With tonight’s deadline for pre-assignment fast approaching, a new housing policy will require students who wish to pre-assign into a cooperative house for the 2012-13 academic year to use their Tier 2 housing preference.
While in the past students had been able to draw into co-ops such as Kairos and Enchanted Broccoli Forrest (EBF) with their Tier 3 housing preference, now all co-ops require the use of a Tier 2 preference.
This change means that for students who have already used their Tier 2 housing, choosing to pre-assign to a co-op will require that they use their Tier 1 housing preference.
Anthony So ’14 was planning to use his Tier 3 housing choice to pre-assign into a co-op during his junior year. “But now I can’t,” he said, suggesting that he doesn’t want to use his Tier 1 preference to land in a co-op.
“I like the idea of pre-assigning,” So added. “Living in a co-op is a great way to meet people and have a sense of community.”
“It seems like this policy really limits the amount that you can diversify your Stanford experience through housing,” So said. “Basically, you have to live in a dorm for the majority of the time.”
Gabriella Durango ’12 said she also believes that the new policy is restricting to individuals who are looking to live in a co-op. She predicted that the change would be met with negative feedback.
“It seems like housing is getting homogenized,” Durango said.
“I personally don’t like it,” she added. “Not only does it limit people’s choices, but it could destroy a community that people really treasure.”
According to Durango, the community atmosphere of co-ops appeals strongly to individuals who feel much more comfortable living in a co-op rather than a dorm.
“Co-ops are getting more and more popular, but it seems like this policy is just another way to facilitate the homogenization of housing at Stanford,” she said.
A ResEd assistant dean did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
Some students, however, said they believe that the change of policy might offer more enthusiasm and interest in the co-ops themselves.
“Maybe people will have a better chance of drawing into the co-op that they want because they are using their Tier 2,” said Maddy Sides ’15, a Daily photo editor. “That way, everyone who would pre-assign to the co-op would be really enthusiastic about it since it would be their top choice.”
Part of the appeal of the co-ops at Stanford is that they offer an alternative style of living, with a strong sense of community and ownership. This is often a major factor influencing students who choose to pre-assign into co-ops, according to Sides.
“Living in an all-freshman dorm has been a cool part of the year, and it’s because of the sense of community,” Sides said of her current living environment. “The idea of drawing into a big sophomore dorm doesn’t really appeal to me. I really want to continue to live in a community.”
Sides said she believes she can find this sense of a close-knit community in a co-op.
“I’ve heard from some of my upperclassmen friends about co-ops,” she added. “They have told me about their positive experiences, and I wanted to look into them.”
Peter Johnston ’14, a Synergy resident, described his co-op is “a big, loving, affectionate family.”
“Coming home to Synergy is like coming to your actual home,” he said. “There is so much freedom and independence living at Synergy.”
“With co-ops it’s all about the community,” Durango said. “You really invest yourself into the housing community, cleaning and cooking. Everyone feels responsible and has a greater respect for others, since there is a sense of communal ownership.”
Though the effects of the policy have yet to be seen, Johnston doesn’t believe that the changes will affect the atmosphere at Synergy or other co-ops.
“This year we had lots of freshmen come and visit Synergy, and there were tons who pre-assigned,” Johnston said. “I think this [policy] will just reduce the number of people who pre-assign.”
“Ultimately, it seems like most of the people who would use Tier 3 to draw into co-ops would also use their Tier 2 as well,” he added.