Stanfood bounces onto campus

May 13, 2024, 10:42 p.m.

While a typical Monday morning may find students begrudgingly making their way to class, this morning, some noticed a new fixture in their dorm’s lounge: a branded gray yoga ball. The few who managed to get breakfast also may have spotted a yoga ball or two in their dining hall. 

The branded yoga balls marked the official launch of Stanfood, a web-app that provides dining hall information in a more accessible and user-friendly way. 

Users of Stanfood can sort through dining halls menus by allergen, student reviews, pictures, crowd size and more. 

Founder and creator of Stanfood, Alexander Yue ’27, shared that the website initially draws menu information from the R&DE website, and students can further enhance its accuracy by providing live updates on menu information or rating the food items themselves. 

According to Yue, Stanfood allows students to get better nutrition and have a more enjoyable experience. He also plans to add a social component to the web app, where students can make connections with others in dining halls or find someone to share a meal with. 

A close friend of Yue, Adam Young ’27, brainstormed the idea for Stanfood with Yue at this year’s TreeHacks competition. 

At the time, their initial pitch was nowhere near ready, according to Young, and today’s version is a result of Yue’s hard work. “This is [Yue’s] brainchild. He’s always been one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever seen, to a degree that I find unbelievable,” Young said.

Yue’s funding for the 100-yoga ball launch came from the Stanford Startup Society and a TikTok challenge, in which he promptly deleted his TikTok after winning. He estimated each yoga ball’s cost as approximately $4.80, shipping and all. 

“I really hope some people have an extra smile in their day, something to laugh about. Hopefully people actually use them, they’re kind of ergonomic,” Yue said. 

The inflation of the yoga balls began at approximately 10 p.m. Sunday night, in Yue’s dorm. Each yoga ball was painstakingly hand pumped by Yue and friends. The first round of yoga balls was distributed in each Wilbur dorm as well as Wilbur dining hall. 

Stern dining hall followed with one yoga per dorm. Arrillaga Family Dining had a few balls hand delivered before Crothers did.

Branner was the last of the first batch of yoga balls before the second round of balls were inflated in Casper dining hall and subsequently distributed to surrounding dorms. 

A trip to Florence Moore dining hall followed, where Yue was let in by a friend, Chuer Yang ’27. She was studying for her midterm before she joined Yue in pumping up yoga balls. 

After hand pumping her first yoga ball, Yang said, “I feel like it’s going to bring a lot of joy to people’s lives; I feel like this very random act of spontaneity will cause a lot of confusion. This is so… funny.”

Yang also stressed the passivity she thinks many students have toward their food consumption, citing the value of convenience over health most students hold; a problem Stanfood solves. 

Lakeside Dining was the next stop, where the third batch of yoga balls were inflated. The surrounding dorms were gifted with the gray branded yoga balls. 

A venture to Ricker Dining followed the same vein, balls pumped and delivered. 

The final batch of balls were delivered to dorms in GovCo at approximately 3 a.m., bringing a total of exactly 69 balls distributed, with plans for further distribution in the morning.

Bertha Gonzalez '27 is a news staff writer and beat reporter for local politics at The Stanford Daily; she writes under the University Desk. She is decisively pre-med, and her favorite stuffed animal at the moment is Mr. Wilbert Scrumples. Contact her at "[email protected]".

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