New Vassar Street Residence Founder’s Group to ‘lay foundation’ for new dorm’s character, government

Undergraduates will begin living in New Vassar in Fall 2020

Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson and Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 will formally charge a New Vassar Street Residence Founder’s Group to help “create a new residential community.” New Vassar Head of House Steven Hall and Associate Head of House Naomi Carton will work with student leaders, Division of Student Life staff, and faculty to form the group, according to the DSL.

According to a document linked in an email from Hall and Carton and forwarded to multiple residence halls, the Founders’ Group currently includes administration from DSL, Student Support and Wellbeing, Residential Education, and Housing and Residential Services. Additionally, an area director, graduate resident advisors, and four to six undergraduate students will join the group.

According to the document, the students in the group will commit to lunch meetings every other Thursday from 12–1:30 p.m. beginning tentatively Oct. 24. The students will gather input from the student community, contribute to the interim report, due Jan. 31, 2020, and contribute to the final report and recommendations, due June 1, 2020. The group will only be active until the opening of New Vassar in Fall 2020.

“In addition to living in New Vassar, founders’ group members will help organize the community’s government and lay the foundation for its character in partnership with the house team and supported by staff” from the DSL, according to Hall and Carton.

New Vassar will include a marketplace, community kitchen, dining hall, and makerspace. Hall and Carton wrote, “In the end, student input shaped the dorm’s interior design in significant ways, including the critical path throughout the residence hall, lounges in the residential clusters, the first-floor layout, and more flexible shared space.”

The two newest residence halls, Simmons (opened in 2002) and Maseeh (opened as an undergraduate residence in 2011) also had founders’ groups, according to Hall and Carton.