As Stanford’s Structured Liberal Training (SLE) formally reaches its fiftieth anniversary, college students and school mentioned a by way of line in this system historical past’s is its core values of assist and group.
SLE was based by the late professor Mark Mancall in 1973 as a residential-based humanities program for frosh. This system will commemorate its success on Oct. 21 with a celebration inviting each present and former SLE college students again to East FloMo.
“It’s an ideal honor to be partaking in one thing that has lasted this lengthy. Three weeks in, it’s a really enjoyable and transformative expertise,” mentioned Dan Kubota ’27, a present SLE resident.
Collaborating in SLE as a frosh fulfills Stanford’s core COLLEGE and PWR necessities, however it does greater than get frosh out of required coursework, college students mentioned. Sometimes called ‘the liberal arts faculty expertise’ at Stanford, about 90 college students take part every year.
“It’s a residential-based class, so it’s genuinely an ideal group. I can go from lecture to dinner with my pals and tie what we’ve talked about in our lecture to our day by day lives in a really natural method, not in a pressured method,” Kubota mentioned.
SLE college students take a chronologically structured three-quarter course that begins with instructing in regards to the historical world and culminates with the fashionable interval, based on this system’s web site. Every quarter, college students take an eight-unit class, which is roughly equal to the coursework of two conventional lessons.
Jeremy Sabol, the affiliate director of SLE for the previous 20 years, mentioned college students construct a powerful sense of group amongst one another.
“Looking out collectively after the widespread good and attempting to study collectively whereas residing collectively is a very vital a part of SLE that makes it distinctive from different applications,” Sabol mentioned. “SLE is dramatically completely different from different dorm experiences as a result of the scholars are usually not solely residing collectively however enterprise this mental mission along with the assistance of older classmen and SLE alums.”
SLE Resident Tutors (SLErts), who college students mentioned are akin to resident assistants (RAs), permit this group to remain in contact, even after a pupil has accomplished their frosh yr.
“The SLErt staff helps foster group and belonging inside SLE,” mentioned Jas Wheeler ’25, a second-year SLErt. “We host research breaks with meals and supply workplace hours to speak about essays and adjusting to Stanford. We provide social recommendation in addition to tutorial recommendation.”
Wheeler is keen to attend the SLE fiftieth anniversary celebration this weekend, reflecting on it as a particular milestone for this system.
Over the previous week, SLE college students celebrated a milestone of their very own: turning of their first essays of the yr. Wheeler and different SLErts hosted a research group as college students ready their essays about Homer’s “Odyssey.”
“My first essay was a ceremony of passage as a SLE pupil,” Wheeler mentioned. “It’s enjoyable to be on the opposite facet and provides recommendation this time.”
Kubota felt assured as she turned in her “SLEssay.” Including “SLE” to the start of a phrase is a working joke within the SLE class, she mentioned.
“We’ve got so many SLE puns,” she joked. “SLEssay. Get sufficient SLEep. SLE you once more. Let’s meet within the SLounge.”
This joke has additionally had hurtful makes use of too, Wheeler mentioned, together with the usage of “SLoser” by different frosh.
“Folks get weirded out by SLE as a result of it seems very intense and intimidating. They image darkish academia, strolling round sporting tweed,” Wheeler mentioned. “Folks underestimate how enjoyable and informal it’s. It’s an eight-unit class however it’s not as excruciating because it seems.”
College are additionally attempting to shake the slander surrounding SLE. Sabol mentioned college students who produce unfavorable stereotypes on the SLE expertise are normally not SLE college students.
“That’s how stereotypes work,” Sabol mentioned. “The those who unfold them are the individuals who know the least about what they’re speaking about.”
Sabol hopes SLE encourages college students to “have interaction critically” with texts of the Western custom to grasp its influence and legacy. He emphasised the necessity to “not endorse or assault, however assess the readings they have interaction with.”
“Eighteen-year-olds typically have bother with ambiguity. You are likely to need flawed or proper solutions,” Sabol mentioned. “The actually thrilling and productive questions and points within the humanities don’t have proper or flawed solutions. Folks have completely different solutions they usually change over time.”
Wheeler and Kubota sit up for partaking in future SLE actions, together with a play that can be carried out on the finish of the quarter.
“It’s cool SLE has lasted this lengthy,” Kubota mentioned. “It says one thing in regards to the influence of this system. Issues don’t simply final 50 years for no motive. One thing about SLE attracts folks to proceed taking part in it … SLE clearly has an influence on the group and Stanford.”