McGill Hall is a place with a strong sense of community and acceptance. McGill Project members consider themselves part of an ongoing campus tradition of free expression and discovery. The McGill Project provides a home for students with a wide variety of majors and interests; this diversity is represented during yearly programs and activities. In the fall, residents select a theme for the Annual Spring Showcase, which, for the past few years, has been a mixed-media fair for the campus and surrounding community. At the showcase, project members present visual art, poetry, performance art, and other creative exhibits. Residents also attend McGill Hours which are weekly discussions hosted by Vanderbilt faculty and staff members along with individuals from the Nashville area. Topics are often controversial and stimulate debates between students and the host. Interested students must complete an application and go through an individual and group interview process led by McGill Council members. For questions, contact Jason Steinas (Area Coordinator/McGill Council Advisor) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Maggie Konich (Graduate Program Coordinator) at email@example.com.
The McGill Faculty-in-Residence serves as a champion and advocate of the Project. Doug Fisher, an associate professor of computer science, serves as the Faculty-in-Residence and enjoys interacting with the residents and contributing to the already storied history of the Project. With five years of service to the project, Dr. Fisher is committed to expanding both upper-class living learning experiences and encouraging other faculty members to live on main campus during the academic year. He also teaches courses in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, offers academic advice, and hosts many community builders in his apartment with his wife Patty. Lizzie McGill established The McGill Award in 1960 in memory of her husband, Dr. John T. McGill, who spent his life in service to Vanderbilt University, first as a student in the class of 1879 and then as a professor and historian of the institution. The award is presented each spring to a Project member who, in the eyes of their fellow McGillites, “has best established the qualities of leadership as well as being a good student of gentle bearing.” The award, along with a $750 scholarship, is presented annually at the end-of-year Magnolia Awards.
In 1972, then-Dean of Students K.C. Potter, the Office of Housing and Residential Education, and the Department of Philosophy undertook the creation of a unique living and learning environment in McGill Hall. The McGill Project, the first living learning community on campus, offered students the chance to learn from and interact with faculty and staff members outside the classroom in an open and inviting environment.
Interestingly enough, current Dean of Students Mark Bandas served as the first McGill Project Coordinator in the mid-1970s. In 1987, the Department of Art joined the endeavor and as a result, the McGill Project became a living learning community geared toward students with interests in philosophy and arts.
The active involvement of the Departments of Philosophy and Art, the special arrangements by the Office of Housing and Residential Education, and the commitment of McGill residents to their community have all contributed to a long history of diverse social and educational activities.
The McGill Residents Association was created to inspire community, open discussion, free thought, and creativity within the McGill Project community and on Vanderbilt University’s campus through a rich living learning environment and various special programs. Association members consider themselves part of an ongoing tradition that encompasses a number of innovative and diverse programs and activities. With over 95 residents, the Project is a place where students are pushed to express themselves culturally, socially, politically, and intellectually.
The McGill Project Spring Showcase is a yearly event that Project members host for the Vanderbilt family and surrounding community. The Executive Council chooses a showcase theme in the Fall, members have several months to create their contributions, and the event is held during the last week in March or first week in April. All members participate and use their creativity and imagination to develop something truly unique that both their peers and the community will enjoy.
For the past few years, the showcase has been an arts fair and residents present not only their visual art, but also poetry and performance art. Previous themes have been “Carpe Noctem (Sieze the Night)”, “Consumption”, and “The New Normal”. The theme for 2012-2013 is “Worlds Within Worlds.”
The McGill Hours Series provides residents with the opportunity to interact with faculty and staff members outside of the classroom along with local community members on topics of mutual interest that are not usually covered during class. John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy and one of the most popular teachers on campus, frequently opens the series in the early fall.
The Chancellor, Provost, Dean of Students, and other university administrators also host during the academic year, which offers McGill residents the unique chance to discuss current events and critical issues with some of the most influential people on campus.
Hours are usually held once a week, Monday through Thursday evening. Visit http://commonplace.vanderbilt.edu, click on Calendar, and look for the blue “McG” logo to find upcoming Hours and other events.
Click here for pictures from The McGill Hour Series.
The McGill Coffeehouses are “open mic” nights where Project members, other Vanderbilt students, and local community members perform musical arts, read poetry, perform stand-up comedy acts, and showcase artwork to a very captive audience. Coffee and light snacks are provided. Coffeehouses are usually held twice a semester.
McGill Executive Council
The McGill Project Executive Council is the governing body of the Project and consists of 13 elected residents, the Project Coordinator, the Faculty-in-Residence, the Resident Advisors, and the Alumni Lawn Area Coordinator. The council meets weekly to plan and coordinate programs and events such as theme parties, midnight breakfasts, and McGill Coffeehouses. Past party themes include Pirates vs. Ninjas, Superheroes vs. Villains, Decades, and the pinnacle event of the year – Big Band Ball. Residents elect members of the Executive Council in August to serve a one-year term that coincides with the academic year.
2012-2013 McGill Council
Publicity Chair– Mara Bloomfield
Programming Chair–Audrey Jackson
Membership Chair–Christina Hutson
Alumni Relations Chair–Paige Massey
Jon Berger (2nd Soph)
John Lewis (2nd General)
Sara Shockley (3rd Soph)
Peter Linck (3rd General)
Abbey Stephens (4th Soph)
Mickey Esparza (4th General)
The Executive Council is also charged with enforcing the McGill Constitution, which can be found here:
Staff Contact Information
Graduate Program Coordinator: Maggie Konich, firstname.lastname@example.org, 4117 Branscomb Quadrangle
Area Coordinator and Council Advisor:: Jason Steinas, email@example.com, 119 Vanderbilt Hall
Associate Director: Traci R. Ray, firstname.lastname@example.org, 4120 Branscomb Quadrangle
Application Process & Information
How to Apply
The application period for the 2012-2013 academic year has passed.
Informational Meetings and Recruitment Events
Throughout the application period, there will be several opportunities to learn more about the McGill Project. All interested students are invited and encouraged to attend these meetings along with a few McGill Hours. More information will be posted here when meeting dates and times have been finalized.
Admission to the Project entails being an active participant in McGill life by attending activities planned by the Executive Council, Resident Advisors, and the Project Coordinator and paying Project dues (usually $30 a year). The Selections Committee, consisting solely of McGill residents, will review applications, interview applicants, and recommend people for admission to the Project. Occasionally, applicants will be placed on a ranked waiting list until a space becomes available.
Near spring break, letters of notification will be sent to all applicants indicating whether they have been accepted into the program. Admitted students will not be eligible for participation in the regular housing lottery, but will be required to complete the standard Vanderbilt University Housing contract for their living space in McGill.
How Rooms are Assigned
Room selections are held in late March just prior to the General Random Selection Process sponsored by the Office of Housing Assignments. Room assignments are based on seniority with preference given in the following order: immediate returning Project members by class year, former returning Project members by class year, new Project members by class year. Students are housed in single and double rooms. Details of the assignments process are explained each spring.