WATCH: VU Staff Q&A Series – Ethan Dastugue, Undergraduate Admissions

In a new series on the Vanderbilt Instagram account, students can get to know some of the dedicated staff who play a crucial role in creating a welcoming and supportive environment for them. This installment features Ethan Dastugue, a senior admissions counselor in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.  

Stay tuned for more Q&A sessions with the staff members of Vanderbilt, whose daily efforts are fundamental in shaping positive experiences for the entire university community.  

View the rest of the staff Q&A series. 

 Watch Ethan’s Q&A Session: 

What is your favorite part of your job? 

My favorite part of my job is getting to meet with students where they’re from. So we get to recruit students, learn about their hometowns, learn about their schools, meet their families, and then see if they’d be a good fit for the Vanderbilt community. I also enjoy working with students here on campus. We have fantastic tour guides. We also have a fantastic staff at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. We have strengths all across Admissions. We have experience that ranges from a couple of years to 20-plus years in admissions. And I always know that if I have a question, there’s someone in our office that I can go to.  

You travel for your job. What’s been a favorite trip? 

I get to travel to a lot of really neat places. It’s a privilege to get to travel for Vanderbilt. And I think my international territory has a special place in my heart. I’ve been to India and Bangladesh in the Middle East and met some fantastic students there. I also work with students in New England, and especially New England in the fall is a lot of fun to travel up there.  

Favorite thing about Vanderbilt? 

One is Nashville. It’s a great place for students to go to school, to learn. There’s a lot of collaboration with the city for our students. Great food scene in Nashville. I have a lot of different favorite restaurants.  

What is your favorite food spot in Nashville? 

Oh, boy. Right now my favorite food spot in Nashville is The Pharmacy. It’s a burger place, and it’s really good.  

If you were deciding between a few different schools, why Vanderbilt? 

I think there’s two sorts of things that I think about when I’m thinking of Vanderbilt, compared to some other schools. The balance piece is really important. Our students, they’re really successful in the classroom. They work really hard in the classroom, but they get involved in a lot of different things on campus. So that’s one reason. And then I think collaboration—you’re not just siloed to your individual school at Vanderbilt. We encourage students to collaborate across schools, collaborate across campus. We have graduate students who work with undergraduate students. And there’s kind of this unique radical collaboration idea for our students.  

What are some ways Vanderbilt students have sparked change in the Nashville/local community? 

A couple of years ago, our administration realized that there were certain majors that had built-in experiential learning requirements. And so we wanted all students to have an experiential learning requirement. And so we created this graduation requirement called Immersion Vanderbilt. And so my initial reaction as far as students sparking change in the community or getting involved in Nashville is through their Immersion Vanderbilt projects. And I’ve heard of students working with the music industry, working with a nonprofit, or maybe working over at the Vanderbilt Medical Center. And they’re creating change that way, while also going to class. And I think that’s a really great opportunity for our students.  

What are some of your favorite ways to get involved on campus? 

A couple ways that I’ve gotten plugged in as a staff member is, one, attending Vanderbilt sporting events. We’re a member of the Southeastern Conference, and we have 17 men’s and women’s Division I teams. And so I’ve been to football games and men’s and women’s basketball games. Those are a lot of fun. Another way is TEDx Vanderbilt, a really fun event. It’s actually coming up here in April, and it allows not only students but also staff members to give TED talks on campus. So that might be something you want to check out as far as getting plugged in on campus.