Posts Tagged ‘housing’

Oak Creek: An Unexpected Journey

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

I guess it’s what you get for spending last quarter swimming in the Great Barrier Reef and pondering the infinite cuteness of the koala.  Like many of us who studied abroad, took a quarter off, or were otherwise not around for the fall, I’ve ended up in the infamous Oak Creek Apartments, renowned across campus for their forbidding distance.

Distance only slightly exaggerated.

But how is it really?  The apartments themselves are quite a bit more palatial than your average dorm, not quite competition for Toyon and Roble on the antique charm scale, but extremely livable.  There’s also a pool, sauna, private health club (currently being remodeled, but still), views of other people’s even prettier pools, and kitchens with capacious microwaves.  Additionally, I haven’t checked the statistics, but I think that you are about 7,000% less likely to die of impact with a rogue golf cart on the Oak Creek premises than almost anywhere else frequented by Stanford students.

But more than these materials benefits, Oak Creek seems like it fosters a particular way of life.  For one thing, going back to Oak Creek in between classes is impracticable for classes fewer than about 2 hours apart, so a typical day feels more like commuting to school.  But in one week so far, I’ve found that this constraint actually forces me to make better use of my time–instead of chasing the elusive power nap or re-watching Game of Thrones episodes, I end up reading, doing some light homework, or taking the opportunity to visit friends.  The walk/bike/drive to campus forces the residents of Oak Creek to be more punctual, since it’s hard to kid yourself about how fast you can get to classes when you have to navigate a meadow to arrive.  And if you feel like you need to develop some useful life skills, Oak Creek could be a great platform for improving your cooking, dishwashing, and interior design.

In short, although it involves a trek and a half, Oak Creek is not the horrible spector of bad housing it is often claimed to be.  Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to live on the edge.

 

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…)

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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Chi Theta Chi Releases Official Statement

Friday, February 10th, 2012

The residents of Chi Theta Chi, 2010-2011.

The following message is attributed to the Chi Theta Chi residents, student staff, and alumni board:

Early Wednesday evening, Stanford Residential Dining and Enterprises (RD&E) and Stanford Student Affairs informed Chi Theta Chi staff of their plans to revoke the house’s lease, beginning today, February 9, 2012.   By doing so, the University would evict from campus one of the last remaining independent student houses and transfer ownership of Chi Theta Chi to RD&E.

We are confused and saddened by the University’s attempt to remove ownership of the property from the house’s alumni board, which has controlled the property for decades.  This transfer of ownership would directly undermine the diversity of the living options available to to undergraduates – counter to the university’s stated goal.  In his message on diversity, President Hennessy wrote, “We realize that a variety of approaches are necessary to foster diversity throughout the university, and we will continue to give careful attention to these important efforts.”  Chi Theta Chi, in its current state of private ownership, is one of those necessary approaches.  The removal of Chi Theta Chi’s independence would be a detriment not only to its residents, but also to the entire student body, which benefits from the diversity the house had supported for over thirty years.

Chi Theta Chi’s unique independence has made it a home for all of us as students, and in the past the university has respected our rich diversity of interests and living preferences.  We are disheartened by the university’s announcement, which came with minimal forewarning and which we believe disregards the exceptional efforts and improvements the staff of Chi Theta Chi have made to keep the house a safe and supportive environment for all of its residents.  We call upon the university to uphold their agreement in the terms of the lease to meet with the house to discuss less drastic alternatives.  We trust that the University will not allow short-sighted technicalities destroy our house’s independence.

Dorm Fund Fail: The Inadequacies of Current Dorm Social Refund Policy

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Every person in a dorm or house pays social dues at the beginning of the year, and the dorm uses that money to plan and execute events for the dorm community. The dorm is supposed to use all of that money, and many dorms do. But in some cases, for whatever reason, a dorm does not use all of its social money. For example, I ran into a bunch of people this week who casually told me that their dorm still had 10,000 dollars.

Common sense would dictate that unused money would go back to dorm members; as it stands, though, housing policy prohibits this action.

