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Smith student doing community service and hugging a child in school

Jandon Center for Community Engagement

The Jandon Center engages faculty, students and community partners on social-change projects that tackle community-driven goals. Through experiential learning and scholarship, students build essential capacities in critical thinking while providing significant leadership on urgent, complex issues facing communities and society.

Advancing Social Equity and Supporting Healthy Communities


Meet with one of the members of the Jandon team!

Set up a time to talk with one of us about:

  • the CESC Concentration (Maddie)
  • the SAJE Fellowship (Nancy)
  • Community Service Organization and getting involved locally (Hannah)
  • Collective Organizing (Ana Del Conde)

Schedule a time using our scheduling page.

Announcing the latest class of Smith Alliance for Justice & Equity Fellows!

  • Josephine Neumann, Study of Women and Gender, '26
  • Kerry LaRose, '26
  • Morgan Fizer, Environmental Science and Policy, '25
  • Mya Wilson, Africana Studies & English, '24
  • Nicole Bamberger Segura, Economics, '26
  • Shariqa Shaila, Neuroscience, '24 
  • Vanessa Nicole, Government, '24
  • Veta Duncan, Film and Media Studies, '25
  • Yena Perice, Study of Women and Gender & Philosophy, '26J 
  • Ruby Masters, History & Education, ’26

About the Center

We work with community partners to critically engage with theories, data and experiences to improve interdependent aspects of community health. We initiate, encourage, support, test and reflect on collaborative strategies and projects. We aspire to:

  • Serve as the center where the ethics of civic engagement and community building remain at the forefront.
  • Further build Jandon initiatives that engage campus and community deeply and over the long-term.
  • Develop opportunities for ethical civic engagement in the classroom, both in teaching and by supporting course-related community-based work.
  • Create a space where anyone can drop by and feel welcome.

Named in memory of Jane Grossman Cecil ’50, the Jandon Center fosters opportunities for Smith students to engage actively with the community and practice responsible citizenship. Along with her husband and lifelong partner, Don, Jane was a leading philanthropist, co-founder of the Jandon Foundation (Jane + Don = Jandon), and a tireless advocate for education. She was a champion of programs designed for meaningful change.

The Jandon Center 
Wright Hall 013 

Graeham Dodd 
Education Initiative Director 

Asli Ali 
STEAM Outreach Coordinator 

Madeleine DelVicario 
Experiential Learning Coordinator 

Hannah Gates 
Community Engagement Coordinator 

Denys Candy 
Director of the Jandon Center 

Nancy Zigler 
Director of the Programs and Partnerships 

Laura Boban 
Education Initiative Coordinator 

Brittany Gaetano 
Project Coach Coordinator

Yesenia Valentin 
Project Coach Assistant Director

Autumn Guntor 
Smith Food Rescue Network Coordinator

Xiomara Delobato
Vice President and Chief of Staff, Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council

Clare Higgins
Executive Director, Community Action Pioneer Valley

Maeve McCurdy ’21
SC Climate Change Concentrator alum

Vanessa Pabón-Hernandez
Executive Producer, Presencia (WGNY/PBS)

Sarah Stapleton ’21
SC Community Engagement & Social Change alum

Beverly Lipsey ’18
SC Community Engagement & Social Change alum; Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Malaysia

Elvis Mendez
Organizing Director, Neighbor to Neighbor MA

Farah Samawi ’19
Smith College Community Engagement & Social Change alum ’19; Research Coordinator, CHA Center for Mindfulness and Compassion

Jennifer Walters
Rector, All Saints' Church, Peterborough, NH

The Jandon Center and the Education Initiative share a common mission—involving students in experiential education opportunities connected to promoting social equity and addressing complex, urgent problems. There are opportunities for, and a mutual commitment of time focused on, shared learning and interdisciplinary dialogue on jointly chosen mission-critical issues (examples include community engagement practices, achieving equity in multiple contexts and creating opportunity while addressing inequality in its numerous manifestations in local settings).

In 2019, we renamed the Education Fellowship in honor of Dan Mindich, a high school English teacher and lifetime educator who loved teaching and learning. Many aspects of the program are made possible through generous funding honoring his legacy. Dan believed that students benefit the most when teachers work in communities where they learn together and support each other, and the Mindich Fellowship embodies that crucial set of values. The initiative also includes the longstanding Project Coach program, as well as the more recent Project SPARC (Springfield Participatory Action Crew) program.

Education Initiative Staff

Graeham Dodd 
Education Initiative Director 

Through our programs and more, we provide students with opportunities to engage in regular long- and short-term community placements, nonprofit administrative training and specialized leadership programs in a collaborative model that is community driven, ethically informed and reflectively adaptive. Please see our directory of projects with partnering agencies.

Partner Agencies

I’ve always loved community service, and the Jandon Center helps me bring love for others to create a better world. That’s what Smith is all about.
Asmae Lichir AC

Jandon Center, by the Numbers

3,500 people

participated in a Jandon Center event, program or project in 2020–21.

700+ hours

of knowledge sharing via the center’s Public Lectures Series in 2020–21.

1,500 masks

created for the community early in the pandemic through the center’s Crafting for Community initiative.

Jandon Center Voices

Speaking Out Against Injustice

Jandon Center Assistant Director Nancy Zigler explores reading and writing as forms of activism, sharing how these practices helped her navigate growing up Latinx in the conservative South. She asks important questions about the breadth and scope of protest as it relates to safety, identity and community, illustrating the consequences of injustice.

Speaking Truth to Power in Big and Small Ways

Fhrynee Lambert ’24 discusses how her passion for intersectional feminism is inspiring her community engagement work. She explores what it means to make a difference on both the personal and structural levels, diving headfirst into questions ranging from implicit bias and microaggressions to the commodification of Blackness and police brutality.

Contact Jandon Center for Community Engagement

Wright Hall
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063