The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life program staff includes a full-time Director, full-time Assistant Director who also serves as the Rose and Irving Rachlin Advisor for Jewish students, and a part-time Inter-Religious Fellow.
The Director reports to the Associate Dean of the College for Campus Life and Diversity, supervises the staff, oversees the work of the Affiliate Advisors who relate to the campus through the RSL Office, shapes the direction of the office's program initiatives, offers pastoral counsel to members of the campus community, and directs fund-raising efforts in collaboration with the Development Office. He also serves as the Assistant Dean for Campus Life.
The Assistant Director shares campus responsibilities with the Director for advising the office's working groups and student religious groups, offering spiritual counsel, and serving on College committees. As Advisor to Jewish students, she coordinates religious programming, advises Jewish student groups, counsels individual students on academic and personal aspects of Jewish identity, and serves as a voice of the Vassar Jewish community on campus and in the larger Poughkeepsie community.
The Tanenbaum Inter-Religious Fellow, a new position developed in partnership with Harvard Divinity School, brings a Harvard Divinity School student or recent graduate to Vassar for a yearlong position to support the office's expanding inter-religious programs.*
The Office also oversees the work of denominationally funded campus staff who serve as Affiliate Advisors for particular religious communities on campus. At present there are Affiliate Advisors for the Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Intervarsity Christian communities. The Office is working to expand this staffing in the coming years to provide advisement to a larger number of campus religious communities.
The RSL Advisory Committee, composed of faculty, administrator and RSL staff representatives, meets monthly to develop programs, listen and respond to community needs and concerns, and facilitate planning and evaluation. Committee members also help the Office liaison to the larger Vassar and Mid-Hudson communities.
*The Tanenbaum Inter-religious Fellow position is established in memory of Sidonie Bennett. The position has been made possible thanks to a gift to Vassar College from Sidonie Bennett's daughter, Dr. Georgette F. Bennett '67, President and Founder of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, via the Polonsky Foundation.