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Update on student initiatives

Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole shares information on initiatives and opportunities for students.

Hello students!

With winter quarter coming to an end, and as juniors and seniors prepare to return to campus this spring, I am writing to you today with a collection of updates on a number of projects we have been working on with many of you to meet our commitment to advancing our most important work.

Before I begin, I want to send a great big thanks to everyone who contributed to these efforts by serving on working groups, focus groups and in other leadership roles. I hope everyone will stay involved, and more of you will join us as we look forward to fall quarter. Watch your email for more information.

Now, here are our updates:

Equity and inclusion

  • Increased dialogue over the past few days about accessibility has underscored the importance of looking at the totality of our disability programs and re-envisioning what the next era of disability access at Stanford should encompass. Work will begin this spring with a study group, which will research and analyze best practices for disability access at academic institutions. These efforts will inform a new task force that will launch in the fall.
  • Stanford has received substantial gifts from alumni in support of the Asian American Activities Center, Black Community Services Center and Ujamaa House. These gifts will endow the directorship at A3C and the resident fellow position at Ujamaa, and provide programmatic funding for the Black Community Services Center.
  • In this comprehensive update on the university’s racial justice initiatives, Provost Drell announced that a subcommittee will work on details for the departmentalization of African and African-American Studies.
  • Seven working groups that include student leaders have been examining many aspects of Greek life at Stanford, including diversity, equity and inclusion. At the same time, I am following developments in the Abolish Greek effort and ASSU initiatives, and looking for opportunities to align our goals and opportunities for positive change.

Community and belonging

  • The work of ResX continues for 2021-22! We will keep you updated via email, the ResX website and Stanford Today. Here are highlights.
    • Student Affairs, Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) and our student and alumni advisory groups are working together to define neighborhoods, create the new assignments process, and map a timeline for staff selection, neighborhood assignments and house assignments. An RF advisory group is coming soon.
    • Student Affairs and R&DE are seeking your insight into enhancing the student dining program, including the Row and Suites. You can learn much more about this project here. Office hours on the topic are planned for 3-4 p.m. March 17. Please email Associate Dean for Residential Education Cole Shiflett ( for the Zoom link.
  • Students and staff have been working together to develop a process to assess and support student needs, in response to student advocacy for resources, funding, and staffing for community-building endeavors. We’re currently working on a pilot program for disability empowerment while refining the proposal process. We should have more news to share on the process and pilot this fall.
  • CardinalEngage, an online campus engagement platform coming in spring 2021, will provide a new way for students to connect with student organizations. In addition, CardinalEngage will help student leaders manage their organization, and engage with the Stanford community. We’re excited to be able to strengthen the connection between student organizations, their advisors, departments, and the Stanford community.
  • For everyone living on campus this spring, we are carefully tracking updates to the county’s COVID public health orders and will be adjusting our gatherings guidance accordingly. The hope is we will be able to offer more opportunities to you to see your friends as the quarter progresses, including some great possibilities from The Social Project. Stay tuned!

Mental health and well-being

  • New gifts from alumni are funding four new well-being coaches, services for students struggling with alcohol and other drug use, research to measure the effectiveness of interventions that focus on mental health and well-being, and a health communications specialist.
  • Our new health communications specialist is collaborating with the ASSU on several projects including an online mental health and well-being resources toolkit, with the goal of making it as easy as possible for you to identify appropriate support for yourself and your friends.
  • We also collaborated with the ASSU to develop a new option for transporting students experiencing a mental health emergency from campus to a hospital. The Department of Public Safety initiated a collaboration with the Palo Alto Fire Department to provide transportation by ambulance whenever it is safe to do so. DPS will still be present to provide safety support for everyone involved.
  • The Community Board on Public Safety convened by President Tessier-Lavigne is engaging in a comprehensive review of the university’s response to public safety issues including the resources needed for responding to mental health needs.
  • The university supports and is strongly advocating for Congress to pass the TREAT Act, which could facilitate providing mental health care across state lines. We will continue to work with a broad coalition of peer institutions and national associations to encourage Congress to act on this important legislation. Most recently, Dr. Megan Mahoney of Stanford Health Care testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in support of lessening barriers to telehealth, including the TREAT Act. Regardless of location, students can call CAPS to consult on their needs, and for 24/7 urgent support, at 650-723-3785.

Integrative learning

  • Have you found an opportunity or internship that needs funding? Great news! The BEAM Fellows Stipend allows students who secure a qualifying spring or summer unpaid internship, externship or project to apply for up to $5,500. Here’s where you can learn more.
  • We also have great news for graduating seniors! BEAM will soon launch Stanford PlusFive, a program supporting alumni during their first five years out, including career coaching and virtual resources. More information is coming soon.
  • We would like to send a huge thanks to students helping us think through the evolving needs of voluntary student organizations, focusing on non-student participants and the distribution of financial resources. I am confident we are on the road to creating an excellent platform for our student organizations to flourish. We are launching two implementation teams. Here’s where you can get involved.

House in order

  • The university is consolidating news and information about the Stanford community on a news website named Stanford Today. We will continue to send you email alerts about significant news but are no longer publishing a weekly Re-Approaching Stanford newsletter.
  • You may notice changes to the Student Affairs websites. We are migrating to Drupal 9 and updating things along the way to help you to find the information you need.

Special events

Students have done an absolutely amazing job collaborating on virtual events! It’s been wonderful to see all the invitations and activities online. Here are highlights:

  • The Sophomore Class Cabinet and Black Student Union teamed up to create Black Voices of Stanford, a virtual gallery. From sculpture to visual media, musical performances to poetry, this gallery celebrates some of the magnificent Black creators of Stanford University. Check it out here.
  • Mark your calendars for the virtual 2021 Gender, Equity, and Justice Summit, tentatively set for April 29-30 and the 50th Annual Stanford Powwow set for Mother’s Day Weekend, May 7-9. More information is coming soon from the Women’s Community Center and Native American Cultural Center.
  • If you are looking for employment, internships, and summer jobs, participate in BEAM Career Education’s 2021 Spring Career Fair, planned for 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., April 20. Also, you can join students from other campuses such as Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Pittsburgh for a new collaborative career fair. The Just-in-time Career Fair will be held 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. April 7. Information and registration information is available on Handshake.

We want to hear from you!

We say this often and we most certainly mean it: we love hearing from you! Your thoughts guide our work. Reach us here with your general suggestions, comments and concerns about this unique year. If you have a personal question, please submit a ServiceNow ticket.


Susie Brubaker-Cole
Vice Provost for Student Affairs