Information you can use for your soon-to-be Vanderbilt University student.
Information you can use for your soon-to-be Vanderbilt University student.
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Vanderbilt University
Commodore Connection | July 2023
Melissa Gresalfi

Dear Vanderbilt families,  

My name is Melissa Gresalfi, and I am the dean of residential colleges and residential education, and dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt University. It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to the Commodore community. As dean of residential colleges, I oversee academic programming that happens outside of the classroom, with the goals of building inclusive communities among students and faculty from diverse backgrounds and of creating opportunities to learn more about yourself, your world and the person you want to become. 

Transitioning can be intense, exciting and a bit overwhelming for students and families alike. For that reason, we have developed a series of events to help first-year students learn more about what to expect in the coming months. In May we hosted a webinar called “Welcome to the Vanderbilt Family.” Our next webinar will be on July 19 at 6 p.m. CT and will overview “Life at Vanderbilt.” I hope you will register and join me there. If you aren’t able to join us, you can find all of the summer communications here, including all webinars and informational videos.  

In the newsletter below, you will find information about how your students can get involved in the many campus opportunities Vanderbilt has to offer. I also invite you to connect with residential colleges on Instagram for the latest updates.  

We are looking forward to meeting you all soon. Again, welcome to Vanderbilt! 


Melissa Gresalfi 
Dean of Residential Colleges and Residential Education 
Dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons
Professor, Mathematics Education and Learning Sciences 

CommonVU Orientation

The required CommonVU Orientation offers activities and programs for first-year students to introduce them to the living-learning communities of their houses and The Ingram Commons, the faculties and academic classes of their schools, the norms and values of the Vanderbilt community, upper-division students and their organizations, and Nashville. Additionally, students will meet their student and faculty VUceptors, who will serve as guides throughout their first semester at Vanderbilt. The official orientation schedule will be available in early August.  
Learn More

Parents and Family Orientation

Parents and families are invited to participate in an orientation session that includes remarks from Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, a panel discussion on health, safety, and wellness, and a panel discussion on academics, immersion, and professional development. The session will be livestreamed and recorded. Parking is available in the 25th Avenue Garage. With questions, contact
Saturday, Aug. 19, 5:30–7:30 p.m. 
Langford Auditorium  

Parents and Family Orientation Reception 

Following orientation, join Dean of Residential Colleges & Residential Education Melissa Gresalfi, panelists, and other families for light refreshments. 

Saturday, Aug. 19, 7:30–8:30 p.m. 
Langford Auditorium Lobby 

International Parent and Family Reception

Parents and families of new international students are invited to enjoy refreshments while being welcomed by university departments including Residential Colleges, Parent and Family Programs, International Student & Scholar Services, and more.
RSVP here by Aug. 11th. Questions can be directed to  
Thursday, Aug. 17, 11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Student Life Center Board of Trust (BOT) Room 

Vanderbilt Visions

Vanderbilt Visions allows groups of new students to discover college life together. All first-year students will be assigned to one of 90+ Visions groups. These groups—each of which is made up of about 18 first-year students—meet weekly throughout the fall semester. Visions groups help students form strong connections and support networks with classmates across different houses, schools, perspectives and geographical backgrounds and assist with their transition to becoming successful college students. Visions also connect students with their VUceptors. Visions encourage students to express their questions, ideas and opinions and learn from and with each other. 
Learn More

Finding Community

Vanderbilt’s student organizations and identity centers enable students with shared interests to find one another in a supportive, welcoming and inclusive environment.
By bringing students together outside of the classroom, these organizations increase collective social mobility and provide space for dialogue and immersion. Student organizations and identity centers enhance the vibrant Vanderbilt community and create opportunities for students to empower and learn from one another. 
Specific organizations range from Vanderbilt Student Government to special interest groups like the Geology Club, Running Club and Vanderbilt Piano Society, among many others, to official associations like the American Medical Student Association and the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. 
Learn More

Anchor Link

Anchor Link is a crucial tool for Vanderbilt’s 500+ student organizations, helping leaders engage with members, publicize events, post important news or receive applications. It serves as the central calendar for student life and has groups for every registered student organization, residence hall and living-learning community on campus, as well as a variety of university departments, programs and resources.
Learn More

Experience Vanderbilt 

Experience Vanderbilt is a student-led, university-supported initiative that provides undergraduate students who qualify with funding for extracurricular activities that have fees. These extracurricular activities include student organizations, club sports, arts and cultural experiences, service trips, outdoor recreation trips, Greek Life or any official Vanderbilt student organization that has fees associated with participation. 
Learn More

Welcome Website - Everything You Need to Know! 

Visit the Welcome website for incoming students to check out important dates, find to-do lists, explore pre-arrival programs and so much more. 

In addition, your student will receive emails to their Vanderbilt email (VU Gmail) throughout the summer with important dates and information. 

Email communications sent to students can be found here
Important Dates
Commodore Card photo deadline is July 15
Commodore Cash funds deadline is July 15.  
Vanderbilt Visions group change request deadline is July 18.  

Learn More

Important Checklist from Student Affairs

1. Make sure your student has adequate renter’s insurance. Learn More
2. Make sure your student has the required health insurance coverage and, if necessary, complete the waiver by August 1. Learn More
3. Make sure your student understands their allergies and medications (including doses) and, if necessary, an ongoing care plan. Learn More 
4.Consider purchasing adequate tuition insurance. Vanderbilt has partnered with GradGuard to offer a completely optional tuition protection plan. Learn More
5. Subscribe to the new AlertVU public portal for community members who are not students, faculty or staff of the university. Learn More 
6. Review incoming student information, including what to bring, how to ship items, and important dates. Learn More

Family Weekend Registration opens Aug. 22!

Mark your calendars for Family Weekend on Oct. 13–15! Join the Vanderbilt community in fun activities that will connect families to Vanderbilt traditions and Nashville, their student’s new home. Registration will launch on Aug. 22, and a full schedule of events will be coming later this fall.
During Family Weekend, the ‘Dores will play reigning national champion Georgia. VU parents and families will have an opportunity to purchase tickets early through a unique link on a first come, first served basis. If you would like your student to sit with you during the game, you will need to purchase an additional ticket for them. Be on the lookout for an email with ticket information soon!
We strongly encourage you to reserve your accommodations now; hotels and rentals fill up quickly. For additional trip planning resources, please visit the Visiting Nashville page for hotel discounts and more.
Learn More

The Vanderbilt Alumni Association Invites You and Your Family to a Commodore Launch  

Commodore Launches are a 50+ year tradition focused on welcoming incoming students and families to the Vanderbilt community. Join fellow students, families and alumni as we welcome our newest Commodores and launch their Vanderbilt experience! 

Celebrations will be held throughout the summer across the country and globe. More parties may be added, so be sure to check back frequently. 
Find Your Party

Summer Webinars

Life on The Ingram Commons | July 19, 6–7 p.m. CT 
Join Dean Melissa Gresalfi and campus partners from Campus Dining, Housing and Residential Experience, the Office of the University Registrar, Residential Colleges, Student Affairs and the Student Care Network for a discussion about life on campus. RSVP here
Learn More
Important Links headline

Parents and Family Programs
PMB 401627 | 2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 7240-1627
Parent Information Line: (877) 887 2736 |

“Vanderbilt” and the Vanderbilt logo are registered trademarks and service marks of Vanderbilt University.
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