Archive for the ‘Campus Life’ Category

Viral @stanford

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

In case your Facebook newsfeed isn’t already crawling with it, take a few minutes of your day to check out this beautiful video produced by Stanford students Garrett Gunther, BS ’11, MS ’12, Kris Cheng, BS ’11, MS ’12, & Dominique Yahyavi, BS ’11.

Congratulations on a great four years, Class of ’12.  To our almost-graduates and everyone else, may this video serve as inspiration for leaving your legacy – on the Farm, and beyond!

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo Direkt

Original link here:  http://vimeo.com/43950969

The 4th Annual Unabridged List of Suggested Dorm Themes

Monday, May 28th, 2012

As an RA this past year, I can tell you one thing: puns are hard. Coming up with a clever theme for your dorm is a lot of pressure, and can cause an unnecessary amount of stress (because heaven knows you won’t be stressed during the year). That’s where we at TUSB come in. Below, you’ll find perfectly useable themes for your dorm or house; upperclassmen, feel free to suggest them to your new house staff by emailing them nonstop and posting the themes you like on your houses’ Facebook groups. They really really like it when you do that. Trust me, I’m an RA.

This is the fourth iteration of the list (click to see the suggested themes from the first, second, and third), and the first without the guidance of the incomparable Josh Freedman, to whom I owe my career as a comedy writer (for the Robber Barons and TUSB), my ability to use WordPress, as well as my second-born child. Hope this lives up to your vision.

Special thanks to Jasmine Magbutay and the Robber Barons for your help and support; I cannot, in good conscience say that I thought up my personal favorite theme, and it makes me sad/so overwhelmingly joyful to admit that. Anyways, feel free to comment on your favorites, or suggest better themes for next year. Without further ado, here are the themes I am suggesting for the entire Stanford campus next year. RAs and house staff, let’s make this dream come true.

Arrillaga is so mainstream.

HipStern

LARKINSTAGRAM
SERRAMERICAN APPAREL
TWAINBLR
DONNIRONY
BURBAN(K) OUTFITTERS
ZAPATABLY NEVER HEARD OF IT…

Wilbur: Wilbur

SOTERO
OTERANCOS
TRANCSOTO
JUNIPERROYO
OKADARROYO
ARROYOTERO
CEDJRO
RINCOKADA

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Resonance: More Than Just Background Noise?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Stanford's next Pandora?

Chances are if you’ve been listening to music online lately your browser has been stuck on Resonance. Created by current Stanford seniors Chris Seewald, Zach Weiner, Matthew Crowley, and Michael White, Resonance is as if Pandora and Youtube had an child that was raised by Spotify. Originally intended to reduce the time that it takes to find good music, Resonance allows users, focused around geographical areas, to add music to an online queue. Listeners can then rate the music their peers have uploaded and are provided with a stream of continuous songs that play alongside their respective YouTube video.

Co-Founder Chris Seewald claims that since their recent inception at Stanford they’ve had “several thousand visits from a couple thousand users.” More impressive however, is how much those users have taken to the site, as “users have added more than one thousand of their favorite songs.” In response to the positive feedback they’ve received from the Stanford campus they’ve decided to expand geographically, moving into Austin and Boulder due to the large student populations there and personal connections. While for the time being they’ll staying on college campuses, in the future they plan to expand into cities as well, with San Francisco and New York in their sights. Seewald is also excited for the potential of different playlists throughout the nation and thinks that there’ll  be “unique music taste differences across different regions,” which is a pretty cool concept when thinking about how say, Kansas City might compare to Seattle.

I will say that for my particular tastes the Stanford Resonance channel seems a bit too random at times, jumping from Bob Dylan to Skrillex. Also, a friend of mine who originally introduced me to the site said she liked the recommended songs more before Resonance started gaining popularity, claiming that the site took much more of a “dance-party” type of feel as more people started contributing. That being said, while listening to the site while typing this article I didn’t skip the majority of songs that came up.

