Vassar Student Association

About the Vassar Student Association

VassarWelcome to the Vassar Student Association (VSA), Vassar College’s student government. Founded in 1868, the VSA plays a central role in programming and policymaking at all levels of the College. Every student attending Vassar is a member of the VSA. Students are represented by dozens of elected leaders working on a wide variety of activities and issues. The student government’s influence pervades all facets of the College experience, acting as a liaison between students and faculty, administrators, alumni, and trustees. It also serves as a galvanizer, a structure through which students may come together and freely express their sentiments with the rest of the campus. An understanding of the VSA structure can prove invaluable in making the most of the Vassar experience. There are three primary elements of the structure that operate in tandem to ensure representation of student voice. You can learn more about our history, and read our Governing Documents.

The Executive Board

The Executive Board is comprised of six elected students—the President and five Vice Presidents. The President is the chief executive officer of the VSA, and focuses on overall management of the student government. The Vice Presidents each focus on a particular area of College life. The VP for Student Life serves as the primary liaison to the Dean of the College division, working with all non-academic student services. The VP for Operations supports the work of the other VPs and college committees, and manages the day-to-day work of the Student Association. Students’ academic life is considered by the Vice President for Academics, who coordinates with the Dean of the Faculty division. The VSA’s 120 student organizations are managed by the VP for Activities, who works with the Campus Activities Office to schedule hundreds of events each month. Our budget of approximately $700,000 is overseen by the VP for Finance, who works with Accounts Payable and the Finance Committee to ensure the fiscal health of the VSA. Together, these six students meet daily with administrators, faculty, trustees, and other student leaders. They serve as the link between the student body and the Senior Officers of the College, sitting on virtually all of Vassar’s most active committees. Learn more about the Executive Board, and please consider stopping by open office hours.

The Council

The Vassar Student Association Council is the VSA’s chief legislative body. Comprised of 24 elected student representatives, Council includes the presidents of each class year and residence, as well as the six members of the Executive Board. Together, these representatives discuss and decide upon a wide variety of issues affecting the student body. Most importantly, perhaps, the Council has responsibility for allocating the VSA’s budget to organizations and events. The Council also hears reports from committees, administrators, and student leaders in order to foster broad-based discussion on changes to College policies. The VSA President chairs Council, and votes only in the event of a tie. These meetings are open to members of the College community, and take place each Sunday evening at 7 p.m. in the College Center Multipurpose Room. Any student is welcome to attend a meeting and raise issues during open discussion.

Committees

Beyond the Executive Board and the Council, students elected at large sit on a wide network of committees. There are essentially two broad types of committees: 1. The five VSA Standing Committees are comprised exclusively of members of the Council, and chaired by members of the Executive Board: The Activities Committee (chaired by the VP for Activities), the Academics Committee (chaired by the VP for Academics), the Student Life Committee (chaired by the VP for Student Life), the Finance Committee (chaired by the VP for Finance), the Appointments Committee (Chaired by the VP for Operations), and the Constitutional Review Committee (chaired by the VP for Operations). Issues are usually discussed within these specialized committees before being discussed by the broader Council. Students with concerns about any of these broad areas are encouraged to contact the chair. 2. Joint Committees are a testament to the joint governance structure maintained by Vassar College, which ensures that all constituencies have a place in decision-making. Joint Committees are generally chaired by faculty or administrators, but include active student members who discuss and debate issues alongside full-time College employees. The topics of these committees can range from programming initiatives (like the Arlington Special Events Committee) to widespread student life issues (through groups like the Committee on College Life). Vassar’s committee structure can be difficult to navigate. Some committees have overlapping mission statements, and others do not make their missions clear. Resolving these redundancies and inefficiencies is among the highest priorities of the Executive Board, although changes involve extensive collaboration with the faculty and administration. In the mean time, not sure where to take an issue? Contact the VP for Operations, who will be able to direct students to the appropriate committee to consider a certain concern.

A proud tradition of shared governance

Students are the architects of campus life at Vassar. They govern themselves; they start new organizations and publications and performing groups; they sit with faculty and administrators on policy committees; they bring in speakers and entertainers; they plan scholarly conferences and throw campus-wide parties; they point out institutional problems and come up with solutions. They have an unusual amount of power to shape not only their own experience at Vassar but policies that will influence the future direction of the College. Learn more our about fascinating history.

Meet the VSA Executive Board

Find office hours, learn about executive positions, and read biographies of the six students serving on the VSA Executive Board. Meet this year's Board »

Meet the VSA Council

Find your class and residential representatives and learn how to contact them with your comments and concerns. Also read about the various council committees and peruse agendas and minutes from the weekly VSA Council meetings. Meet this year's Council »

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