August 31, 2010

"Voting@Vassar" Is Starting Up Again

Voting@Vassar, the website started last year to bring students information about local elections, is gearing up for the upcoming elections. Apparently they're planing an "Awareness Day" for September 8th in the College Center.

Hopefully Voting@Vassar can do something to prevent the obstacles that students faced - as caught on video - last November.

Quote Of The Day

[via Flickr]
“Higher education has lost a trailblazer, a visionary, and an innovator in Virginia Smith." 

-Patrick M. Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, as quoted in Vassar's official press release about Smith's death.

Smith, Vassar's eighth president, passed away last Friday. Smith was a founding director of the National Center and in 1999 the group established the Virginia B. Smith Innovative Leadership Award in her honor.

*Breaking* Former VC President Smith Dies

[via Flickr]
Breaking news...

Virginia B. Smith, who served as president of Vassar from 1977 to 1986 died last Friday. She was 87 years old.

Cappy announced the sad news in an all-campus email today at 12:32pm. "I am very sorry to announce that Virginia B. Smith, Vassar's eighth president, serving from 1977 to 1986, passed away on Friday," Cappy wrote in a brief message. Cappy says that she will speak more about Smith in her speech during Convocation tomorrow. There will also be a moment of silence to commemorate Smith's "life of service to higher education and to Vassar."

Smith was Vassar's second female president. During her time at Vassar, she led a $100 million fundraising effort, improved our transfer student program, and acquired significant works for Special Collections. 

Like Cappy, Smith was an economist. Change magazine named her one of the most influential leaders in American higher education. Among other positions, Smith served in a top position for the U.S. Department of Health during the Nixon administration.

Smith is survived by her sister, brother, and life partner.

Click here for Vassar's official press release on Smith's death.

Mid-Hudson News coverage here.

August 30, 2010

By Word Of Mouth

We hear from an inside source that the recently separated couple who co-own a local restaurant and popular Vassar hang out are having some personal problems that could affect the business relationship...

August 29, 2010

How Did Everything Become So Old?

Most of the Class of 2011 moved in yesterday and probably realized, damn, how did I get so old? In honor of this revelation, we've compiled a list of other things whose ages we find hard to believe. (By the way, here is an article that mentions Vassar on how our generation has sought nostalgia way before previous generations did.)

1. Disney Animated Movies. It seems like just yesterday that we were watching those VHS tapes in the clamshell cases. But those movies are clearly a thing of the past, as evident by current animated films and disappointing box offices figures for The Princess and the Frog. The Little Mermaid came out 21 years ago, Beauty and the Beast is 19 years, and Aladdin 18 years. No wonder the technology - and the values presented in the films - seems antiquated.

[via IMDB]
2. Macaulay Culkin. The kid who got left alone and thwarted the bad guys not once but twice turned 30 years old last week. "Mom? Dad? Uncle Frank? Buzz?"

3. Harry Potter. Remember when the first book came out and it actually got kids interested in reading? That was already 13 years ago. Harry turned 11 years old in the first book, but technically the books take place in the 90s, so Harry would actually be 30 years old.

[via Blogue]

4. Nickelodean shows. There is a whole subculture devoted to the Nickelodean shows that we grew up with, even before the time of Cat-Dog and Rocket Power and certainly before current shows like iCarly and Zoey 101. We see the change as happening when Tommy got a little sister in one of those Rugrats movies. Or maybe when the kid from Pete and Pete grew up and joined the cast of All That. Or when Clarissa became Sabrina (and now MJH has a new show on ABC Family with one of the Lawrence brothers?). The Rugrats series is 19 years old, which means the main characters would all be about that age. Pete and Pete started 20 years ago, Clarissa Explains It All 19 years ago, and All That 16 years ago.

5. DVDs. It seems like not very long ago that we were buying an expensive and mysterious machine known as a DVD player. Yet, incredibly, DVDs have now been around for 14 years. How long until DVDs, like CDs, become obsolete?

August 28, 2010

In Case You Missed It: Summer Edition

If you were too busy slaving over that unpaid internship, doing your GTL by the beach, or just didn't know the blog had returned, here are the major Mads stories that you may have missed this summer:

Vassar filmmakers made headlines when one alumnus had a video of his wedding proposal go viral, while another alumnus won a big prize at Cannes. Meanwhile, some pranksters made Twitter accounts for Cappy, Roellke, and other administrators, but Roellke was quick to tell us that it was a hoax. Vassar took action against the impostors and had the accounts suspended. Community outrage continued over last winter's deer culling, but we were told that there would be no more cullings.

In August came the rankings. Princeton Review said we were godless liberals, while we slipped a bit but still did well in Forbes and US News & World Report. Oh yeah, named us as a top ten school for "getting lucky."

Vassar made headlines. In addition to Rick Lazio '80 campaigning for New York State Governor, Eric Dinallo '85 joined the race for New York State Attorney General. Our school also got some attention for its file-sharing policies. Students made headlines too, with some getting made fun of by Hollywood actors and others DJing for crowds of scantily clad Georgians. Another student somehow became the face of Unemployment '10.

