welcome to my home: the place where I spend most of time and the place that I love the most at Stanford

move to our front lawn, near the picnic tables and the mini soccer goals and take a minute to notice the architecture of the building

notice the three windows to the right of the house: that is my room, chapter room, and where we will go eventually

personally, the house reminds of a kind of on-land pirate ship - when I go inside it is always like I've left Stanford and entered into an alternative universe

this house wasn't always it is today. in fact, it used to be a frat

the picture above is from a book published in 1981 by the official theta chi fraternity

while the official frat was established in 1856, the alpha epilson chapter at Stanford was established in 1920

before we go into the house, lets walk back to the street, to our mailbox to understand a bit more about how we got to be the co-op we are today

walk to left right side of the mailbox

you will notice the octopus vaguely making the sign "XΘX" - the official frat theta chi became inactive in 1988 because it had been functioning like a co-op since 1973 (15 years!) and frat members were allowing women to live in the house and were not following official frat guidelines

this is where we get the name XΘX: our house is ex-theta chi

walk to the other side of the mailbox

here you will find a reference to dolphinland - a small part of our house's history that speaks to our numerous legal troubles over the years

it turns the official theta chi frat doesn't like other people using their name - we were first sued in 2012 and then again in 2016 (oops)

a choice section from the lawsuit:

while students still colloquially refer to us as chi theta chi despite Stanford's disapproval

exciting debates have occurred over the years in regards to picking a new name

one option was "dolphin land" as demonstrated passionately on this mailbox and in a mural painted inside our house

still, today, our name remains officially just 576 Alvarado

let walk up the steps now, towards the first big wooden door

if it's not too wet take a seat on our grey couch: many more things happened to our house in 2012 than a lawsuit about our name

we were taken over by stanford university on september 1, 2012 because the administration refused to renew our lease on the house

click here to read an overview of stanford's decision to not renew our lease

and click here to read a letter written by a resident of the house in 2012 regarding stanford's decision

this is the poster made for the campaign to keep our independence:

as you prepare to enter the house, please think carefully about how the murals you see on the walls and the spirit of autonomy and creativity that seems embedded into the structure of the house only exists today because of the resilience of this community

then-current residents and alumni of the house fought long and hard to keep the tradition of "the greatest experiment in residential autonomy at Stanford" going

to get in, look for the envelope taped next to this door

in the envelope you will find my stanford id, please use it to open the door but remember to put it back inside the envelope when you leave

please also remember that you are about to enter not only my home, but the home of around 30 other students - be respectful and kind as you enter our space

while the house is full of beautiful and interesting things, unfortunately we don't have time to see them all so please stick to my directions as we make our way to my room

1. walk past the piano
2. turn right (don't go up the staircase on your right) and stop just past the door to our library
3. stop at the wooden board with the tiles hanging from it

this board displays our cook and clean shifts; part of being in a co-op means putting in the labor to show we care and take care of ourselves and each other

at the bottom of the board, where our extra tiles are kept you will notice the letters "C" "U" "W" "U"

this is a play on our moto "Bring Us With Us" the mantra of our house and a testament to the deep sense of solidarity residents have for each other - the screenshot above was the first ever post to the facebook page dedicated to fighting the university decision to take away our housing

let's keep going

1. continue walking straight down the hallway
2. when you get to the staircase on your left go up it one floor
3. congrats! you've finally made it to my room - please take off your shoes at our steps
4. walk into our foyer and open the door on the left

okay. take a deep breath. the room might be a little overwhelming so find the blue couch right to your left and sit down

let start by setting the mood

1. pull up the bluetooth settings on your phone
2. select "TP-Link_Music"
3. click on the link to the playlist below and enjoy the music as I go into why my room looks like this right now - these are some songs I associate with the house
4. if the music doesn't play or you don't have bluetooth no worries, put in some headphones or listen on your phone

you might be struck by the crazy cloths hung everywhere and the fact that our floor is covered in mattresses - this is only semi-normal for us

each year we have a crazy semi-secret party where we all transform our rooms into an experience

it just so happens the party was last weekend, and we turned our room into a ginormous blanket fort with multiple projectors screening movies and even more mattresses than are here now covering our whole floor

this is a picture from the 2010 party - yes, that is a full-size bouncy house

and here is a picture from the 2013 - our room got transformed into a jungle with a full-size trampoline

although no images seem to exist, another alum Dana wrote to me that he bubble wrapped the entire room for weird party in 2012, and then never really took the bubble wrap off, so there were unexpected bubble popping noises for months

above you used to be a loft - this backstory comes from house alum Josh:

now look in front of you, you should see a yellow swing

originally there were two swings built in 2008 by a resident (Evan!) and has lasted all these years - it used to be blue but was painted yellow in 2011 by another resident (Harley!)

