House and Commons Programming
The Ingram Commons has a generous budget to support a wide range of educational, social and cultural events – everything from a study group, impromptu game night, or a floor discussion to a musical evening, a community service project, or dinner with a notable guest at the dean's residence. Faculty Heads, students, and staff work together to plan events for the Houses and The Commons as a whole. Traditions at The Ingram Commons abound, but each year's new students, together with Faculty Heads and residential staff, shape the direction of our events and outreach efforts. Student leadership is supplied early in the first semester through elections for House president, vice president, secretary and floor representatives, and the appointment of a House Service Commissioner.
Signature events at The Ingram Commons include the Fall for the Arts festival, the Eid al Fitr celebration, Holiday High Table, the February Winter Ball, and the Spring Carnival held on the last day of the second semester. Since first-year students do not have cars, a program called The Magic Cool Bus provides opportunities to travel off campus, to such sites as Graceland, The Muhammed Ali Museum, Mammoth Cave, The Tennessee Aquarium, and Nashville's own famed music spots, Ryman Auditorium, Schermerhorn Symphony Center and Bluebird Café.
CommonVU week begins with Move-In Day, and its 700-member Move Crew, as well as activities for parents and celebratory house dinners. The week introduces first-year students to the living-learning communities of their Houses and The Ingram Commons, the faculties and academic classes of their schools and colleges, the norms and values of the Vanderbilt community, upperclass undergraduates and their student organizations, and the city of Nashville. It includes Founder's Walk, the Honor Code signing, meetings with academic advisers and professors, a class picture, first classes, and a Saturday class celebration at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
"Visions" is a required fall-semester university core program of 90 small groups, each facilitated by a faculty member and undergraduate peer mentor, called VUceptors. Student VUceptors, a distinction awarded Vanderbilt's best undergraduates, come from all four undergraduate schools; Faculty VUceptors are based in all ten of the university's colleges and schools. Each small-group discussion meets from August through November for a series of hour-long meetings and activities that encourage new college students to network and discuss the social, cultural, and academic experiences they are encountering at Vanderbilt.
Commons Seminars are optional, one-credit, spring-semester seminars open to first year students from any of the four undergraduate colleges or schools. They are flexible courses that allow faculty and students to innovate, think outside the box, indulge an intellectual passion, and "have fun." Topics have included a single book, a contemporary problem, an interdisciplinary problem, a teaching experiment, a new research interest, and many others.
The Commons reading is a book chosen each year by a committee of students, faculty, and staff from a list of suggestions solicited from the entire Vanderbilt community. The chosen book is then sent to rising first-year students to read during the summer before move-in. Conversations, programs, and academic courses touching on the book's major themes will occur throughout the fall and spring semesters in Houses, Vanderbilt Visions groups, and classes all around campus. In addition, the author of the reading, or an expert in the field if the author is unavailable, will be brought to campus for presentations and discussions about the book and related themes. The dean of The Ingram Commons also hosts a dinner in the Dean's Residence for the author and a select group of faculty, staff and students.
The reading for the Class of 2015 was Peter Gomes' The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need .