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House Description

550 San Juan St, Stanford, CA 94305
The Row
The Row
Housing Theme Type: 
Theme Name: 
Independent Living (The Row): 

Photograph of staff during campus opening in JPG format.

Synergy is a student-run cooperative community located on Stanford campus, tucked just above the row. Synergy was founded in 1972, growing out of a student-initiated course that sought to establish and experiment with a community encouraging cooperative relationships, collective action, and alternative lifestyles. It has often held a political mission, which cultivate through teach-ins, political reading dinners, and choosing a cooperative lifestyle.

We are a warm, eccentric, and tight-knit community. There's always good music playing in the kitchen and lively conversations happening on the couches in our breakfast room. We also throw awesome parties for Halloween and Valentine's Day in addition to more intimate gatherings. As a residential space, we hope to cultivate opportunities for collective and personal growth in the way that we treat our space, labor, and one another with intentionality. As a community, we see “intentionality” as our efforts to elevate the voices of all house members, examine ways to bend conventions in both personal and communal practice, and cultivate a safe and positive environment that supports self-expression.

At Synergy, we share a concern for the historical inaccessibility of co-op housing to marginalized communities on campus. We are committed to the responsibility of helping foster a culturally sensitive house community in order to challenge this history and create meaningful house dialogues with actions that incorporate direct feedback and coalition with communities across Stanford’s campus. In our home, we hope to continue exploring the ways that cooperative practices can be powerful tools of resistance and self-care for marginalized communities.

Synergy sits atop a quiet, forested hill and is an idyllic refuge from the rest of campus. When you walk up our path, you step into a different world: home-cooked meals, gender neutral bathrooms, bountiful gardens, a vegetarian kitchen, collaborative artwork, collectively consented house policies, a building workshop, a view of the bay from the bathroom, and a warm embrace of all walks of life. House policy is made by consensus, which means every resident has a voice and all decisions (house norms, job policies, hosting social events, etc.) must be approved by everyone present for those meetings. We also change rooms and roommates every quarter through a consensus process.

Community Information

Residence Type: 

Panoramic of Synergy in JPG format.

Information Regarding Mail and Package Delivery

Students living in Row Houses (Upper Row, Lower Row, Clusters 1, 2, or 3/Cowell) are strongly encouraged to follow the directions for the mail and package process provided on the Mail Delivery and Shipping page, as the PO Box address is each student’s official Stanford address and should be maintained during their entire undergraduate career.­ However, Row residents are also able to have mail packages delivered directly to their Row house by addressing mail and packages to the house's street address.­ Please be reminded that Student Housing/the University accepts no responsibility for packages sent to/delivered at individual residences.

Additional Community Information

What is the coolest thing about your house & community?

Synergy residents frequently refer to Synergy as a home both during and after the time they spend there. The way residents take responsibility for doing their jobs and invest in our community is a big reason why living in Synergy is such a rewarding experience.

What makes a successful Synergy staff member?

Staffing at Synergy involves putting time and energy into your living space, and working together in ways that create a cohesive community. We strive to be leaders by example in creating a safe, welcoming, and functional space in support of the self-expression of all community members. We believe that open communication and cooperation are both key in this house (pun intended).  Great staff members will take time to hang out around the house and get to know one another and our residents.

Our house is meaningful to the Stanford community because…

Up on our hill, surrounded by trees and our beautiful garden, it’s possible to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of campus life. We create our own intentional space, and establish our own norms in this house. Synergy is one big, loving, wacky family.

Selection Related Information

Applicants to staff at Synergy must be committed to Synergy’s vision of a safe, inclusive and intentional space for marginalized communities. In an effort to reflect these goals through our staffing choices, we would like to especially encourage those from the FLI, queer, disabled, POC, and other marginalized communities to apply. If you are not already familiar with the house, we encourage you to contact current staff to come over for a meal and see if this is a place you want to dedicate your time and energy to. While we do have position-specific job duties, the cultivation of house culture and caring of the house is a staff-wide collaboration, so we encourage you to apply for positions that you are excited about with the additional understanding that your duties may extend past those described.

Synergy staff are expected to collectively care for the house and practice its values but to also actively challenge traditions and current norms to further pursue the goal of a wholly inclusive and safe home that encourages participation, collaboration, and collective learning and growth. In the spring before staffing, incoming staff engage with the future members and the physical space of the house by organizing the pre-assignment process and the closure and preparation of the house.

Staffing in Synergy is an experience that allows you to contribute to and grow with something beautiful and bigger than yourself. That being said, it requires a significant but meaningful amount of dedication and labor. There are many ways to be involved with our community, but If you are interested in engaging in this particular way, then please feel free to apply to join.


Requirements to Qualify for Pre-Assignment


How Rooms Are Assigned

No special preference is given to pre-assigned residents in terms of room assignment. All incoming residents will participate in the "rooming meeting" as part of the process of determining their room assignments for the upcoming year.

Tier Requirement

Pre-assignment to Synergy REQUIRES the use of a TIER TWO housing choice.

Requirements to Qualify for Pre-Assignment

Pre-assignment to Synergy will be considered for students who fulfill the following conditions:

  1. Every pre-assignment applicant must complete a cooking/cleaning job (duration of about 1.5
    hours) at Synergy, unless the applicant is currently living in a co-op.
  2. Complete a house tour of Synergy, and receive a brief overview of the consensus process Synergy uses to make decisions.
  3. (Optional) Attend a consensus meeting at Synergy (during Sunday dinner)

For more information, please contact the current RA, Miley Hu.

Requirements for Residents of Synergy

If assigned to Synergy, a student must:

  1. Fulfill all weekly, biweekly, and end-of-quarter jobs required of residents. These require on average 4-5 hours per week of cooking and/or cleaning.

  2. Complete a theme presentation, teach-in or other project for the house related to Synergy’s theme during/over the course of the year, as a means of additional contribution to the community. Synergy’s theme is “alternative lifestyles and intentional community,” to be interpreted broadly as exploring different ways of life from the often oppressive or discriminatory status quo, and to do so in a conscientious way integrated with the community. Examples from past years have included educating residents about police accountability, leading a workshop on developing decolonial praxis, or building a space for creative expression within the house.

  3. Model cooperative life and collective values. Pre-assigned students are expected to be core residents of the house and take initiative on community tasks.

Synergy Essay

In  no more than 1200 characters (including spaces) describe  why you wish to live in Synergy, and how you plan to contribute to the community.   

House Staff

Community Resident Assistant (RA)
: 3
Row Kitchen Resident Assistant (RA)
: 2
Row Financial Resident Assistant (RA)
: 1
Operations Manager
: 1