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Pre-orientation Service Experience
Leadership program

Ignite: Public Service Pre-orientation

One-time event
Arts & Media, 
Education & Youth Development, 
Environmental Sustainability, 
Human Rights, 
Law, Policy & Justice, 
Socio-Economic Prosperity, 
Technology & Engineering

Ignite is a student-led public service pre-orientation program run by the Haas Center for Public Service that gives incoming first-year students the chance to get to know one another, get acclimated to Stanford, learn about the Stanford student organization community, get exposure to the Haas Center and Cardinal Service and to be introduced to some local public service community partners. Ignite focuses on building community and helping students explore their own public service identities, or how students can best serve their communities.  

The participation fee is $450. Financial aid is available, so those with the greatest need will be able to participate at a small or even no cost.

Ignite registration for 2022 is now closed. If you are still interested, let us know and we'll add you to the program's waitlist.

For the frosh selected to participate in Ignite, the deadline to secure your spot in the program is July 28. If you have questions on how to pay or any other questions, please contact Pete Cerneka, Ignite administrator, or Allan Lopez, Ignite student coordinator.

For those on the waitlist, spots in the program are offered as they become available. Spots could become available up until the start of the program.

Program Dates and Schedule

Ignite begins on the early evening of Friday, September 16 and ends on the night of Tuesday, September 19. Frosh participants move in and register by 5:00pm on Friday, September 16, followed by the start of the program.


Open to all incoming first-year students.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Ignite cost?
The program fee for Ignite is $450, which includes all accommodations, meals, and activity expenses for the program. 

Is there financial aid available?
Yes! If you have a financial need, assessed by the Office of Financial Aid, you will be awarded financial help to pay part of the fee. 

You can indicate you want to be considered for financial aid in the lottery registration process. If you win a spot or if you get a spot through the waitlist, the program will work with the Office of Financial Aid to determine the level of support we can offer. 

Securing a spot in the program is need-blind. Your financial situation has no bearing on whether you receive a space in Ignite.

How do I register for Ignite?
Registration for 2022 is now closed, but we are happy to add you to the waitlist. Contact Pete Cerneka.

Does registration ensure I get a spot in the program?
Not necessarily. The program has only 30 spots. If more than 30 students register, which we expect to happen, we will run a lottery to award spots. 

We will run the lottery on July 11 and inform the winners on July 15. Lottery winners have until July 22 at 11:59 PM PST to secure their spot with payment. For students who requested financial aid, we will contact them with further instructions on how to secure their spot. Students who do not receive a spot in the lottery will be put on a waitlist. On July 25, we'll start awarding spots to those on the waitlist, if any spots become available.

If I win the lottery for a spot in the program, how do I secure my spot?
You secure your spot by paying the program fee. Once we receive your payment, your spot is secure. Securing a spot for those receiving financial aid from the program will be managed on a case-by-case basis.   

How does the waitlist work?
If you do not receive a space through the lottery, by default you’ll be placed on the waitlist and be notified when a space has opened up on or after July 7. Whoever from the waitlist secures their space with their payment first, will be awarded the spot.

What activities can I expect to participate in?
You get the opportunity to experience fun orientation activities and Stanford traditions, engage in conversations about public service, get to know Stanford faculty and staff, and meet Bay Area public service community partners. Mostly, though, you’ll have a chance to connect with other frosh!

Is the program physically demanding?
The program is not designed to be physically demanding, but Stanford’s campus is one of largest in the country and there will be a lot of walking. 
Is Ignite connected to Otero (the public service-themed dorm)?
Ignite is not connected to the Otero dorm. Being a part of Ignite does not affect your chance of living in Otero when you come to campus.

Where will I sleep and what will I eat?
The program provides housing and meals (respecting dietary restrictions). Frosh move into their permanent housing, where they'll stay for the rest of the year. Move-in dates are set for the Ignite program and participants do not have to worry about getting a specific move-in slot. Once we finalize our list of participants, Housing will adjust the move-in dates for these students and participants will check in at their designated Housing Front Desks.

Will there be free time for participants?
You get some free time in the mornings and later evenings, but not much. We want this program to be a fully immersive experience, and you can expect to have more free time during NSO.

Will there be transportation from the airport?
For students traveling alone, the program can provide transport from the airport if the student requests it. If you have a unique transportation need, let us know and we will do what we can to help.

Will I get a choice of which public service topics to engage with?
Each group is led by two Stanford students who worked over the summer to set up programming with a community partner of their choice. You will have an opportunity to let us know which is most interesting to you.

Do I need to have a background in public service or any special knowledge to participate?
Ignite is designed to be an introductory experience where we explore public service at Stanford and the Bay Area. We will be discussing some public service and social justice theory, but no knowledge is required beforehand.

What happens if I can’t pay by July 28?
You risk losing your spot and we may offer your spot to someone on the waitlist.

What if I’m concerned my financial aid package may not cover what I need?
We cannot guarantee further assistance than the initial package, but we encourage you to reach out to Pete Cerneka, Ignite administrator, or Allan Lopez, Ignite student coordinator, if you want to discuss it further.

Is there a way to pay other than credit card online?
The primary way to pay the program fee is online, but you can discuss other options with the program administrators.

I’m an international student and want to participate in Ignite. How can I do both International Student Orientation (ISO) and Ignite?
Unfortunately, you cannot participate in both ISO and Ignite, as all pre-orientation programs take place at the same time. Participation in ISO is mandatory for international students unless otherwise told by the Approaching Stanford Office. If you have any questions about this, reach out to Approaching Stanford.

I’m interested in doing multiple pre-orientation programs. How can I do that?
All pre-orientation programs take place during the same time period and conflict with one another. If you’re interested in multiple, you must choose one to take part in.

My parents will be in town during Ignite. Will there be opportunities for me to spend time with them?
No, there are no periods during Ignite to spend time with family. The program may end at around 9:00pm some days, but that time is not guaranteed and depends on how the events of the day play out.

What is move-in going to be like?
When you come on September 16, you will have until 4:30pm to get your room key from your housing front desk and move into your dorm. You will also have more time during NSO to move in and set up your room. Since you are here early for a pre-orientation program, the dorm will not be at full capacity and there will be a few other students in the residence at most. There will be RAs in your dorm by the time you move in. It is likely your roommate will not have moved in, though.

After registering for the program, I have not heard back. How can I tell if I have a spot in Ignite?
Ignite has awarded all of its spots to frosh. Those not selected are on a waitlist. Participants do withdraw from time to time and we have added some from the waitlist, but if you have not been selected, your chances of coming off the waitlist are small. 

After registering, you should have received an automated confirmation email. If you did not, it means your registration did not go through for some reason. If you did get a confirmation email, but did not hear back, please let us know. That indicates an issue with our registration system and something we need to look into. 

Regardless, we can offer anyone who reaches out to us a spot on the waitlist.

Please reach out to Pete Cerneka, Ignite administrator, or Allan Lopez, Ignite student coordinator with any further questions.




Bay Area


June 27, 2022 | 11:59 PM
* This Application Deadline has passed

Open To



Offered By

Haas Center for Public Service
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