There’s no doubt that Resonance is entering an extremely crowded market, but given this all-star team of co-founders (with full-time offers (correction: Chris’ offer from BCG is for a summer internship) from Apple, Square, and BCG) and their already growing base of users, they might just be on to something here. What do you guys think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

More to the Story: why Chi Theta Chi is losing its lease

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

“Theta Chi House is a fine example of the Spanish Eclectic style of architecture and the work of a master architect, Will G. Corlett” reads the history of Chi Theta Chi (XOX) conducted last year. XOX is more than fifty years old, and is thus considered a an historic property. This fact has played very little into the recent events surrounding the decision by Stanford to not renew XOX’s lease. The University cited health and safety code violations and a lapse in corporate status as reasons for not renewing the lease, while XOX countered with protests about community and independence. However, the House itself is key to the debate, superseding more philosophical questions. (more…)

Day In the Life: Dominik Pasalic

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Part one of a series detailing Stanford students and the awesome things we do outside of class

7:15AM on Sunday morning and my alarm sounds, piercing my post-Saturday night partying foggy consciousness. Detesting the idea of waking up at this godforsaken hour, I hit that glorious invention the snooze button and roll back into blissful nothingness. 5 minutes later my phone screams at me again, and an image flashes through my mind: I’m floating atop the water, the sun warming my face and the wind whipping through my hair. I’m drinking beer and laughing with friends. From the depths of my slumber, a slightly accented voice booms at me “Pull in the jib sheet Jesse, we’re tacking!” In a rush of excitement, I fly out of bed and begin searching for warm clothes, finally remembering why I got up this early on the day most college students never see the a.m. hours: it’s sailing time!

Stanford Senor & Skipper Dominik Pasalic

If you think I’m nuts for giving up my one guaranteed morning of sloth to schlep all the way to Santa Cruz to battle the wind or lack there of, wait until you meet Stanford senior Dominik Pasalic, Croatian born and raised, and an ocean lover since day one. Despite his passion for the sea and fascination with all things maritime, it wasn’t until his mid teens that Dom took his first one week sailing class in his home country. “Learn how to sail an old Croatian sailboat,” he tells us, “and you’ll be able to sail any boat in the world!” he emphasizes as he points to the electronic controls on the modern 46 ft Beneteau sailboat that we’ve chartered (sail speak for rented) for the day from Pacific Yachting in Santa Cruz. (more…)

If You Want to Save Chi Theta Chi, March on the Vice Provost’s Office This Monday!

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Chi Theta Chi (XOX) will march on the Vice Provost's office this Monday to fight to maintain its independence.

This Monday, May 14, at 9:30am, the residents, alumni, and friends of Chi Theta Chi (XOX) will march on the office of Vice Provost for Student Affairs to defend the house’s lease before the deaf ears of the Stanford administration. If you want to save this house’s independence, you must join them.

Stanford, a variety of legitimate causes on campus compete for your attention. As a small, close-knit community, XOX does not have a big voice, and it might seem marginal enough not to merit your attention. But nothing could be further from the truth. The case of XOX represents the way “Mama Stanford” will continue to impose its heavy hand on any students who run afoul of the administration’s nebulous parameters for acceptable conduct. As Kappa Sigma and the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band know from recent experience, once you get on the administration’s bad side, they will come after you like a pack of rabid wolves the next time you slip up, no matter how minor your mistake is, or how little warning you have received.

XOX has faced the worst of this moralistic bullying. With no advance warning, the University decided to revoke XOX’s lease unilaterally; after months of negotiations between the house’s Alumni Board and administration officials, the Vice Provost’s office has only offered to reconsider the house’s lease after a two-year “interim period.” Given the current behavior of the administration, this solution is unacceptable for the following reasons:

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How to Own the Stanford Housing Draw

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Okay, okay, I’m kidding. There’s no way to beat the draw. (I mean, it is just a random number that you have no control over. Sorry.) But you can do the next best thing: avoid it altogether. Put your housing out of the lottery system and into your own hands.

Disclaimer: This is written for those who want to live in a tier 1 or tier 2 house. If you’re into FroSoCo and the like (“FroSoCo and the like” meaning, uhm, just other tier-3 houses!), you can put your housing into pretty much anybody’s hands and you’d still be set.

French House is a Tier 1/2 house, but you just might be able to live here all 3 upperclass years...

So, let’s say you want to live in a tier 1 or 2 house all three upperclass years. You look at that recent Daily draw article and sigh. A 784 to get into Xanadu, a 1159 to get into Durand, and a 360 to get into French House… It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to see what’s happening if you get a 1500-3000 draw number: you’re not getting in. So what do you do? You don’t let it come to the draw at all. Here’s how:

1.      Staff (Tier 3)

Staffing is pretty much the sweetest deal ever. You get a single. You get paid. You get to plan what happens at your house (and have people listen to you, too). You get a leadership position for your resume. You get to brag to your friends about being on staff. You get to use tier 3, and still live wherever you want. Perfect, right? Right.

OK, there is a caveat – namely, you can apply for staff and not get selected. But there are so many houses, so many staff positions, and so many senior staff who have to be replaced that you probably will be selected. In fact, in my 2 years at Stanford, I’ve never heard of anybody applying for staff and not getting any staff position (but then again, I guess people wouldn’t exactly publicize that). But even if you don’t get selected, you’re not worse off than if you hadn’t applied for staff at all (well, ok, except for the bruised ego. But then just don’t tell anyone you were rejected and move on).

