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Please feel free to browse any of our past articles in the Article Archive >

Political Correctness:
Understanding and Navigating Conversation

by Kristin Rivers '16


A huge turnout of students gathered in Seelye 207 Friday evening for the Politically Correct in an Incorrect World: Having Hard Conversations on Campus panel. The panel consisting of Alexandra Keller, Professor of Film Studies, Disability Services Director Laura Rauscher, Elizabeth Pryor, Professor of History and Senior Interfaith Fellow Matilda Cantwell was moderated by Sydney Burt '18 and Miranda Catsambas '19.

In their discussion, Burt and Catsambas read a series of questions for panelists to discuss. They ranged from times when panelists had to engage with someone different views concerning political correctness, or PC, to issues of political correctness in the classroom. [...]




Interfaith Works: A Chance to Help the Community at Large

by Kristin Rivers '16


A group of students and religious advisers gathered inside the Bodman Lounge before break to team up with members from Cathedral in the Night in preparing meals to serve the homeless when the usual serving times are canceled for the holidays.

Senior Interfaith Fellow Matilda Cantwell led the gathering, promoting effort to "do more for everyone." [...]




Christmas Vespers 2015: A Night of Song and Peace

by Kristin Rivers '16

Students, faculty, alumnae, and the public gathered inside John M. Greene Hall late Sunday afternoon to attend Christmas Vespers, Smith's annual holiday celebration marking Advent. The service consisted of hymns and readings by Smith students, faculty, and staff. The Smith College Chorus, Glee Club, Chamber Singers, Handbell Choir, and Orchestra conducted the evening's musical festivities.

Dean of Religious Life Jennifer Walters began the program by welcoming the audience and taking a moment to be mindful of the first night of Hanukkah. Walters thanked everyone who made Vespers a "community-wide tradition" and discussed how this year's event is a reflection of the first one led by President Laurenus Seelye in 1875. [...]




Fighting Islamophobia at Smith and around the World

by Nora Turriago '16

To say Muslims face prejudice is a gross understatement. On the political trail, Republican candidates are seemingly in competition with each other for who can dish out the most dehumanizing comments about the Muslim community—Donald Trump, having recently said Muslims should be tracked by a database, is definitely in the lead—while global events such as the Paris attacks and the refugee crisis fuel an increasingly Islamophobic climate.

To address this hostile climate, Smith College held a panel discussion this Thursday called "Demystifying Daesh/ISIS and Confronting Islamophobia." The panel (sponsored by the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity and the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life) featured Ambreen Hai, a professor of English language and literature; Mehammed Mack, an assistant professor of French Studies; Greg White, the Mary Huggins Gamble Professor of Government; and Steven Heydemann, the Janet Wright Ketcham '53 Chair of Middle East Studies. During the panel, the Smith faculty discussed the challenges facing Muslims citizens in the United States and abroad and worked to provide some insight about Islam for the Smith community. [...]




Smith for Nepal: Continuing Relief Efforts

by Kristin Rivers '16

Students and Parents of Shree Patan Debi Secondary School in Gorkha, Nepal

Over six months have passed since the devastating earthquakes in Nepal that left massive casualties, unbelievable devastation and significant aftershocks that continue to this day, including a 5.3 quake a few days ago. But, relief efforts to rebuild the devastated country continue as Smith College's South Asian Organization (EKTA) and International Student Organization (ISO) held Smith for Nepal in the Chapel Sanctuary before Thanksgiving break. The fundraiser contributed to reconstruction of Shree Patan Debi Secondary School, a government school in Gorkha of 250 students in grades 1-10. [...]




Town Hall Meeting: Addressing Lack of Change and Progress

by Kristin Rivers '16

Students, faculty, and community members gathered inside John M. Greene Hall late Monday afternoon to address not just growing racial tensions around the country, but issues of diversity on campus and the lack of progress in getting change enacted. The panel consisted of President Kathleen McCartney, Chief Diversity Officer Dwight Hamilton and Dean of Religious Life Jennifer Walters. The discussion was facilitated by Director of Multicultural Affairs L'Tanya Richmond.

Walters began the panel stressing how "We need to listen to each other... We're all Smith College." [...]




Solidarity Sit-In to Address Racism on College Campuses

by Nora Turriago '16



This Wednesday, hundreds of Smith College students wearing black filled the Campus Center in a daylong sit-in to support students of color at college campuses across the nation, from Mizzou to nearby Amherst College.

The sit-in included an open mic, where students of color could share their stories of difficulty they experienced at Smith College. An easel featuring a list of demands—which included multicultural housing, diverse faculty, and better recruitment of black students—was available, where students were encouraged to add their own ideas for change. There were also rooms for discussions, including a room for black students to discuss their demands from the college. [...]




Tragedy in Paris Vigil:
Coming Together in Pain and Understanding

by Kristin Rivers '16



Large groups of students, faculty and others began to gather outside the Campus Center Monday afternoon in remembrance of the victims and survivors of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13th. Dean of Religious Life Jennifer Walters led the vigil as a deep silence began to come upon everyone present.