Professors also made headlines this summer. Professor Kumar had a book reviewed in the New York Times and did a piece for Vanity Fair on the Cordoba House/"Ground Zero Mosque." Professor Mask spoke on NPR about orientalism and Eat Pray Love and Professor Laymon guest-blogged for Mads about the anniversary of Michael Jackson's death.

And of course, Vassar went through some changes. VT became VC Soundsystem, Security became Safety and Security, and the farmer's market added an extra day. Vassar got Zipcars and the VSA joined Twitter. The Quidditch World Cup announced that it is moving to New York City.

Finally, we spoke to alumni who photographed Vassar for the summer issue of the Alumnae/i Quarterly.  We also did a piece on how Mad Men characters always seem to come from liberal arts colleges (and Mad Men featured another book by a Vassar alumna).

Ok. All caught up?

Welcome Back, Readers! (A Message From Mads)

Hey Readers,
Welcome back to another year at Vassar and another year with We're the student-run unofficial blog that's been bringing you daily updates on Vassar news and culture since 2007. The blog took a break last semester, but we kept things going with hundreds of Twitter posts, thanks to a guest blogger. But we got back into the swing of things this summer with 70 posts and now we've returned for good! We have big plans for the semester, so stay tuned for new features.

We're also bringing back Vassar Munch, so you can stay up to date on all food-related news (including where and how to eat for free) on campus.

You can also stay in touch with our new Facebook page, which will have exlusives that you won't see here on the blog. We also have a Twitter page and YouTube channel. As always, we appreciate the feedback. Leave a comment on the blog or email us at madsvassar [at] And don't forget to send us tips for stories! We really wouldn't be able to do this without you.

Thanks for reading!

Our Wish List For Sharkattackz

DJ Sharkattackz returns tonight for the first all-campus event of the semester, a party in UpC. After spending half the summer driving around Long Island blasting Top 40 radio there are a few songs we're hoping to hear:

1. "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry. Not to be confused with Teen Dream, the Beach House album. Perry's song replaced "California Gurls" and has become an end-of-summer/forever-young kind of anthem. We hope Sharkattackz can find a good remix though because the original version is a bit too slow for UpC purposes. (On second thought, what if they brought back the Slow Dance? We've been to countless "middle school" themed events at Vassar, yet not one has included a slow dance.)

2. "I Like It" by Enrique Iglesias ft. Pitbull. This is the first track on the Jersey Shore Soundtrack, so it's obviously meant for pist-pumping and party-starting. Sharkattackz better throw on their shirts-before-the-shirts and use this to get things going. Watch out for grenades.

3. "DJ Got Us Fallin In Love" by Usher ft. Pitbull or "OMG" by Usher ft. Please only play one of these, or at least leave some time in between. Like Katy Perry, Usher had two big songs this summer, which is big considering he hadn't had a hit in a few years.

4. "Memories" by David Guetta ft. Kid Cudi. No, it's not a rendition of the song from Cats. Just a typical summer club track about doing "crazy shit" and making "memories." The best part is, the song only has five unique lines. Maybe Sharkattackz will enjoy playing it as much as this guy.

5. "Rude Boy" by Rihanna. Significantly dirtier than "Umbrella" and Rihanna's other hits of yesteryear, this is the song to grind to. Play this towards the end of the night and you'll prove Unigo right that everyone gets lucky at Vassar. (And yes, the video copies M.I.A.)

Songs we DO NOT want to hear: "Alejandro," "Empire State of Mind," or anything by the Black Eyed Peas. Sorry.

August 27, 2010

Changes And Updates At Fall Leadership Conference

Campus groups and organizations have been busy tweeting during this morning's Fall Leadership Conference. There seem to be a lot of changes this semester, so we've compiled a list of them below. Follow @miscellanynews, @vassarvsa, @vccampusdining, and @vcmainhouse for more. Some of the stories we've also covered in the last few days.
  • As we posted yesterday, the main section of the library will only be open until midnight Sunday-Thursday because of the 24-hour space.
  • A capella groups can no longer practice in Main building. What! Where else can they go? Skinner?
  • As we tweeted last night and posted today, security's name is now Campus Safety and Security.
  • Sam Speers, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life is now also Assistant Dean for Campus Life. This seems to be part of Vassar's plan to not hire anyone new by consolidating positions.
  • No more student catering.
  • Atrium will remain closed.
  • Rocky is now by key-access only.
  • As we posted yesterday, Zipcars are now available for students.
  • As we posted the other day, Serenading is water-only again.

Security Gets A Name Change

Campus Security is now called Campus Safety and Security. The name change isn't major, but maybe this is the result of students questioning the role that security plays on campus, which has been a big debate in VSA Council meetings.

Metro-North Delays Over Suspicious Package

For those of you coming to Vassar today by way of Metro-North, expect delays of up to one hour because of a suspicious package found earlier today.

