Posts Tagged ‘Arts’

Putting the “experience” back in “Stanford experience”

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

It shall ring and float away... hail, Stanford, hail!

A favorite high school calculus teacher of mine often said, “sometimes it’s hard to see the forest because all the darn trees are in the way.”

Sometimes I think it’s easy to miss out on crucial, amazing parts of the Stanford experience by getting too busy with academics to notice the amazing opportunities that are passing you by.  To avoid that problem this quarter, I’m taking fewer units and a different approach to making the most of my time here.  See, I’m planning on co-terming, so as the midpoint of junior year approaches, I’m reaching the midpoint of my Stanford career.  Have I made the most of it?

I hope so.  I think so.  But I’d rather know so.

I’m working to alleviate this fear the only way engineers know how: quantifying it.  I figured I’d share my game plan because if it works for me, it might work for you, too.  I’m trying to make my list well-rounded, but I’d love to hear your ideas!  Suggestions?  Pointers?  Please share ’em in the comments.  I love this place and don’t want to miss out.

The Game Plan:  

Each of these categories has a number corresponding to how many times per week to participate in a category.  The bullet point suggestions below list examples of how to fulfill them.

Swingtime takes flight at an on-campus performance.

Arts (1):  support Stanford’s incredibly talented student artists!  See world-renowned performers!  The arts may never be more accessible (or cheap!) than while you’re at Stanford.

Sports (1+):  so, you really ought to exercise every day, but as a bare minimum, here are some suggestions for your weekly quota.

  • Join a friend’s intramural team!  Subs are always appreciated.
  • Run the Dish.
  • Walk Palm Drive with a friend.  Feel free to grab gelato for the way home.
  • Dance Marathon is coming up.  Even if you’re not signed up, you can always swing by with a donation and get your groove thang on.
  • Sign up for Relay for Life.

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Watch Out for the Fuzz… Why Stanford’s Arts and Humanities Aren’t as Forgotten as You Think

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Odds are, you probably came to Stanford because you’d rather slip on a hoodie than sidle into a sportcoat, prefer sunshine and band-run to wintry-mix and finals clubs, and would rather cheer for Andrew Luck than say, the Winklevii. And, odds are, if you’re even remotely techie, you chose Stanford for its knockout science and engineering curriculum… and rankings. It’s no secret that the Farm is both a Mecca and breeding ground for calculation gurus, technical whizzes, biological demigods, and everyone else who is still slightly pissed that they couldn’t take C++ to fulfill their foreign language requirement.

But not everyone destined for Stanford emerged from the womb taking integrals.For those of you who didn’t know that we have an entire quad for engineering, who mourn the death of IHum, who  spend more time in Roble Gym than in the ACSR, who actually stop at Braun on Saturday nights rather than going straight to the Row, and who otherwise prefer the scent of leather-bound books and rich mahogany to motherboards and formaldehyde – your moment has arrived.

We know who you are – even if you are in an oft forgotten niche here at Stanford. The concert halls, high-ceilinged archive and manuscript libraries, and sun-drenched studios of ivies and liberal arts colleges pulled at your heartstrings when you were in the heat of college applications. You fantasized about wearing tweed (with elbow-patches) and swirling cognac whilst ruminating over the flaws in deontological theory and debating Descartes, salon-style. You are a connoisseur of human culture, and you came here, to Stanford, hoping that just maybe you could find that same level of pained fascination with the human condition and method of expression under a red-tile roof as you might have under the buttresses of collegiate-gothic cathedral.

Oh, you knew the sacrifices you’d make. You worried that your love of Chopin, appreciation of Klimt, and obsession with Marquez would all be misunderstood, met with raised eyebrows and blank stares peering over sheaves of graph paper and physics tomes. You would be ever the outsider during O-Chem rants and the communal groans over CME. Your choice to major in English, Religious Studies, or Studio Art would be met with polite smiles and the silent judgment that you weren’t intense enough to study something technical and have no solid, foreseeable career path. Your daring choice to pursue a creative, innovative, reflective, and interpretive field is constantly challenged by those who insist your interests provide no real-world application or insurance. Others will ask you why you chose to pursue a path in arts or humanities at Stanford which, while having what are generally assumed to be “good” programs in these departments, seems to place a much greater emphasis on technologically-driven fields. With our home and history in Silicon Valley, seemingly endless scientific resources, and army of high-profile techie alums, people will probably ask you why you didn’t go to say, Harvard, to study all that “fuzzy” stuff.

To those people, you can now proudly reply that Stanford upholds the honor of having the top arts and humanities program in the world. And that we actually knocked Harvard off of its crimson pedestal to snag it. According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Stanford upstaged Harvard, UChicago, The Australian National University, and Princeton for the coveted top spot among university arts and humanities programs. The leap in the rankings has been largely credited to the outstanding number of MacArthur fellows and Pulitzer winners zipping across the quad and pioneering our liberal-arts research and curriculum, in addition to our broad range of arts/humanities offerings and extensive resources.

By comparison, (according to the U.S. News and World Report) Stanford Engineering clocked in at only #2, taking a backseat to M.I.T.. Admittedly, M.I.T. isn’t exactly a mortifying rival, and obviously second place is nothing to be ashamed of,  but the fact that one of the disciplines we pay the greatest lip-service to here on the Farm isn’t comparatively the best on campus does resonate a bit ironically.

That said, I could go on at length about the fallacy of rankings and the inconsistency of the methods, variables, and formulae (as well as frequent subjectivity and manipulation) that produce them. Rankings are not all-determining and should not be the primary mechanism through which we garner our self-esteem or evaluate ourselves as a school. But they do stand as a considerable litmus test that can testify to the strength of a program and should be reflective of the attention and respect that those departments should receive from students, faculty, administration, and, of course, the general public.

