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Corinne Walther '15 Helps Make Campus Solstice Party a Zero-Waste Event

Walther, who is an intern with the Office of Campus Sustainability, is behind efforts to make the all-staff gathering a zero-waste event. Read more.

Dining Services Receives Grant to Boost Sustainability

A two-year grant from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation promises to bolster sustainability efforts at Smith. Read more.

Seeing Green: An Interview with the Director of Campus Sustainability

Dano Weisbord returns to Smith College as the Director of Campus Sustainability and Space Planning. Read more.

Bechtel Environmental Classroom Named World's Fifth 'Living Building'

Smith College's Bechtel Environmental Classroom, a new 2,300-square-foot learning center set on 240 acres of land in nearby Whately, Mass., has achieved top honors for environmental sustainability, becoming only the fifth building in the world to be certified as a Living Building. Read more.

Smith Building Designers Receive Awards

The designers of two recent Smith constructions received awards this week, for the Clark Science Center Renovation and the Bechtel Environmental Classroom. Read more

President Christ Seeks Ideas for New Sustainability Initiatives

The Board of Directors of the Five College Consortium is issuing a call for ideas for new initiatives and programs in academic, co-curricular, and operational aspects of sustainability. I have asked CEEDS to take the lead on this initiative. Read more

Eye On Energy at Smith College

 Smith College recently unveiled an interactive technology that enables students, faculty and alumnae to view, from any computer, the level of energy and water use in campus houses and buildings.

Building Dashboard is a software product of Lucid Design Group, which was launched by two Oberlin College graduates in an effort to promote energy conservation. The dashboard program is equipped with simple graphs and charts so users can easily follow energy- and water-usage trends in buildings, comparing use among different buildings and seeing direct results of behavior change. Read more

Smith Celebrates Food Day With a Farmer's Market

The Smith Community Garden, Outlook Farm, Godards Red Hen Farm, Park Hill Orchard, Zawalick's Sugar House, Maple Valley Creamery, Hungry Ghost Bread, Indago Coffee and Dining Services set up stands on Chapin Lawn on Monday, October 24th. View a slideshow of the festivities here.


Student Spurs City to Proclaim 'Food Day,' Plans Smith Celebration

For Ada Comstock Scholar Alexandra Zipparo '12J, assisting with the organization of an upcoming event on campus was not just about scheduling speakers, booking venues and publicizing the news to the Smith community.

True to the nature of the event -a national day of recognition billed as bringing together "countless Americans from all walks of life to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable way" -Zipparo went a step further. Read more

Summer Research into Globalization, Sustainability in Costa Rica

Fourteen Smith students are in the midst of a three-month seminar and internship program in Costa Rica examining how globalization is stressing the balance between development and environmental sustainability. Read more

Immigrants' Eating Habits May Improve with Access
To Familiar Foods

A new study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine indicates U.S. immigrants consider farmers' markets closest in similarity to home-country food venues.

Neighborhood farmers' markets not only offer more sustainable alternatives to chain supermarkets - they may also prevent the development of bad eating habits among immigrants faced with new dietary choices after moving to the U.S., according to a new study.

Yoosun Park, associate professor at the Smith College School for Social Work, led the research with faculty at Columbia University and the University of Chicago. Read More

Smith Honored for Support of Local Bike Trails

Smith College was recently granted the 2011 Trail Neighbor Award by the Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways (FNTG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting opportunities for recreation and transportation around the ongoing trail and greenway development by the city. Read more

Bechtel Environmental Classroom Designed to Earn World's Toughest Green Building Rating

If all goes as anticipated, when Smith College opens the new Bechtel Environmental Classroom at the Ada and Archibald MacLeish Field Station in Whately next year, the only thing it will draw is attention.

Drawing upon external water or energy supplies for the building is, quite literally, not in the plans. Read the full story

Earth Day Festival About More Than Green

It's about the Earth, therefore it's about everything- the health of humans, animals and plants, global social interaction, the long-term prospects for a viable planet on which to live.

The annual Earth Day Festival at Smith, which takes place on Saturday, April 23, (April 22 is Earth Day), offers an eclectic, cross-disciplinary, entertaining smorgasbord of activities and opportunities that entail far more than just environmental issues. Read more

Smith on the Right Track in Reducing Waste

Two hundred eighty-two tons.

That's how much Smith has reduced its output of trash per year over the past five years, thanks to multiple efforts to compost left over food, increase recycling and reduce waste.