According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, police suspended service at 8:45 this morning after a package was found on the tracks. The package was taken care of (blown up) at 9:55am. Service has now resumed but with 30-60 minute delays.

The package was left near Irvington, NY in Westchester County, about one hour and twenty minutes south of Poughkeepsie. Irvington is not on the same line as Poughkeepsie, but other lines may experience delays.

Update: The PoJo has confirmed that the package was not an explosive. Trains are back on schedule.

August 26, 2010

Here's The Catch With The 24-Hour Library Space

We were excited about the 24-hour study space that is opening this semester in the library, but there seems to be a catch: according to the library website, on the days that the 24-hour space is operational (Sunday-Thursday), the rest of the library will close at midnight.

This isn't a huge deal, but it means that anyone wanting to study past midnight, which tends to be a lot of students, will have to cram into the designated 24-hour space.

This isn't the first time the library has changed its hours. Exactly a year ago tomorrow, we broke the story that the library would be closing at midnight. The library eventually changed that policy.

More Events Planned For Quidditch Cup Week

[Via Facebook]
As we announced early last week, the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup will take place for the first time in New York City. Since the the tournament is only days before the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 on November 19th, Harry Potter fan groups and other organizations have announced more events that will supplement the games and turn the week into something of a Harry Potter fest.

A New York-based group called The Group That Shall Not Be Named is planning events for the week following the tournament, including the NYC Wizard Rock Festival on November 21st at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It sounds fake, but there are actually fifteen bands performing (with names like Ministry of Magic, The Cruciatus Curse, and Diagon Alley).

"We are THRILLED to have the cup in our home town and can't wait to meet everyone coming to our city for the games," a rep for the group commented on

Captains Nathan "Hungarian Horntail” Hoston '13 and Camila "Peruvian Vipertooth" Delgado '13 told us they were excited about competing in New York.

Introducing Zipcars!

Sometimes Vassar says it will do things and then doesn't follow through, like the convenience store set to open in ACDC in Spring 2009.

But now we're happy to say that the school has kept its word! As promised last semester, a fleet of Zipcars will be available this semester for students to use.

According to Dennis Cody, Associate Director of Security and Transportation Director, a Honda Civic and a Mazda Hatchback 3 will be available. Students can sign up with Zipcar and receive more information. The cars will be parked in designated spots in North Lot, behind Jewett.

So far no vehicles are listed for Vassar on Zipcar's website. However, Cody says, "Zipcar will decide the official opening date for usage, but it should be within the next week."

"We want this system to be very successful, and we hope our students use it and it continues to grow with additional vehicles."

Image via Flickr.

August 25, 2010

Vassar "Gets Lucky" In New Rankings

College information website just joined the likes of Princeton Review, Forbes, and US News & World Report and released its first ever rankings. The site released ten lists and you might be surprised which one Vassar ended up on.

Vassar does not fall on the lists for "New Ivies" or "Politicians and Pundits." Instead, we're on the "Walk of Shame List" for schools "where everybody gets 'lucky.'" It's pretty well-known that single, heterosexual men at Vassar have the odds in their favor - there was that infamous Spin article about it in the late '90s - but not every Vassar student might agree with this ranking. We're a bit out of place on the list, which also features Arizona State, Florida State, Michigan State, Penn State, among others.

The rankings are supposedly based on reviews by 30,000 students of 225 schools. Unigo will be releasing each individual list over the course of the next few days.

Image via Flickr.

Serenading To be Water-Only Again

In case there was any doubt (wishful thinking), we just spoke with a rep for Campus Activities, who confirmed that next week's Serenading will once again be water-only.

For those of you in 2013 and 2014 who may not know, there was a time not so long ago when Serenading was a food fight rather than a water fight. In fact, OTR named it the #1 "craziest college tradition."

In another Serenading news, as we posted yesterday, this year's annual Serenading Show will feature Kid Sister and Javelin.

VT Becomes VC Soundsystem

Vassar Teknowledgey, which has thrown events like the Farm Rave and Shiva Raves, has announced on Twitter that they have changed their name to VC Soundsystem.

Vassar alumnus and member of Vassar Teknowledgey, DJ Respire, tell us: "I've felt for a long time that VT needed a new name. I loved the internal pun, but it wasn't very obvious what the group did. Externally, it looked like we were just the A/V club or something."

August 24, 2010

2014 All Settled In (What They're Saying Part 2)

Now that the new Class of 2014 is all settled in and enjoying their first night of awkwardness excitement, we once again present to you what they're saying on Twitter:

"Room at vassar is HUGE. college is the balls"
"Vassar, i love you!"
"at Vassar, chillin' with the roommate. Yeah, you heard me.
"Well hello Vassar, hello Jewett dorm, hello new roommate....hello new life."

Serenading Show Announced

ViCE took to its official website earlier today to announce that next week's annual Serenading Show will feature Kid Sister and Javelin. Kid Sister, from Chicago, does rap, while Javelin, from Brooklyn, describe their sound as R&B crunk.

