing their natural-resource waste; and field trips, including to Yosemite National Park and a sustainable-food tour of Marin County. ROLLSS also involves physical improvements to Roble: a sustainability- and art-focused “makerspace,” an organic garden, and potential future retrofits of Roble, one of Stanford’s iconic buildings, to improve its energy and water efficiency. ROLLSS is supported by more than a dozen schools, institutes, administrative offices, and student groups across Stanford. Roble turned 100 years old in 2018; ROLLSS is designed to make Roble sustainable for its second century.
Each of the Roble Sustainability Leaders lives in a single room on one of Roble’s 11 halls. The RSLs will work as a team, in close coordination with Roble’s Graduate Sustainability Fellow and its resident fellows, to help design ROLLSS programming and to facilitate Roble residents’ participation in it. RSLs also take part in special activities, including dinners with sustainability-focused guests, interaction with sustainability-focused faculty and researchers around Stanford, and sustainability-focused field trips.
Requirements to Qualify to Become a Roble Sustainability Leader
- Have a passion for sustainability and a curiosity to learn more about it.
- Work with Roble’s staff to plan and implement programs, including field trips, that promote sustainability.
- Shape and carry out projects with other RSLs that will catalyze more-sustainable behavior by Roble residents.
- Actively engage with the Roble community by attending your hall’s meetings and events and Roble’s house meetings and events – particularly those events promoting sustainability.
- Help with education and communication efforts in Roble to promote sustainable living.
- Attend one RSL dinner each quarter; the dinner will include other RSLs, Roble’s RFs, and a guest of honor who works in a field related to sustainability.
- Attend periodic planning meetings with the other RSLs, the Roble Graduate Sustainability Fellow, and Roble’s RFs.
- Periodically attend a portion of the Roble staff meetings to plan events and communicate RSL work with the staff.
- Enroll, for one quarter, in the one-unit Hard Earth graduate-student speaker-series course that is part of the Roble Living Laboratory for Sustainability at Stanford.
- These Roble Sustainability Leader activities should take an average of six hours per week.
- Live in Roble all three quarters of the 2019-20 academic year (so students who will study abroad during the 2019-20 academic year are not eligible to become Roble Sustainability Leaders).
- Each RSL will live in a single room.