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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

Sustainable Smith

Students collecting sap from a tree

In 1886, Florence Merriam Bailey, a student concerned about the plight of birds, started the Smith College Audubon Society and began weaving the fabric of sustainability at Smith that can now be found across all aspects of the college—in academics, operations, research and student life. Smith prepares women through active learning and societal engagement to foster and lead sustainable, just communities and to make significant and lasting contributions to address the critical issues of the times. Like Florence, students are frequently at the heart of sustainability issues on campus. You’ll find their stories throughout these pages.



Need clothing, toiletries, room essentials, or funds for travel or emergencies? The Common Goods Resource Center is here to help connect students with resources.



37 faculty members are engaged in sustainability research; 56% of academic departments are engaged in sustainability research; 130 of regularly offered courses include sustainability


Data is from the college's most recent Association for Higher Education in Sustainability STARS report.


Sustainability News

Farm to Institution New England publishes Smith student research about Land Grant Universities and Indigenous Nations in the Northeast

In the Fall of 2020, Smith students Maeve McCurdy '21, Fee Pelz-Sharpe '21, and Sofia Perrotto '21, partnered with Farm to Institution New England (FINE) through the Environmental Science and Policy 312 course, to investigate how land grant universities view their historic relationships with the Indigenous tribes whose land they occupy.

‘The Health of Our Population Depends on the Health of the World’

“We are inextricably tied to our natural environment, yet we continue to damage it. The time has come to invest in this precious resource,” writes Simran Sethi ’92 in this essay on nature in a post-pandemic world.

Applying Psychological Research to Promote Sustainability and Behavior Change on Campus

During the fall 2020 semester, students in Professor Benita Jackson’s PSY 240 Colloquium: Health Promotion class drafted policy memos addressed to President McCartney that proposed sustainable initiatives to address environmental issues on campus. 

Smithies in Action: Advocating for the Youth Climate Movement

Four Smithies spent their 2021 interterm working with the Future Coalition, researching tools and policy frameworks that could help fund the climate justice movement. 

Smithcycle - Giving Purpose to Discarded Move Out Items

After seeing the waste produced by students moving out at the end of the year, Emmy Longnecker ’20J, a chemistry major and environmental science and policy minor, was determined to solve the problem. She worked with staff and faculty in CEEDS to create a two-semester special studies to understand the issue and develop a solution. As a result she has created Smith Cycle—the college’s first student-designed, comprehensive move-out waste reduction program.

On Biodiversity: Six Questions for Desiree Narango

The opening lecture for this year’s annual Bulb Show—all online this year—will focus on the connection between plant choice and conservation. Wildlife ecologist Desiree Narango will discuss “The Birds, the Bees, the Flowers and the Trees: Why Native Plants Matter for Wildlife Conservation,” on Thursday, March 4, at 4 p.m.

Building Connections to Nature

How do you take your class on a science field trip when your students are living all over the world? Marney Pratt, a laboratory instructor in biological sciences, came up with a semester-long project designed to help students become skillful observers and feel more connected to the natural world—no matter their location.

Integrating Topics of the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability Across All Disciplines

Each year, the Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability (CEEDS) invites faculty and faculty teams in any discipline to submit proposals to develop a new course or modify an existing course that will support the Center’s goal of integrating knowledge across disciplines, in support of environmental decisions and action.

Centering Justice in Environmental Issues: A Young Alum's Journey

Blythe Coleman-Mumford’s (’17) current job at Partnership for Southern Equity as the just energy coordinator is emblematic of her engagements during her time at Smith.

Advocate for Climate Action

A young policymaker’s guide to fighting climate change.



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