The concert on Saturday, September 4th - which is ticketless and of course free - begins at 8pm on Graduation Hill, breaks for the fireworks at 9, and then resumes right after. You can see the fireworks from the hill, so no need to move. (In the past the show has been on Ballantine Field.)

Past Serenading shows have been Clipse and Yes Giantess in 2009, Broken Social Scene and Passion Pit in 2008, and Ben Lee in 2007.

ViCE has also announced its entire Back to School Week Line up, which features a Jazz Night, film screening, NoViCE show, and Shiva Rave.

Images via MySpace.

Alumna Is Face Of Unemployed '10

When a photographer snapped a photo of Emma Carmichael '10 at Commencement in May, Emma didn't realize that she was about to become a stock image of "an unemployed generation." It turns out that the photo made its way to Getty Images, where it was soon licensed to news companies, often for articles about how recent college graduates are unemployed.

Two days after her 22nd birthday, Emma took to the popular blog The Awl to tell her side of the story:

"There was a moment on the day I graduated when, bored by the endless procession and also nursing a pulsing hangover, I looked away from the crowd—basically at nothing. It was at this moment that a photographer seemed to spring into my line of vision, and I heard a snap, and I broke my gaze to catch him darting away again. I was vaguely aware that he had taken my photo...

"My friends declared me The Face of An Unemployed Generation. I received emails with links embedded, a quick note attached: “Hey Emma, you’re famous! Hired yet?” It was fine; it was funny. My father tracked down the photographer who took it, the springy guy, and talked him into mailing us a few copies without the expensive Getty costs. My grandmothers were thrilled."

Check out Emma's full post here. Getty has possession of a few other images of Vassar 2010ers as well. Perhaps we can expect these to show up on the news too.

Update: A reader let us know that the second image was featured on Jezebel, a popular feminist blog. The image is accompanied only by the title "Cap and Grade" and the description, "Students attend the Vassar College 2010 commencement at Vassar College on May 23, 2010 in Poughkeepsie, New York." The Jezebel reader comments are mostly from Vassar alumni congratulating the 2010 class.

 We've also found out that the photographer is Andy Kropa, who has recently photographed things like Will.I.Am DJing an event and the cast of The Expendables at the New York Stock Exchange. He keeps a detailed blog, but didn't post about his work for Vassar.

Images, of course, via Getty. Right image via

Now On Facebook: Music & Mads

Are you one of the 120+ people who has "liked" us on Facebook? If you are, then you may have already seen our latest photo album featuring pictures we've taken from almost every major Vassar concert since 2007. Mads gets you as close to the performers as possible, which sometimes (cough cough Girl Talk) is a little too close.

 Check out the album to see Vampire Weekend, Girl Talk, MSTRKRFT, M.I.A., Broken Social Scene, Passion Pit, Pete Seeger, Beirut, and more.

And click here to "like" us on Facebook and see more exclusives that you won't see on the blog.

August 23, 2010

Two Professors Weigh In On NPR

There have been lots of Vassar professors in the media lately. Last week, film professor Mia Mask did a piece on orientalism and Julia Roberts' Eat Pray Love. For Mask, some of the film's eastern characters are "stereotypes" and "caracitures." According to Mask, films like EPL, as well as the recent Cairo Time and Sex and the City 2 "don't teach you anything new about Asia or the Middle East. They rely instead on the stereotype that the East is someplace timeless, otherworldly, incomprehensible, waiting to be discovered by Westerners in search of self."

This reminds us of a 2007 Slate article on race in Wes Anderson's films. (Excerpt: "It's surprising how many white-doofuses-seeking-redemption-in-the-brown-skinned-world clichés Darjeeling Limited inhabits.")

Mask did a similar piece for NPR last December on the treatment of race in Disney's The Princess and the Frog.

Also in NPR is psychology professor Randy Cornelius. In an article today on crying, Cornelius says, "You can imagine there'd be a selection pressure to develop a signaling system that wouldn't let predators in on the fact that you're vulnerable." Cornelius believes that unlike other animals, humans have evolved to cry based on emotional responses as opposed to just physical ones.

As we previously posted, another professor in the media lately is Amitava Kumar, who first had his book reviewed in The New York Times and then did an online piece for Vanity Fair on the Cordoba House/"Ground Zero Mosque."

Images via Ask Banner.

What 2014 & Others Are Saying

In less than twenty-four hours, members of the Class of 2014 will be on campus as Vassar students for the first time in their lives. Now, thanks to social media, all of their nervous and excited energy is captured on the Internets. Here is what they're saying on Facebook:

"I'll be there in about an hour. I don't know what to think."
"Anyone else just anxiously counting down to Tuesday? I can't really find anything better to do with myself."
"Vassar's coming up so fast... And it just occurred to me how quickly this is all happening. I'm so terrified and excited at the same time I don't know what to do with myself."
"what is a retreat worker?"
"How long are we supposed to hang with the fam during the first day? Do parents generally leave immediately or are we expected to take dinner with them/etc."

