Each year incoming first-year students select an orientation group program in which to participate. While these programs vary from year to year, the selection below provides a glimpse of what these programs may look like in the coming year.
We encourage students to be familiar with the orientation group offerings listed below. On the morning of July 22, at 9 am, we will activate the login for orientation group sign up.
Sign in information and special instructions will be sent to all students at their Smith College email address just prior to the opening of the web form. All orientation groups have limited capacity, and students are advised to be prepared with alternative choices in case their first choice for an orientation group is full.
Registration is NOW OPEN
Registration for programs will occur July 22 - August 2. Please check your Smith College email address on the morning of July 22 for your login information.
Orientation Groups 2013
If you are participating in preseason athletic training, this is your orientation group! Only those who have received an invitation from their varsity coaches may register for this program. You cannot simply elect to participate in this program without an invitation. This option is only open to the varsity teams of cross-country, field hockey, soccer, tennis and volleyball.
Being You at Smith: How to Rock Your First Year
Do you feel like you've spent the past four years jumping through hoops to get into college? In this workshop, it's all about you: what you really think and feel, what matters to you now, and how to get the most out of the amazing new relationships coming your way at Smith. In this workshop, led by bestselling author Rachel Simmons (Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl), we'll get to know each other, laugh and learn some amazing communication and self-awareness techniques that will make sure you rock your first year at Smith. This program is open to 30 students.
Creating a Socially Just Campus
What is social justice? What does it mean to be a social justice advocate? While there is a richness of people and diversity at Smith, there also exists the challenge to bring such diversity together to create safe, inclusive spaces for all community members. During this interactive session, students will engage concepts of diversity and social justice and ways they want to create a socially just community so that people from all backgrounds feel they are a part of Smith. This program is open to 30 students.
Developing a Roadmap for Your Future
The new chapter you are about to begin in your life will likely (and hopefully!) cause you to reexamine the world and your future and could present surprising possibilities. You will have many decisions to make regarding your courses, your major, internships and even what you want to do after you graduate. This interactive workshop develops skills that will help you think about and navigate your future by helping you assess your strengths, interests, values and personality type. Learn what's important to you and what kinds of future opportunities might be a good fit for you—whether it's a major, a leadership role in an organization, an on-campus job or an internship. The workshop will be facilitated by Lazarus Center for Career Development staff, and can accommodate up to 30 students.
Finding Time to Write
Do you write poems and stories in your free time? Are you working on a novel? Do you write in a journal in order to maintain your equilibrium? This orientation program will provide time for you to write, to think about how writing might fit into your life as a college student, and to explore some of the rich writing-related resources in the Pioneer Valley. The program is led by Jessica Bacal, M.S.Ed., M.F.A., director of Smith's Center for Work and Life and by Christian McEwen, author of the forthcoming Ordinary Joy: The Necessary Art of Slowing Down. This program can accommodate 20 students.
First Link: Linking Education and Community Service at Smith College
Passionate about Community Service? Interested in urban agriculture, food security and sustainability? Join us Friday 8/30 4:30-6:30 pm for dinner and Saturday 8/31 7:30 am-4:00 pm.
Work with student leaders from the Community Service Office combining a one day short-term community service project with reflective discussions and activities that will introduce you to local community service opportunities, help you to put community needs into context, and introduce you to other new students interested in community service work.
This year we will be working with Gardening the Community, a food justice organization engaged in youth development, urban agriculture and sustainable living to build healthy and equitable communities. Gardening the community operates a training program created for youth from around the Mason Square neighborhood and beyond to grow fruits and vegetables on vacant and abandoned lots. Youth receive a stipend and are taught principles of urban sustainable living and urban agriculture. To encourage a more sustainable lifestyle, all produce is delivered to market and stores with the bikes and heavy duty bike trailers to reduce their carbon footprint, and build healthy lifestyle choices. Additionally, no pesticides or herbicides of any kind are used in the food that is grown, and all work is done without any major farm equipment. By the end of First Link, you will have a better understanding of urban agriculture and food justice issues in Western Mass
In small discussion groups, you will examine local social problems, discuss effective solutions, improve your skills in working with diverse communities, and discover how community service work relates to your college education
First Link will accommodate up to 21 new students.
First-Year Foundations: Flow Through Transitions
American yoga is a modern phenomenon with ancient roots. Studied by Harvard Business and Medical schools alike, the physical benefits of practice range widely from repairing the nervous system to strengthening the body. Beyond the corporeal, yoga also promotes balance off the mat by teaching stress management techniques and providing continual opportunities to practice acceptance throughout your time at Smith and beyond. Leaving the contortionism to circus performers, come to sweat and play; learn to break through your comfort zones and find strategies to help bring you through the craziest of days, including a sequence and breath work to practice at home. This orientation program will be a combination of movement and theory, providing insight into the history of yoga and the diverse styles practiced in the United States while also encouraging connections your new Smith community. Taught by Smith alumna Ali Cook '10, RYT, this workshop is accessible to both first-time and seasoned yoginis. Feel free to write with questions or requests (especially modifications are needed due to physical limitations or injuries), find Ali online at facebook.com/alicookyoga/. This program will be able to accommodate 25 students.
