Petition for a Graduate Dorm at Stanford sign now

We, the undersigned, are writing because Stanford needs a dormitory-style residence for graduate students. With the transfer of Crothers and Crothers Memorial from graduate to undergraduate dorms this year, there is no dorm-style housing on campus for grad students. This is a terrible loss to the campus. Dorm-style housing is vital because it fosters community in a way that apartment-style housing really cannot, while offering housing at a price students want.

The students living in Crothers and Crothers Memorial (aka "CroMem") were moved to the new Munger dorms this past Winter. As such, we are able to provide a first-hand perspective of the differences in community that a dorm fosters versus apartments. In short, it is much more difficult to build community in apartments than in a dorm.

In CroMem, gatherings would spontaneously form in the hallway, and people would stay for hours talking and having fun. People would stop by their friends' and neighbors' rooms on the way to the bathroom, or coming and going from the building, and build relationships. People see each other frequently when bathrooms, kitchens, and lounges are shared. Many deep friendships formed in the dormitory environment of CroMem; many of our best friends at Stanford were from the dorm. Both romantic relationships and startup companies also developed from this community.

When we moved from Crothers and CroMem to the new Munger buildings, we wanted to build and keep the same type of community that we had developed in the dorms, but the community eroded. In Munger, contact with our friends became much more infrequent. With the addition of the extra door to the apartment, rather than having individual rooms along a hallway, it is difficult to determine if people are home or not. In the dorms, many more people kept their doors open to the hallway, encouraging socialization. In contrast, people are much less likely to keep the door of an apartment open, especially if they are in their bedroom, far from the hallway.

Though pockets of relationships, and even strong friendships, are possible within an apartment building, they are significantly more difficult to achieve than in a dorm, where relationships will naturally and spontaneously form. We know that the mental health of students is very important to the university. A dorm environment and its subsequent relationships is needed to support people who want this type of community.

Furthermore, students really *do* want to live in a dorm, both for the relationships and the price point. While the new Munger dorms may fill up this fall, there is an equally large if not larger demand for low-priced housing. Although the remodeled Blackwelder and Quillen apartments may help satiate some of this demand for low-priced housing, there is still a great need for affordable housing and a dorm can help meet that need. In 2007, 94\% of the people who were living in CroMem ranked it FIRST in their choices in the housing lottery, due to both the community and the cost. If the dorm had been in better condition, this number would surely have been even higher.

In summary, graduate students need a dorm: either a new one built or one currently occupied by undergraduates re-purposed. One solution would be to put undergraduates into an apartment building and graduate students into a dorm. This proposal would seem ridiculous to many, but why should it be? If undergraduates need to have the community that a dorm fosters, there is no reason why graduate students do not also need to have this community. And as this petition demonstrates, graduate students want this community. We, the undersigned, include many generations of students who have lived in Crothers and Crothers Memorial. We benefited greatly from the community these dorms provided, and want future generations of students to have the same opportunity we did. We implore you to give graduate students a dorm.


Instructions to petition-signers:
Comments about your time at Crothers/CroMem (or anything else you wish to say) are especially welcome; it may be easier to compose them in a separate editor and paste them into the space provided.

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Minerva KaneBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Pres. Hennessy and the Board of Trustees


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