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Redefining “Far”

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Tokyo Subway

Attendants cramming people onto a Tokyo Subway (courtesy of Google). It's not as bad in Kyoto, but it gives you an idea of Japanese commuting life.

I thought I knew what the word meant; after all, I lived in Slavianskii Dom for the last two quarters. At the mention of Slav, people either smile because they like how far away it is, recoil because they hate how far away it is, or stare blankly because it’s so far away they’ve never heard of it.

But let’s take a second to consider just how far Slav really is. At the end of the Row, Slav indeed defines just how far away you can live while still remaining on campus. For me last quarter, “far” meant a hazardous, full-speed bike ride down the Row, through White Plaza, around the Circle of Death, left at the top of the Quad, right at the Bio building, and a final stop at Mudd Chemistry. Whew. If I successfully ran all the stop signs, ignored all the tabling student groups, escaped the Circle of Death with my life, navigated my way around the Marguerite buses by the Oval, and found a parking spot amid the throng of Chem 31B students, I could cut my travel time down to…7 minutes. If I felt lazy on the uphill ride home: 15 minutes. 15 minutes defines Stanford’s conception of distance. It used to define mine.

Coming to Kyoto on Stanford’s BOSP program four weeks ago rewrote my definition. No longer can I just roll out of bed, grab a quick bite to eat, and fly out the door a few minutes before class. I commute now. On every school day (and on most weekends), I wake up at 7:00 AM, eat breakfast with my host family, and leave the house at around 8. I bike for 15 minutes down a large hill to the nearest subway station, board and ride for another 15 minutes, then change trains and arrive at the school 10 minutes later. Including change times, the whole trip takes me around 45 minutes, triple the time it takes me to lackadaisically pedal across Stanford campus. The return trip takes longer. That hill I mentioned? It’s a single lane with no bike lanes or sidewalks, so cars, bikes, and pedestrians all battle for supremacy.

Do I have it bad? Not really. Some people on the program come from as far as Osaka, at least an hour’s train ride away. And this type of commute is routine for most Japanese college students: I recently talked with a girl who commutes for a total of 4 hours every day. That’s the equivalent of a 20-unit course load. Inconceivable!

What lessons can we Stanford students take from this commuting lifestyle?

– Taking more time to get to class can be enjoyable if we let it. Instead of dangerously racing against the clock, leave your dorm a couple of minutes earlier. Enjoy the sunshine. Listen to music (with only one earbud, of course). Observe people; Stanford students are fantastically interesting. Or take a few minutes more to walk to class, simply for the change of pace. You’ll see campus in a whole new light.

Yamashina, Kyoto, Japan

Sakura trees on the way to school. Walking instead of biking offers some great photo ops.

– Use public transportation; for those without cars, this opens up a whole world outside of Stanford. Ride the Marguerite (for free!) to get into Palo Alto for some delicious food or a quiet cafe for studying. Or take the CalTrain and get into San Francisco more! It’s an underutilized service that takes at most an hour and can get you directly to one of America’s greatest cultural centers.

– Most dorms on campus are really only separated by a 5-minute bike ride (or a 15 minute walk). In the grand scheme of things, that’s not so far. So when you’re looking to draw next year, add more weight to the community and amenities and less to the location.

Most people talk about how large Stanford’s campus is. But it doesn’t seem big at all anymore. Of all the things I miss about Stanford, the last thing I expected to miss was just how close and connected we all are.

The dreaded Stanford bike police…..(and how to escape!)

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Black and white, a terrorizing sight on campus!

They’re sly, they’re sneaky, and they give out tickets like nobody’s business! That’s right, I’m talking about the Stanford bike police. They’ve been out in force and recently I had the great honor of “chatting” with an officer as I was riding my bike at night without a light. As most Stanford upperclassmen know from experience and most freshmen and sophomores are learning the hard way, bike tickets seriously cramp everyone’s style! Expensive, time-consuming (if you choose to go to “ticket school”), and all around crappy. Now, if you follow the law (use a light at night, come to a full-stop at a stop-signs, don’t ride where you’re not supposed to, etc.), you should be fine and don’t need to read this. However, if you’re an anarchist bent on disobeying authority, this is definitely for you. Also, if you’re a regular Stanford student that makes a few mistakes now and then, you should probably keep reading.