Are you the first person in your family to go to college?
If you are the first person in your family to attend college this might be the group for you! Sometimes it is difficult to know what to expect if you are the first to do something. In this orientation you will learn to navigate the Smith system with confidence while gaining a deeper understanding of how being a first generation, or "first gen", student lends itself to potential for greater learning about who you are as a person and what that has to do with your college experience. We will discuss the reasons why we are the first in our family to go to college, learn about how that can contribute to our experience at Smith, and connect with others who understand what it means to be the first in your family to go to college. This program can accommodate 20 students.
The "I" in Smith
Who you are, who you hope to be and how you will discover that at Smith College. How do you explain "you" to others? What makes you, YOU? What's your story? What do you like, what are your passions and interests? How do you hope to grow, learn and challenge yourself while in college? Are there risks you want to take? Do you need to find more balance in your life? These are all big questions and there are lots of answers. The focus of this orientation group will be to start thinking through and exploring these questions through conversation, activities and reflection. We will look at the intersections of identities, experiences and expectations. We'll start working on personal goals for the year and think about how you can start writing your own story about your life at Smith. This program can accommodate 20 students.
- Is spirituality a part of your life?
- Do you come from a religious background that you feel connected to and want to stay connected to while at Smith?
- Do you come from a religious background that you are ambivalent about and want to explore new things?
- Are you interested in being part of the "interfaith movement" on college campuses, wherein we talk openly about religious diversity, and strive for dialogue and interfaith cooperation.
Then join us for Interfaith Connections!
This orientation, sponsored by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, will involve activities to help participants draw upon their spiritual resources as they embark on their Smith journey. Those who are "seeking", those who identify with more than one religious tradition, those who consider themselves "spiritual" or "agnostic," and not "religious," or those who are strongly rooted in a religious tradition are all encouraged to participate. Student leaders will help participants explore what it means to be a "person of faith" at Smith, how it feels to be "searching" at Smith, and what to do with the experience of feeling "on the outside." We will focus on how, as we learn about ourselves, we can then use our spiritual strength to work together and create pathways to understanding. This program will involve some an outdoor service project, an introduction to on spiritual practices, time for relaxation with a movie and popcorn, and a celebration that you've made it this far! This program can accommodate 25 students.
Kick-Start Your Passion! Kick Stress to the Curb!
In this workshop, we will peel away outside influences that can lead to mental stress and confusion. Through insightful and mindful exercises, we will un-cover our deepest desires, re-visit our dreams and passions, and learn how to use them as antidotes to stress, fatigue, and mental anguish. This program can accommodate 20 students.
Leadership in the 21st Century:
Working Effectively on Diverse Teams
Effective leadership requires a new set of tools and skills that are very different from those of our parents' generation. Today's leaders need the capacity to build teams that value the diversity among group members and create an inclusive atmosphere where all members feel empowered to actively participate. In this highly interactive and self-reflective session, new students will have the opportunity to practice key leadership skills to:
- Create an inclusive group from the start
- Build productive teams where all members feel included and valued
- Lead when you are a member of a group and not in a position of authority
- Facilitate engaged discussions that explore multiple perspectives and result in creative solutions
- Navigate disagreements in ways that strengthen the group
- Notice and interrupt exclusionary group dynamics and microaggressions to create greater inclusion
- Celebrate progress and positive group development
Participants will receive a packet of useful handouts and materials to use and share as they create greater inclusion in their student groups and across campus. This program can accommodate up to 30 students.
Leadership on Campus... and Beyond!
You've chosen one of the most intellectually and socially stimulating colleges in the country. One reason Smith is such an exciting environment is that it attracts and produces powerful leaders who make a difference on campus and in society. Whether you see yourself as the leader of an organization, a leader in a particular field of study or a leader in your community, Smith will offer you endless opportunities to pursue those passions.
To be an effective leader, you must first understand how an organization works. The leadership orientation program will help you learn the "ins and outs" of Smith. Specifically, you will be meeting other new students in your class; you will work with some amazing current student leaders who will give you insight into how to become involved on campus; and you will meet with dedicated alumnae and Smith professors who are passionate about helping you make a smooth transition to Smith.
This program will give you a sense of how to become involved in traditional and nontraditional ways. It will also challenge you to think about who you are as a leader and who you intend to become. It's a connected, fun, fast-paced and engaging two day program spent with people who just might become some of your new best friends. The program will be facilitated by Maria Coolican, a professor at the University of Michigan, and Jeannette Jackson, an alumna of Smith College. Jeannette and Maria own a consulting company, TransForum Consulting, Inc., which specializes in leadership development for women. For more information, visit their Web site at transforumconsulting.com.
This program takes place on the Smith campus and is limited to 60 participants.
