Pratt House: Fall Semester 2022 
A photo retrospective
As we put this issue of Touchstone together, the fall semester--and the start of our first full academic year in Pratt House--is coming to a close.  We're so grateful to the many student groups who are teaching us how to use this new space of belonging across difference, where we learn each day about hospitality as a practice.  The photos below tell their own story about the range of ways students gathered this semester to celebrate, cook, reflect, meditate, pray, and otherwise connect--in Pratt and other campus spaces of belonging.

As you finish up exams, papers, reports and other semester-end things, know our RSLCP team is sending love and light to all of you.

We began our year with our annual walking meditation among paper lanterns during Orientation Week
Muslim students gathered in Pratt House's meditation and prayer room for the first Jumu'ah of the semester during orientation week. Adyan Rasul '25 leads the prayers.
The leaders of many of our student groups and RSLCP staff gathered at our first RSLCP Student Leaders meeting of the semester. 

From left to right: Max Lawrence (Vassar Unitarian Universalists), Eleanor Levinson-Muth (Vassar Jewish Union), Andrew Blackburn (Buddhist Sangha), Raffaella Zanetti Vassar Catholic Community), Anne Sampugnaro (RSLCP admin), Laurel Hanson (Fellowship of Latter-Day Saints), Huda Rahman (Vassar Muslim Student Association), Miriam Rovin (Chabad Jewish Community), Harman Sing (Sikh Student Association), Rabbi Bryan Mann (RSLCP), and Thayer Lehman Boyer (Episcopal Church at Vassar College) 
Buddhist Sangha meditates inside the Meditation and Prayer Room at Pratt House for an October 6 Dharma talk, "Each Breath Like the Earth Exploding," with Vanessa Zuisei Goddard joining via Zoom (thus, the projector on the front left of photo)
The flyer for Vanessa Zuisei Goddard's Dharma talk this fall
In October, November, and December, the new student group FOLDS (Fellowship of Latter-Day Saints) hosted a break-fast supper in Pratt House organized by Laurel Hanson '23, President of FOLDS. FOLDS and the Muslim Student Association have supported each other's fasting practices.
On November 1st we partnered with the Latinx Student Union (LSU)  for a Vassar Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) observance and celebration.
Evelyn Lucero-Herrera '24 (on the left) and Evelyn Silva '24 (right) in front of the altar they prepared honoring their family members.
Special thanks to Intern Pierángelis Valerio '23 for forging this partnership with LSU.
We hosted two conversation dinners at Pratt House in October and November
RSLCP Student Interns and Leaders cooking food in Pratt House for our November 16 Pratt Conversation Dinner on "Reading as a Contemplative Practice", and the November 14 "Let's Talk: A Conversation about the People who Helped You Get Here" sponsored by the Campus Resource Education and Support Team (CREST).
Through the Fall semester thirteen students completed the inaugural Jewish Learning Fellowship cohort at Vassar College

TOP: Naomi Blank '26, Rebecca Schwartz '25, and Nina Sandman '26 learn together in the quiet room of the Bayit
MIDDLE RIGHT: Chloe Mendel-Dwork '26 and Ilan Bahar '26 learn together in the upstairs lounge of the Bayit
MIDDLE LEFT: Zak Shearn '26, Jean Fassler '24, and Laura Weiss '26 learn together in the downstairs lounge of the Bayit
BOTTOM RIGHT: Rafi Ettinger-Finley '24 and Luna Schiller '25 learn together outside the Sukkah
BOTTOM LEFT: Laurel Obermueller '26 and Zach Silbergleit '26 learn together in the Sukkah 
Vassar Christian Fellowship (VXF) now has its weekly Large Group Fellowship--Tuesday nights at 7:30pm--in Pratt House.
November 21st and 22nd Idlewild Theater Ensemble a non-hierarchial, all fem-leaning theater ensemble at Vassar College staged their Fall show at Pratt House
Rachel Wilkes '25 proposed an art installation/living memorial of paper cranes on the magnolia tree in front of Pratt House, as a project for History 354, "The History and Politics of Grief" taught by Professor Lydia Murdoch.
Look for more information on Wilkes' project in a future Touchstone.
TOP: Rachel Wilkes '25 and her friend Sasha hanging cranes 
BOTTOM LEFT: Rachel Wilkes '25 and Professor Lydia Murdoch in front of the cranes installation
BOTTOM RIGHT: The completed project, on the saucer magnolia as you enter Pratt.
 Imam Tom Facchine '11 came back to Vassar (together with his wife Kelly Tan '11 and their three children) to offer the khutbah (sermon) at Jumu'ah (Friday prayers) and to offer an evening talk at Pratt House.
It was a joyful Vassar reunion in the new space at Pratt. 
Associate Director of Campus Activities, Will Rush, preps to hang a star (with a high-tech tennis ball attached to fishing-line) as part of decorating the chapel for our annual Advent Lessons and Carols.

View our full Lessons and Carols service here
End of semester crepe breakfast for RSLCP interns and student leaders.

L to R: Jimena Saavedra, Jordan Mallach, Huda Rahman, Thayer Lehman-Boyer, Laurel Hanson, Fatima Osman, Pierángelis Valerio,  Sarah McCawley, Salih Elnour Salih Awouda, Milla Durfee, Joseph McMahon
Enjoy this video of our labyrinth being constructed
(one of the fall highlights this semester was the weekly "Season of Creation" labyrinth walks hosted by the Vassar Catholic Community)
Next spring semester, we offer a new RSLCP class--an introduction to mindfulness. Any student is welcome to join us--no previous experience needed, only curiosity and self-compassion.  As noted above, go to to register.
Have a good idea for a community-based partnership and need funding?
Good Neighbors Partnerships provides grants of up to $500 to students (and student groups), and $1,000 to college employees, to fund innovative campus-community partnerships with not-for-profit (501c3) organizations in Poughkeepsie.  
For more information and to apply, see

We've made the deadline for spring semester project proposals February 10, 2023--in order to give you time to work on ideas during the winter break. 
Here is how you
can get in touch with RSLCP-related staff.

For the full list of our student organizations visit:
Office Staff
Rev. Samuel Speers, D.Min., Associate Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices –
Rabbi Bryan Mann, Rachlin Director for Jewish Life/Asst. Director, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices –

 Annie Sampugnaro, Administrative Assistant –
Affiliate Advisors /
Faculty Advisor

Linda Tuttle, Vassar Catholic Community –

James McCowan, Vassar Buddhist Sangha –

Rev. Susan Fortunato (Interim), Episcopal Community –

Rabbi Daniel Sanoff (In Process), Chabad Jewish Community  –

Rebbetzin Dalia Sanoff (In Process), Chabad Jewish Community –
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Copyright © 2022 Vassar College Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, All rights reserved.

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