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Wellness Education


Dear Smithie Parent,

Wellness Education Director Emily NagoskiThe goal of the wellness office at Smith College is to support students as they learn to balance their academics with the many other important aspects of their lives.

The years that students spend at Smith are full of personal as well as intellectual development. For many, it may be the first time that they have had independence in deciding what to eat, when to sleep, and how to organize their time. Some already know the importance of caring for their physical health, while others will learn through trial and error that when they take care of themselves, their work, their health, and even their mood improve. Our job in the wellness office is to provide the resources they need during their development into adults.

The content on this website is one way that we get information to students. Most of it is written by students, for students, and is intended to help students make incremental steps toward improving their wellness, rather than urging them to follow any prescripted lifestyle. We aim to help students learn to make independent decisions.

There are a few things you can do to help us and your student:

Talk with your student about alcohol. Whether or not they choose to drink, they will be exposed to alcohol on campus and to its effects. The adults in their lives play a crucial role in shaping their attitudes and behaviors.

Don’t worry if your student seems to gain or lose some weight during college. It’s a time of both psychological and physiological development, and you can expect changes. In spite of what the media would have us believe, there’s not actually a very strong relationship between weight and health. A pretty wide range of body compositions can be health – say 15-25% body fat. The difference in appearance between 15% and 25% is a lot. The average student could drop or gain 10 or more pounds and still be in a healthy range. If her health seems to be suffering, talk to her about that, not about weight. The issue is not the weight change per se; it is what’s behind the change. Is she making unhealthful choices at meals? Has she stopped participating in her favorite physical activity? Maybe she feels like she has no time to exercise or eat. Talk to her about these issues, NOT about weight.

Ask your student about sleep. Sleep is the most underrated health issue that students face, and it’s a biggie. Adequate sleep is the number one health behavior that will help a student succeed academically.

If you have any questions about wellness initiatives at Smith, please feel free to write to us at

Thanks for taking the time to check out our website, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
Wellness Education Director


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