Under the instruction of professionals and the leadership of trained student leaders, first-year students will enjoy the scenic outdoors of Western Massachusetts while meeting other new students through participation in one of three outdoor trips. Students will learn and practice various outdoor skills such as campsite preparation and selection, map/compass, fire building, rock climbing, kayaking and canoeing. These experiences will highlight teamwork, general leadership, communication and camaraderie.
These excursions are outdoors. There will be no electricity or plumbing. For the off-campus trips, each participant will be supplied a backpack, sleeping bag and other gear to use on the trip. Students will be required to provide their own clothing, including hiking boots, rain jacket and multiple layers of clothing. Each student will share in carrying the group items. Read over the following trip descriptions. All trips are fun and scenic but vary in the type of activities and difficulty level. Once your registration is confirmed, you will receive more details about gear and supplies.
Choose from the following four Outdoor Adventure trips:
- Outdoor Adventure Recreation Sampler (OARS)
Experience what the Outdoor Adventure Program has to offer on and around campus! Students stay on-campus for this experience. Kayaking out of the Paradise Pond Boathouse and climbing at the Smith Rock Wall on the first day, then hike a local peak on the second. This trip can accommodate 14 students. Suitable for all levels—no experience necessary.
- Rocks, Packs and Paddles
This trip allows students to try several outdoor recreation activities over a two-day/one-night experience. The group makes a scenic base camp at Smith's Macleish Filed Station, several miles away from campus. During the day you will split into two groups to venture out on day trips to rock climb, hike, and kayak or canoe. The second day the groups switch activities. This trip can accommodate up to 24 students. Suitable for all levels—no experience necessary.
- Appalachian Trail I
This off-campus beginner/intermediate-level backpacking trip consists of four small groups backpacking in pairs at two locations on the Appalachian Trail in Western Massachusetts. Groups will hike toward each other through serene hardwood forests and over scenic hilltops, meet in the middle and finish where the other group began. Students carry 35- to 40-pound backpacks to primitive wilderness campsites (no facilities). This trip can accommodate up to 21 students. Previous backpacking experience or a reasonable degree of fitness combined with enthusiasm are required.
- Appalachian Trail II
These more intermediate/advanced backpacking trips and are not appropriate for beginners. This trip also consists of four small groups backpacking in pairs at two locations on the Appalachian Trail in Western Massachusetts. Groups will hike towards each other, meet in the middle and finish where the other group began. Expect steeper, more mountainous terrain with some challenging hills leading to beautiful vistas. Students carry 35- to 40-pound backpacks to primitive wilderness campsites (no facilities). This trip can accommodate up to 21 students. Please include examples of previous backpacking experience in the comments area (locations, durations, etc.)
Previous backpacking experience and good physical fitness combined with enthusiasm required.
Reservations for all trips are handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Sustainability and an Ecological Sense of Place
Perhaps the key issue facing humanity now is how to live in an environmentally sustainable, socially just way. According to one calculation, the average U.S. citizen has an ecological footprint that is five times greater than the planet can support. We need to - and can - do better than that! This program will help you: (1) learn how to live more sustainably at Smith and (2) begin to develop an ecological sense of your new home.
Questions that will be asked - and, to some extent, answered - include the following: Where does my food at Smith come from? How and what can I recycle? What powers our campus and how can I save kilowatts and BTUs? Are there green spaces nearby? How can I get to them and to other places without a car? What kinds of environmental majors, minors, and resources are available? Are there active student environmental organizations on campus? And most importantly, how can I make a difference environmentally while at Smith?
Short excursions and activities will give you an ecological sense of place, whether we visit a shady riverside trail or a steamy power plant. You will learn what Smith College is doing well and where there is room for improvement (this is where you come in during your next four years). Professor L. David Smith, Director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program, leads this orientation.
This program can accommodate 40 students.
Apart from going to class, what's the best predictor of academic success in college students? Sleep. True! Second best predictor? Eating breakfast. The performance of your brain is directly linked to the wellness of your body. That's why this orientation session will teach you important and surprising strategies to improve your sleep, stress management, emotional life, and more, so you can make the most of your time at Smith. Led by Emily Nagoski, Smith College's Wellness Education Director, this is the orientation program for students who'd like to learn how to incorporate simple and effective wellness techniques to maximize their GPA and their daily life. This program can accommodate up to 65 students.
Women's Health at Smith and Beyond: 2013
Health is amazingly broad: physical, mental, social, cultural, political and economic. Explore this wide and fascinating world of young women's health, from the local to the international. What's new in contraception, sexually transmitted infections and LGBT health? Why do you get your period (and what does it mean if you don't)? What health resources are available on campus? Explore the link between the media and body image and violence against women. Examine some of the health challenges confronting women in developing countries, including female circumcision, obstetric fistula and HIV/AIDS. Students in this workshop will watch and discuss documentary videos, have the opportunity to make connections through small group activities, and listen to informal presentations. This program can accommodate 30 students.