And here is what some upperclassmen are Tweeting:

"How is vassar in less than a week? Im not ready dvvbjddfkmknxsryh so much to do"
"Moving back into Vassar tomorrow! Excited to work on @miscellanynews!"
"i am suddenly absolutely ready to go back to vassar. over it. bye."
"just moved into #vassar... unfortunately, it is POURING."

Remember, you can now use to chat with other students and readers! See you all in the coming days!

August 22, 2010

"Mad Men" Love Vassar Books

Don't worry, no spoiler alerts...

While we're still waiting for an overt Vassar reference in the liberal arts-schooled world of Mad Men, tonight's episode referenced and quoted from The Chrysanthemum and the Sword by alumna Ruth Benedict '09 (that is, 1909). Without giving anything away, the book, first published in 1946 for the Office of War Information, is a study of Japanese culture and Japan's relationship with the U.S. during WWII. 

Benedict majored in English at Vassar and went on to become a pioneer in the field of anthropology. Vassar's Special Collections holds a number of materials on Benedict - 151 boxes to be exact - including her notes and preparations for the book.

Those MM characters sure do love their Vassar authors, as this is now the second reference to a novel by a Vassar author.

Image via Wiki Commons.

August 20, 2010

"Late Night" To Continue Despite Renovations

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (FLLAC) will be closed until January for roof repairs, but the museum just announced that its popular "Late Night" program will continue this semester.

According to the museum's website:
 "While the Art Center is closed for roof repairs, Late Night will be held on the first Thursday of every month from September through December."

As for where the weekly events will be held, the website states, "Each month we will meet in a new location."

Introducing "MadsChat"

Before taking a break from the blog last semester, we promised to return in the fall with new features. Here is the first of many...

We thought it would be cool to add a feature that allowed Vassar students and other Mads readers to communicate. After spending some time searching, we found a chat widget that seems simple, effective, and free. It looks like those AOL chat rooms we all snuck into as kids. All you have to do is type in any username and press "log in." No password or other information necessary.

It's just a trial run, so let us know what you think! Leave a comment, email us, or chat us.

Click here to check it out!

Your Vassar Debt

After Gawker posted a list of schools where students have the most debt (NYU is #1), our friends at Wesleying came up with their own list for liberal arts schools (which weren't big enough to make it on Gawker's list of schools with "total debt"). Wesleying broke it down by debt per student and compared Wesleyan with schools like Vassar, Amherst, Middlebury, and others.
According to the chart, the "Median Federal Debt for Those Entering Repayment" for Vassar students is $11,272. This is higher than that of students at Wesleyan, Amherst, Williams, Bates, and others, but far less than for students at Tufts ($18,511) and NYU (a whopping $28,649). Vassar students' "Estimated Repayment Rate" is 84%, which falls at about the middle of the list.

August 19, 2010

What We're Reading: Prof. Kumar On Mosque

English Professor Amitava Kumar, whose latest book was recently reviewed in The New York Times, has a piece today on Vanity Fair's website about the Cordoba House, a.k.a. the Ground Zero Mosque. Writes Kumar:

"We were first told in the press that the mosque was going to be built on Ground Zero. Then we learned that it was actually more than two blocks away. It was clarified that it wasn't even going to be simply a mosque, nor would its membership be limited to Muslims. In fact, the building was going to house a community center with a basketball court and a culinary school. Accuracy and truth lay buried deep under the routine invocations of hallowed ground...

"What has really been happening in this debate is the annihilation of the individual. There is no longer a conversation about a particular person; we can talk only about a faith. But is that faith one that is practiced by real people? No, because instead of people, we are always talking only of politics and symbols."

The Stats On 2014

The Class of 2014 arrives in less than a week and Vassar just put out its annual press release breaking down the class by data.

According to College Relations, this was the most selective year in the college's history (something they said last year too). Students come from 48 U.S. states and 29 foreign countries. As always, more students come from New York, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey than any other states.

The fun facts:
One student sang at Madison Square Garden for Elton John's birthday.
One student plays on Hong Kong's under-20 national soccer team.
One student performed in two Broadway musicals. (Sound familiar?)
One student rode on Santa's float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Welcome, 2014! Check back in the coming days for more on the new freshmen class.

August 18, 2010

"Macroburst" Storm Hits Poughkeepsie, Vassar Loses Power

According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, a storm hit the city on Monday that lasted only twenty minutes but had the power of a "weaker tornado." Since then, workers have been out trying to clear roads and repair damages. Specialists from the National Weather Service are calling the storm a "macroburst, which is a sudden, powerful downward current of air." Think of it like a big waterballoon, says the specialist.

Kiki Williams, Director of Facility Operations and Grounds for Buildings and Grounds, tells us that the Vassar campus experienced no tree damage but power was lost from 3:15pm and 5:15pm. "We were very lucky unlike some surrounding areas," she says.

