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Cultural Awareness

“Living on The Commons presents unique and extraordinary opportunities to explore your own identity in community with others who are also eager to celebrate difference and make happen a transformative experience of inclusion, belonging, and discovery. In so doing, we discover the world outside of our physical boundaries as well—right here on our halls, in the dining center, and in our classrooms. ”
—Professor Chalene Helmuth, faculty head of Sutherland House

Cultural Awareness

In the residential colleges system, students learn to explore, live, and celebrate diverse communities in their house or college, at Vanderbilt, in Nashville, and throughout the world by developing thorough understandings of identities, biases, stereotypes, and cultural competencies.

We seek to empower students to contribute to the creation of an inclusive community that embraces and honors people of all backgrounds and experiences. Each year, the country flags of all 1,600 students’ national identities are displayed in atrium of The Commons Center, to honor the experiences and backgrounds that the entire first-year class brings to The Ingram Commons. In Moore College, students join Faculty Head Mumin Kurtulus for a weekly signature event known as cosMOOREpolitan in which food and practices from a particular country are shared. Countries celebrated in the fall 2021 semester include Japan, Italy, Cuba, and Mexico, among others.

“The strongest and most supportive relationships I developed my first year were built upon an understanding and acceptance of the identities of those around me. Living in an environment of cultural, sexual, racial, and religious diversity allowed for the sharing and appreciation of each unique identity. By valuing the differences that we share and accepting everyone for who they are, The Ingram Commons community is a place any Vanderbilt student can call home.”
—Jon Marchineck, ’21, Former HPAC Peer Mentor