“It’s almost a cliché to say that you change when you go to college. And it is a curious idea in a sense: students are accepted to Vanderbilt, after all, because of who they already are and, more importantly, how they will bring ideas, traits, and experiences to campus as members of a larger community. So perhaps it is more accurate to say that how you think about yourself—your identity, your choices, your beliefs—may change, especially as you find yourself in fascinating, sometimes challenging, conversations with people who may appear to be different from you.”
—Vanessa Beasley, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Residential Faculty
Living on The Commons encourages students to begin the process of self-discovery and clarify their own ethical, spiritual, and civic personal values.
As members of both the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities, first-year students further their understanding of not only their own values but also of their responsibility to the community at large. Through dialogue, intentional programming, and student-led initiatives, students challenge their personal development, broaden their understanding of their own identities, and contribute to the integrity of the community.
All houses host programming throughout the year that allows for engagement with the community—for example, the houses participate in The Commons Cup Penny War each year, in which the winner chooses the charity to which all funds are donated. Last year, the houses jointly raised $1,224, which was donated between the Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Little Pantry That Could.
“Before coming to Vanderbilt, I often feared I would drown in a sea of so many other talented and driven students. But The Commons emphasized the collaborative nature of learning and leadership, and as I began to work with my fellow students, I realized my voice was never drowned out like I thought it would be. I not only learned to value other students backgrounds and opinions, but began to see the true value of my own perspective while leading on The Commons. I discovered the most effective form of leadership comes from leading while listening, so that many voices work to achieve so much more than just an individual.”
-Sydney Garretson, ’21, CLC Peer Mentor
Mastering a course of study that will prepare students for professional, community, and civic affairs while cultivating a capacity for lifelong learning
Interacting with others outside of student’s primary peer groups with civility, curiosity, and respect