What Makes Smith Sustainable?
We Recycle & Reduce. Smith recycles everything from cans and bottles to paper and cardboard. Dining Services uses bulk dispensers to reduce packaging, and students are given reusable bottles, cups and containers. Dining halls use china, flatware and glasses instead of disposable items, and "Grab and Go" locations use biodegradable flatware, napkins and containers. The student-powered Food Recovery Network gives leftover food to those in need.
We Source Local Foods. As a member of Community in Support of Agriculture (CISA), Smith Dining Services is committed to buying locally grown products whenever possible. Residential dining doesn't use bottled water, and the sale of bottled water in the Campus Center and the bookstore is limited to brands sourced from within a 500-mile radius. Each week, Dining Services features a list of local products on the menu, including coffee, dairy products and produce.
We Compost to a Local Farm. What started as a pilot project in 2008 with two Smith kitchens has grown to include all of Smith's dining locations. The composting program takes food waste and gives it to a local farm to be turned into natural fertilizer. For an institution the size of Smith, this means tens of thousands of pounds of food trash annually gets returned to the earth as nutrients instead of rotting in a landfill. The college composts both pre- and post-consumer food waste.
We Encourage Smart Transportation. About 22 percent of Smith employees use the parking opt-out program, which encourages faculty and staff to walk, bike, carpool and use public transit. Zipcars are available on campus, and employees have access to two carpool matching services. With the other colleges in the Five College Consortium, Smith subsidizes the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority to offer free bus rides among the campuses and bordering communities during the academic year. The student-run Bicycle Kitchen promotes eco-friendly transportation. Smith has also replaced several larger vans with smaller ones and diesel vehicles use a mix of biodiesel.
We Purchase & Reuse Wisely. The college purchases Energy Star-certified products in any area for which this rating exists. Smith makes sustainable purchases for computers and electronics, copy and printer paper, toilet paper, furniture, appliances, heating and cooling equipment, and building materials. Old materials from renovations and scraps from new construction are sorted and recycled to a projected level of 90 percent. Items such as windows and doors are removed intact and donated to area nonprofits, and equipment and furniture are donated or used elsewhere on campus.
Prospects for a Greener Smith: An Interview with Smith's New Campus Energy Manager
Students Test New Plan for Moving Sediment Out of Paradise Pond
The sluicing method promises to be less disturbing to the river ecosystem by allowing sediment to continue downstream instead of being disposed of on land.
Hello Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Goodbye Batteries
Producing and then disposing of lithium-ion batteries for decades and eventually centuries into the future is not sustainable, says engineering professor Denise McKahn. She is currently conducting research in her Smith lab to create hydrogen fuel cells that can be used as alternative energy and are safer for the environment.
Smith Joins National College-Based Real Food Challenge
Smith has signed onto the Real Food Challenge, making the college the 41st in the country—and the second women's college—to join the national sustainable food initiative.