Ch 3—Housing

Housing & Residential Life

Since most students live on campus, Stanford has developed many diverse housing options in the hopes that everyone will be able to find a home at this university. From the freshman year roommate experience to awesome row house parties or close knit co-op communities, the residential experience at Stanford will shape you as much as you will shape it.

Now, assuring that everyone gets their desired housing options is easier said than done. We use something called the Draw, which ultimately places your residential fate in the hands of a sophisticated algorithm. The probability game has been known to bite, but there are also ways to beat the draw (on the next page). The best you can do is gather the necessary information and cross your fingers. At the end of the day, you’ll get as much out of housing as you put in…or you can just claim a spot on the floor with a friend who fared better.


East Campus

Branner Hall
  • Upperclass
  • Public Service themed
  • Known for being spacious with high ceilings and having sinks in the rooms


Crothers Hall
  • Upperclass with two dorms within the complex Crothers and Crothers Memorial (CroMem)
  • Close to central campus and Arrillaga Dining
  • Global Citizenship themed
Manzanita Park
  • Upperclass dorm with four residence halls: Kimball, the Humanities house, Castaño, and Lantana
  • Used to be a trailer park; now very swanky and new
  • Kimball is arts themed, and the Humanities house is… humanities themed
Lucie Stern Hall (Stern)
  • Houses five all freshman residences: Donner, Larkin, Serra, Twain and Burbank (Burbank has an art focus program called ITALIC) as well as Casa Zapata which has a Chicano/Latino cross-cultural theme program
  • Easily identifiable by its burnt red buildings
  • Stern Dining, located at the center of Stern Hall has a daily burrito bar
Toyon Hall
  • The only all sophomore dorm on campus
  • Historic architecture with two bell towers, a beautiful courtyard, a great hall and spacious rooms with sinks
  • Close to Arrillaga Dining
Wilbur Hall
  • Houses seven all freshman dorms: Arroyo, Cedro, Junipero, Otero, Rinconada, Soto, and Trancos and Okada, a four-class dorm with an Asian American cross-cultural theme
  • Wilbur dining has a Vietnamese and Asian grill and the best Sunday brunch on campus
Edith Mirrielees House (Mirrielees)
  • Two- and three-bedroom apartments
  • Great for the summer because you don’t need a meal plan
  • Only non-sorority house in the Cowell Cluster other than Terra
  • Two room doubles


Chi Theta Chi (XOX, Theta Chi)
  • Known as one of the weirder, exclusive communities on campus
  • They have a great roof and host some great backyard parties
Hammarskjold (Hamm)
  • Is an international themed co-op, located on Alvarado Row
  • Actual international students are encouraged to live here, but students just looking to experience an international vibe are welcome too


  • Is Stanford’s unofficial LGBT themed house
  • Is located in the Cowell cluster and hosts a lively happy hour most Friday afternoons.
Residence Halls

Residence halls or Dorms house the majority of the undergrad population, including incoming freshmen. Living in a dorm can be very important in helping new students develop their social groups, as well as providing a high level of academic and emotional support for residents. However, the dorm experience can lack the intimacy, independence, and close community offered by smaller houses. Living in a residence hall is great for a year or maybe two, but is probably not something to do for your entire time at Stanford.

Apartment-Style Living

Instead of dining halls, common spaces and communal bathrooms, apartments have their own bathrooms, living rooms and (except for Suites) kitchens. This living arrangement is obviously much more secluded, and if you have a small group of best friends who always hang out together, apartments sound perfect for you. A general rule of thumb is to avoid trying to draw into an apartment unless you have a draw group that can fill it.


A self-op is usually equipped with a kitchen, living room, etc that make the space feel more like a house and less like residence hall. The name self-op comes from the fact that a staff made up of students runs the house, typically hiring a cook and a janitor and doing the rest of the work themselves. Self-op houses tend to foster intimate communities that remain consistent from year to year, due in part to their small size but also to the fact that each staff appoints the next year’s staff.


Cooperative living is a vastly different experience from the more institutionalized lifestyle of self-ops and dorms. Co-op residents are held responsible for the cleaning and upkeep of their house, as well as cooking and planning events. This not only gives students some essential life skills that aren’t taught in class, but it also saves them around $2500 each year. Co-ops typically draw a much more alternative crowd than most houses.