August 16, 2010

Vassar Slips One Spot In US News & World Report Rankings

'Tis the season of college rankings (Princeton Review here and Forbes here) and moments ago, US News & World Report released its numbers. Unfortunately - if you care about this sort of thing - Vassar has slipped one spot in the rankings to #12 after holding the #11 spot for the past three years. We share the twelfth spot with Wesleyan. Vassar also received a score of 86 out of 100.

US News & World Report has separate lists for national universities and national liberal arts colleges. Harvard (#1), Princeton (#2), and Yale (#3) topped the universities list, while Williams (#1), Amherst (#2), and Swarthmore (#3) took the top spots for liberal arts colleges.

In other categories, Vassar ranked #11 for Best Values for Liberal Arts Colleges with 55.5% of students receiving an average discount of 61% from the total cost. We're also at #6 for High School Counselor Rankings for Liberal Arts Colleges, tied with Amherst, Wesleyan and others.

As for the methodology, the rankings are based on factors like academic reputation, graduation and freshman retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving rate.

Mads Is Back On Facebook

Our Facebook group from 2007 was getting a little old, so we went ahead and made a fancy new page. Please "like" it and check it regularly for updates and features that you might not see here on the blog (like a photo album showing the evolution of the blog's look). We've got big plans for this school year, so you'll want to stay in the know.

You can also check out our Twitter and YouTube pages.

Click here for our new Facebook page!

Image via Gawker.

August 15, 2010

4th Quidditch Cup Moving To NYC

The International Quidditch Association has announced (much sooner than last year) that its fourth annual Quidditch World Cup will take place on November 13th and 14th. The IQA also announced that rather than holding the event at Middlebury, as has been the venue for the past three years, this year's tournament will be held in DeWitt Clinton Park, located in New York City. Another change is that this year up to fifty teams can sign up, as opposed to previous years in which teams had to be invited.

The IQA actually became an official non-profit organization this summer, under Commissioner and President Alex Benepe '09 of Middlebury. According to our friends at MiddBlog, Benepe wrote to Middlebury administration explaining the venue change: mainly, New York is more centrally located and will enable more teams (including high school ones) to participate and the event will attract a bigger audience and hopefully get wider coverage.

Interestingly, MiddBlog points out that Benepe's father is Commissioner of Parks and Recreation for New York City.

No word yet on whether or not our team is competing, although we have competed in all three previous tournaments.

Update: We just heard from Nathan "Hungarian Horntail” Hoston '13, one of four Vassar Quidditch captains: "All the captains are very excited to have this opportunity to play in New York. By having the tournament in the city we are able to bring more people, play against a wider range of teams, and show the Quidditch playing world the amazing awesomeness that is the Butterbeer Brewers. We hope to do very well."

Update 2: Also just heard from captain Camila "Peruvian Vipertooth" Delgado '13: "I am proud to say that the Butterbeer Broooers will continue participating in the World Cup...Regarding its new location... [it] is much more convenient for the team as a whole; in the past Cups we've had trouble arranging the transportation for both the team and fans....We also really appreciate the way that bringing the Cup out of Middlebury opens it for a much more general public, making it more available to other teams who were not able to participate in the past and to the unsuspecting Harry Potter fans who will stumble upon us...All signs point to a really exciting season: it is a great time to be a Quidditch lover!"

Update 3: Just realized the tournament is taking place a mere five days before the new Harry Potter film. Coincidence?

Respire Plays Until Pants Drop And Police Come

DJ Respire (Paul Noonan '10) may have graduated in May, but last night he played for a crowd of scantily clad hipsters until it got broken up. Sounds like a Vassar party, no?

The event was called UNZIPPED: The No Pants Dance Experience, and according to the Facebook event page, the dress code was "heavily enforced." The page also states that the "Pants Police" will arrest anyone who violates this dress code, but it turned out that the real police did too. Respire played his set from midnight to 1:30am, tweeting, "My set, hundreds of people, kids going crazy. Biggest set ever." But the Atlanta police arrived around 3am for noise complaints or fire code violations and it took over an hour to clear the place. "Cops still here. Seriously, everyone leave," Respire tweeted after 4am. 

"Glad you had a good time, and don't let the cops get to you, they just mad cause we didn't invite them is all," wrote another one of the night's DJs on Facebook.

We'd say that this was the most scantily clad crowd he ever DJed for, but let's not forget DayGlo Toga '08.

Update: According to local news, police "took several people into custody on noise violation charges." Also, apparently the venue "did not have a license to sell alcohol or operate as a dance hall." An event there in July was shut down for the same reasons.

DJ Respire tells Mads: "They showed up for a noise complaint, couldn't do anything about it because they couldn't hear the music from outside, and then searched for a reason. They ended up finding an exit sign with a burned out bulb and then evacuated everyone out of the building for fire code violation. Pretty cool."

Photo via Twitter.

August 14, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"This is not an issue of religion, but one of safety and security through transparency."