Put another way, people at Smith create about one pound less of trash every minute of every day all year long, explains Roger Guzowski, Five College recycling manager. That's a 30 percent reduction in annual trash generation in 2010 compared with 2005. Read the full story

Smith Green Initiatives: A Focus on the Campus Center

The number of visitors who frequent the Campus Center on a daily basis make it a perfect venue to educate students, staff and community guests and to create awareness of how the Campus Center is becoming a more sustainable facility. Read the full story

Smith Centers for Engagement, Learning and Leadership To Be Dedicated at Smith College

Smith College will dedicate the Centers for Engagement, Learning and Leadership in the recently renovated Wright Hall Friday, March 4, at 5 p.m.

Interdisciplinary by design and engaged with contemporary issues, four newly established centers respond to emerging student and scholarly interests, providing context for internships and independent projects and addressing real-world challenges of the 21st century. Read more

What Can the Oil Spill Teach Us?
Lessons From Deepwater Horizon Disaster

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill - an environmental and economic disaster of epic proportions - presents a broad and urgent learning opportunity for today's college students and tomorrow's global leaders. Smith College is among a number of colleges and universities seizing the opportunity to integrate the study of the catastrophe throughout its curriculum. Read more

Life, Loneliness and Nature Reflected in Students' Art

"Plantinimis," a collection of provocative and symbolic works by students in a senior visual art seminar, taught by Lee Burns, professor of art, ranges widely in media and materials. In addition to the nature themes, ingredients from nature-coffee, sticks, dirt and wood-are often used cleverly in the works, as if in attempt to preserve the very materials that they suggest are being threatened. Read more

Smith College Team Asks About Green Space Use

Although the political canvassing ended with Tuesday's elections, a group of Smith College students just began its door-to-door rounds. Throughout the week, students are querying residents of the city's Ward 3 neighborhoods about green space as part of a project for the Landscape Studies Program.  Read more

A New Environmental Classroom for Smith

Smith recently received a major three-year grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to develop an environmental education and research facility at the Ada and Archibald MacLeish Field Station, a 200-acre wooded parcel in nearby Whately, Mass., owned by the college. Read more

Smith College Names New Sustainability Director

As part of its commitment to the environment, Smith College recently named Boston College's Deirdre Manning to serve as its next environmental sustainability director.

With her 16-year background in energy efficiency policy development, management and end-user advocacy in both higher education and government, Manning brings a wealth of experience to the new post. At Smith, she will be responsible for coordinating the college’s integration of sustainable principles and practices into campus operations and oversee the implementation of the President’s Climate Commitment Plan. Read the full story....


Rising Junior Awarded Hollings Scholarship

Alexandra Page '12, a chemistry major, is one of just 130 sophomores nationwide to receive the 2010 Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Hollings Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit. More than1,200 students were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities throughout the country.

In addition to the two-year academic scholarship, the Hollings Scholarship Program provides a 10-week, full-time, all-expenses paid internship position during the summer between junior and senior year at a NOAA facility. The internship provides the scholars with hands-on educational training experience in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management, and education activities. Awards also include travel funds to attend a Hollings Scholarship Program orientation in Washington, D.C., as well as conferences where students present research papers at the conclusion of their internship. Read the full story....

Smith College Adopts Energy Star Purchasing Policy

This newly adopted policy is just one of the specific policies that guide operations on campus. Read the college's Sustainability and Climate Action Management Plan, the Energy Star Purchasing Policy or other sustainability-related policies adopted by the college...

Would You Like That To Go?

In the ongoing campaign for environmental sustainability, big initiatives make the news, but it’s the little ideas, collected into everyday actions, that will ultimately bring about necessary change. Take, for example, pizza boxes—the cardboard kind that house your steaming pie and soak with grease after it’s eaten. Because of that grease, those pizza boxes are not recyclable, and clog the landfills by the millions. The solution? Reusable, plastic pizza boxes, an idea being tried this summer at Smith on a pilot basis.  Read the full story....

New Smith College Building Honored for Green Design

Smith College recently joined a select group of institutions around the world when Ford Hall, its new science and engineering building, earned LEED Gold Certification. The distinction recognizes the facility’s environmentally sustainable design and construction and is a notable achievement for a laboratory facility.

“A commitment to resource stewardship and preservation is a powerful organizing principle in Smith College’s operational and curricular development,” said Smith President Carol T. Christ. “Ford Hall is a vivid manifestation of the college’s responsibilities to the nation and the world.”  Read the full story...

Three Seniors Leave Their (Green) Mark on Campus

Members of the Class of 2010 entered Smith College at a seminal time in the history of higher education, marked by a surge in awareness about sustainability and the critical role that institutions play in battling global climate change.

Students were critical in leading many of these efforts. Three seniors in particular have been at the forefront of “greening” Smith: Elisabeth Wolfe of Princeton, NJ, Alana Miller of La Jolla, CA, and Lauren Kaelin of Monclair, NJ. Read the full story...

