Crothers global theme dorm grows

The 2012-13 school year marks the third year of the Global Citizenship theme of Crothers Memorial Hall, a program that has grown sizably in its short lifespan.

The theme originally only took up three-quarters of the first floor. Now the program’s core takes up the first and second floors with 65 pre-assigned upperclassmen, four academic theme associates (ATAs) and the Crothers resident fellows, Stephen Stedman ’79 M.A. ’85 Ph.D. ’88 and Corinne Thomas.

(Courtesy of Corinne Thomas)

The Global Citizenship theme was commissioned by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and prepared by Stedman and Thomas in time for the theme’s first year in 2010. Approval by the Faculty Senate ensured it would be a permanent fixture in Crothers Memorial Hall.

For Stedman and Thomas, the program’s involvement of upperclassman drew them back after serving for six years as the resident fellows in freshman dorm Larkin and six years living off campus in Mountain View.

“We wanted the opportunity to do this with upperclassman students, who were going to be more academically focused,” Stedman said. “And the fact that they wanted to do this dorm with an international theme – we thought it would be a lot of fun.”

“My favorite thing about Stanford is the late night conversations we always have – especially the intellectual ones,” said Cyrus Pinto ’13, the head ATA for the Global Citizenship theme and a participant in last year’s theme.

“What drew me to the theme was being able to have those types of conversations all the time and being in an ecosystem that even goes a step beyond and promotes those conversations,” he added.

On Sept. 30, the students of the Global Citizenship theme attended a retreat at which they shared their ideas on how the year should proceed and what programs they would like to create.

“There are four ATAs; we have a vision of what we’d like to see,” Pinto said. “But we wanted to get feedback from the students in the theme, because at the end of the day we want to tailor it to their needs.”

While this autumn’s programming has been set for the most part, Stedman noted that he was looking forward to a year of some exciting new ideas.

One concept was a more intensive version of Stanford’s Three Books program, in which theme residents would be offered optional reading assignments that, when completed, would allow them to participate in an intimate discussion with the authors.

The Global Citizenship theme dorm is known for hosting a broad variety of speakers in the Crothers Memorial lounge, holding Sunday teas for theme residents and maintaining a number of Crothers Fellowships with notable faculty members.

In addition to the programming arranged by resident fellows, students in the past have taught individually designed seminars and hosted their own speakers.

Some of the most notable faculty who have participated as Crothers fellows include David Abernethy, professor emeritus of political science and Jasmina Bojic, a lecturer in international relations and director of the Camera As Witness program.

The Global Citizenship theme also hosted anti-genocide activist John Prendergast for an extended period of time. In November 2010, actor and activist George Clooney joined Prendergast to speak to students about genocide in Sudan.

In addition to academic programming, the Global Citizenship theme became the first themed house on campus to have its own fellowship.

Crothers’ Dalai Lama Fellowship sponsors one student each year with $10,000 to spend a summer anywhere in the world, working on a project to uphold the goals of “cross-cultural understanding, fighting inequality, diminishing violence or promoting environmental sustainability.”

“The theme residents are really diverse,” Ritika Prasad ’15, a resident of the Crothers Memorial Global Citizenship theme this year said.

“I came to Stanford wanting to meet people who were interested in the world beyond the confines of an academic institution and the Global Citizenship theme has, for me, been just that.”