Walters stressed to the audience how Smith is "a community that gathers," referring to the number of times this semester the Smith community has gathered to be witnesses against violence, racial discrimination, and Islamophobia. [...]




Kicking Stress in the Face:
An Alternative Method to Stress Relief

by Nora Turriago '16


While the popular approach to dealing with stress may be a meditative one—think relaxing mantras, breathing exercises, and peaceful walks in nature—Smith College's recent workshop "Kick the Stress Habit" provided an alternative method. Instead of deep breaths and oms, students yelled, punched, and kicked their way through anxieties, worries, and tension. Yes, one thing was certain: this was not going to be your run-of-the-mill relaxation group. [...]




Vigil Honoring the Lives of Bangladeshi Journalists

by Nora Turriago '16



Despite the cool November temperature, Smith College students congregated on the Chapin deck this Wednesday afternoon for a vigil honoring the bloggers from Bangladesh who were brutally murdered for speaking out against religious extremism. [...]




Hot Seat: Trigger Warnings & Safe Spaces

by Kristin Rivers '16


A fall edition of the Hot Seat was held during the lunch hour in Campus Center 103/104 centering on trigger warnings in the classroom, issues of free speech and creating safe spaces. The panel consisted of Director and Professor of Film Studies Alexandra Keller, Senior Interfaith Fellow Matilda Cantwell, Assistant History Professor Elizabeth Pryor and Disability Services Director Laura Rauscher. The panel was moderated by Dean of Religious Life Jennifer Walters.

Walters began the discussion talking about how, "There's a big range of space." In her introduction, Walters referenced recent current events around college campuses such as the recent racial incidents at University of Missouri and Duke University students [...]




Celebrating Diwali at Smith

by Nora Turriago '16




On Wednesday evening, Smith College students gathered in the Helen Hills Hills Chapel to celebrate Diwali, a five day long festival of lights celebrated primarily by Hindus of India, honoring the Goddess Laxmi, and other deities including Sarasvati (the Goddess of knowledge) and Ganesh (the remover of obstacles).

During Diwali, homes are cleaned top to bottom and illuminated with candles and lights as a symbol of warm welcome to Laxmi, the Goddess of material and spiritual fortune. The day represents an opportunity to remember the importance of acting with peace and kindness. [...]




Otelia Cromwell Day 2015 Coverage


Tuesday, November 3rd announced itself with temperatures in the seventies—yet, as bright sunshine reflected off the autumn foliage, students and faculty filed into Sage Hall, quickly filling up the building to full capacity. Make no mistake: Otelia Cromwell Day had arrived.

Named for the first African American to graduate from Smith College, Otelia Cromwell Day offers various workshops, lectures, and films about social justice—particularly relating to race and racism—to the Smith College community. The first Otelia Cromwell Day held in 1989 provided the college an opportunity to further education and reflection about issues of diversity and racism.

This year, Otelia Cromwell Day focused on incarceration, with the theme Intersections of Criminal Justice, Social Justice and Activism. The keynote speaker Dawn Porter—a criminal justice system reformer, filmmaker, and attorney—spoke out against the injustice of the incarceration system.

Read the full coverage.




Wednesday Weekly Vigil - Halloween Edition:
Cultural Appreciation vs. Cultural Appropriation

by Kristin Rivers, '16



On a cool and drizzling Wednesday afternoon at 12:20, a couple of students gathered on Chapin Deck by the Campus Center to participate in a special Wednesday Weekly Vigil. This Vigil centered on the issue of cultural appreciation verses cultural appropriation with costumes, as Halloween was coming up that weekend. Hot cider was served while students lit small candles to commemorate the vigil and read a statement Senior Interfaith Fellow Matilda Cantwell created on behalf of The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. [...]




Qahhar Cush Exhibit: The Soul is Not Confined

by Kristin Rivers '16



As part of the Otelia Cromwell Day celebration, the Qahhar Cush exhibit "The Soul is Not Confined" is on display at the Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts Green Room from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. through November 30. The exhibit consists of 12 paintings by painter and writer Qahhar Cush, also known as Robert L. Cook. [...]




Gideon's Army: Justice for All

by Nora Turriago '16


What is the life like of a public defender? What does it take to work against an injustice judicial system, working with people society would like to forget? Gideon's Army, a documentary shown this week in Weinstein auditorium, provided insight into such complicated questions. [...]




Black Lives Matter Panel: We the Protestors

by Nora Turriago '16


On Monday, a conversation called "We the Protesters: Policy, Discourse and the Movement for Black Lives" was held in Weinstein Auditorium, hosting a panel featuring Fordham University Political Science Professor Christina Greer, Columbia University History and Sociomedical Sciences Professor Samuel Roberts, and Smith College alumna and activist Chrislene DeJean. Moderated by Smith College Professor of Africana Studies Paula Giddings, the conversation discussed the Black Lives Matter movement, its development and changes, and implication for change in the political process. [...]