DISCLAIMER: I do not endorse breaking the law, nor dishonesty. Use these tips at your own risk. If you get caught doing some of these your punishment will be far greater than if you hadn’t tried to be a bad-ass. Telling the officer that “Jesse said I could do it” will most definitely not work. Duh. The following tips are based on the experiences of myself and other undergrad Stanford students:

1.) Don’t be a dick

You have to realize that from the second a cop pulls you over, he has complete control. Even if you are completely innocent, I promise being rude will get you absolutely nowhere. In fact, just being rude may be warrant enough for the cop to give you some type of ticket. Sure, you may be able to get out of it down the road, but that doesn’t mean it won’t take a ton of your time and energy in letters and court appearances. Pulled-over? Suck it up, smile, and be polite.

2.) Be honest

Cops are not idiots. I promise. They give literally thousands of tickets a year, so your half-brained, split-second excuse is most likely not going to work. Depending on how crappy it sounds, it could end up with you getting a heavier fine/more unpleasant interaction. If you get pulled over it’s likely the first thing the officer will ask you is why you think he pulled you over. You have two options: tell him the truth (if you know), or tell him you’re not sure. Again with the whole idiots thing: if it’s super obvious (ex: blew a stop-sign where everyone else was stopped) and you say you’re not sure, that’s a pretty sure bet for a ticket. Oftentimes honesty can get you a long way with the police here, especially if you’re apologetic and polite. However, enforcement will rarely have mercy for bikers who don’t pay attention when they’re riding, and honestly they probably shouldn’t. In cases like these I recommend telling the truth, but putting your own spin on as to why you broke the law. Which leads me to point 3…. (more…)

Memes and Extremes: ASSU Judgement Day

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

This article is a response to Kristi.

Everyone has their quirks, especially here at Stanford, where high achievement is often the result of hyperorganization and highly developed time management and planning skills. Where Stewart MacGregor-Dennis differs from most students is that he posts his thinking online for all of Stanford to see. This can make him a target, but it also means that you know the candidate you are voting for. Spending his personal money on maintaining his social media (if you look through his ODesk account, he has only spent about $50 services related to his campaign) doesn’t seem to be an issue pertinent to his ability to be President.  And in the end, it’s all transparent: everyone can see his likes, twitter followers, and ODesk account. Why is the most controversial issue in this campaign the idea that a candidate might actually try to maximize his social media footprint? Some tactics may have been misguided, but to claim Stewart is unethical or that he was trying to dupe the student body is laughable. We all know how the internet works: things that get liked or followed get more likes or followers. But everyone can still see who is liking and following what.

Stewart MacGregor Dennis and Druthi Ghanta

The current attacks on Stewart aren’t focused on his experience, or his platform. They don’t critique the things he has done working for the ASSU, and they don’t question his plans for the coming year.  Instead, they focus primarily on his personal life. This isn’t problematic in and of itself—politicians open themselves up to scrutiny by the public. Stewart, perhaps more than any other student at Stanford, lives his life with transparency.

Much has been made of the infamous 40 page life plan, his propensity for mind mapping, and his active tweeting. These are all ways in which Stewart has combined the private and public spheres of his life. This is quirky, and it’s easy to look at a 40 page life plan and crack jokes (you have, after all, forty pages of material to work with). However, the things that look eccentric in Stewart’s personal life are the things that make his successful in Stanford student government. Life plans, mind maps—all of these are indicative of a strong vision and a passion for organization.

The ASSU needs a President that can keep track of it’s  its over 650 student groups, the over 40 university committees with student representation, and branches of government like the SSE, SSD, Undergraduate Senate, and Graduate Student Council. And if it takes a thousand mind maps to make it happen, then that’s what it takes. Next year, I want Axess to be improved and upgraded further (a la SimpleEnroll), co-hosting small grants for students groups, and affordable summer storage for students and student groups. These things affect Stanford far more than a few unwanted emails or the number likes on a Facebook status ever will.

Vote for the candidates whose platform you support on April 12 at ballot.stanford.edu.  

Update: This is Rachel Rose. This article was posted to my personal Facebook, but thanks Adam for the reminder to be clear for those not on Facebook.

Signs That Stanford Students Have a Sense of Humor

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Santa Teresa Avenue:

Tresidder Gym:

Auf wiedersehen, Stanford!

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Excellent study spot on a sunny day.

In sixteen short hours I’ll begin my journey to Stanford’s Berlin campus.  I’m really excited for the amazing courses, experiences, people, and sites that I will encounter during my travels in Germany.

But as I said goodbye to my friends staying on campus and going abroad elsewhere next quarter, it hit me: I won’t be on campus for six whole months.  That’s a crazy long time, and as I frantically finished finals and packing, I realized that I’m not done here.  This false early departure has made me acutely aware of the awesomeness of this place, this space.

