Out of Class
While Vanderbilt Summer Academy is academically focused, it isn’t only about the academic experience. We believe that life outside the classroom is just as important as what goes on inside. VSA staff work hard to create programming that enlightens and excites VSA students when they are not in class. Each weekday, you will participate in an extracurricular class in the afternoon, and, every evening, you will be able to participate in a wide range of activities—from Ultimate Frisbee and field days to tie-dyeing and talent shows, there is never a dull moment. In addition, time is built into the schedule to allow plenty of opportunities for you to unwind and socialize with your new friends. Not only will you have the chance to live on a college campus, but also you will get to sample some of the many cultural and entertainment offerings of Nashville through group outings and field trips.
Housing: The Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt leads the country in its commitment to create the best possible undergraduate learning environment. At the heart of this objective lies the mission of The Ingram Commons—a unique program designed to make the first-year college experience challenging, fun, and fulfilling. This collaborative community nurtures and develops proactive, intentional learners and invites an invigorating exchange of ideas. Learn more at commons.vanderbilt.edu.
At Vanderbilt Summer Academy, you don’t have to wait until you are a college student to enjoy The Ingram Commons experience. The Ingram Commons will be your “home away from home” at VSA. This array of first-year residence halls combines the best of modern conveniences within classically elegant architecture. The Commons residence halls are centrally air-conditioned and include access to laundry facilities. Dorms and/or floors are separated by gender, and communal bathrooms are available on each hall. Large common areas for games and social interaction are also prime features of each residence hall and provide students with shared space to take part in their living and learning community. A temporary home on The Ingram Commons will give you a sneak peek into Vanderbilt’s residential experience for first-year students.
Vanderbilt Summer Academy students eat most of their meals in campus dining halls, which offer a wide variety of healthy and savory selections including vegetarian and vegan options. Students with food allergies and/or dietary restrictions will find VU dining to be an accommodating partner. We understand that dietary restrictions can be serious in nature. Don’t hesitate to call our office to discuss meal accommodations. All meals served in the dining halls or at VSA–wide events are covered in the tuition. However, students may choose to bring some money from home to purchase coffee drinks and snacks from on-campus markets.
After Class Exploration (ACE)
Once the course has ended for the day, students participate in an After Class Exploration (ACE) activity, which typically provides an artistic or athletic opportunity. ACE offerings for each session vary, and students will take part in a different ACE each week of their session. Often creative or physical in nature, these classes are designed to engage you in a new experience and provide different opportunities from your academic class at VSA. More information about ACE enrollment will be provided after admission into the program. ACE takes place for about an hour each academic day.
After a structured day, VSA students have about an hour of free time before dinner. This is a great chance to meet up with friends, get in a workout, or enjoy some quiet time on the patio. New to VSA? Hoping to meet new friends? Don’t worry! Our residential staff are present during free time and host low-key, drop-in activities for anyone looking to join a casual group craft time or a board game. You will be free to step in and out of activities that appeal to your interests.
Evening and Weekend Options
Each of our VSA sessions has a slightly different blend of evening activities depending on the age of the students and length of stay. Sessions I and II feature a more structured blend of post-dinner options, while Session III offers more flexibility and independence. Regardless of session or grade level, VSA strives to offer a variety of low-, medium-, and high-energy activities so that each student may select the activity that best matches his/her interest and curiosity. Session II and III students have the additional benefit of VSA weekends. During this time, other on-campus events and off-campus outings are arranged—from theme dances to VSA carnivals, scavenger hunts, and movies, weekends on campus are engaging and fun. Off campus events also add to the weekend fun as experiences are designed with a particular eye toward exploring the rich diversity and culture of Music City. All outings and activities are included in the tuition cost. Students may wish to bring spending money to purchase souvenirs/ snacks.
Winding Down Each Day
After a full day of class and events, students have time to wind down each night with a stretch of free time. This hour is designed to allow you the chance to catch up with floormates, have one last conversation on your floor’s common area, and begin preparing for bedtime. You’ll also check in with your proctor group during this time for proctor group bonding, daily reflection, and important reminders for the days ahead.
Safety, Health, and Student Supervision
Vanderbilt Summer Academy recognizes the importance of proper health and safety for everyone in our program. Our trained staff live in the residence hall, supervise activities, and maintain the overall well-being and safety of students during the program. Students spend the majority of their evenings and weekends participating in supervised events and activities. Discretionary time will vary by session. The VU Police Department partners with VSA in securing the residence hall and campus. The VSA residence halls house only program participants and authorized Vanderbilt staff. All students are provided with electronic access cards to their residence hall.
Because Vanderbilt Summer Academy is an opportunity to experience communal living, some of the responsibility for health and safety rests with students. Students will be informed of the program guidelines for behavior, participation, and campus boundaries in the Vanderbilt Summer Academy Student Handbook, which will be provided upon admission. All rules are designed to foster a healthful, respectful environment where everyone can find success and enjoyment. In the event that a student needs medical attention while at VSA, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which includes the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, is located next door to the campus. Specific policies about personal medications, health history, student health concerns while on campus, and insurance requirements are outlined in the required welcome paperwork and VSA student handbook.
Our leadership team includes full-time PTY staff who move into the dorm and work closely with carefully selected and trained residential proctors. Proctors foster community within the residence hall and guide students through evening and weekend activities. Each VSA proctor lives on the same hall as his/her assigned same-gender proctor group of 12–15 students. Students meet each evening with their proctor groups and enjoy occasional group outings together. VSA residential staff is large in number, and positions range from program assistants to the head of student support, head of operations to residential program assistants. Our staff (some of whom were VSA students years ago) is eager to welcome each session to campus and provide a warm and encouraging environment for new and returning students.