Math Prof Named Bike Advocate of the Year

It's another stop in a good year for Nick Horton, associate professor of mathematics and statistics. Horton, who is also the founder and president of the Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways, accepted an award for 2010 Bike Advocate of the Year on the morning of Wednesday, May 19. The award is given annually by Mass Bike (Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition), a statewide bicycle advocacy group. Read More....

Planning an event? The Events Management Office has produced a guide to keeping it green!

Green Your Event Guide (PDF)

Morrow Residents Pitch In to Keep Paradise beautiful

Residents of Morrow House teamed up to clean refuse off the banks of Paradise Pond last week in an effort to beautify the pride of the Smith campus. The students' effort appropriately foreshadowed the annual Earth Day, an international event that promotes appreciation for and awareness of our planet's environmental health. Earth Day is this Thursday, April 22. Smith joins in every year with own its day long lineup of activities. Read more and view pictures...

Smith College Aims for Carbon Neutrality by 2030

As part of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, Smith College recently unveiled a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Top priority: reduce the energy used to heat, cool and light the college's 111 buildings, which accounts for 85 percent of the college's carbon emissions. Read more...

Where Does the Air Go? Tests Determine Houses' Energy Efficiency

Park House, which was renovated in summer 2009, is being tested this week for air leakage, along with Morris and Lawrence houses. With the data gathered from the tests, Park House (pictured below) will soon receive sealing treatment to leaky areas (Morris and Lawrence will receive similar treatment as part of renovations planned this summer), in order to increase the buildings' energy efficiency. Read more...and see images.

Climate Wise: Women's Global Response to Climate Change

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Next month, at the beginning of their 30-city, 18-country tour of the Americas, four women community activists will speak at Smith College about guaranteeing a safe, just and sustainable future for everyone.

The discussion, "The Climate Wise Women: A Conversation on Global Women’s Response to Climate Change," will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, April 12, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall. The program is free and open to the public.

The Climate Wise Women are Sharon Hanshaw, a beautician-turned-community-leader from Biloxi, Miss.; Ulamila Kurai Wragg, a climate journalist from Raratonga, Cook Islands; Constance Okollet, a rural farmer who runs a women’s network connecting 40 villages in Uganda; and Ursula Rakova of the tiny Carteret Islands who is moving her entire population to Papua New Guinea to escape rising sea water levels.

In public conversation with high-profile academics, scientists, artists, religious leaders, urban planners, rural agriculture experts, government officials and local activists, the four women offer a perspective as to what climate change is doing to women, children, families and communities around the world. Read more...

NEWS FLASH | Sleep mode saves even more than we thought!

Meghan Smith '12, a student in Professor Nat Fortune's PHY 100 course "Solar Energy and Sustainability," recently compared the power draw of her laptop with and without having her power-management "sleep" settings configured to:

She measured a savings of 1.16 kWh per day, which translates to...

1.16 kWh/day * 250 days/year * 2600 students = 754,000 kWh. That's worth more than $120,000!

For instructions on setting your own computer display to automatically switch to sleep mode (instead of a power-wasting screen saver) after a period of inactivity, see:

Climate Action Committee Seeks Community Input

By Clare Lynch '12
The Smith College Sophian  Issued 2/18/10, News Section

In 2007, President Carol Christ signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, pledging Smith's intent to become carbon neutral. In pursuit of this goal, Smith community members met in an open forum on Tuesday to share suggestions, visions and questions about the college's concrete plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Judy Cardell, engineering professor and Chair of the Committee on Sustainability, opened the event by stressing the committee's desire to receive feedback from the campus.

"The committee is really very excited about the plan, but we recognize it's still a draft," Environmental Sustainability Director Dano Weisbord said. "We want your ideas, and we want your questions about what we're doing next. Smith has said, yes, we will be carbon neutral. We will reduce or offset all of our emissions. The question is how, and by when?" Read more...

Ford Hall Greens the Valley

By Isabel Barrios ’10

This month Ford Hall is being showcased for the first time in its short history as one among a handful of buildings in the Pioneer Valley emphasizing sustainable, contemporary architecture and environmentally responsible building practices.

An exhibition, “Greening the Valley: Sustainable Architecture in the Pioneer Valley,” opens Thursday, February 11, in the University Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Fine Arts Center.

“Greening the Valley” showcases local examples of contemporary architecture that make use of technologies and design strategies friendly to the environment. The selection of buildings in the exhibition ranges from private residences to academic buildings and designed landscapes among others. The buildings represent the collective effort of institutions, building owners and designers to collaborate in the fight against the current environmental crisis. More...