from Evan:

time to get up from the couch and move to the swing

set a timer for 5 minutes and enjoy the music and the swinging - feel free to go pretty high

while you're swinging think about the legacies you inhabit here on campus; what students came before you and how did they shape and influence your life here now?

while still sitting on the swing, look to the wall with the windows (either your left or right) and find the sign that says "speed 1 hit $5"

this sign has been a part of xox legend for decades; in an email to me an alum of the house from 1992 signed his email with "Speed 1 Hit $5 forever!"

the sign was first taken by campus police in 1982, although residents promptly found another one - around the year 2000 administors walked in and took the sign once again according to house lore, but this year house alums from 1993 secured us new one during their alumni reunion

let's move again, this time just a little further to the blue couch under the Angela Davis mural (painted this year by my roommate's mother)

if you look up now you will see a crazy mess of rope and cloth, but traditionally our room has the "net", you might have noticed it in the picture of our room when it transformed into a "jungle"

below is a picture of the room from this summer, a little closer to what the room normally looks like

and here is a picture of Reggie Watts in front of the net in 2012

if you haven't already made it to Reggie's music in the playlist feel free to skip ahead to it now. if you run out of songs in the playlist que your own! we believe in collaboration in this house <3

music and chapter room have quite the history - if you walk to the very back of the room you will find a red couch on top of a stage, sit down

this stage has been home to many legendary concerts, according to an alum Matt:

however, long before this room was a bedroom or a place for concerts, it was the chapter room of the old theta chi fraternity, thus the name "chapter room"

the room was only used for initiation into the frat, which as an alum recalls was only even done to appease the national Theta Chi fraternity and keep control of the house

various alums from this era have emailed me to tell me the secret handshake during this time was a handshake with pinkies-intertwined

the "end" of chapter room came in the fall of 1989, after the Loma Prieta earthquake. prior to that, it was a common space with no one living in it but due to so many buildings sustaining damage around campus during the earthquake, theta chi agreed to take in about 10 residents from other co-ops. it was at that point that several common spaces around the house were converted to living spaces, including chapter room

from Michael '92:

you should look up now, and if you haven't already noticed, notice that you are sitting under a loft

while many different iterations of the loft have been built and taken down over the years, the one above you right now was built in 2011, harley '11 wrote to me that she:

the loft being built in 2011:

before this however, another loft had been being built and unbuilt since before 2004 to pass fire inspections. from doug '04:

it is now time to enter space (the loft!)

it is where I personally sleep in chapter room, although, like everything else in this particular moment in time, it looks nothing like what it normally looks like because of the party

walk up the ladder to your right (if you're still sitting on the couch) and please please be careful - some of the rungs are a little insecure and in fact the railing was only build because a friend of mine feel from the top four years ago

now that you're up here, take a moment to appreciate the view of the room and our rope and cloth engineering skills - it took my roommates and I a collective 40 hours to get this room ready for the party

let's start with the name: you might notice the space mural behind you - its why we all call the loft "space"!

space was painted in 2001 by alum Doug, and has become an iconic part of house culture

settle in, sit down (feel free to sit on the bed-ish thing), and watch the film below, which was shot entirely in chapter room and a room in our basement called "poker room" in 2010

all of the parts of the film with the guy's head in front of the black background with glow in the dark points of light were shot in space - the mural has glow in the dark paint!

Experiment 93473 from Abteen Bagheri on Vimeo.

alright, let's go back down to the room. be careful!

before we leave my heart and my home, I'll leave you with a few choice memories from alums of the house:

josh '82 -

mason '10 -

marie '83 -

harley '11 -

while I think I could go on for hours, it's time for this tour to end

please respectfully leave chapter room, and go back down the flight of stairs (only one flight! if you keep going you'll end up in our basement). on your way out of the door do not forget to put my id back

thanks for coming, and letting me show you my life and the constantly-evolving legacy I inhabit here on campus