The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices oversees, advises, and supports a wide range of religious and civic communities and initiatives on campus and plays an important role as a college liaison to the mid-Hudson Valley community.
Staff members are available for pastoral counseling and spiritual guidance for any concerns or questions students may have. The director for Jewish student life, advisor for Muslim student life, and part-time affiliate advisors serve the Jewish, Muslim, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and InterVarsity communities on campus. A faculty advisor volunteers to support our Buddist Sangha. We are currently located in the Chapel tower, as well as at the Bayit, Vassar’s home for Jewish campus life, at 51 Collegeview Avenue, but our office will soon move to Pratt House, which will become the new hub for RSLCP as a space of respite, gathering, and contemplative practices for the campus community. The RSLCP Office is a Campus Partner of the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab (CIL) and a member of the Association for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Life in Higher Education (ACSLHE).
The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices 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, we are 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 associate dean and assistant director, a part-time advisor, a staff of fellows and advisors representing a variety of traditions, our office 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 we aren’t just available 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 Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices and a wealth of opportunities to get involved. For a current listing of what we are doing, please visit our Facebook page.
Believe it or not, and whether you believe or not, we are here to help you integrate what you care about most with your educational experience at Vassar.
The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices 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.