Student life at Vassar: A first-year spotlight in pictures

Image courtesy of Richard Lu ’26.

My first month at Vassar College has been an adventure. It’s given me opportunities to learn more about myself and the world around me. In this article, I’ll share my experience and highlight what student life is like at Vassar in pictures I took throughout the first half of the semester. I hope this read gives everyone a sense of belonging at Vassar and connects students in their shared experiences.

Image courtesy of Richard Lu ’26.

This is one of the first ever pictures I took on campus and it remains a dear memory of mine. Summer break had just ended and my orientation group was touring the Casper Creek on this warm August day. I managed to snap a picture of everyone standing on the wooden bridge. Tall trees are scattered in the background, providing the perfect backdrop for this moment. There’s no denying that Vassar has the most scenic campus in New York!

Image courtesy of Richard Lu ’26.

As part of orientation week, the incoming class had to participate in the Brewer Games: an event where the nine residential houses at Vassar compete for the title of best house. I was able to take a picture of the ongoing festivities. In this picture, first year students living in Josselyn house are holding up the “Joss is Boss” banner in anticipation of the event. With their body paint and green attire on, the students were ready to win. Josselyn house finished in third place.

Image courtesy of Richard Lu ’26.

Another memorable event was Convocation, which took place in the Vassar Chapel. The chapel was a marvelous sight in all its elegance and grandeur. The organ, the large centerpiece, played majestic melodies throughout the service. One at a time, speakers took to the stage to describe their experiences as former or current Vassar students. In this picture, the audience is listening intently to the speaker. I had the privilege of sitting relatively close to the front of the stage and captured this occasion. This event concluded my first new student orientation week at Vassar.

Image courtesy of Richard Lu ’26.

Students are not limited to the choices inside campus. Vassar allots 105 “Arlington bucks” per semester, which can be spent at nearby stores and restaurants. I went with a friend over this chilly weekend to Thai Spice, a restaurant located on Arlington Avenue. The dish I ordered which is depicted above was a delicate balance between sweet, savory and spicy. The lime and garnishes added a special touch. The Thai food was delicious!

Image courtesy of Richard Lu ’26.

Everyone who has visited the library has seen this sight at the end of every hallway. Lining the shelves in this picture are a variety of books that date back to the 1800s. On this day, I was searching for a friend to make some finishing touches on a group project and it took me nearly half an hour to find them. The hallways were so quiet that you could easily hear a pin drop. The size may be overwhelming at first, but students will come to love the serenity of this invaluable space. No one’s a true Brewer until you walk across the empty hallways of the Thompson Library!

Image courtesy of Richard Lu ’26.

The Gordon Commons (known better by Vassar students as the Deece) is where students can satisfy all of their gluttonous needs. The Deece’s most defining feature is its four grandiose pillars at the front of the building. Here a student walks through the two white doors that lead into the Deece. There is also chalk written on the pavement that reads “Armand Hammer.” This is because Armand Hammer, a hip hop duo from New York City, came to Vassar this eventful weekend and the chalk in front announced the group’s arrival on that cold fall afternoon.

Image courtesy of Richard Lu ’26.

Vassar’s buildings are always specially designed. Blodgett Hall’s architecture shown above is very reminiscent of a Hogwarts castle. I was at Blodgett Hall on this cloudy Sunday to stop by for office hours in preparation for my economics exam. Though it’s far from the center of campus, the long walk is worth the sight that students are greeted by. The green grass also wonderfully contrasts with the monotone colors of Blodgett’s exterior appearance, giving this picture a unique spot on this list.

Image courtesy of Richard Lu ’26.

As October Break drew closer, Vassar held the much awaited ALANA Fest. In this picture, students are holding tightly onto one another as they watch musical performances. The vibrant colors and fallen leaves were a sign that autumn had arrived. Students gathered on this day in the Residential Quad to celebrate various clubs on campus with lighthearted games, foods and conversations. It was wonderful to see students come together for something they can enjoy. 

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Even though my Vassar experience is just beginning, I’ve already seen so much that makes me fall in love with learning all over again. Only two months have gone by, and I’m looking forward to the many more to come. I’m honored to share my experience at Vassar College and hope that my writing cements these memories for students as well.

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