Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.64
Liaison Rachael Wein
Submission Date March 3, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Smith College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Emma Kerr
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Campus Sustainability
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Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

The Green Team is a student organization dedicated to fostering sustainability at Smith by educating and supporting the campus community in efficient use of finite natural resources, attaining the greatest possible efficiencies and preventing pollution. The Green Team works with many areas of Smith's operations, including construction, transportation, purchasing, materials use, energy use and waste management in seeking to transform the college's practices.

The Smith Chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World was founded in 2005 and has since worked on projects both on campus, in the surrounding community, and in Haiti. ESW seeks to bring together students from different backgrounds and majors to work on projects that can make a positive difference and raise environmental awareness in the surrounding community and on Smith campus.

Divest Smith College (DSC) is a network of students and community members dedicated to continuing Smith College’s history of empowering women of all backgrounds to make a positive impact on the world by creating an environment that is both fiscally and morally responsible. DSC recognizes that funding the fossil fuel industry jeopardizes long term human health and environmental security. Divest Smith College asks that Smith College take concrete steps towards divesting from the fossil fuel industry.

The Food Recovery Network is made up of a dedicated group of students who collect uneaten food from dining halls, package it, and deliver it to a community kitchen to be served to community members in need. These students diverted 1,600 pounds of healthy uneaten food from the garbage in just one semester.

Students involved in the Animal Advocates group raise awareness about animal rights and welfare issues through advocacy, community building, and non-confrontational outreach. They also strive to educate students about the carbon implications of a meat-based diet.

The SGA Sustainability Committee is a subcommittee of the Student Government Association. Students on this committee work to engage the student body on sustainability issues, pursue zero waste events, and conduct educational workshops for students and faculty/staff.

The Bike Kitchen, run by Smith students, direct mission is to provide Smith College with bicycle rentals and bike maintenance education. More broadly, the Bicycle Kitchen as a forum for providing a form of environmentally friendly transportation and promoting bike love in all aspects.

Students who work on the Smith College Community Garden work a plot of land between Northrup-Gillett and Lamont Houses. The Smith College Community Garden seeks to provide opportunities to all students and Smith community members to engage with the land and with their food in order to address issues of environmental sustainability. Through a variety of events members can gain an understanding of the planting process, building various structures, harvest and food preservation.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The Smith College Organic Garden, known as the Community Garden, is run by a group of students. The mission of the garden is to be a practical academic tool, to engage the Smith community, and to serve as a model of sustainability. With this garden, the group revives the historical tradition of students growing victory gardens. The aim of the garden is to be an educational experiment that allows students to practice the college's standards of sustainability.

The garden is an educational tool for a variety of departments on campus, including Environmental Science and Policy, Landscape Studies, Studio Art, Biology, Engineering, Geology, Sociology, and History.

The garden provides an arena for Smith community engagement. A wide range of faculty, students, and staff are involved in the project. The garden is a space that celebrates nature, physical work, and healthy eating.


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

SmiTHrift is a student-run philanthropic organization at Smith College. Its mission is to support sustainability and organizations that provide assistance to women and children. Each year, SmiTHrift holds a few bargain clothing sales, Cage Frenzy (pay an entry fee and have a set time period to grab whatever you can!), donation drives, clothing sortings, and the spring fashion show.

Since 2004, Women and Financial Independence have supervised SmiTHrift. SmiTHrift provides a unique and powerful opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in entrepreneurship—planning, starting and running a retail business to serve the Smith and Northampton communities—and philanthropy. SmiTHrift works to facilitate an environmentally (and budget) friendly shopping experience for the Smith community. All proceeds from clothing sales go to a local charity that benefits women and children in Northampton and the surrounding community. SmiThrift is comprised of a group of student volunteers committed to creating a viable business plan and locating space on the campus to open a retail outlet. Student volunteers will meet weekly to sort through the many donations from faculty, staff and students.

The Bike Kitchen is a student-run enterprise that serves to provide the Smith community with bike rentals, riding support and maintenance education. The Bike Kitchen rents students bikes for the semester, and holds fix-it hours where students can have their bikes repaired. They also run bike mechanic classes where students can learn basic bike repair. More broadly, the Bike Kitchen serves as a forum for those interested in environmentally friendly transportation and in promoting bike love in all aspects of life in the Pioneer Valley and beyond.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

Smith College holds several major events related to sustainability each year. These events can be found on the Smith College Green website calendar. Two academic courses offered at Smith are one-credit lecture-based courses and are open to the entire campus community, including students who are not registered for these courses. Lectures are given by guests who are experts in their field and offer important career insights to students. The first of these courses is ENV-100 Notes from the Field. This is an introductory environmental science and policy course. Speakers have included Dano Weisbord, Smith College Director of Sustainability and Space Planning, who spoke about sustainable development; Lynn Pledger who spoke about her work as a waste policy consultant; and Jonah Keene, Director of the Mass Audubon Connecticut River Valley Sanctuaries, who spoke about his work on education, conservation, and advocacy in the Pioneer Valley.

