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“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 Ingram Commons encourages students to begin the process of self-discovery and clarify their own ethical, spiritual, and civic personal values.

In the upper-division residential colleges, 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 of all grade levels challenge their personal development, broaden their understanding of their own identities, and contribute to the integrity of the community.

All houses and colleges host programming throughout the year that allows for engagement with the community—for example, all houses on The Ingram Commons participate in professional development workshops where speakers are brought in to help students explore various topics and interact with new viewpoints and perspectives. The upper-division colleges also host a variety of events each semester inviting students to further explore who they are and what they believe, alongside faculty heads and guest speakers.

“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, Former HPAC Peer Mentor