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Social Interaction Opportunities

Posted by on Thursday, June 18, 2020 in .

We are balancing the health, safety and comfort of our constituencies and our community with providing the meaningful experiences for students traditionally associated with Vanderbilt. These are temporary measures to deal with the challenging circumstances in which we find ourselves. 

No guests will be allowed within residence hall rooms. Although first-year students will be assigned a single room, we expect that they will make friends on their residence hall floors, sitting in their doorways talking late into the night, or lounging on one of our various campus outdoor areas while physically distancing. Students will also be able to interact with their virtual roommates and other friends in person throughout the academic year, while still following the university’s protocols. We are also working to define gatherings for the fall semester, in which there may be opportunities for in-person engagement for campus groups and organizations while following campus protocols. 

We hope that community members will be active participants and bystanders in keeping the community healthy, safe, and accountable.  

Students around campus practice healthy behaviors.

We realize how important community and social bonds are to good mental health, and we have three distinct groups of people working on plans and practices to promote interaction. More details will be shared here as those plans are developed.

  • Orientation group leaders for new students: These leaders are thinking about how to utilize Vanderbilt’s history of connecting with new students even before they are on campus through VUcept, Transfer Student Leaders, and International Orientation Leaders to make sure all students already know other students before they arrive.
  • Faculty: Residential Faculty are thinking about how to build community in their houses and colleges, and also the undergraduate and associate deans in the four undergraduate schools are thinking about ways to strengthen ties to classmates in majors or area of studies.
  • Student Affairs: Our colleagues in the Dean of Students office are talking with student leaders already to talk about what student organizations and involvement with campus groups will look like this year so that undergraduate students still have opportunities to connect with other students who share similar extracurricular interests.


There are many activities planned for students living within the university’s Residential Colleges. Some things planned include:

  • Welcome from residential faculty, orientation leaders, and Residential College staff (students can pick up swag items, happening nightly for students as they move in)
  • The asynchronous CommonVU orientation modules will be available on Aug. 15
  • Nightly virtual meetings with orientation groups
  • Campus tours (around 5-6 students maximum)
  • Students will have an opportunity to pick up books at the bookstore
  • Residential faculty are also developing their own plans for move-in week


Vanderbilt will continue to provide strong support to our incoming transfer students even as they live in off-campus residences. Through our transfer orientation program, students will interact with others through informational sessions and small-group discussions that will help you navigate your academic program, campus resources and student life on Vanderbilt’s campus. Through TSO, you’ll also have the opportunity to connect with Transfer Student Leaders (sophomores, juniors, and seniors who transferred to Vanderbilt themselves) and other incoming transfer students.

Full details of the 2020 Transfer Student Orientation program, which will be conducted through Brightspace, will be released in early August.

Additionally, the new Campus Connection Program will provide undergraduate students with personalized support and guidance as they navigate the various experiential learning and campus services that are part of their collegiate experience at Vanderbilt. The program will engage Campus Connectors, professional staff from Academic Affairs, to serve as liaisons who directly support personal and professional development for their cohort of students from enrollment to graduation.