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An Evening of Music to Stir the Heart

by Robyn Handley, '15

The full ensemble performs Bach's Magnificat

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was quoted as saying, "I believe music must, first and foremost, stir the heart." On October 5th at 7pm, in the Helen Hills Hills Chapel, these words captured the spirit of the room, as a mixture of students, faculty, and community members gathered to listen to a performance of Bach's Magnificat. The performance was given in honor of the 300th anniversary of Bach's birth. [...]

A Different Sense of Time- Celebrating Rosh Hashanah at Smith

by Robyn Handley, '15

The sun sets on the sanctuary after Rosh Hashanah

Through the windows behind Jewish Religious Adviser Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser, the sun began to sink, splashing jewel tones across the sky as she spoke about the blank page of the New Year as a time to set intentions. People of all different ages and backgrounds were gathered together in a circle to reflect on the year that had passed and set intentions for the year to come. Rosh Hashanah acts as a magnetic force, drawing people to meditate and reflect."The Jewish sense of time," Jewish Religious Adviser Shapiro-Rieser says "is a little different." [...]

Signs of Fall: Student Involvement Fair

by Robyn Handley, '15

Center for Religious and Spiritual Life faculty and students run the booth at the student involvement fair.

If you were like a large part of the student body, at lunchtime on September 12th, you were wandering the student involvement fair. A bright blue sky and a crisp fall breeze provided the perfect backdrop for all of the students and staff promoting their organizations and programs. Standing among all these other organizations, just off to the left of the Campus Center steps was the booth for the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. A mixture of students and faculty ran the booth from 11:30-1:30 pm, greeting students who were interested in learning more, and encouraging students to sign up for the email list. [...]

Self-Care Fair and Pet-a-Pet Day

by Brianna Jackson, '16

A Smithie getting a kiss and warm greetings from a fuzzy friend.

When her coworkers approached her for ideas for her retirement celebration, Hayat Abuza, Multifaith Program Specialist, shrugged off any suggestion for a party just for her. She wanted to celebrate her time at Smith with a festival everyone could enjoy; the Self-Care Fair held at Helen Hills Hills Chapel on May 2, 2014 was the result. The highlight of the Fair was Pet-a-Pet Day, a cherished day for Smithies to enjoy the company of some amazing pets.

One of the things students miss most from home when at Smith is the pets they had to leave behind. Interacting with pets at this celebration provides them with the loving presence they have been missing out on. Everyone at Pet-a-Pet Day was so happy to see furry friends once again. Emily Carroll ’16 stroked a chocolate labradoodle and was reminded of her dog of the same breed at [...]

Hayat's Last Sunset Hike

by Brianna Jackson, '16

The view of Sunset Hike from Mount Sugarloaf in South Deerfield, MA.

After leading hikes for six years, Hayat Abuza led her final Sunset Hike on April 26, 2014. The hikes originally started as Sunrise Hikes, but Sunset Hikes took over to accommodate Smithies who were not early risers. This particular hike took place on Mount Sugarloaf in South Deerfield, MA, a relatively short trail that is still extraordinarily scenic.

Rain poured on the day of the hike, but we braced ourselves knowing the view at the end of the hike would be worthwhile. When we discussed the current weather, Hayat described other hikes she has led through even more intense weather conditions. Winter hikes would often involve walking through deep snow when the road leading up to the mountain was not plowed. As we climbed, Hayat entertained us with a story of a particularly icy hike in which she had to slide down the mountain in a seated position to avoid tripping and falling down the slippery slope. We made it up the mountain without getting too wet, and when we reached the top, we saw the wide Connecticut River, rectangular plots of farmland and dark mountains looming in the distance. The panorama of the Pioneer Valley tinted bluish from the rain made us pensive and ready to read [...]

Soup and Salad to Feed the Soul

by Brianna Jackson, '16

After enjoying soup and salad, Smith students along with other Smith community members have the opportunity to start discussions, chat with each other, and make new friends.

Food is a powerful unifier, and after a long week at Smith, a delicious lunch with welcoming company is something everyone could appreciate. To satisfy this need throughout the school year, students and Smith community members would go to Bodman Lounge every Friday afternoon for “Soup, Salad and Soul.” This program is a student-led discussion group that provides an appetizing lunch and the equally decadent opportunity of tackling a range of topics suggested by the students.

Each week, the meal of soup and salad was carefully prepared by Ellen Bryer ‘15J and Meredith Shanoski ‘16. These two cooks bonded over their mutual love of food, and their hard work and ingenuity in the kitchen came together every week in their consistently delectable meals. Whether they were serving warm red pepper soup topped with crumbled goat cheese or a crisp avocado salad, those attending "Soup, Salad and Soul" could always count on something satisfying and delicious to [...]

We put our bodies at the gate: An Intergenerational conversation on environmental Activism

by Brianna Jackson, '16

Pictured here are Frances Crowe and Susan Lantz, activists on the panel on 4/21/2014.

To kick of Earth Week, young and old activists championed the closing and decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant at “We Put Our Bodies at the Gate: An Intergenerational Conversation on Environmental Activism.” This panel was held on April 21, 2014 and included members from the “Shut it Down” Vermont Yankee Affinity Group. The discussion kicked off Smith’s Earth Week festivities and was accompanied by an art exhibit, “Bodies at the Gate,” in the Nolen Art Lounge. In describing their experiences, the panelists instilled hope for change by demonstrating the power of activism.

In order for the movement towards climate change to be successful, education is key. Susan Theberge of Climate Action Now said, “A movement must embody the complexity of all people.” Knowledge of the consequences of one’s decision-making about the environment would allow people to realize the harm we do without recognizing it. As Frances Crowe, a 95-year-old activist who has worked towards peace and environmental justice throughout most of her life, said, “We must look at what we’re doing to hasten the end of the life on earth as we know it.” We must realize where we are making mistakes and then do all we can to correct them. The poor are the most affected by climate change, and activists empower the poor and disadvantaged, in particular. Their ultimate goal is to end the cycle of injustice and greed that comes from profit-driven practices which pose environmental [...]

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