This fall, we have also been implementing a dozen ideas from the Social Life Accelerator Task Force.
What were the short-term recommendations of the Social Life Accelerator Task Force?
The Social Life Accelerator Task force has been working since April of 2022 to understand the problems of social life on campus and to make short and long term recommendations to the university for how to address those challenges. The task force, made up of alumni, students, and staff, made 14 short-term recommendations for a strong start this fall. Twelve of the 14 are in the process of being implemented, and long-term recommendations are coming in winter quarter. The Task Force continues to meet with students, student leaders, alumni, staff, and parents and will keep the community updated on its progress.
The task force’s short-term recommendations and the university’s action steps are below.
Row House Social Life
- Early Finding: One of the major “event engines” on campus has been Row houses. There has been a decline in these houses planning events.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Create incentives that actively encourage all Row houses (Greek, Cooop, Theme, and Neighborhood) to host all-campus/non-exclusive or all-neighborhood events. If each house hosted one program, that would provide an additional program a week on the campus landscape.
- Action Step: Providing $3,000 grants to Row Houses to support event planning efforts.
Row House Themes
- Early Finding: With the loss of the language and culture houses on the Row, there has been a lessening of activity and character in that area.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Actively work with Neighborhood Community Councils to theme Row houses as neighborhood themes to add more life to the programming and opportunities for events.
- Action Step: The university will provide a process for neighborhoods to “theme” any of their neighborhood affiliated row houses.
Row House Names
- Quick Win Recommendation: Actively work with Neighborhood Community Councils to rename the relevant row houses from addresses to themes chosen by the students of the neighborhood.
- Action Step: ResEd will introduce a process for community councils (students/RFs/RAs/staff) to name Row Houses currently known by their addresses.
- Early Finding: Intramural sports are an underutilized resource for creating community on campus, particularly with the neighborhoods.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Recommend each neighborhood launch and actively support intramural sports programs. Recommend supporting swag for these groups via neighborhood funds.
- Action Step: ResEd is making plans for a neighborhood intramural tournament.
- Early Findings: Neighborhoods need a big launch and regular, predictable activities.
- Quick Win Recommendations: Each neighborhood should have at least one activity per-neighborhood during NSO. Neighborhoods should also have at least one activity per-neighborhood the first weekend all students are back on campus. A scavenger hunt, per neighborhood and customized to each neighborhood, could be a good activity when all students are on campus to get students exploring all the housing that forms their neighborhood and meeting fellow residents.
- Action Step: Launching each neighborhood with many welcome/welcome-back activities including NSO socials, all-class BBQs, and other signature events, all promoted and highlighted in new, bi-weekly newsletters and Instagram accounts.
- Early Findings: RAs in the 2021-2022 academic year had a varied engagement in event planning and community building.
- Quick Win Recommendations: The responsibilities of some staff member(s) - student or professional - should explicitly include helping the social life of their residences and neighborhoods.
- Action Step: ResEd hired 16 student interns to help plan and promote social life and programming for each neighborhood.
Regular, Predictable Events
- Early Finding: Students want regular, predictable events that they know they can count on.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Recommend regularly scheduled events that happen weekly that students can easily drop in on.
- Action Step: The Office of Student Engagement brought back routine weekend events including Cardinal Nights and The Arbor at Tresidder, with Thursday trivia and Friday live student performance nights.
Fun Spontaneous Space
- Early Finding: Students are looking for more spaces to be able to study and be social.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Create fun spontaneous spaces for students with games and activities readily available.
- Action Step: White Plaza and the Old Union courtyard have added colorful seating, hammocks and decor to provide new spaces for students to gather.
Late Night Space
- Early Finding: Students are asking for more spaces that they can go to that have evening hours.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Re-open late night dining, the Axe and Palm, and student union spaces.
- Action Step: Stanford re-opened late-night spots such as late-night dining, The Axe and Palm, and Student Unions.
- Early Finding: Students are eager to engage in the many traditions that mark the Stanford experience.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Ensure that campus traditions can return after a break during the pandemic.
- Action Step: Stanford has actively worked to bring back traditions this fall including Band Run, Mausoleum and Big Game Week activities such as Gaieties and the Big Game Rally. The university will continue to work with students to revive the historic traditions they would like to bring back, and to build new traditions driven by the student community.
- Early Finding: NSO forms a critical foundation for how students engage with their Stanford experience.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Re-launch robust NSO program that returns to pre-pandemic experience including Band Run, Dorm Discussions, etc.
- Action Step: NSO programming returned to the pre-pandemic experience with additional events for students to connect with frosh in their neighborhood.
- Early Finding: The current campus landscape lacks premier entertainment options.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Bring a collection of big name comedians and/or bands to campus. Recommend 2-3 a year.
- Action Step: Working on this!
- Early Finding: Students are eager to explore the Bay Area and need more opportunities to do so.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Create multiple opportunities for students to go off campus together.
- Action Step: Created an Explore the Bay event series open to all students and featuring day trips to many landmarks including theme parks, movie theaters (movie premiere release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), and professional sports venues (San Jose Sharks game).
Campus Drive Row Party
- Early Finding: Farm Days is a key signature event that students really enjoyed. Campus would benefit from building on this success.
- Quick Win Recommendation: Continue to host events like this on the Row and explore opportunities for how to do it with greater frequency and ease.
- Action Step: Farm Fest occurred in White Plaza in the fall quarter. Working on finding opportunities for more events on the Row!