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By closing the gap between students’ learned and lived experiences—where sustainability becomes the norm rather than practiced by only the concerned—Smith engenders broad-scale changes that ripple from our graduates to communities outside Smith. By weaving sustainable practices into the fabric of Smith’s organization, and through collaboration with community and institutional partners, the college will lessen its environmental footprint and prepare for the inevitable realities of climate change. Our climate action can be witnessed and experienced in all corners of our physical campus, operations, academics, and student programming.

Climate Adaptation and Preparedness

As a residential college with year-round programs, we are actively considering campus and community vulnerabilities to the projected impacts of climate change in our region. 

In addition to converting the entire campus to electricity, our campus-district energy plan will enable building-occupant comfort with efficient heating and cooling systems to abate weather and temperature-related health risks. 

Our preparation and adaptation plans also include stormwater capture and reuse, flood prevention and management along the Mill River, foreseeing risks to critical trees and plants, and planting species that are better suited to projected weather conditions. In addition, our students are engaged in project based learning to assist local towns and agencies in their climate adaptation and resilience plans.

2021 Landscape Master Plan

In summer 2019, Smith began a college-wide landscape master planning process. Upon completion, the plan will guide Smith's future campus landscape development Learn more and read plan updates here.

Botanic Garden Strategic Plan

The Botanic Garden’s 5-year strategic plan prioritizes adopting bioproductive landscapes, developing a long-term invasive species management plan, and waterway stewardship of Paradise Pond.

Climate Forward Investment Strategy

The college recognizes that our endowment’s investment strategy must be consistent with and supportive of the college’s mission and values. Historically, Smith has used its role as an investor to act on specific social issues. The Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility (ACIR), a subcommittee of the board of trustees’ Investment Committee, leads our investment work.

In October 2019, the ACIR directed our college’s outsourced endowment management firm to exclude all future investments with fossil fuel-specific managers from the Smith College endowment, and began an immediate phaseout of all current investments with fossil fuel-specific managers. This phaseout will be achieved through the sale, maturity or liquidation of investments held by fossil fuel-specific managers over a projected period of 15 years.

The college’s investment strategy has been informed by actions from and collaborations with the student group Divest Smith, as well as recommendations from the Study Group on Climate Change.

Maximize Sustainable Food Practices

Smith's Dining Services team takes great strides to develop and sustain strong environmental food purchasing and service programs.  Learn more.

Faculty Sustainability Expertise

The Committee on Academic Priorities has prioritized climate change and sustainability in its faculty appointment decisions to strengthen and diversify Smith’s academic expertise and curricular offerings across the divisions and through disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. As of 2020, over 55% of all academic departments had at least one faculty member whose research intersects with or centers on sustainability issues.  

Please see the For Faculty page for grants and fellowships that support faculty research and teaching in areas of the environment, ecological design, and sustainability.