About Vassar’s Housing System
The Office of Residential Life strives to provide a socially conscious, responsible and empowering residential community, where students are asked to reflect and commit to being socially just for self, others and society. The office incorporates restorative practices and non-violent communication.
The structure of the residential experience, in which students in all four classes live in the residence halls, obliges students to master the art of living cooperatively in a diverse community. Diversity of perspective is honored as well in the college’s system of shared governance among all the constituencies of the institution.
Vassar has eight coeducational houses, one house for women only, and one cooperative (where students do their own shopping, cooking, and cleaning). The great majority of students live in one of these houses through their junior year. Most seniors (and some juniors) choose to live in one of the college’s partially furnished apartment complexes. Within easy walking distance of the main campus, these apartments house four to five students, each with his/her own bedroom.
The houses are self-governing and self-directing, led by a House Team that includes faculty residents (House Fellows), residential life professionals (House Advisors), residential life student staffers (Student Fellows and House Interns), and house officers elected by the residents of the house. The house president also sits on the VSA Board of Residential Affairs, representing the house in the student government. Together, the House Team strives to create an environment that complements the academic life of the college by providing social, cultural, and educational programming in the houses.
There is friendly rivalry between houses, and students often attribute personalities to their houses –the “family dorm,” or “the artsy dorm.” But in truth, those personalities are continually evolving and are a reflection of the diverse backgrounds and values and interests of their residents.