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Year on Climate Change

Illustration showing three students engaged in different sustainable activities

The Year on Climate Change is a college-wide initiative to critically examine the complex and urgent issue of climate change. As a college of and for the world, this program is an invitation to the entire Smith community, no matter your background or passion, to engage in a manner that is uniquely liberal arts—through deep and authentic collaboration, critical thinking, listening and action. All students, staff, faculty and alumnae are encouraged and invited to create and attend events throughout the year.

News

Experimenting with Geothermal Energy

The initial phase of a pilot project to install a geothermal exchange system began in September, with a large drill rig boring a 1,000-foot-deep vertical hole near the Field House. Geothermal technology works by harnessing the stable temperatures found below the Earth's surface. Faculty and students are using this first phase to study the sediment and groundwater beneath the campus.

Studying Climate Change

In the first semester of Smith's themed Year on Climate Change, relevant course offerings range from contemporary poetry to green energy policy, giving students of all academic backgrounds a chance to engage in learning about climate change and environmental sustainability. 

More than 11,000 scientists from around the world declare a ‘climate emergency’

The Washington Post: Study outlines six major steps that ‘must’ be taken to address the situation.  

Immigration and the Food Justice Connection

Gabriella Della Croce ’11 and Andrea Schmid ’17 both work at the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, a collective that helps better the lives of immigrant workers in western Massachusetts.

Experimenting with Geothermal Energy

The drilling of a geothermal test borehole began on campus near the Field House in September. This launched a unique and fascinating learning opportunity for faculty and students across campus and the first phase of a pilot project to establish a potential ground source geothermal heat exchange system for the Field House.

Exploring Natural Dye-Making Plants on Campus

A summer project by Hannah Asofksy ’21 is the foundation for a new exhibit on dyes on view at the Lyman Plant House. “The Art and Science of Dyeing” explores the world of natural dyes and connects visitors with dye-making plants in the Happy Chace ’28 Garden and the Learning Garden behind Northrop-Gillett.


Event Calendar

November 2019

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Celebrating Art in a Time of Crisis
Training & Workshops
Are you tired of hearing about climate change? Species loss? Impending devastation? You're not the only one. This workshop will discover new ways to use language and art to raise awareness where it needs raising. Come to this workshop for some serious fun.
4:30 pm
Alumnae House Conference Room
 
GEO lunch: Spatial, Seasonal, and Annual Behavior of Methane in Adjacent Small Arctic Lakes
Lectures & Presentations
Geo lunchtime talks continue with when Sarah Cadieux of RPI, who will tell us about her research on the behavior of methane in Arctic lakes, a topic of great interest in our "Smith Year of Climate Change". Sarah's research uses an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the links between geological, biological, and climatic processes, with a focus on Arctic regions where modern climate change has been rapid and dramatic. Please come! Lunch will be served around noon in Sabin-Reed 103 followed by Sarah's talk at 12:15.
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Sabin-Reed 103
 
Poetry Reading by Camille Dungy
General, Lectures & Presentations
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Campus Center, Caroll Room
 
Food Accessibility, Health Equity, and Plant Based Diets
Lectures & Presentations
Animal Advocates of Smith College hosts small business owner Nicole Broushet of The Vegan Nest for a conversation for a conversation about Food Accessibility, Health Equity, and Plant Based Diets. Nicole will give a short presentation followed by time for conversation with the audience. Everyone is welcome regardless of dietary choices. Snacks will be served
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Campus Center 103/14
 
Making as Climate Justice Activism
Lectures & Presentations
Potentially Beehive Collection & Printmaking
6:00 pm
Capen Annex: Design Thinking
 
Cultivating Wisdom, Intimacy, and Response in a Warming World
General, Interactive & Maker Experiences, Training & Workshops
This program will focus on the cultivation of meditative skills in a supportive community atmosphere in order to develop a calm mind, kind heart, and wise action in this time of ecological crisis. Online and in person instruction will be based on Buddhist teachings and the emerging field of climate psychology. No experience necessary.
8:30 am - 10:00 am
Helen Hills Hills Chapel
 
Otelia Cromwell Day - Environmental Justice and Race Workshop
Training & Workshops
10:00 am
TBD
 
Art Exhibition by Alumna Kate Whittaker: Journeys and Visual Poems
General
Journeys, an exhibit of paintings by Kate Whittaker (AC 1990), reflect impressions formed during her climate research travels to remote areas of the world. Patterns form landscapes, marks conjure ancestral presence, and ancient calligraphy evokes a shared heritage. The process can involve forty or more layers of paint, while accents of micaceous paint illuminate and grow quiet with the changing light. Visual Poems, in traditional scroll format, are a natural offshoot of these layered paintings and combine details of her paintings and photographs to form narratives of their own. Open Monday - Friday, 9 a.m.
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Alumnae House Gallery, 33 Elm Street
 
UMass Farmers Market
General, Interactive & Maker Experiences
A collaboration between UMass Permaculture and the UMass Student Farm, the UMass Student Farmers' Market is a weekly event featuring live music, fresh local veggies, medicinal herbs, handmade crafts, student art, and an opportunity to get to know the amazing sustainability and DIY community on the UMass campus. 
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Campus Pond Room: East Pond Lawn (near the ILC). UMass Amherst Campus
 