Central Campus

Florence Moore Hall (Flomo)

  • Four class; Comprised of 7 dorms, each dorm is named after a Spanish bird: Alondra (lark), Cardenal (cardinal), Faisan (pheasant), Gavilan (hawk), Loro (parrot), Mirlo (robin), and Paloma (pigeon)
  • Flomo’s dining hall known for serving tasty Indian food every Sunday night

  • Is typically a bit cleaner, more organized, and less crazy than the other co-ops
  • There are frequent chillout sessions in the house’s many common spaces, plus the Wednesday night wine and cheese parties are fun, classy events

  • Is the Native American theme house
  • Great location; is literally steps away from White Plaza
  • As a community it is quiet and doesn’t have a strong presence on the row, but residents are tightly bonded and hang out together

  • Vegetarian-friendly, consensus run Co-op
  • They switch rooms every quarter, have a large community garden, a theme of social change through nonviolence, and frequent nudity

  • Grove and Phi Sig often share events due to their close proximity and small size
  • Social scene is known to vary year to year

  • Prime location on the row and has the public perception that it has a really good social scene.
  • The house was just renovated a few years ago

  • Is the Human Biology themed house with events and classes for students who are assigned to live there
  • Prime location on the lower Row

  • Small, lower row house without a distinct identity
  • People typically draw into Mars for the location and not the community

  • Farthest lake house from central campus
  • The interior space is made up of two-room doubles clustered around central pods

  • Further down the row, and doesn’t have a widely known reputation as it changes from year to year
  • Known for having a great chef

  • A popular lake house, Jerry is now named after a deceased cook who was beloved to the house
  • Has an amazing two-story back deck overlooking the lake

  • Is run by consensus, is 100% vegetarian and has a trampoline in its yard
  • hosts excellent Halloween and Valentine’s Day parties, as well as the Beltane festival every spring.
Phi Sig

  • Smallest house on the row with just 26 residents
  • Bar nights are a great way to experience the community
La Casa Italiana (Casa)

  • Is the Italian theme house on the lower row
  • has an active social scene with a tightly-bonded community
717 Dolores St.

  • Farthest-away house on the upper row
  • Known for great food

  • Only all female upperclass residence
  • Typically home to unhoused sororities

  • Prime location on the lower row
  • Reputation for having an involved social scene
680 Lomita Dr.

  • Has a prime location near frat houses, but also its own cool community
  • 680 hosts several parties over the course of the school year, the biggest being the naked and famous Exotic Erotic party
La Maison Francaise (French House)

  • Enjoys a good social scene and residents take pride in living here
  • Hosts a semi-weekly cafe night, along with some more French-oriented events
Slavianskii Dom (Slav)

  • Is the Slavic and East European theme house
  • Hosts occasional parties including the annual People’s Party
  • The house is very old and quirky; it has two disconnected third floors!
Enchanted Broccoli Forest (EBF)

  • One of the most tight-knit communities on campus
  • Wednesday night happy hours are the great way for outsiders to the community to enjoy the house


West Campus

Yost, Murray, and EAST

  • Three houses are located in Governor’s Corner; are the only self-op houses not technically considered part of the row
  • EAST has an education and society theme, Yost has a Spanish language theme, and Murray has a comparative studies in race and society focus
Roble Hall

  • Largest and oldest four class dorm on campus
  • Close to white plaza and Lake Lag
  • Has singles, doubles and quads



  • Suites house four to eight upperclassmen who eat at a centralised dining club
  • Is the best option for large draw groups, since up to eight friends can live in their own space with a common living room and bathroom, and everyone gets a single
Oak Creek Apartments

  • Off campus, apartment housing meant for students above the age of 21
  • The apartments are quite large and luxurious, plus the complex is equipped with a few swimming pools, a hot tub, sauna, workout room, three tennis courts and other amenities.
  • Has a reputation for being strict with noise levels
Sterling Quad

  • Part of Governer’s Corner ( GovCo); is made up of four houses—the Freshman-Sophomore College program (FroSoCo) in Adams and Schiff, and Potter and Robinson are upperclass dorms
  • Its associated dining hall is Ricker Dining which is probably the best dining hall on campus
  • Almost all residents live in two-room doubles
Lagunita Court (Lag)

  • Four class; made up of five houses, which have the Spanish names for various plants: Adelfa (oleander), Eucalipto (eucalyptus), Granada (pomegranate), Naranja (orange), and Ujamaa (extended family in Swahili). Ujamaa is the African-American theme house
  • The associated dining hall is Lag Dining
  • It is closest to Lake Lag


  1. Draw—University lottery for on-campus housing, in which students rank their housing preferences and are assigned a random number. Some residences, particularly houses on the row, have very low cutoff numbers. Once you get assigned a house, you will then go by specific house policies and in-house draws to figure out your room assignment.
  2. Draw Group—You can draw with a draw group of up to 7 friends (up to 8 people total) to up the chances that you and your friends will live together.
  3. Housing Tiers—There are three tiers in the housing system. Tier one can only be used once and tier three must be used at least once. Draw groups must draw in the same tier and preference is given to top tiers first.

