Why Neighborhood T was robbed of ‘Truffula’ 

May 8, 2023, 10:39 p.m.

Despite winning its students’ votes for Neighborhood T during the naming process, the name “Truffula” was blocked by copyright ties to the Seuss estate, according to an email from Senior Director of Communications for Student Affairs Pat Lopes Harris. Neighborhood T’s second-most popular tree name, “Hyperion,” has entered official use instead. 

“I feel like Stanford could buy the copyright,” said Arjun Maheshwari ’25, a recent transfer to Neighborhood T, of the disqualification of “Truffula.”

The name “Truffula” refers to the fictitious, fluffy trees from “The Lorax” and was the byproduct of neighborhood “ideation” sessions, during which students were encouraged to submit “outlandish or wacky” suggestions, according to neighborhood newsletters. Several ideation sessions featured minimal — sometimes nonexistent — attendance, and only 30% of undergraduates voted on the list of finalists for each neighborhood. 

“Truffula would have been cooler because it also starts with a T, would have been matching and stuff,” said Cordelia Li ’26 of the neighborhood formerly known as Neighborhood T. “But, I don’t know, I think Hyperion is also a pretty cool name.” 

The name “Hyperion” refers to a coastal species of redwood trees known as the “world’s largest living tree,” according to Stanford Residential Education (ResEd). As per the ResEd website, the tree “embodies the concepts of strength, fortitude and resilience,” which are “hallmarks of a strong neighborhood community.”

According to Stanford Report, the replacement of the temporary letter names was meant to foster a greater sense of identity for each community — an element of residential life students say has been lacking within the neighborhood system. 

“Before, when you just called it Neighborhood T, it was a little bland,” Li said. “But giving it a cool name based off of a tree would be, I don’t know, cuter?”

Two fictional tree names ended up as finalists for the neighborhood-wide naming election. The other fictional suggestion, “Yggdrasil,” the “Tree of Life” from Norse mythology, was the runner-up for Neighborhood O, now known as Olive. 

“I think it’s a funny name, but I don’t think it’s practical,” said Olive resident Lynn Collardin ’26 of the fictional runner-up for her neighborhood. “Most people probably don’t know how to pronounce it, and eventually I think it would get a little bit irritating to try to talk about your neighborhood and have to say, ‘Oh, I live in neighborhood Yggdrasil.’”

According to Harris, the University will refer to the neighborhoods by both the new and old names until the end of the quarter, at which point digital and physical markers will reflect only the new names. Neighborhood Slack channels, newsletters and Stanford websites already reflect the change, while most physical signs have yet to catch up. 

Harris additionally provided a list of the runner-ups for each neighborhood’s election. The full list of neighborhood name runner-ups is as follows:

NeighborhoodFinal NameRunner-up
FWisteriaCherry Blossom

A previous version of this article misspelled the name “Seuss” and the word “formerly.” The Daily regrets this error.

Login or create an account

Apply to The Daily’s High School Winter Program

Applications Due Soon