Ecological Art: Print media installations across campus at Mount Holyoke College
Interactive & Maker Experiences
Ecological art expresses engagement with the natural world or environmental issues. Site-specific work responds directly to the location it is installed in. The Expanded Print Media class will have public outdoor installations at accessible sites across campus that respond to the history, environment and culture of Mount Holyoke College and Western Massachusetts. Projects range from explorations of local ecological concerns inspired by environmental data collected as part of the Campus Living Lab to broader explorations of the human footprint on the landscape. Exhibit will be open Nov. 8-18. 
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mount Holyoke: Installations can be found in the Botanic Garden, on the exterior of the Art Building, near the Upper Lake Dam, and at Project Stream.
 
 
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Climate 101: Smith’s Role in the New England Food System
Lectures & Presentations
Andrew Cox, Director, Dining Services presents information about how his office is helping address the challenges of climate change through thoughtful purchasing decisions and meal planning for a healthy, sustainable future. Part of the ENX 100: Environment and Sustainability Lecture Series. All welcome.
2:40 pm - 4:00 pm
McConnell 103
 
 
Cultivating Wisdom, Intimacy, and Response in a Warming World
General, Interactive & Maker Experiences, Training & Workshops
This program will focus on the cultivation of meditative skills in a supportive community atmosphere in order to develop a calm mind, kind heart, and wise action in this time of ecological crisis. Online and in person instruction will be based on Buddhist teachings and the emerging field of climate psychology. No experience necessary.
8:30 am - 10:00 am
Helen Hills Hills Chapel
 
Art Exhibition by Alumna Kate Whittaker: Journeys and Visual Poems
General
Journeys, an exhibit of paintings by Kate Whittaker (AC 1990), reflect impressions formed during her climate research travels to remote areas of the world. Patterns form landscapes, marks conjure ancestral presence, and ancient calligraphy evokes a shared heritage. The process can involve forty or more layers of paint, while accents of micaceous paint illuminate and grow quiet with the changing light. Visual Poems, in traditional scroll format, are a natural offshoot of these layered paintings and combine details of her paintings and photographs to form narratives of their own. Open Monday - Friday, 9 a.m.
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Alumnae House Gallery, 33 Elm Street
 
UMass Farmers Market
General, Interactive & Maker Experiences
A collaboration between UMass Permaculture and the UMass Student Farm, the UMass Student Farmers' Market is a weekly event featuring live music, fresh local veggies, medicinal herbs, handmade crafts, student art, and an opportunity to get to know the amazing sustainability and DIY community on the UMass campus. 
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Campus Pond Room: East Pond Lawn (near the ILC). UMass Amherst Campus
 
Ecological Art: Print media installations across campus at Mount Holyoke College
Interactive & Maker Experiences
Ecological art expresses engagement with the natural world or environmental issues. Site-specific work responds directly to the location it is installed in. The Expanded Print Media class will have public outdoor installations at accessible sites across campus that respond to the history, environment and culture of Mount Holyoke College and Western Massachusetts. Projects range from explorations of local ecological concerns inspired by environmental data collected as part of the Campus Living Lab to broader explorations of the human footprint on the landscape. Exhibit will be open Nov. 8-18. 
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mount Holyoke: Installations can be found in the Botanic Garden, on the exterior of the Art Building, near the Upper Lake Dam, and at Project Stream.
 
Climate Inherits Us All - Panel Discussion
Lectures & Presentations
A Panel Discussion with: Heather Davis, Assistant Professor of Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College, The New School; Vic Barrett, Activist, Fellow, The Alliance for Climate Education; Kadambari Baxi, Architect and Professor of Professional Practice, Barnard College. What inherits us, what we leave to others, how we accept (or refuse) that which is bequeathed are themes that anchor this panel and project. Part of the short-term Kahn Liberal Arts Institute project of the same name. All welcome.
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Graham Hall
 
Save the Hadley Swallows Protest
Interactive & Maker Experiences
Hosted by SOS - Save Our Swallows, and Environmental Conservation Organization in Hadley.
The habitat of the largest known Barn Swallow colony in Massachusetts is in danger of destruction by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This colony nests in an abandoned stable at Fort River Refuge in Hadley. Join them for a Stand for the Swallows protest event to show your support for saving this unique, thriving Barn Swallow colony. Stay for 10 minutes or the entire 2 hours. Bring a sign or hold one of theirs.
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Intersection of Rt 9 and 116, Hadley: at the entrance to Staples
 
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Five College Climate Planning Meeting
Training & Workshops
Extinction Rebellion Western Massachusetts will be hosting a gathering at UMass for a conversation about creating a Five College body to lead climate action. Their agenda for this first gathering is to bring together the many groups invested in urgently addressing the climate crisis, to build relationships, and to imagine how they might all collaborate more effectively.

