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The Flip

*Updated November 12, 2020

The university has decreased the density in our campus residences by, among other steps, assigning one first-year student per room; however, a central feature of the first-year experience at Vanderbilt is having an opportunity to live on The Ingram Commons. To achieve this for all first-year students, while maintaining the university’s focus on the health and safety of the campus community, students will participate in “The Flip” at the end of the fall semester.

Students currently living in the Towers and Branscomb Quad (Lupton, Scales, Stapleton and Vaughn) will be moving to The Ingram Commons, and students currently living on The Ingram Commons will be moving to the Towers or Branscomb Quad. The Flip will give all first-year students a chance to live on The Ingram Commons while maintaining single rooms for these students. Spring housing assignments will be released in late October. 

Some initial general information about The Flip:

  • First-year students will continue to be housed one student per room.
  • Each student’s house affiliation will remain the same (i.e., if a student currently lives in Towers and is affiliated with Hank Ingram, the student will be assigned to Hank Ingram for the spring).
  • Students will be moved in clusters so that they will continue to reside with at least some of the students they lived near in the fall; special requests cannot be accommodated.
  • North House residents will not participate in The Flip. This is due solely to the fact that the capacity of The Ingram Commons exceeds the capacity of Branscomb Quad and Towers. Removing North House from The Flip gives the university the numbers needed to execute The Flip between The Ingram Commons and main campus.

Packing Supplies Provided:

Gather packing supplies from the lobby of your building beginning in early November. Take as many boxes as you think you will need. Make sure you get one (1) roll of tape and any bubble wrap and cardboard padding you will need to secure any breakable items or electronics. You will receive 3 sheets of pre-filled labels and tags from your RA to place on each box/item that you pack. If you need additional labels or tags, please email with “Labels Needed” in the subject line.

Important Notes:

In order to facilitate The Flip, you will need to properly pack and label your items before departing in November. Failure to do so will result in your items being packed at your expense, and the loss of a half point in the 2021-2022 housing assignment process.

Vanderbilt utilizes a seniority-driven, random selection (a lottery) in the upper-division student housing assignment process. Rising fourth-year students have 4 points, while rising third-year and rising second-year students have 3 and 2 points, respectively. Students and groups with higher point averages in the various assignment processes have a greater chance of success. The loss of a half point is impactful and will likely take a student or their group out of consideration for the housing options that are often in high demand.


Please complete The Flip Survey in the Student Housing Portal by Sunday, Nov. 1. You will be asked to provide information on your departure date and your belongings that will need to be moved to your spring housing assignment. If your answers change after you submit the survey, there is no need to take any action. The information you provide on your departure date does not lock you into leaving on that date as it is for planning purposes only.

*Photos and Inventory of your Belongings

We recommend any valuable items be taken with you over break and not be packed.  Please take photos and document an inventory of all items packed for your room. Movement of items during The Flip are being carefully coordinated and all items will be treated with the utmost care. However, if a rare instance of damage is reported, time-stamped photos and inventory lists will be required to establish proof of ownership and condition.

Packing Instructions:

*Things NOT to pack—please discard or take the following items with you:

  • ID/Passport/Identification Documents
  • Cash
  • Liquids (perfumes, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, etc.)
  • Room Key
  • Medicines/Medical Equipment you may need between November and January
  • Any books/notes/supplies that you might need for your exams
  • Perishable food (bread, fruit, unsealed containers, etc.)

We also recommend not packing jewelry or other valuable items. 

Building your boxes:

Once you are ready to start packing boxes, turn them upside down. Take the smaller flaps and fold them in first, followed by the larger ones. Then, use packing tape to fully secure the bottom by going the entire width of the box, 3 times. You should only use packing tape to secure boxes, never masking tape or duct tape. Once your box is full and items are secure inside, fold the smaller flaps, followed by the larger flaps and securely tape the width of the top, 3 times. Place your university-provided label on a side panel of the box, directly in in the middle. Indicate on the label what the box count is (box 1 of 10, box 2 of 10, etc.).

Box types:

Small boxes are ideal for any heavy items you may need to pack. You will want to avoid packing heavy items into any larger boxes because they will quickly become too heavy to lift or rip through the bottom of the box.

Medium boxes are perfect for packing clothing, shoes, games, decorations, printers, and other durable, miscellaneous items. Try and pack all similar items in one box, instead of mixing them together.

