Getting Involved

Jasmine Nguyen

Whether you are currently a part of an activist group on campus or are relatively new to activism, we welcome you to join StandFor, a coalition of progressive activists on Stanford’s campus promoting unity and solidarity around issues of social justice. Those involved are currently working on a variety of issues, including but not limited to environmental sustainability, promoting workers rights, affordable housing, and representation of people of color in our faculty.

Though I have been involved in various advocacy initiatives in the past, I am still relatively new to many facets of organizing. I am constantly learning more about different communities and how I can direct my energy towards causes I am passionate about. By joining StandFor, I have joined a community of activists who have supported me and helped me grow-- I highly encourage anyone even slightly interested in activism to come to at least one StandFor meeting!

To participate in StandFor, register for the course Scholarship and Activism for Justice on Axess. The class meets every other Friday at 12:30pm. We engage in discussion and planning for our upcoming actions and events; food is also provided. If you are unable to register for the course due to unit limit, you may still attend without being an official member of the class. If you are unable to attend during this class time, email David Palumbo-Liu at at palboliu@stanford.edu for other means of getting involved-- all are welcome.

The Affordability Math Doesn't Add Up

Jason Beckman

Stanford Housing and Dining recently released the housing cost numbers for graduate student housing next year, and the rent increases are predictably high. One estimate puts the increase for single grad students at 12.7% on average—accounting for all of the students in more affordable off-campus housing units who will be forced to transfer into the more-expensive EVGR.

While the construction of the new oversized EVGR prison housing complex was ongoing, administrators were noticeably silent about the monthly cost of the new residences. Similarly, there has been no word on whether graduate students will receive any support for their mandated move onto campus. Has the huge influx of new housing supply done anything to allay upward-trending housing rate increases? Of course not. The 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit (the most commonly available unit in the new EVGR complex) will be increasing 6%, from $1593/month to $1688. For 1 year, these housing units will cost a graduate student $20,256, well over 50% of yearly income on a TA- or RA-ship.

Though this financial burden has severe impacts on graduate student mental health today, the ongoing “affordability” task force allegedly deliberates, deciding how to address this concern for the future. And housing is just the tip of the iceberg. Stanford Solidarity Network, a collective of graduate students working to better conditions for graduate students at Stanford, has worked this year to produce tangible outcomes on numerous issues:

Many of these improvements are band-aid solutions that have helped a bit, but it’s still not enough. There are graduate spouses and children without affordable healthcare and childcare, and there is no end in sight for the cycle of untenable rent increases.

We need your voices to help us fight for our well-being and financial security. Please contact MTL, Persis Drell, Susie Brubaker-Cole (Vice Provost of Student Affairs), Stacey Bent (Vice Provost for Graduate Education), Jim Jacobs (Director of Vaden) and let them know about your affordability concerns—whether for yourself or the community at large.