So the next time you find yourself smugly worrying about the future of your friend who’s an Art History major, try to catch yourself. The arts and humanities have not been extinguished in the wake of technology and scientific advancement. Their champions claim just as meaningful a place in our culture and society as do the engineers, programmers, researchers, and inventors.  And the work produced by the left-brained talent of the world might not thrive to the extent that it does without the help of the designers, writers, artists, performers, historians, anthologists, etc. who use the context of the human condition and sensibility to establish a place for those technologies in our lives.  I applaud Stanford for acknowledging the importance of bolstering such broad fields of study, and for taking such impressive strides to strengthen its departments and cultivate extensive opportunities for intellectual exploration and discovery. Thank you, Stanford, for yet again proving that your students really can have the best of all worlds.

Student Arts Festival!

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Got no Saturday evening plans? You may want to check out the Stanford Student Works Festival, which will showcase the creativity of Stanford students in a variety of fields. The event will take place tomorrow in Dinkelspiel Auditorium at 6pm, with an artists’ reception to follow at 7:30pm.

Stanford Online – Admit Weekend 2011

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

You applied. You got in. You conquered. And now, Admit Weekend will officially start tomorrow! And I know that’s far too long to wait to  start exploring the Farm! Although its hard to imagine, once you come to this school, the shiny front page that introduces you to Stanford takes a back seat to all the other websites that students use to keep track of their lives.

Here are a few websites you can check out before and after you get here:

It's so pretty! If you can't wait, check out these websites before you arrive.

For current school presidentsASSU

The Associated Students of Stanford University, including an undergraduate executive and senate, spend the year developing programs and initiative to promote wellness, health, academic sanity, and more on campus. From voting efforts to sustainability, this group has a major impact on what happens on our campus.

For those who are more civic mindedHaas Center For Public Service

I honestly think that the Haas Center is an under utilized haven for those interested in public service. So before you get lost in classes and friends, if you have a public service project I suggest you check out the Haas Center before you come.

For the party/event hopper –  Fountain Hop,  Events at Stanford

This is Stanford. President Obama landed here a week ago to chat it up at Facebook. Joseph Gordon Levitt spoke on campus Monday. Stuff happens.

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The Failure to Prioritize the Arts at Stanford

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Stanford is not a school generally known for its arts programs, and if you ask anyone who has any knowledge of Stanford, they’ll tell you flat-out that there is not much of an arts scene on campus. Arts are certainly not at the forefront of campus culture and not valued as highly as other pursuits.

Stanford Drama put on a highly acclaimed production of Rent in Roble Studio Theater. Since then, that space has been completely shut down by the County, leaving many performing arts departments and groups in even more need of adequate space. Photo from Stanford Drama.

In recent years, the University has made an ostensible push to try to improve the state of the arts on campus. There’s the Arts Initiative, replete with a snazzy brochure. There’s the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SICA), which has, among other endeavors, hosted a number of meetings of student arts leaders to try and brainstorm ways to increase the presence and ubiquity of arts at Stanford. All of these efforts are important and crucial to making headway in the fight to make the arts better. But despite the work of these groups and the University’s claims to the contrary, the University continues to make large-scale decisions that make it very clear that the arts do not have first priority at Stanford.

For those who live in the West Campus boonies and like to work out, the recent news of the Board of Trustee’s approval of a new gym on Roble Field is good news. For those of us who know the story of the old Roble Gym, however, however, the decision is less unilaterally positive.

Roble Gym, which has its own Wikipedia page, is a gorgeous early 20th century building. The Athletic department occupied Roble Gym until the new gym, the Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation (ACSR), was built in 2004. The Athletic department moved to ACSR and gave most of their building over to the Drama and Dance departments. There was a huge problem, however: as an old building, Roble Gym has many problems, most notably a failure to comply to more modern fire and other standards. Neither the Athletic department nor the University wanted to, or still wants to, pay the heavy costs to retrofit and upgrade the building–it’s pretty expensive, and in very poor shape. (Take a look at the locker rooms, for example). In the years since the Drama and Dance departments took over the building, Roble Gym has essentially been condemned and parts of the building, including the main theater space, have been completely shut down by the County. For departments already significantly struggling with facilities–one higher level administrator noted, “Many junior high schools have better [drama] facilities than Stanford”–this has made it nearly impossible for any theater on campus, including any student groups that perform, to find space. And the problem extends to all of the arts: musician and Daily columnist Lucas Johnson can tell you about the state of the music facilities on campus.

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Upcoming Events!

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Sometimes it’s overwhelmingly difficult to keep up with everything going on on this campus.  Have no fear, TUSB is here to keep you posted on everything ever in everness.*

Hijabi Monologues

Arts:

Activism:

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Arts Facilities: Got something to say?

Monday, April 30th, 2007

As part of Stanford’s Arts Initiative and the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SICA), the Arts Facilities Task Force is working on Stanford’s physical arts spaces, both current and future. The committee is particularly interested in getting input from students involved in the arts.
We want to know:

  • What kinds of spaces you use, or would like to see more of on campus?
  • What are some ideas for future arts spaces?
  • What kinds of spaces could inspire collaboration and a culture of creativity on campus?
  • How do we tackle decentralization, and how could we improve?
  • What kinds of arts facilities are successful in residences, unions, and other shared spaces?
  • What kinds of departmental spaces do you use often in academic settings?

This is your chance to add input for the arts facilities planning taking place now. Please join us and members of the Arts Facilities Task Force in getting your feedback.
FocusNightInvitation.jpg
Wednesday, May 9th, 6-7:30 PM in Roble Gym Lounge. Pizza Provided.
RSVP to Megan Miller at meganem@stanford.edu
http://studentarts.stanford.edu