Home > Culture and Living > Diversity



"Vanderbilt is about striving for excellence. Diversity of backgrounds, ideas and approaches helps us get there."Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos

Vanderbilt celebrates a rich diversity of thought and identity. Our residential community offers a unique academic and social experience, where students, faculty, and staff come together to form a dynamic community. 

Douglas Christiansen, Vice Provost for University Enrollment Affairs and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, says "We recognize that top students can be found among all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, and our recruiters work hard to identify them and to make them aware of the opportunities available to Vanderbilt students."

Diversity is nothing new here. We opened our doors to men and women in 1875, fielded the first black athlete in the SEC, and our students created Alternative Spring Break and Project Head Start. Use the links below to explore the student organizations and campus resources that contribute to our community.

Office of Intercultural Affairs offers programs and services to facilitate cultural exchange, reflection, and exploration.

International Student and Scholar Services fosters the education and development of non–immigrant students and scholars to enable them to achieve their academic and professional goals. ISSS provides advice, counseling, and advocacy regarding immigration, cross–cultural, and personal matters.

Office of Arts and Campus Events coordinates performing arts opportunities for students outside the Blair School of Music, including Rhythm and Roots Performance Company, the Vanderbilt Dance Program, and many other opportunities.

Clubs and Organizations 
Take a look at the 510+ student organizations that Vanderbilt students can join, including:

Other Resources

Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center offers symposia, lectures, musical performances, art exhibitions, publications, and a broad spectrum of activities on the African and African American experience.

Asian Studies Program offers courses that cover topics related to East Asia (mainly China and Japan) in art, history, languages, and religion to promote better understanding of the regions.

Program in African American and Diaspora Studies offers an interdisciplinary, cross–cultural, and comparative study of the histories, literature, music, visual cultures, and politics of people of African descent around the world.

Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Series 
Noted scholars, political, civil rights and religious leaders, entertainers and artists, and those who knew and worked with Dr. King join us each January to remember Dr. King's historic achievements and appreciate his enduring influence.

Student religious organizations are open to the entire Vanderbilt community, offering an array of programs such as religious study groups, retreats, and social activities. View a  list of these student organizations.

The Office of the University Chaplain & Religious Life functions in an educational capacity for all students and groups, not only those who are traditionally religious, by raising ethical questions and issues of value and character among the student body.

Vanderbilt Hillel is the center of Jewish life at Vanderbilt, serving the religious, social, and educational needs of the undergraduate and graduate Jewish student communities.

Other Resources

Department of Religious Studies
Here students explore religion’s impact on societies around the world, become familiar with the diversity of religious expressions, and develop a better understanding of how religion shapes thoughts, lives, and values.

Jewish Studies Program 
Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt offers an interdisciplinary academic program that explores Jewish history, religion, language, philosophy, politics, culture, society, music, art, and literature across continents.

Divinity School 
This renowned graduate program offers a theological education that examines all religious traditions and our own cultural heritages through a host of classroom and extracurricular programs.

Holocaust Lecture Series 
The longest continuous Holocaust Lecture Series at any American university examines ourselves and our society in the wake of the Holocaust by bringing such notable figures as ElieWiesel, Simon Wiesenthal, and many others, to campus to address themes from ethics, resistance, and law to gender, art, and memory.

Vanderbilt University is committed to maintaining a safe, supportive, and enriching environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students and to responding to the needs of those members of our community with support, services, advocacy, and education.

The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Life serves the entire Vanderbilt community through education, research, programming, counseling, and social events. The office is a cultural center and a place of affirmation for individuals of all identities, and a resource for information and support about gender and sexuality.

Other Resources

The Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center leads co-curricular campus initiatives related to women’s and gender issues, creating innovative opportunities to make the Vanderbilt community safer, more inclusive and equitable. The center celebrates women and their accomplishments and foster empowerment for people of all identities. 

Vanderbilt Lambda is a leading promoter in diversity awareness and education, providing a safe space on campus for all students. Lambda features some of the most diverse programming on campus from awareness events, lectures, and observances, to drag shows, games, and parties. The group seeks to promote diversity in all of its forms while advocating political equality and freedom to be one's self.

Four of Vanderbilt’s ten schools and colleges are devoted to undergraduate education. With so many academic choices, the opportunities are endless.

Undergraduate Schools

College of Arts and Science (A&S)

Blair School of Music

Peabody College of Education and Human Development

School of Engineering

Graduate Schools

Divinity School

Graduate School

Law School

School of Medicine

School of Nursing

Owen Graduate School of Management