In May 2019, the Residential Experience Working Group submitted its initial report on dining in community to President McCartney and the board of trustees. The report outlined recommendations on improving community within Smith’s dining system to positively impact a student’s ability to engage with communities college-wide and feel a sense of belonging.
At its October 2019 meeting, the board of trustees approved moving forward with a technical feasibility study that would identify options for improved dining and operational enhancements.
Theme 1: Food
Access, eating patterns and accommodations
In the past, dining was instrumental in bringing everyone together. Now, for a variety of reasons, Smith's existing dining options have become less effective in creating community. In fact–due to personal tastes, student schedules and dietary restrictions (e.g., gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, kosher, halal, etc.)–students may need to pick up food from various dining locations on campus.
- Study ways to better meet student dietary requirements and preferences.
- Provide more menu and snack options within each dining location.
- Improve food quality through training opportunities and/or centralized food preparation.
- Increase programming around wellness and nutrition.
- Increase dining hours to accommodate student schedules.
|Hours of Hot Entrees Served Per Day
Theme 2: Accessibility
Even though dining room entrances are ADA compliant, dining areas may not be; students may not be able to navigate within the dining areas due to crowding and physical accessibility of serving areas.
- Increase accessibility in dining areas (e.g., service counter height and depth)
Theme 3: Sustainability
Smith College wastes more food per student per year than any of its peers who track compostable waste by student per academic year.
- Study opportunities for centralized food preparation and storage.
- Review ways to reduce food waste.
|Food Waste Per Student, Per Year
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Smith consolidating its dining operations?
A: The college is not making any immediate changes to its dining operations. The technical feasability study will inform any potential change.
Q: What is the technical feasibility study?
A: The technical feasibility study is a consultant-led study of Smith’s physical dining locations, equipment and operations to determine potential enhancements.
Q: Why has Smith engaged a consultant to review its dining operations?
A: The college is committed to ensuring that its residential experience meets the needs and expectations of current and future students. These include accessibility, quality, choice and the opportunity to live and dine in community.
The consultant’s work is a result of the the Residential Experience Working Group’s examination of “How Smith, as an educational institution and a residential college, can most effectively optimize the potential of living and dining in community, in order to create an inclusive learning environment for all students.”
Q: What are Smith's current dining operations?
A: Smith currently has 15 dining rooms served by 12 residential kitchens. Across all meals and locations in a standard week, the college operates 181 individual meal periods.
Students with dietary restrictions are served by individual dining rooms:
- Cutter/Ziskind is Kosher and Halal (served by separate kitchens)
- Dawes is gluten-free (students must be registered with the Office of Disability Service to access Dawes)
- Lamont is peanut-, tree nut-, shellfish-, fish- and sesame-free
- Northrop/Gillett is vegan and vegetarian
- Wilson will transition to vegan and vegetarian on December 1, 2019.
Q: Are there any current plans to either close or open new dining areas?
pounds of food waste per student, per year, on average—higher than UMass, Mount Holyoke and other colleges
hours of hot entrees served at Smith per day—far fewer than Amherst, Mount Holyoke and other colleges
The value of the food wasted at Smith per year, based on the EPA’s estimated value of $1.17 per pound of food waste
The percentage of students who eat breakfast and lunch in just 6 of the 15 available dining locations