Social Life Accelerator FAQ
Find answers to frequently asked questions.
What is the impetus behind this committee?
There was feedback from students, alumni, faculty and staff regarding the state of social life and campus-- and a belief that we needed to do something about it. The Vice Provost for Student Affairs is the executive sponsor of the task force -- although we have engagement from all aspects of the University.
Could you please share the charge of your group?
The summary of the charge and guiding questions can be found here. The group was charged by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, the Associate Vice Provost for Campus Engagement, and the Associate Vice Provost for Inclusion, Belonging, and Integrative Learning.
The group came about as a result of direct feedback from students, faculty, alumni and staff about the state of social life on campus.
What is the process your group is taking to address the charge?
We are gathering campus data, research, talking to students, faculty, and staff.
How are undergraduate students involved in this process?
The Task Force is made up of 30+ alumni, undergraduate students, parents, and staff. In addition, the task force continues to reach out to students and student leaders for feedback and input in the process. Members of the ASSU and a diverse array of student groups are directly involved.
What factors are driving the shift in social life?
This is one of the questions we are trying to figure out. We know that the pandemic has had a significant impact on students and on campus life – however we know that it's not the only contributor (for starters, we understand this trend started pre-pandemic). We are looking at campus data and talking to alumni and students to better understand what factors are driving this change.
Have you read the Palladium article? What is your response to it?
Yes! We’ve spoken with the author who offered thoughtful feedback for our efforts.
What measurables will be chosen and monitored to determine your success?
We are currently looking at current institutional data and research from Stanford’s faculty to better understand the current campus culture and where we can have the greatest impact. We plan to include recommendations for metrics when we submit our recommendations to the university.
Are you studying other college social scenes by way of comparison and learning? Are other universities having similar challenges?
We are absolutely looking to other colleges to learn.
Where does Greek Life fit in?
Greek life has an important role in social life on campus. The university continues to be supportive of Greek life on campus, including sustaining its commitment to 10 houses dedicated to Fraternities and Sororities. The Task Force includes Greek alums and is looking at the role Greek Life currently plays in social life and any recommendations for how it could continue to positively contribute to social life on campus. Outreach to Greek students and alums is ongoing.
What theme houses are still in place with the neighborhood model?
Theme houses continue in the neighborhood model and are open to all students, regardless of your neighborhoods. Longstanding themes like our Ethnic Theme Dorms and Coops continue, with new themes emerging like Explore Energy and the Well House. You can see all of the active theme dorms on this website.
Row theme houses have historically been a place for social life on campus. Have they been removed?
There are currently 18 theme houses on the row including 7 coops, 10 fraternity and sorority houses, and 1 academic theme house.
- Neighborhood Theme Houses: Each neighborhood can create neighborhood theme houses, under the direction of the neighborhood’s community council. These theme houses can be changed annually and are only open to the residents of the neighborhood. Neighborhood theme houses can be the Row houses affiliated with the neighborhood and/or the RF houses affiliated with the neighborhood. These houses will be assigned through the neighborhood assignment process.
- University Theme Houses: All students, faculty, and staff are given the opportunity to apply to start or continue a theme house through the Committee on Residential Learning (CoRL). In the University Theme House - Academic (UTH-A) application process, the Undergraduate Residences Governance Council (URGC) made the determination that all UTH-As needed to be placed in a location with a Resident Fellow to ensure an on-going connection to the academic unit.
How has the alcohol policy impacted social life on campus?
This is a very important topic. As such, during the 2021-2022 academic year, the university engaged off-campus experts to conduct an external review of the university’s approaches to student alcohol and drug misuse. We want to draw on all available expertise as we strengthen our approach to this public health concern. We hope to learn more about where we are being effective, where we need to change, and what we need to start anew.
What are the expectations for RAs in building community & social life?
RAs continue to be a cornerstone of the Stanford undergraduate experience. They are critical in creating social life in the dorms and row houses – and we will review the current experience with that in mind.