Large boxes should be used for comforters/duvets, pillows, sheets, and towels. Pillows should be packed last in order to keep their form.

  • Pack Evenly
    • To ensure the safety of your items and to avoid breaking your boxes, we suggest that you do not overload boxes with heavy items. Evenly distribute heavier items. Identify items that you may not use/need and consider packing them to take them home.
  • Pack Fragile Items Securely
    • Utilize bubble wrap, clothing, towels, or sheets to pad boxes that contain fragile items. Make sure that fragile items are snugly packed and cannot shift around during the moving process.
  • Spread Out the Work
    • You should start packing up your room several days before you actually move out. Alternate between studying and packing up non-essentials in the days before you leave— while you’re packing, turn on some music, a podcast, or a show, and use the time as a study break. Schedule a zoom packing party with your virtual roommate or a friend to keep each other motivated! Do not wait until the day before or day of to start packing.
  • Pack Non-Essentials First
    • Decorations, for example. Even though they typically take up a small space, having decorations all over your room makes your room seem more cluttered than it is. Put all of your decorations in one box so you can set up your new room next semester.
  • Pack Your Items Intentionally
    • Identify what clothes you want to take home for the interim period between fall and spring semester. Pack your suitcase with these clothes. Everything else that you want to remain on campus, in storage, pack separate from your hangers so you can use the boxes most efficiently. Be conscientious of what you pack—keep in mind what the weather will be like in your home state/country. Identify clothing or personal items that you may not use/need and consider packing them to take them home.
Non-Boxed Items
  • Microwave/Refrigerator
    • Clean your microwave and/or refrigerator on the outside and inside. Remove any photos or magnets off the front of your refrigerator and pack them away. Remove the glass plate from your microwave and pack it securely in one of your boxes. Empty and unplug your refrigerator at least two days prior to your move out date and leave the doors open and place a towel underneath it. This is to ensure that the fridge is completely defrosted and dried so that it does not mold or leak on to your other items. Wrap the cord up and tape it securely behind the coils so that it does not drag or tear. Make sure to secure the drawers and shelves inside as they may shift during the move. Place your label on the front of the microwave and/or refrigerator in the top left corner. Feel free to place several strips of tape on the top left corner of the front of the microwave and/or refrigerator prior to placing your label on, for easy removal.
  • Rubbermaids/Plastic Containers/Bins
    • Ensure lid is secure on bin. Secure with tape. Place your label on the side panel of the box directly in the middle. Feel free to place several strips of tape in the middle of the bin prior to placing your label on, for easy removal.
  • Plastic Drawers
    • Tape the drawers securely shut. Items stored in these drawers should be packed snugly so they do not shift during the move. Place your label on the front of the drawers in the middle. Feel free to place several strips of tape on the middle of the front of the drawer prior to placing your label on, for easy removal.
  • Televisions/Monitors
    • We recommend that you use the original packaging materials for your television/monitors, if you still have it. If this is not possible, identify if your television/monitor will fit in one of the provided boxes and utilize bubble wrap and other padding to secure the box. If your item will not fit in a box, securely wrap your television/monitor in bubble wrap and cardboard padding and place a label in the middle of the padding.
  • Shelves
    • If the shelves are able to be easily broken down, please do so and tape them together tightly. If they are not able to be easily broken down, wrap it securely and place your label in the middle.
  • Rugs
    • Roll your rug tightly and tape it securely in at least 3 places. Once it is secured, place a label on the tape on the rug.
  • Lamps
    • Remove lightbulbs and lampshade and pack in a box, if possible. Wrap the cord and tape securely to the base of the lamp. Place your label on the lamp. Feel free to place several strips of tape on the lamp prior to placing your label on, for easy removal.
  • Headboard
    • If the headboard is not able to be easily broken down, wrap it securely and place your label directly in the middle of the headboard packaging.
  • Curtain Rods
    • If they are not able to be easily broken down, wrap securely and place your label directly in the middle of the curtain rod.

If you have additional questions related to how to best pack certain items, please contact the Office of Housing and Residential Experience at

Communications about The Flip sent to FY residents:

Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate how best to provide all Vanderbilt students with a Commons residential experience in the midst of COVID-19.

See you on The Flip side!