"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
First-year students learn to explore, live, and celebrate diverse communities on The Ingram Commons, 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 Commons.
In fall 2017, The Commons also co-hosted several panels and sessions as a part of The Ingram Commons Immersion Pathways Workshops program for students who were interested in studying abroad. Topics ranged from strategies for discussing study abroad opportunities with parents and families to successfully transitioning back to life on campus. Through intentional programming—such as these sessions and other dialogues about privilege and bias—first-year students are able to further their understanding of both other members of the community and themselves.
“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 Commons community is a place any Vanderbilt student can call home."