The second of these courses is LSS-100 Landscape, Design, and Environment, an introductory landscape studies course. Speakers have included Randolph Hester, a landscape architect and professor emeritus at University of California, Berkeley; Andrea Olsen, professor of dance and environmental studies at Middlebury College, whose lecture was titled “Designing Space with the Body in Mind”; and Julian Agyeman of Tufts University whose lecture was titled “Just Sustainabilities: Re-imagining equality, living within limits.”

This year Smith held a series of events connected to COP21 in Paris. These events included an overview of what climate negotiations are like and their history from Smith Environmental Science and Policy faculty, the experiences of a Smith student who attended COP18 in Doha, and a skype session with a Smith student who was on the ground in Paris as a youth delegate. The series included two visiting guest lectures as well, one with Brice Lalonde, current UN Global Compact Special Advisor on Sustainable Development, and another with Susan George, a Smith alumna, activist and author, Susan George '56 has devoted her energies to combating global issues such as hunger, poverty, inequalities and injustices.

This past spring the Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability hosted a series called Climate Cafe. Events occur every other Friday, and focus on current events, giving students a space to meet and discuss current environmental and global issues. Events sometimes feature speakers, and other times are mediated discussion.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

The MacLeish Field Station, home to the Bechtel Environmental Classroom (a living building) is often used for cultural arts events and performances. On November 21, 2015 poet Margaret Babbott facilitated a part outdoor/part indoor nature-inspired writing workshop at MacLeish, influenced by Pablo Neruda's Book of Questions. On April 2, 2016, students organized Folk Music at the Field Station, wherein a group of musicians from the Smith community utilized the Bechtel Environmental Classroom for fun and inspiration, with fiddles, banjos, a stand-up bass, and other instruments.

Additionally, one of the events in the Climate Cafe series was a performance of Dr. Keeling's Curve, on April 1, 2016. In this one man show, environmental activist, journalist and author George Shea portrays Keeling, the quirky and brilliant man who created the iconic chart that illustrates the rise in atmospheric CO2 levels from 1958 to the present, and introduced the concept of climate change. The story combines Keeling's personal journey with the insights of atmospheric scientists who, hundreds of years earlier, made discoveries that laid the foundation for Keeling’s own extraordinary work.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
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Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The Smith Outdoor Adventure Program's mission is to get outdoors, have fun, and learn valuable skills in the process. The program offers a wide range of outdoor recreation trips throughout the school year and maintains an open-gear room and climbing wall and keeps Boathouse hours convenient to all Smith students. The program also works closely with students, teaching outdoor skills clinics and training student outdoor leaders to run events. Smith Outdoor practices Leave No Trace principles and leads Leave No Trace workshops for the campus community.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Each year first year students attending Smith College are assigned a book to read over the summer as part of their first year experience. In the summer of 2015, the book was Naomi Oreskes' and Erik Conway's The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future. Oreskes gave a lecture during student orientation, and students discussed the book in small groups.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The Bike Kitchen’s most direct mission is to provide the Smith community with bicycle rentals and bike maintenance education. More broadly, the Bike Kitchen serves as a forum for providing a form of environmentally friendly transportation and promoting bike love in all aspects. The Bike Kitchen also teaches bike mechanic classes, enabling students to learn how to maintain and fix their bikes.

Students who join the Community Garden also build sustainable life skills in terms of garden planning, planting, and harvesting. The Community Garden holds open work hours where any students can participate.

Putting Food By: Food Preservation by Canning, Drying, and Blanching is a course offered during January term 2016 and 2017. The class is designed to teach the basics of canning, blanching, and drying food for long term storage. Students learn tips on buying or picking produce, equipment needed for canning, blanching, and drying, the actual steps of the canning process, safety in the process, and what informational resources are available in books and on the internet.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

Eco-Rep student facilitators are hired by the Office of Campus Sustainability and work to facilitate the Eco-Rep program with the campus sustainability coordinator. They hold open hours to meet with students and help them plan actions and events on campus, facilitate general body meetings, and lead group bonding activities. These students develop leadership, communication, organizing, and advocacy skills.

The Office of Campus Sustainability also employs several research interns who pursue sustainability projects on campus. These projects include conducting life cycle analyses of products and providing recommendations, analyzing and reporting on meter data, and making improvements to our solid waste collection systems. These students gain experience communicating with various campus stakeholders—including faculty and facilities management staff—and learning project management skills.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
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Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
Yes

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Started by students at Smith College, The 5 College Scopes is a group for students of color in STEM and environmental justice. This group offers networking and social events, organizes discussions, and co-sponsors events for the 5 College community.


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.