-Vassar alumnus and candidate for New York State Governor, Rick Lazio '80, in a statement responding to President Obama and Andrew Cuomo's support of the Cordoba/"Ground Zero" Mosque.

Image via NY Post.

August 12, 2010

By Word Of Mouth

We hear that an incoming member of the Class of 2014 has a famous dad who writes for an even more famous magazine. The student's dad - who is also a successful businessman and bestselling author - attended Vassar, although he didn't graduate.

The Evolution Of Vassar Fashion

London-based writer and fashion historian Rebecca C. Tuite recently interviewed Vassar alumnae about the iconic look of Vassar girls in the 1950. In an article for Ivy Style, Tuite traces Vassar fashion from the preppy post-WWII Ivy style to the more liberal look of the late '60s.

"During the 1950s, Vassar students became fashion leaders of everyday campus style for women," Tuite writes. "Vassar quickly became known as the most fashionable college for women, popularizing a look for girls that was the equivalent of the Ivy League Look for boys."

Tuite considers a major change in Vassar fashion to have taken place when some men began attending the school as part of the G.I. Bill following WWII. "Suddenly it was more acceptable for girls to wear stovepipe pants (although skirts remained required for dinner), oxford shirts, denim (in moderation), plaids, tartans and Bermuda shorts."

By the late '50s, Tuite writes, the look was "Bermuda shorts (madras or Black Watch tartan), knee socks, loafers, Brooks Brothers oxford shirt (preferably men’s), topped with a classic Vassar blazer, Shetland sweater or cashmere twin set."

The times changed however, and when the school went co-ed in 1969, the "classic Vassar style was considered anachronistic and irrelevant." Writes Tuite, "skirts were no longer required for dinner, the Bermuda short was replaced by denim, and the preppy, privileged Vassar look was disregarded as a sign of an old-school elitism undesirable in Vassar’s new, more egalitarian, co-ed environment."

Click here to check out the full article.

Annual Rankings Continue...Vassar Falls On Forbes List

The annual college rankings continue this week with Forbes. While Vassar did well - #23 - we fell from our position at #19 last year.

The list isn't much different from last year, although some of the top schools have switched positions. Williams comes in at #1 this year, followed by Princeton at #2 and Amherst at #3. Just like last year, Vassar is third highest-ranked New York school, after United States Military Academy (West Point) (#4) and Columbia (#13).

The Forbes list is a unique one, with small liberal arts schools or military schools beating out well-known Ivy institutions for the top positions. According to the methodology, the list is based on happiness of students, success in post-grad jobs, number of years it takes to graduate, student debt, and academic achievement. Take this with a grain of salt, though. To get to these criteria, Forbes uses not-so-scientific websites like

Click here to see how we did on the Princeton Review's lists last week.

More Farmers Market This Year!

Good news for fans of local food and vendors - the Arlington Farmers Market, across the street from Vassar, is now twice a week. You can now stop by to get your favorite items (we recommend the falafel stand) on Mondays and Thursdays. The market is already going strong this summer and will continue through the last Thursday of October.

The Return Of Vassar's Hot Mess

Back in the early days of this blog, we liked to poke fun at a campus celebrity we called Hot Mess. Now it looks like the real celebrities are poking fun at him. Check out Jason Biggs (American Pie, Saving Silverman) and Joel David Moore (Avatar, Dodgeball) giving Zach Russo '11 a hard time on the set of Grassroots, directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal (father of Jake and Maggie and fiance of Vassar professor Kathleen Man). The clip also features Jon Miller '11.

VSA Joins The Twittersphere

The latest Vassar group to join Twitter is the VSA. "The Vassar Student Association is gearing up for the year ahead," they tweeted yesterday. "Hope you all had a great summer!" The Student Association now joins the likes of Campus Dining, the Misc, Main House, and yours truly, among others, in providing the Vassar community with all the latest information in 140 character blurbs.

Based on the page's tweets, layout, and links, we're going to go ahead and assume that this isn't a hoax.

Update: VSA VP for Operations Ruby Cramer '12 tells Mads: "We'll be using the account throughout the upcoming year to send out updates about what the VSA is up to." And in case there was any doubt over the account's authenticity, the VSA tweeted @ us, "We're the real-deal :-)!"

August 9, 2010

Vassar At Center Of File Sharing Controversy

It's no secret that a significant number of Vassar students don't pay for the music, movies, or other files they download. In fact, this is so well known that in several articles this summer Vassar has become a poster school for illegal downloading and its consequences.

"That era — from 1996 (or so) to 2010 — might go down as the golden age downloading-minded geeky dorm-residents," writes a blogger for the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. The blogger names Vassar as one school where administrators have taken a stance against illegal downloading. Many Vassar students have had to meet with Dean Brown after getting caught illegally downloading music or other files on the Vassar network. As punishment, students usually have to complete some hours of work around campus. As the Law Blog post states, "Vassar College requires first-time offenders to perform 20 hours of 'sanctioned service' and pay a $25 fine." In a similar article, USA Today quotes Vassar's Jeff Kosmacher as saying, "Second-time offenders face double the service requirements, double the fines and loss of internet access."