To commemorate the end of eight amazing quarters and toast the beginning of four more, here’s a small collection of my favorite photos of the Farm.  Please excuse the quality – they’re all on-the-fly iPhone snapshots from life on campus.

To those of you staying on campus this quarter: have a blast on my behalf.  Enjoy all that Stanford has to offer, and never forget how lucky we are to be here.

Tschuss,

Kristi

Double rainbow over Avery Aquatics.

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4 Ways to Work Out, Besides the Obvious Ones

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Is this it?

Exercising at Stanford seems like it shouldn’t be that hard, and sometimes it’s almost involuntary, when your class schedule demands that you cross America’s largest campus…in ten minutes…multiple times a day. We get free membership to a really nice gym (I suppose it depends on where you’re from, but Arillaga Center for Sports and Recreation is leagues ahead of anything I saw back home), a beautiful campus to walk and bike across, and a thriving athletic program.  But for those contending with winter-quarter apathy, here are 5 novel though primarily facetious suggestions for how to get some exercise that might be more fun than a pair of dumbbells and Precor #2.  Note that this has not been evaluated by the FDA or anyone besides spellcheck.  I am not a doctor or a pre-med.

1. Walk, Don’t Bike

I have to confess this one has ulterior motives–I don’t have a bike appreciate lack of bike traffic.  Stop using a bike for a week and make it a point to walk a lot.  You don’t have to be aimless; pick places to go that will obligate you to walk.  Take the opportunity to walk to a professor’s office hours when you usually chill between classes.  Have lunch or dinner with friends at a different dining hall.  Take some homework and a snack and walk to the Dish/Lake Lag/your favorite library/the Oval.  Expand your definition of walking distance.  I don’t have a bike and I’ve found I actually end up willingly taking the opportunity to walk to farther places more than I did when I had a bike.

2. The SLE workout.

Bringing new meaning to the phrase “heavy course load,” the SLE workout maximizes the cardiac potential of the philosophical canon.  On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, use SLE books as weights (you can move up from one book, to one week’s worth of books, to a quarter’s worth).  On Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, take a hike across campus to secure meals when FloMo Dining is closed.  On Sunday, take a break and enjoy the Indian food.  You deserve it. (more…)

Vicious Cycle

Monday, February 27th, 2012

[undeclaredcomics]

See also:  Why am I always tired?

 

“An Affirmation of Life’s Beauty:” A Letter to President Hennessy on Chi Theta Chi

Friday, February 24th, 2012

The friendly residents of Chi Theta Chi.

The following letter is from Dana Edwards ’14.

Dear President Hennessy,

I lived in Chi Theta Chi this past fall quarter, and I am saddened and taken aback by the university’s move to assume control over the co-op. Dr. Hennessy, I respectfully ask for you to exercise your executive power and prevent Residential and Dining Enterprises from terminating our lease. In order to illustrate why Chi Theta Chi means so much to me, to my 35 brothers and sisters who currently live in the house, and to hundreds of Chi Theta Chi alumni–and in order to illustrate why stripping us of our autonomy is tantamount to stripping away the very soul of this place–I will tell you my story. It’s a little long-winded, and riddled with generalities, but it’s extremely honest. I cried when I wrote this. For this reason, I ask that you read on.

Like many Chi Theta Chi residents of past and present, I hated my freshman dormitory, but found a loving home in this historic building. As a wide-eyed freshman on the first day of New Student Orientation, I arrived at a certain freshman dorm in Wilbur Hall to hear my name screamed by dorm staff who were somehow already familiar with my face.  It was a demonstration of the RAs’ dedication, to be sure, but also a taste of the sort of giddy artifice that has come to define the freshman residential experience, annually laying the plumage for the newest flush of Stanford Ducks.

As 21st century Stanford matriculates, we were a remarkable group of young adults–sensitive, hard-working, intelligent–and yet the culture in our dormitory did not encourage intellectual cross-pollination or creative vision, or provide an open environment to discuss our very real fears and frustrations; instead it reveled in intolerable fakeness. It was Camp Stanford, and I was not a happy camper. I was depressed. (Given, I had just returned from Burning Man, perhaps the most open and expressive of counterculture environments, so the transition to artifice was made all the more abrupt.)

The building itself made me feel like a pampered inmate: white cinderblock walls and frameless hydraulic doors, a prison of fluorescent sterility attended by an anonymous custodian. Awkwardness abounded, disingenuous dorm pride supplanted everyone’s secret feeling of not belonging, and the cheering of our oddly offensive cheer forever rang in the air and turned my stomach. (more…)