The Best Ways to Beat the Draw

  1. Become an RA (Resident Assistant), PHE (Peer Health Educator), KM (Kitchen Manager), FM (Financial Mananger), CM (Community Manager) or RCC (computer helper).
  2. Pre-assign – Most Dorms with a focus or theme will offer an application to preassign, consisting of some essays or service hours. If you get in, you can skip the draw.
  3. Go Abroad!



There are many different opinions surrounding the Greek scene at Stanford, but nobody can deny that it brings a heavy dose of social activity to the undergrad community. Greek life may not be for everyone, but many students identify very strongly with their frat or sorority. Either way, chances are that you’ll end up at least a few frat parties during your time at Stanford.



  • Athletes, EANABS (Equally Attractive Non Athletic Brothers), green water bottles, after parties, progressives, bromance
  • Biggest Parties: Endless KA, Sunday Funday, KApes



  • General debauchery, dance cage, alumni network, lacrosse
  • Best Parties: Eurotrash, Foam Party, Luau



  • High IQs, quality alcohol, cool lights
  • Best Parties: Space Race, Thirsty Thursdays



  • RAs, themed parties, ‘nice’ guys, sweet balcony, great location
  • Best Parties: Snowchella (concert)



  • ‘Southern’ fratty-ness, own their own house, Christmas Caroling, hardcore pledging
  • Best Parties: Let’s Get Physical, Highlighter Party, Cowabunga



  • Chillers, friendly, less fratty
  • No recurring parties, but they’re all fun!



  • Better known as Tridelt, this sorority is home to a group of strong, diverse, free thinking and independent women
  • They support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with events like flipping pancakes on The Row to holding brunches in their house



  • Members of Kappa Alpha Theta share values of leadership, service, and lifelong sisterhood. You can spot Thetas by the tinsel in their hair.
  • Theta’s big philanthropy event is Thetabreakers, a 5K/10K walk/run to raise money for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)



  • Stanford Pi Phi is a community of supportive, unique, involved, passion-ate and fun women.
  • Pi phi’s philanthropy is First Book which is dedicated to providing access to books for children in need. Their events include Pie-a-Pi-Phi and the Pi Phi Pacific Dinner.


Unhoused Fraternities:

Alpha Epsilon Pi
  • Stanford’s Jewish Fraternity, unhoused, very active on campus

  • Best Known for Jewish Special Dinner

Delta Tau Delta (DTD)
  • Unhoused, football players, tight social community

  • No recurring parties, but they do mixers and individual events

Sigma Phi Epsilon
  • Large but close knit, diverse, strong academics, involved in student groups

  • Best Parties: Octoberfest, Spring Bound

Unhoused Sororities

Alpha Phi
  • Stanford Alpha Phi is a community of fun-loving, caring, and diversely talented women

  • Their philanthropy supports the Alpha Phi Foundation with an annual male pageant to raise money and awareness for women’s heart health

Alpha Epsilon Phi
  • The women of AEPhi are a lively and diverse group of women who value friendship, leadership, fun, and each other

  • AEPhi supports two foundations: Sharsheret and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). To do so, they host A Taste of Palo Alto in spring and Manicure for the Cure in fall or winter.

Chi Omega
  • Chi O is comprised of ladies with passion, sincerity and charm with a desire for genuine sisterhood

  • They support the Make-A-Wish foundation with their Valentine’s week of Xs and Os and Scoop-A-Dish for Make-A-Wish

Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Kappas are known for creating a vibrant and fun loving community and for taking their traditions seriously

  • Their main philanthropy is with Support of International Change through an outdoor concert in the winter called Snowchella

Multicultural Greek Chapters

  • Lambda Phi Epsilon
  • Gamma Zeta Alpha
  • Alpha Kappa Delta Phi
  • Lambda Theta Nu
  • Sigma Psi Zeta

African American Fraternal and Soral Association

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

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