March 28, 2003
Week of Service Calls Out
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- For those at
Smith who have always wanted to give back to the college's surrounding
host communities but never recognized the opportunity, the time
Beginning Saturday, March 29, and continuing through Sunday,
April 6, "Bringing the Community into Focus: The Smith Week
of Service" will raise awareness of the various needs of
the off-campus community and will invite students, faculty and
staff members together to volunteer at various agencies in Northampton
and area towns on short-term projects.
Organized by the Chapel,
Service Organizations of
Smith (S.O.S.) and Staff
Council, the Week of Service aims to give volunteer participants
a better sense of Smith's relationship to its local community
and the world around it.
"We hope that all participants will gain a greater understanding
of the challenges facing our local communities, as well as the
resources and assets, particularly the people who are working
to improve the quality of life here," says Jennifer Walters,
dean of religious life. "This is the first year of what
we hope will be an annual event that draws more Smith College
members together to engage in meaningful ways with community
agencies and people outside the college gates."
The Week of Service will begin on Saturday, March 29, at 4 p.m.
with a tea and kickoff meeting for participants at the Chapel.
During the entire subsequent week, various service projects will
take place throughout the Pioneer Valley, including yard-work
at Jessie's House and Grove Street Inn, quilt-making for children
with HIV/AIDS, construction help on a Habitat for Humanity house
in Greenfield and visits to residents of the Northampton Nursing
At 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2, the College's Staff Council
will host a forum in Wright Hall Auditorium for staff and faculty
on "What a Difference a Day Makes: the Gift of Volunteering."
Following introductory remarks by President Carol Christ, six
staff members will discuss their own volunteer experiences as
well as offer ways to find out about volunteer opportunities
in the community.
The Week of Service reflects the vision of President Carol Christ
for Smith to be a "private college with a public conscience,"
as outlined in her inaugural speech last fall. Two recent initiatives
exemplify her endeavor: one in which every Smith employee is
encouraged to use one paid workday to volunteer in a community
activity or event; and Smith's recent membership in Massachusetts
Campus Compact, an organization of college and university presidents
that aims to build a statewide collaboration to promote service
as a critical component of higher education.