By Angie Lee
East Campus or West Campus? Which side is better? This is a long-contested debate on Stanford’s campus. As a freshman, I lived on West Campus, and now, as a sophomore, I live on East Campus. So, if I may say so myself, I believe I have the knowledge and credibility to give a proper assessment of this topic. So without further ado, let me enlighten you on some of the pros of living on both East and West Campus – at least in my opinion.
Points for East Campus:
1. More vibrant, lively vibe
As an incoming frosh, I will admit it: I was devastated to be informed that I would be living in a four-class dorm. Not only that, but a four-class dorm on West Campus. From the abundant YouTube videos, blog posts, pamphlets and Quora conversations about Stanford I’d devoured before coming here, I knew that most of the frosh dorms were densely congregated on East Campus, so I was afraid of not being able to meet a large variety of freshmen. This is partially true. While I ended up loving living on West Campus, as I’ll explain shortly, I feel as if I mainly bonded with the 60 freshmen that were in my four-class dorm. While I did have friends from clubs and classes on East Campus, venturing over to visit them seemed like too much effort after a long day of classes. Now, living on East Campus, I’ve noticed there are simply more people – more people that I can meet and more people nearby that I can visit. This makes the “vibe” of East Campus livelier.
2. Bigger variety of dining hall options
On West Campus, the only dining hall option is Lakeside. Well, there’s Ricker – but that’s so far west that most people aren’t even sure if it counts as being on campus. Living on East Campus has made my stomach a lot happier, not necessarily because the quality of food is better, but because there are more choices of food. Want a burrito bowl? Head on over to Stern. Craving Asian food, whether it’s “real” or not? Visit Wilbur for a meal. Need a good location to have a quick meal before heading back to class? Stop by Arrillaga. Oh, and about what I said earlier regarding better quality of food, I lied. Casper and Branner have better quality of food, objectively.
Points for West Campus:
1. Better location
This point may be highly controversial, but I am convinced that West Campus is better in terms of getting places easily on campus. East Campus residents complain that West Campus is so far from everything, but from where I lived in Lagunita Court, it was extremely convenient to get to Tresidder, the Main Quad, the Engineering Quad and even the Row. Plus, living on West Campus means you are close to places like Windhover, the educational farm and Stanford Shopping Center – cool places to explore when you have some free time. From the East Campus residences, you have to first go down Escondido Road for a good length of time and pass Meyer Green before you can really get anywhere.
2. Less crowded
While I do love the vibrant nature of East Campus and the ability to meet many friends, old and new, I have had and witnessed more close calls for biking accidents in my three weeks of living on East Campus than I did in the entirety of last year. Perhaps this is due to the fact it was freshman year, but I also feel that last year, on West Campus, there was more of a close-knit community amongst residents – not just within the dorm, but within the whole west side of campus. Since we all shared one dining hall, I would see friendly faces from various West Campus dorms while having a meal, or while walking down Santa Teresa Street.
Perhaps I have been brainwashed as my dorm last year ingrained chants such as “West Side, Best Side” and “West Lag, Best Lag” into my head, but so far, I am still partial towards the west side as the better half of campus. But who knows, maybe after a year of living on East Campus I won’t want to leave. Either way, if you have the chance, I think it is worth experiencing both sides of campus during your years at Stanford. It’s a whole new world on the other side.