Currently, if a dorm has leftovers, “any unused money will be funneled into a fund allowing [dorm] alumni to plan reunion parties.” The dorm is not allowed to refund money, nor is it allowed to use it for any other purpose than future reunion-type social events. I can see this being well-intentioned: housing wants to encourage dorms to use their social dues for social events, and if there is the possibility of refunding money or donating it elsewhere, dorm staff might feel pressured to not plan events.

The problem is that the system fails in reality. Dorms like the one above with huge surpluses are never going to use that much money for dorm reunions, if they even occur. As a result, these dorms have thousands of dollars at the end of the year and very few days to either spend it or essentially lose it. So they do what most people would do: they spend it in any way they can, which usually means going out to dinner with a small group of people from the dorm at the most expensive restaurant they can find.

This is not to vilify those people who do this: they are using money that will otherwise go to waste. But I believe we all can think of many more useful ways to use this money if the policy were to allow it: namely, either refunding the money back to residents or donating it to a local charity. Since some dorms still have leftover funds even with a policy that prohibits any incentives to not spend it, it is clear that some dorms will just not use up all their money. To not have a more flexible refund policy in these cases is extremely inefficient, not to mention frustrating.

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The 3rd Annual Unabridged List of Suggested Dorm Themes

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Institutionalized punnery doesn’t get much better than Stanford’s annual dorm themes. But even the most pro-pun RAs can’t do it alone, and that’s where I step in to lend a friendly, possibly not-PC hand with my list of annual suggestions for themes for each dorm and house on campus.

This tradition started two years ago, when, as part of the student sketch comedy troupe, The Robber Barons, I spearheaded the creation of a list of fake dorm themes. That list is available here (on page 2), and that got such a positive response that I did it again last year here on TUSB.

Welcome to version 3! Special thanks to fellow blogger and Robber Baron Carlo for helping out with this year’s list. I will be graduating this year, and thus not doing this again, but hopefully Carlo as well as some others can come together to keep doing this crucial, crucial public service for the Stanford campus. Without further ado, the list of what I suggest should be the themes of Stanford residences next year:

Stern, home of Academy Award Winning-Dorms

All parties in Serra will end in a Bollywood dance number.

-THE LARKING’S SPEECH
-MILLION DONNER BABY
-BURROKEBANK MOUNTAIN
-TITWAINIC
-ON THE ZAPATERFRONT
-SLUMDOG MILLIONSERRA

Wilbur

-OTER AND SPACE MUSEUM
-SOTO AND GOMORRAH
-CEDRIAN BRODY
-JRO MAGUIRE
-ARROYO LA TENGO
-TRANCOS (0) = 1
-HOSNI MUBARINC
-MUAMMAR OKADAFFI (Manages to make MubaRinc look like a nice guy)

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“How to tell your parents Lots of Boys will see you Naked” or “Stanford Theme Houses”

Thursday, August 5th, 2010
Hammarskjold

Hammarskjold: Did you know it is the International Co-op?

Stanford students are obsessed with themes. Every year, freshmen arrive on campus at the steps of “Larkindergarten,” “Serra Palin,” or “FroSoCommunication,” eager to meet their new housemates. It’s so much more exciting to arrive at an otherwise theme-less freshmen dorm, thanks to a clever pun that has instant personality. (“Hakuna Zapata” is clearly cooler than plain “Zapata.”) RA’s spend three weeks of RA training before school learning necessary First Aid, mental health support skills and, of course, bonding with the other staff. The main way that’s accomplished? Theme. Brainstorming. When the rest of the student body gets to campus on move-in day, RA’s are judged to see if they’ve lived up to the challenge: will Slav staff outdo “Slavocado?” Can they do better than “X Mars the Spot” or “Notorious Z.A.P.?”

Some theme row houses and dorms, like the Community Service theme dorm in Branner or Italian theme house La Casa Italiana, make community building that much easier. Who doesn’t like cooking breakfast for underserved Palo Alto residents or eating homemade pizza with friends? Stanford students also like house themes, both formal or informal, because it’s another reason to drink in the name of community, like Wine and Cheese on Wednesdays at “the snobby co-op” Kairos (that’s not really snobby), vodka shots during a screening of Anna Karenina at Slavic-themed Slavianskii Dom, or Wine Tasting Class at French-themed La Maison Francaise. Non-themed Xanadu house residents drink, well, everything, because…it’s Kappa house?