This Week: Free 'Green' Items at the Campus Center

First it was solar panels on the roof. Then it was the installation of energy-saving power strips throughout the building.

Now the Campus Center is hosting a recycling station for students, February 1 through 5, to trade in energy-hungry incandescent light bulbs in exchange for low-wattage compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), and pick up free recycled notepads and mini-desktop waste receptacles.

The Campus Center recycling station is open to all students, who can stop by the information desk between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. any day this week to exchange bulbs and pick up free “green” items. The mini bins, CFLs and notepads will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last.  More...

Smith Graduation Garb Goes Green

In keeping with Smith College’s strong commitment to sustainability, the college has chosen to use regalia from the Jostens Elements CollectionTM for the 2010 Commencement. This attractive graduation attire was created with the utmost concern for the environment. The Elements fabric fiber is truly environmentally friendly. It is acetate made from wood that is sourced exclusively from renewable, managed forests, and will decompose in soil in one year. Additionally, when students redeem their Elements CollectionTM regalia hang tag code online, Jostens will contribute $1 to support environmental sustainability.

Ford Hall Construction Sets High Bar for Recycling

It’s not easy to clear space for and construct a building the size of 140,000-square-foot Ford Hall without creating a lot of waste in the process.

But that’s exactly what Smith College did.

Of the more than 2,500 tons of materials cleared away to create the construction site and used to build the new facility, 96 percent was recycled. Only 3.4 percent of materials were sent to the landfill.

“This is an extraordinary accomplishment for a building of Ford’s scope and scale,” noted Dano Weisbord, director of environmental sustainability. More...

Solar Panels to Generate Power Atop Smith College's Campus Center

In a few weeks, solar panels will be mounted on the roof of the Smith College Campus Center to produce clean energy and reduce the college's operating costs while lowering carbon emissions. Throughout the next 20 years, the system will reduce carbon emissions by 238 metric tons, which is equivalent to the carbon that would be removed by planting 215 acres of trees. More...

Smith Joins International Day of Climate Change: Or, 350 reasons to be at Smith October 24

Right now, 350 may be the most important number in the world. Scientists agree, that number -- 350 parts per million (ppm) -- represents the uppermost safety limit of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the earth's atmosphere. The earth is now sustaining approximately 390 ppm. The excess carbon in the atmosphere increases activity damaging to the earth's natural resources, leading to melting ice caps, for example, and rapidly spreading drought -- eventually endangering human habitation. More...

PBS Journalist to Host Day of Climate Talks

Grécourt Gate News: The increasingly rapid loss of the world's glaciers and the ramifications of this alarming climate development will be the topic of discussion on Tuesday, October 6, when PBS journalist David Brancaccio visits Smith and hosts a local film screening. More...

Bright Lights, Big Savings

Grécourt Gate News: A full replacement will be completed this week of the lights in the Indoor Track and Tennis facility (ITT). The project is replacing 120 metal halide light fixtures, each of which uses 1,000 watts, with 144 fixtures that use 600 watts per unit. The positive results are many: the facility will be brighter due to extra banks of lights added around the track's perimeter. Meanwhile, the new lighting will result in a savings of more than 226,000 kilowatt-hours per year, a cost savings of $38,000, said Gary Hartwell, project manager in Facilities Management, who is overseeing the lights replacement. More...

New Students Search for Sustainable Clues

Grécourt Gate News: Members of the class of 2013 are invited to get to know Smith by participating in a team scavenger hunt. The rules are simple: Form a team and respond to questions by noon Friday, September 4. The team with the highest score wins.

The questions are not so simple. "What is special about the toilets in Ford Hall?" "Name three vegetables planted in the Smith Community Garden in Summer 2009." "Name up to three places locally where you can get a vegan meal."

Smith Sustainable Scavenger Hunt Official Rules >

Opening Convocation Goes "Green"

Smith College News Office: In keeping with sustainability efforts across the campus, there will be no printed program for Opening Convocation this year. The program itself will be projected on the walls of John M. Greene Hall. Music and lyrics for "Gaudeamus Igitur" will be printed on card stock -- we ask that attendees please return the cards as you exit the hall, so they may be used again at future events. The 2008-09 student prize award recipients can be found online. Please take a moment to review the list so that you may congratulate your friends, classmates and housemates.

Ada's Initiative Helps Take The Heat Off Energy Use

Grécourt Gate News: Last year, when Kerry Valentine AC'10J was challenged to come up with an environmentally sustainable project that could be applied to Smith College, she kept her cool. That is, Valentine set to work researching an energy-saving technology that had recently been installed in the walk-in coolers of the restaurant she manages locally, and determined it could also benefit her school. More...