Campus Life and Diversity Office

The Campus Life and Diversity Office coordinates programs and services to build inclusive and affirming campus environments for all students and oversees the Vassar First Year program, a series of events, including New Student Orientation, designed to introduce new students to life at Vassar and to engage them beyond the classroom as they explore channels for contributing to the intellectual and community life of the college.

The office hosts Conversation Dinners, Social Justice Dialogues, and plans the annual All College Day in February, which brings students, faculty, administrators, and staff together for a day of discussions and dialogues. We also assist students, groups, and other offices in creating opportunities for participants from different backgrounds and perspectives to engage in dialogue. In addition, the office oversees the following campus resources that focus on issues of identity and social justice education and provide support for diverse communities and historically underrepresented groups:

The ALANA Center provides myriad resources and programs to enhance the campus life and academic experiences of African-American/Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American students. The center provides a comfortable gathering space for student organizations that support students of color and offers opportunities for leadership development, intra-cultural and cross-cultural dialogues, lectures, big sister/big brother and alumnae/i mentoring programs. The center also provides resources for interacting with various communities in Poughkeepsie and surrounding areas, cultural journals/newsletters, educational videos, career development, scholarship and fellowship information, and a computer lab.

The Office of International Services offers a full range of resources for international students and scholars, including advice and assistance in visa, immigration, tax, employment, cultural and general matters. The office seeks to support internationals in adjusting to and embracing a new culture and also to involve and engage all members of the campus community in events, workshops, and other opportunities to share the wealth of global perspectives and experiences our campus enjoys.

The LGBTQ Center, located in College Center 213, is a place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and ally students to relax, socialize and learn. The center hosts discussions, lectures, social events; provides meeting space for various student organizations; and has a robust library of LGBTQ-related books.

The Women’s Center, located in College Center 235, offers a lounge space and programming on various components of gender equity, women’s leadership, empowerment and health. The Women’s Center Student Advisory Board—which consists of 8 to 10 female-identified student leaders—acts as a think tank to the center, helping to devise new programs and initiatives.

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) provides programming and support for 10 different student religious groups at Vassar, supports a wide range of religious and civic communities and initiatives on campus, and plays an important role as a college liaison to the mid-Hudson Valley community. RSL staff members are available for pastoral counseling and spiritual guidance for any concern or question students may have. The RSL staff includes a full-time advisor to Jewish students and part-time affiliate advisors for the Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and InterVarsity communities on campus. RSL is located in the Chapel tower and basement, as well as at the Bayit, Vassar’s home of Jewish campus life, at 51 Collegeview Avenue.

Bias Incident Response Team. The Campus Life Office also coordinates the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT), a resource for responding to student crises and incidents that may disrupt the community or endanger students. The associate dean of the college for campus life and diversity coordinates the response team and, when possible, convenes the BIRT within 24 hours to determine initial steps and to identify additional offices or members from the campus community who can assist with the college’s response.

For more information about the Office of Campus Life and Diversity, please visit http://campuslifeanddiversity.vassar.edu.