Vigil and Happiness for Pets:
Another Pet-A-Pet Day Perspective

by Kristin Rivers '16




On a cloudy Wednesday during midterms, throngs of students gathered on the chapel lawn to pet adorable, fuzzy dogs and enjoy fresh cider and donuts.

There was something different on this Pet-A-Pet Day, a small addition that meant so much: a vigil for beloved animals, past and present. On the chapel steps were chairs with baskets of pens, and colorful index cards. Above it was a long clothesline with clips where the index cards would be displayed for all to see. [...]




Pet-a-Pet Day: Fall 2015

by Nora Turriago '16


With midterms and cooler temperatures quickly approaching, Pet-a-Pet Day—held yesterday afternoon—was the perfect way to de-stress, have fun, and enjoy the autumn weather. [...]




De-Stressing Off Campus: An Afternoon at Dobra Tea

by Kristin Rivers '16

As a Smithie trying to balance schoolwork with friends and other activities, sometimes you feel like you're trapped in a bubble. You may feel confined to campus even if you take a Five College class. Bringing your work off—campus is still stressful because your focus remains on academics and not the present moment. You just can't escape the bubble that is Smith!

After a personally difficult and emotional week, I hit a point where I needed to get away, hoping to find comfort amid so much anxiety. I finally saw an opportunity to relax for an hour or two, and that's when I decided to do something out of the ordinary: I headed downtown for lunch. [...]




New Chapel History Page

by Nora Turriago '16

Our site has been updated! Check out our new History page for a more detailed story surrounding the Chapel's origins.




De-Stressing Off Campus: An Afternoon at Dobra Tea

by Kristin Rivers '16

As a Smithie trying to balance schoolwork with friends and other activities, sometimes you feel like you're trapped in a bubble. You may feel confined to campus even if you take a Five College class. Bringing your work off—campus is still stressful because your focus remains on academics and not the present moment. You just can't escape the bubble that is Smith!

After a personally difficult and emotional week, I hit a point where I needed to get away, hoping to find comfort amid so much anxiety. I finally saw an opportunity to relax for an hour or two, and that's when I decided to do something out of the ordinary: I headed downtown for lunch. [...]




Soup, Salad, & Soul Facilitator Training

by Nora Turriago '16

In a fast-paced world overrun with technology and multi-tasking, the act of engaging in meaningful conversation is becoming rare. Being present in a conversation and listening attentively without glancing at your phone?—Why, it's practically a lost art! However, the opportunity to connect with others is an important one. With the Soup Salad and Soul program, the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life provides a space for such dialogue and discussion. [...]




Celebrating Eid at Smith

by Nora Turriago '16

This Thursday, a celebration of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha was held at Helen Hills Hills Chapel, hosted by Al Iman, Smith College's chapter of the national Muslim Students Association. This year's annual Eid dinner featured guest speaker Linda Sarsour, delicious Mediterranean food, and activities ranging from henna to calligraphy. [...]




Open Lawn:
Starting Dialogue, Guinea Pigs, and Question Games

by Kristin Rivers, '16


The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life held a CRSL Open Deck event on a hot and sticky Thursday afternoon between 12:10-1:00 p.m. outside the Campus Center. Somewhat similar to their booth during the Student Involvement Fair, there were goodies such as backpacks, pamphlets and delicious candy, boards explaining their mission with social change and identity and information about upcoming events such as Pet a Pet Day and Otelia Cromwell Day. Students also had an opportunity to talk with some of the staff present, but this time also have the chance to participate in a question game behind the booth and feed guinea pigs. [...]




Celebrating Rosh Hashanah at Smith:
Doubts & Harmonious Voices amongst the Rain

by Kristin Rivers, '16

For many students during the start of this new school year, it is a time to reflect, adjust to a new schedule, and take a deep breath before things pick up. For those who attended Sunday night's Rosh Hashanah evening service in the sanctuary despite the pouring rain, led by Jewish Student Adviser Rabbi Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser, it became a time to remember that "having doubts is part of what you believe."

It was also a time for change within the Smith Community [...]




Lady in Number 6: The Power of Music in Saving Lives

by Nora Turriago, '16


"The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved my Life," is a documentary about a concert pianist and oldest Holocaust survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer, who proved the incredible power music has in bringing strength and resilience to those in a horrible situation. Shown this past week at Neilson library, the 35-minute film won the 2013 Academy Award for best documentary-short film. The producer, director, and writer of the film, Malcolm Clarke, was also at the presentation. [...]




Student Involvement Fair 2015: Expanding the Horizons

September 18th was a still summer-like, beautiful day. From 11:30 to 1:30 p.m., throngs of students gathered outside the Campus Center, checking out many of Smith's diverse organizations at the Student Involvement Fair.

Among those organizations was The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, represented in a booth near John M. Greene Hall. Dean Jennifer Walters and the students heading the table took time to talk with interested students [...]




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