Perhaps most importantly, house themes are also an excuse for Stanford students to act like crazy college kids in the name of house unity. Vegetarian co-op Synergy house and “Social Change Through Non-Violent Action” Columbae house residents get naked and paint each other like their hippie forefathers (and foremothers!), Durand residents host the yearly “Durandom Hookup” party, and 680 throws Exotic Erotic because when you live on frat hill you have to throw down like a frat. My house next year, non-themed co-op Chi Theta Chi, starts the year off with a residents-only “Special Party” that’s so special I can’t even tell you about it. And yes, we take communal showers.

But truth be told, as much as Stanford students like to consider ourselves clever, outrageous, or revolutionary for embracing theme dorm culture, the houses profiled in this NYTimes.com slide show show us the true meaning of a theme dorm. Civil-War-Reenactment House anyone?

TUSGraph: HOW?sing

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

This year, Stanford Housing found a new way to screw up the draw!  They forgot that staff members in row houses get singles, so they overbooked the singles in almost every row house.  The result is mayhem in most of the row houses that will result in either staff members losing their singles (which would be absurd – staff members should quit if they try and force this to happen) or people who got premium rooms in a row house getting doubles or moving to a different house.  It’s just a terrible situation in general, and every year I’m amazed at how housing finds a new way to blow it.

TUSB Polls: The Draw 2010

Monday, May 24th, 2010

If you’re a Stanford undergrad, you probably just went through a fairly harrowing weekend full of drawma, and like all good drawma, everyone wants to hear about it. You can even simultaneously try out our newest feature: polls!

So let us know how the draw went for you this year. For all of you who didn’t get interviewed by the Daily for their article and want to rave, rant, review, and ramble about your draw results, feel free to do the easiest interview possible via the comments button.

How did you do in this year's housing draw?

  • Awesome! (50%, 39 Votes)
  • Good enough. Not my first pick, but I'm satisfied. (28%, 22 Votes)
  • I got screwed. (22%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 78

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So Many Deadlines, So Little Time

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

If you are like me, Spring Quarter is not just a time of sunshine and frolicking…it’s also a time of brief bursts of panic (or long bursts depending on my mood, level of hunger, and/or the seriousness of the issue) as I realize that I’m moments away from missing one deadline or another.  So to help spare you from some of the anxiety – or at least prepare you for it – here is a heads up on what is going down deadline-wise over the next few weeks:

Thursday, April 15: Deadline to file tax returns (you are most likely too late to mail it in, but e-filing is always an option)

Friday, April 16: Deadline to apply for disability housing for 2010-2011 Draw

Sunday, April 18 (11:59 pm): Deadline to apply first round for Overseas Study for Winter 2010-2011 or for Kyoto Program Spring 2010-2011

Thursday, April 22: Deadline to apply for pre-assignment for 2010-2011 Draw (that includes theme houses, focus houses, and Co-ops)

Sunday, May 9 (6:00 pm): Deadline to apply for regular housing Draw for 2010-2011

*This is just a preliminary list of deadlines I happen to think are particularly relevant.  Feel free to add other important dates in the comments section!

TUSGraph: Abs or Labs?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

A little explanation-

The distances represent how the bike rides, not how the crow flies.

I measured using a ruler, but tried to take curves and shortcuts into account.

I measured to the nearest 1/48th of a mile.

I am sorry if your residence or favorite place on campus didn’t show up, but I had to be economical about it.

The Draw and Such

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

13

I guess I’ve just been really lucky with the Draw. My sophomore year I drew 340 and went to Suites with 3 other guys. One guy really wanted to live in Suites and so the rest of us went with him, though we could have gotten in somewhere on the Row. It was a lot of fun though.
Then last year, my roomate and I drew 2700 but we got Priority at Potter so we ended up with a two-room double. Nice for unpreferred.
Now we’ve got two more guys and we can choose from any non-frat place on campus. Pretty awesome. We’re thinking either Bob, 680, Xanadu or Jerry. The other guys in the draw group either are sure they want to live in Narjana or don’t care as long as its on the Row.
Ahhh, having no draw worries is good….