Staff

About Religious and Spiritual Life at Vassar College

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) at Vassar College is difficult to pigeonhole. Yes, it has to do with religions - all of them. Yes, it has to do with spirituality, and the many ways people experience and express the wonder of everyday life. But it's more than that.

What makes it difficult, and at the same time wonderfully characteristic of Vassar, is the extraordinary range of practices and beliefs the office seeks to support and embrace - from mindfulness practitioners to Roman Catholics, from Reform Jews to evangelical Christians, from secularists to mainline Protestants, from Hindus to environmentalists, RSL is here to help you make what matters most to you part of your learning.

We call it "hope maintenance" or the art of discerning how your commitments (religious, spiritual, or otherwise) come together in concrete practices of discovery and transformation.

Under the leadership of a full-time director and assistant director, a staff of fellows and advisors representing a variety of traditions, RSL supports the ritual practices of this diverse community by offering opportunities for observance on campus and facilitating connections with synagogues, churches, temples, mosques, and monasteries in the surrounding community.

But RSL isn't just for believers. Anyone who is interested in community service, or issues of social justice, or art as a vehicle for social change, or holistic lifestyle choices will find a warm welcome at the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and a wealth of opportunities to get involved. For a current listing of what we are doing in the RSL Office, please visit our Facebook page.

Believe it or not, and whether you believe or not, RSL is here to help you integrate what you care about most with your educational experience at Vassar.

History

Founded in 1861 as a residential liberal arts college independent of particular denominational ties, Vassar has long understood the importance of religious exploration and formation to education. Reflecting an era when faith and learning were popularly understood as educational partners, Vassar's first four presidents were Protestant clergy. Today, in a time when the relationship between commitments (religious and otherwise) and learning is itself a subject of lively debate, Vassar's religious landscape reflects a remarkable diversity of religious communities and practices. In a setting that is both more secular and more religiously diverse than the College's founders could have imagined, religious and spiritual inquiry remains a vital part of the learning experience at Vassar.

Mission

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) helps students integrate lives of passionate commitment, embodied practice and intellectual critique at Vassar and beyond. Our programs articulate a lively public role for religious imagination and ensure that opportunities for spiritual and democratic formation are part of the demanding and creative education Vassar offers - for the religiously devoted, the spiritually curious and the radically questioning.

"Like" us on Facebook for information about current events and more!