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Encouraging Community Development

Civic Connections

Smith’s president and senior staff members meet regularly with the Northampton mayor and other city officials to discuss issues and opportunities of mutual interest. The president’s annual college-community breakfast invites some 50 civic, cultural and religious leaders in Northampton to campus for updates on Smith’s key projects and initiatives.

Affordable Housing

Working with the Valley Community Development Corporation, the college provided $220,000 to subsidize the development of four new apartments at 46–48 School Street and $550,000 to subsidize the development of eight new apartments at 96–98 King Street. Most recently, the college donated $100,000 to Valley CDC to support the construction of 55 units of affordable housing on Pleasant Street in Northampton.

Community Service

The Jandon Center’s Community Service Office places students in semester-based, yearlong or multiyear co-curricular placements to build capacity in local partner nonprofits. Short-term projects are also available. Students engage in meaningful service work, participate in training and reflection activities and learn effective models for developing strong, collaborative community partnerships. Many students report that these experiences instilled in them a lifelong commitment to community engagement. More than 200 students participate in 10,000 hours of community service per year. 

Partners include the Center for New Americans, Friends of Hampshire County Homeless, Manna Soup Kitchen, Northampton Survival Center and United Way of Hampshire County.

Employee Service

The college grants employees a paid workday each year to engage in community service, allowing them to use a regular workday to volunteer in a community activity or event in Northampton or the city or town in which they live. Many Smith employees are already actively engaged in ongoing community service work, serving on boards and volunteering for local nonprofits.

Off-Campus Work-Study

Some 74 Smith students worked at 26 nonprofit institutions in the Pioneer Valley in 2016–17, including Mass Audubon at Arcadia, the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and Northampton Arts Council. The college spent more than $66,000  to fulfill its commitment to pay 75 percent of the students’ salaries and another $8,000 to pay their full salaries at other qualifying agencies. In addition, 89 Smith students worked as reading tutors at nine elementary schools and agencies as part of the America Reads challenge. Smith pays their full earnings, at a cost of approximately $57,000.

Campus Police

The Campus Police provide protection and services to the college community, its visitors and guests. The officers are sworn special state police officers and are trained professionals with police powers on campus property. Campus police often work with other agencies, particularly the Northampton Police Department and the Hampshire County District Attorney’s Office. The department coordinates with the Northampton Fire Department for emergency ambulance service and participates on behalf of the college in the city’s emergency management team. The college provides overtime employment at time-and-a-half pay for a significant number of Northampton police officers, particularly during commencement and reunion weekends when, for example, approximately $5,800 is paid for the services of more than two dozen city police officers for traffic control.


Since 2007 Smith has partnered with Zipcar, North America’s largest car-sharing service, to offer the Smith community and local residents a cost-effective alternative to car ownership. Smith has six Zipcars; the company estimates that each Zipcar eliminates the need for more than 20 privately owned vehicles.