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Buildings and Belonging

African Americans have been part of the fabric of Vassar College since its inception—from students, faculty, and administrators to artists, architects, artisans, musicians, landscapers, caterers, housekeepers, and others who have passed through the college over time. Buildings and Belonging honors their presence and contributions. In addition to educating all about the influence of African Americans at Vassar, organizers aim to encourage a greater sense of  “belonging” for African Americans currently living, studying, and working at the college.

Buildings and Belonging highlights 13 campus buildings and sites where African Americans have contributed to the physical, cultural, academic, and sociological history and development of the college. Interested parties may take self-guided or docent-led tours of these sites, designated by temporary markers through October 2018. This website and a printed map will assist visitors in their exploration and provide additional information about the historical relevance of each site.

Also, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center's Focus Gallery will display the exhibition Reflections, featuring selected works by 30 African American artists from Vassar’s permanent collection, through August 10, 2018.

Buildings and Belonging reflects Vassar’s commitment to equity and inclusion in academia and campus life. In the long term, organizers plan to incorporate the project into the life of the campus through permanent campus markers, orientation events, admissions tours, and ongoing research.

Buildings and Belonging is a collaborative effort by the African American Alumnae/i of Vassar College (AAAVC), student and faculty researchers, the Office of the President, the Office of Campus Life and Diversity, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, the Thompson Memorial Library, the Office of Communications, and the Facilities Operations Department.

Submit your memories and suggestions about Vassar buildings and sites to AAAVC@vassar.edu.