Next semester, however, students may face even harsher punishments. A new Higher Education Opportunity Act went into effect in July, which according to the Law Blog, states that "colleges must either have installed software to block illegal file-sharing or have created some other procedure for preventing it." Students can now face up to $30,000 in fines for each illegally downloaded file.

Image via Gear Vault.

August 8, 2010

Vassar Grad Running For NY Attorney General

Eric Dinallo '85 announced last week that he will be running for New York State Attorney Gerneral. He also admitted to trying marijuana back "at Vassar College."

"I did inhale," he recalls. "It was so painful I couldn't understand why anybody would do it again. Brand me a nerd and we can move on."

No wonder Princeton Review ranked us high up for "Reefer Madness." Even the nerds are doing it.

Dinallo was Superintendent of Insurance for New York State from 2007 to 2009 until resigning to become a visiting professor at NYU's business school. He majored in philosophy at Vassar.

Ironically, the father of current attorney general Andrew Cuomo - who is running for governor against Rick Lazio '80 - was the speaker at Eric Dinallo's commencement.

Image via Getty.

What We're Reading...Worst Majors To Choose From

The Daily News published an article yesterday on the lowest-paying majors and - surprise, surprise - they are some of the most popular majors at Vassar. Maybe time to rethink that Art History / Religion double-major.

August 6, 2010

Vassar DOES Have Most Beautiful Campus

While Princeton Review ranked Vassar as having only the tenth most beautiful campus, a poll of Huffington Post readers has us at #1. Other high rankers who didn't do so well in the PR rankings include Wellesley and Princeton.

August 4, 2010

Princeton Review Rankings Are In (With Added Analysis)...

Update: Just added some not-so-scientific official Mads Vassar analysis.

The annual all-important Princeton Review rankings are in! (Although Cappy says they don't matter.) To sum up the results, Vassar got slightly less theatrical, more liberal, less religious, and less tree-hugging (but still grass-smoking). Oh, and Poughkeepsie sucks and our relationship with the city is worse than ever! Here's how we did this year:

Best College Theater: #9 (#5 in 2010, #8 in 2009, #10 in 2008)
Theater isn't one of the most popular majors at Vassar, but according to the rankings, it's one of our best. Our spot had gone up steadily since 2008, but it looks like we've slid back a bit. No matter - we still have one of the top ten theater programs in the country. Even outside of the department, there is lots of theater to be done - 40 productions a year, according to Admissions. Vassar is also home to the Powerhouse Theater program, which brings big names to campus.

Least Religious Students: #3 (#7 in 2010, #9 in 2009, #12 in 2008)
Where has God gone? Vassar is now ranked third for least religious students. Third! We've been getting steadily less religious in the last few years, despite campus organizations like the Jewish Union, the Islamic Society, and the Christian Fellowship. It didn't even help that our very own Rev. Sam Speers went to a conference at the White House last month. G-d Weisenstein would not be happy about this.

LGBT Friendly: #20 (#20 in 2010)
If you've been to the Mug or any campus party lately, you'll know that Vassar is just as tolerant as ever. We also have official events, like the annual Gays of our Lives. (But does anyone remember the famed HomoHop of the late nineties?)

Strained Town-Gown Relations: #10 (#12 in 2010, #12 in 2009, #14 in 2008)
Another category we've moved up in over the years. This wasn't a great year for relations with Poughkeepsie; residents are still protesting the deer culling at the Vassar Farm and other residents have spoken out against the Raymond Avenue construction and imminent bookstore in the space of the current Juliet café. There was also that weird guy who tried to start protests over nothing last summer. Of course, the VSA won't be happy about this. The Meet Me in Poughkeepsie events of the last two years have been huge successes, as was ViCE's Flaming Lips concert at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. 

Birckenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking, Vegetarians: #17 (#11 in 2010, #9 in 2009, #15 in 2008)
Is this stereotype still true? Tree-hugging? You'll get fined because of Vassar's arboretum status. Clove-smoking? Those were banned last September. Vegetarians? PETA doesn't think so. Ok, maybe a few of us still wear Birckenstocks.

Most Liberal Students: #14 (#17 in 2010)
Just ask anyone who was at Vassar the night Obama was elected - Vassar students are pretty liberal. They protest against Coca-Cola and hold hunger strikes for workers' rights. However, not all students live up to the Vassar stereotype. Conservative student organizations like MICA have gained prominence in the last year or two.

Most Beautiful Campus: #10 (#13 in 2010)
Only number 10? Huffington Post readers disagree.

College Town Not Great: #11  
Again, the VSA might not be happy about this. It's true that most Vassar students stay on campus except to go to the weekly farmers market or eat at one of the tasty local restaurants. But if Poughkeepsie isn't your thing, don't give up on the Hudson Valley!

Reefer Madness: #19
We had something substantial to write about this, but we can't remember.