A student-initiated outdoors-themed house is scheduled to open in Suites next fall and will provide undergraduates with a wider variety of housing options this spring.
The outdoors house will house 65 upperclassmen via tier three pre-assignment or the Housing Draw in four-to-six-person co-ed suites partitioned to operate like a house. Students will have their own rooms in addition to a common room for each suite. The house will also have its own dining society.
Most house programming will be informal, ranging from hiking to surfing at the beach — the student committee pushing the Outdoor House through Residential Education explained students need not be experienced in outdoor activities to pre-assign to the house.
“We want it to be a place where people feel like they’re welcome to just come on adventures or hang out and grab a meal,” committee member Skye Mooney ’17 said.
The outdoors house was the brainchild of Zach Chase ’16 and Natasha Berk ’16. Chase and Berk came up with the idea for the house during a car ride back from a trip to Lake Tahoe with the Stanford Alpine Ski & Snowboard Team.
“Once we dropped people off all over campus, we wouldn’t continue to hang out in the same way,” Berk said. “Existing communities are somewhat separate from one another, and we’re hoping to bridge gaps between communities to bring different people closer together.”
Berk, who has lived in traditional dorms, in co-ops and off main campus, said she hopes a broad theme like the outdoors will attract students from communities all over campus with a range of outdoors experience.
Grant Glazer ’17, a member of the student house committee, had never been backpacking before coming to Stanford. Today, he is a Stanford Pre-Orientation Trip (SPOT) premise educator who trains other SPOT leaders in preparation for the summer backpacking trip.
“You don’t have to be the first in activities like skiing and surfing,” Glazer said about getting involved in the outdoors house. “What matters more is some sort of thirst for adventure and excitement to try new things.”
Berk and Grant talked of plans to move the house into a row house in coming years. But wherever the house moves, Grant said he hopes the growing outdoors community is here to stay.
“I think in 20 years, we’ll still be able to look back at the house and be happy we brought the outdoors into so many peoples’ lives,” Grant said.
Contact Madeleine Han at mhan95 ‘at’ stanford.edu.