This invitation extends to environmental groups, affinity and cultural groups with vested interests in a livable climate, and individuals working toward climate justice in their research or activism. Groups are invited to send 2-3 representatives who can speak to what future collaboration might look like and what role you'd like to play. Please RSVP at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSevn_xiCQ80qoQXbvdo6G3JDXhxYmNw...
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
UMass Amherst
 
Careers in Climate Change & Sustainability
Lectures & Presentations
Alumnae Panel Discussion (virtual session)
5:00 pm
Lazarus Center
 
“GeoArt” – Selected Examples of Communicating Geosciences Through Art
Lectures & Presentations
Professor Bosiljka Glumac will explore the relationships between art and geosciences and present about work done in collaboration with many students and colleagues. Lunch will be served in McConnell Foyer at noon (while supplies last).
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
McConnell Auditorium, room 103
 
Sunrise Movement Northampton - Smith meeting
Training & Workshops
Have you heard about the Sunrise Movement? Sunrise is a youth-led climate activism organization, founded right in the 5 colleges, that now has international recognition. Come to their general interest meeting to learn more!
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Seelye 109
 
Eco-Rep Repair Fair
Training & Workshops
The Eco-Reps are hosting a Repair Fair to encourage and provide resources for members of the Smith community to repair belongings as opposed to throwing them out.
11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Campus Center Carroll Room
 
Sustainable DIY Eyeshadow Study Break!
Training & Workshops
Take a break from studying and join your Eco-Reps in making sustainable DIY eyeshadow! All supplies will be provided, just bring your creative energy. You will be provided a small tin to mix the all-natural, mineral eyeshadow ingredients.
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Campus Center 103/4
 
Cultivating Wisdom, Intimacy, and Response in a Warming World
General, Interactive & Maker Experiences, Training & Workshops
This program will focus on the cultivation of meditative skills in a supportive community atmosphere in order to develop a calm mind, kind heart, and wise action in this time of ecological crisis. Online and in person instruction will be based on Buddhist teachings and the emerging field of climate psychology. No experience necessary.
8:30 am - 10:00 am
Helen Hills Hills Chapel
 
Screening of Planet Earth
Lectures & Presentations
Smith College's Green Team will be hosting a screening of the nature documentary Planet Earth. Watch it on the big screen!  
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
CEEDS, Wright Hall 005
 
Liyang Network Teach-In
Training & Workshops
Learan about Lumad womxn's organizing in the Philippines from two community organizers from the Liyang Network who have been working closely with them and supporting their campaigns. Event hosted by two Smith College groups, Pan Asians in Action (PAIA) and the Pasifika Student Association. 
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Mwangi Cultural Center, Northampton
 
Art Exhibition by Alumna Kate Whittaker: Journeys and Visual Poems
General
Journeys, an exhibit of paintings by Kate Whittaker (AC 1990), reflect impressions formed during her climate research travels to remote areas of the world. Patterns form landscapes, marks conjure ancestral presence, and ancient calligraphy evokes a shared heritage. The process can involve forty or more layers of paint, while accents of micaceous paint illuminate and grow quiet with the changing light. Visual Poems, in traditional scroll format, are a natural offshoot of these layered paintings and combine details of her paintings and photographs to form narratives of their own. Open Monday - Friday, 9 a.m.
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Alumnae House Gallery, 33 Elm Street
 
 
 
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Field Notes
Lectures & Presentations

By popular demand, CISA’s Field Notes: An Afternoon of Storytelling is back! Farmers, chefs, and neighbors from throughout the Pioneer Valley will take to the stage to share their stories at the Academy of Music Theatre this November. Join CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) as we celebrate the Local Heroes who make our thriving local food community tick!

Take a glimpse into the lives of the people who grow and cook the local food we love as they tell true stories from their life experiences. Expect everything from the tragic to the hilarious as we journey through the fields and kitchens of the Pioneer Valley. Find out what it’s like to grow up on the family farm and see the view from behind the kitchen doors of your favorite restaurant. Join us and discover how local food has shaped the lives of the Pioneer Valley community.

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Academy of Music Theatre, Northampton
 
 
 
Cultivating Wisdom, Intimacy, and Response in a Warming World
General, Interactive & Maker Experiences, Training & Workshops
This program will focus on the cultivation of meditative skills in a supportive community atmosphere in order to develop a calm mind, kind heart, and wise action in this time of ecological crisis. Online and in person instruction will be based on Buddhist teachings and the emerging field of climate psychology. No experience necessary.
8:30 am - 10:00 am
Helen Hills Hills Chapel
 
Art Exhibition by Alumna Kate Whittaker: Journeys and Visual Poems
General
Journeys, an exhibit of paintings by Kate Whittaker (AC 1990), reflect impressions formed during her climate research travels to remote areas of the world. Patterns form landscapes, marks conjure ancestral presence, and ancient calligraphy evokes a shared heritage. The process can involve forty or more layers of paint, while accents of micaceous paint illuminate and grow quiet with the changing light. Visual Poems, in traditional scroll format, are a natural offshoot of these layered paintings and combine details of her paintings and photographs to form narratives of their own. Open Monday - Friday, 9 a.m.
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Alumnae House Gallery, 33 Elm Street