An update on social life on the Farm from Student Affairs’ Samuel Santos Jr.
Dear Stanford undergraduate parents,
I hope you, and your students here at Stanford, are doing well this fall. Here on the Farm it’s a busy time of many activities, and the height of many students’ academic work for the quarter, with the promise of a restful and restorative winter break not far off.
I’m writing to share some updates about student life, and the ways we are working to support an engaging and fun experience on campus. I wrote to students about these same issues earlier today, and you can read that letter here.
A vibrant social life is an important part of the Stanford experience. Belonging and meaningful connection with others are essential to the wellbeing of college students. And, in an academic environment as rigorous as Stanford’s, we know it’s also critical for students to be able to step away and just have fun. Stanford’s spirit of exuberance and irreverence is one part of why many students choose to come here.
However, we’ve heard concerns from students who feel the social experience on campus isn’t meeting their hopes and expectations. We take this seriously and want to make progress on it.
As we have been coming out of the pandemic and returning to our fully in-person residential experience on campus, we’ve been working with students to rebuild social opportunities.
This fall there have been socials, barbecues and special dinners based in the residences; student-organized parties; the restoration of Stanford traditions like Band Run and Mausoleum; social events in The Arbor gathering space on the back patio of Tresidder; the Cardinal Nights program of alcohol-free events; and intramural sports as well as opportunities for students to cheer on our varsity Cardinal teams.
This week is Big Game Week, which features the popular live performance of the student-written comedy Gaieties, our annual Big Game rally on campus, and competitions with Cal in several sports culminating in Big Game on Saturday.
But we’re planning to do more.
We’re asking for your students’ input. We know that different students seek different kinds of social opportunities, reflecting the diversity of interests and identities in our community. We’ve provided a web form for students to provide ideas on social opportunities they’d like to see at Stanford. I’m also inviting students to meet with me individually or in small groups to share their experiences and suggestions.
We’ve also had a Social Life Accelerator Task Force, made up of students, staff and alumni, examining opportunities for enhancing social life. This fall we’ve already implemented a dozen short-term ideas from the task force, and we’re awaiting some longer-term recommendations from the group now. I also launched a Greek Alumni Advisory Council this quarter to help gather alumni input on this and other issues impacting our student Greek letter organizations.
We’re also working to improve campus processes around social life. This includes streamlining the party planning process for students, looking at additional funding and space possibilities for student social events, and examining how to improve the flow of information to students about the social opportunities available to them, among other things.
We want to continue to support students in creating social opportunities that are safe, inclusive, and truly fun in the best traditions of Stanford. We will share more in winter quarter as we work through these efforts and gather more input. In the meantime, more information about these issues can be found in this FAQ on our website.
Samuel Santos Jr.
Associate Vice Provost
Inclusion, Community and Integrative Learning