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Creating a new residential experience

President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell sent the following message to undergraduate students regarding the next steps to rollout of the ResX initiative.

Dear undergraduate students:

We’re eagerly awaiting the day when it’s safe to gather together on campus once again. The pandemic has taught us so much about our need for human connection and the value of working and learning side-by-side. As we look ahead to Stanford’s post-COVID future, we’ve been thinking about how best to rebuild our campus community and reconnect with one another.

To that end, we’re pleased to share that Stanford is taking the next steps to roll out the ResX initiative, the result of several years of effort by students, faculty, staff, and alumni to re-envision residential learning at Stanford as part of the university’s Long-Range Vision. Beginning in Fall 2021, Stanford undergraduate student housing will be organized into a series of 8–10 similarly-sized “neighborhoods,” which will each have a central gathering place with access to advising, meeting space, and dining options, as discussed in this article.

What this means for you:

  • You will be assigned to a neighborhood as your “home base” at Stanford, where you can easily stay with your friends throughout your time on campus.
  • We’re creating a new seniority-based housing assignments process; you’ll be allowed to assign in groups of up to 8 in a neighborhood.
  • We’re increasing all-frosh housing, to meet student demand and give first-years the opportunity to create rich social networks among their peers in the same year.
  • For members of the Class of 2024, we’ll offer the option for all-sophomore housing next year, so that this year’s frosh, whose shared residential experience has been compromised by the pandemic, have the same opportunity.
  • Themed housing: All students will still have the opportunity to experience multiple types of housing at Stanford, through programs like our ethnic theme dorms, coops, and housed Greek organizations.
  • Students can help plan new themed houses within their neighborhoods.
  • You’ll find more details on the ResX website.

As we make plans to bring students, faculty, and staff back to campus, we’re prioritizing belonging, well-being, and civic responsibility. Equity and inclusion will be built into the heart of residential life; community councils will be governed by the founding principle of creating racially and socially just neighborhoods. We’re also focused on developing strong foundations for healthy and vibrant student communities that promote well-being and personal growth.

Students were deeply involved in crafting the vision for this new undergraduate residential experience. The ResX Task Force met with more than 500 students, alumni, faculty, and staff for input. It considered nearly 500 long-range planning proposals related to residential life and received hundreds of pieces of additional feedback. In addition to serving on the Task Force itself, students served on implementation teams and participated in interviews, focus groups, and working groups to help refine the details of the ResX vision. Students can continue to shape the residential experience through the ResX student advisory group, focus groups, and other ongoing opportunities to provide feedback.

Our work to build community doesn’t stop with ResX. Planning for our Town Center project is also moving forward, with the goal of building community and intellectual engagement across the entire community of students, faculty, and staff. Likewise, this fall we’ll begin broader implementation of the Civic, Liberal and Global Education course requirement, also called COLLEGE. This requirement will give all first-years a shared intellectual experience and the opportunity to engage deeply with ethics and civic responsibility. There will be more to share about each of these initiatives in the coming months.

Our new neighborhoods will be your Stanford homes – they’ll be where late-night conversations turn into lifelong friendships, and where you’ll create and continue traditions that become cherished across generations of students. As we plan for the return of our community to campus, we hope you will join us in rebuilding our residential community and creating something better for this generation of Stanford students, and for those to come.

Best regards,
Marc Tessier-Lavigne & Persis Drell