Illustration of Kathy Zonana

Our story on Stanford’s new undergraduate housing system, opens with a Daily headline from the spring of my first year: “Tears and trauma: It’s time for the Draw.”

Personally, I don’t remember crying over the housing lottery in 1990. I was eager to get out of Wilbur Hall, which at the time featured dented bruise-green metal furniture and brown shag carpet. And because you can never have enough earth tones, the closets and doors were slathered in thick coats of chocolate-brown paint. (This was shortly before Stanford began renovating each residence on a regular schedule. By the time I graduated, Wilbur residents had modular furniture—made of wood, no less—like everyone else.)

No, no, I cried the next spring, when my carefully coordinated plan to serve as a residence staff member in the same house as my BFF went sideways, and then I, as we used to say, “drew off-campus.” Yes, Virginia, hundreds of us would remain unassigned at the conclusion of the Draw. And if the wait­list didn’t pan out, we had to go find local apart­ments. At the time, Stanford had only enough housing to guarantee under­graduates three years on campus. 

This is the kind of lore that won't last much longer, as Stanford eliminates the Draw in favor of ResX.

I did land a spot. Separated from my Draw group. In a one-room triple. But I was on the Lower Row, so don’t cry for me, Lagunita.

This is the kind of lore that won’t last much longer, as Stanford eliminates the Draw in favor of ResX, a new live-and-learn system intended to strengthen community. Under ResX, undergraduate housing has been grouped into eight neighborhoods, currently named to spell out STANFORD. Typically, students will spend all four years in the same neighborhood, progressing in independence as they move from dorms supported by resident fellows to self-operated Row houses and apartments. At the same time, they’ll get to maintain the connections they’ve built since frosh year. The system also preserves choice: A student can take a leave from her neighborhood to live in a theme dorm, co-op or Greek house, or even switch neighborhoods altogether. 

Now, if you spent your frosh year at Stanford, we know what you’re wondering: Which neighborhood would you have been in? The map tells me that the west side of Wilbur is part of Neighborhood T. And this time, there’s nary a metal bed frame in sight.


Kathy Zonana, ’93, JD ’96, is the editor of Stanford. Email her at kathyz@stanford.edu.