A sign posted on the Upper Row may lead the gullible student to think that John Arrillaga ‘60 endowed yet another program at Stanford. But the Arrilläga Center for German Living and Culture is not the billionaire’s newest contribution to Stanford; it is the invention of Haus Mitteleuropa’s house staff.
“The theme is inspired by the ongoing joke on campus ‘It’s in Arrillaga,’ ‘Which Arrillaga?’ since John Arrillaga has been so generous to Stanford,” Resident Assistant (RA) Wesley Dunnagan ‘13 said. “So why not make Haus the Arrilläga Center for German Culture and Living?”
The self-op’s theme—which Community Manager Chrissy Scannell ‘13 said is Residential Education’s favorite this year—includes a kitchen that has been retitled the Arrillaga Center for Culinary Arts and a bar labeled the Arrillaga Center for Beer Education and Appreciation.
House staff said that they enjoyed themselves as they explored the creative possibilities that this theme offered.
“It just came up randomly during a brainstorming session,” Dunnagan said. “We were excited to have a theme that wasn’t a pun.”
Staff put fake bills on the wall surrounding plastic palm tree hang-ups. As residents enter the house, they can see “Haus Mitt” spelled out on the staircase in $100 bills. Haus Mitt staff also included basketball decorations to reference the fact that Arrillaga attended Stanford on a basketball scholarship in the late 1950s.
Some favorites of the staff include the Arrillaga Center for Fashion and Design (the laundry room) and the Arrillaga Center for Meditation and Music Appreciation (the lounge).
Every dorm room door is labeled with a signed check addressed to the residents of the room.
“We have had only positive reactions from everyone we’ve encountered,” Scannell said. “Some have thought it was actually a new center funded by Arrillaga, but as soon as they realize it’s the just house theme, they break out laughing.”
From the $100-bill-covered walls to the Arrillaga Center for Hygiene and Bodily Functions (the bathroom), some residents wondered if Arrillaga himself would enjoy the theme.
“I think he would take it for what it is: a joke,” resident Matthew Rios ‘13 said. “He would have a good laugh along with us.”
“We have no idea if he knows or not,” added Dunnagan. “But we hope that he knows that we appreciate everything he has done for this campus and that he himself will enjoy a nice chuckle.”
A previous version of this article incorrectly cited that John Arrillaga ’60 earned his bachelor’s degree in 1992 and MBA in 1998. In fact, his son, John Arrillaga Jr., graduated in those years. Major donor John Arrillaga graduated in 1960 and, as stated correctly later in the article, attended Stanford on a basketball scholarship in the late 1950s.