This place has something remarkable going for it that you could probably find it somewhere else, but we all decided to find it here. We can try to pinpoint exactly what that something is, but I have a feeling you don’t need me to tell you what it is. If you graduated recently I’m sure you figured it out. Nonetheless my pre-graduation self has a few ideas.
Number one: Student Driven Programming. It has been my pleasure to spend four years working with a student body that never fails to impress. Both as a student, in the theater, and as the VP for Finance I have worked with countless students on the wide variety of projects that we are passionate about. Sometimes I haven’t understood why people want to do something, but I have been invigorated by their passion.
Most of the time as a student body we don’t agree about how these events should happen, or even what these events should be, but we have the autonomy to explore. We’re forced to support yet question each other. No other place provides us with the freedom to screw up and the guidance to fix our mistakes the way that Vassar does. If there’s one thing I hope to see continued at Vassar it is this autonomy of the student body.
In a similar vein, as manager of the Shiva Theater it has been a daily adventure to support my classmates as they develop and execute incredible productions that we won’t have the resources to produce for years to come. Theater has been a steadfast inspiration and I am insanely jealous of the fact that you will continue to do just that despite what the post-Vassar world demands. I can only hope that I have taken full advantage of that opportunity while at Vassar.
Number two: Professors, Administrators and Staff. It became abundantly clear to me that most of the people that work here do so for a reason. No matter where they are holed up on campus or what the are doing they love working with and around students. For underclassmen reading this please don’t forgot this. Being a student here is an incredible privilege and as students we must recognize the folks that tirelessly support all the crazy projects that we come up with. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Number three: Students. To my housemates, my classmates, all the groups I’ve worked with and everyone else that I’ve crossed paths with thank you for supporting all that we have done together. My four year’s here have been incredibly exciting and varied. I feel like each year I engaged with an entirely different college. My transition from the dorms to meat house, from theater to founder’s day, and then on to the VSA put me in contact with more people than my freshman year self could have imagined.
I’ve never felt trapped by the people here at Vassar. We move between our various lives incredibly well and only as a senior have I finally begun to understand the relationships that connect us. And as much as this place can be a daily struggle I’m proud to say that I have found the people that I can rely on. I can only hope that you feel you can rely on me as well.
That’s what I got for now. See you all on the hill. Don’t worry about goodbyes, as the Germans say: Man sieht sich zweimal im Leben —you always meet someone twice. Whether you like it not, we will meet again.
—Michael Kaluzny is Manager of the Shiva theater and VP for Finance of the VSA. He is a German Studies and Math major.