Skip to main content

Center for the Environment, Ecological Design & Sustainability (CEEDS)

The Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability (CEEDS) exists with one purpose: We facilitate academic and applied experiences for students that help them excel at integrating knowledge across disciplines, in support of environmental decisions and action.

We work to integrate sustainable practices into Smith’s operations and connect campus operations with student learning. We also support faculty in their efforts to deepen their understanding of salient environmental issues and to integrate those issues into the curricula. We promote institutional innovation and progress toward the college’s commitment to be a model of sustainability.

Want to see what we’ve been up to? Check out our newsletter.

Student interaction with faculty

Our Mission

The mission of CEEDS is to catalyze, enable, and support campus inquiry and action toward positive sustainable change at Smith and in the world by engaging our community through academics, college operations, co-curricular programming, and research.

We support the Environmental Science and Policy program, offer the Environmental Concentration, act as an internal consultant for sustainable operations, manage the MacLeish Field Station, direct the Spatial Analysis Lab, host numerous internships and independent studies, offer a welcoming space for people to gather, connect, and learn, and are an intersection for students and faculty to explore how and where to make change. 

Meet the Team

Joanne Benkley

Associate Director, CEEDS & Environmental Science and Policy

413-585-3951 |

Joanne Benkley combines professional and academic interests in sustainability in her work at Smith that leverages alumni, community, and faculty expertise in environmental issues and encourages new and exciting interdisciplinary connections. She joined the Environmental Science and Policy Program (ES&P) at Smith in 2003 and since then has played a pivotal role in leading and supporting institutional change related to the environment and sustainability through, among other things,  the establishment of the Committee on Sustainability, the development of ES&P into a major course of study, and the establishment of CEEDS. She continues this exciting work in her role as liaison to current and prospective students, alumni, faculty and other Smith departments and offices. Joanne co-chairs the Environmental Concentration and the Arts Afield initiative.

Joanne Benkley

Beth Hooker

Director of Sustainability & Administrative Director of CEEDS

413-585-3412 |

Beth Hooker has extensive experience in education, teaching environmental science and providing institutional sustainability leadership at Mount Holyoke and Hampshire Colleges and Deerfield Academy. At Hampshire, Beth directed a 100-acre educational and production organic farm and led numerous projects to promote regional resiliency, sustainable practices and clean energy technologies. Prior to joining Smith, Beth worked to advance corporate goals and practices to steward freshwater resources at the environmental non-profit, Ceres. Beth received a B.A. from Connecticut College, double majoring in chemistry and Asian studies. She earned an M.S. in soil science and a Ph.D. in ecosystems ecology from the University of Connecticut.

Becca Malloy

Assistant Director of Sustainability

413-585-3538 |

Becca Malloy is a learner and shaper of dynamic and resilient systems. With twenty years of education and sustainability leadership in the Connecticut River watershed at Northfield Mount Hermon, her work is informed by the landscape, the traditional ecological knowledge, and the diverse communities of the valley. She grew up mucking around in the New England intertidal zone, which inspired her early career in experiential education. Becca earned a B.A. from Colby College in biology with a concentration in environmental studies and an M.B.A. in sustainability from Antioch University New England.

Becca Malloy

Andrew Berke

Faculty Director, Associate Professor of Chemistry

413-585-3637 |

Andrew Berke combines elements of atmospheric and physical chemistry to explore the fundamental physical properties and chemical composition of aerosols—properties that affect both human health and the climate. His lab is specifically interested in a molecular-level understanding of how chemical complexity affects aerosol composition, growth, transport and optical properties. In addition to teaching chemistry classes, Berke is also a member of the Environmental Science and Policy program. He holds degrees in Studio Art (B.A., Calvin College) and Chemistry (B.S., Grand Valley State University, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison), and integrates both into his teaching and research.

Andrew Berke

Paul Wetzel

Curriculum & Research Administrator

413-585-2646 |

Paul Wetzel has a lifelong curiosity and fascination with the natural world and a passion for sharing that sense of wonder, which forms the basis of his position as manager of the Ada and Archibald MacLeish Field Station. Trained as a wetland ecologist, Paul is interested in landscape conservation and restoration, applying ecology principles toward the practical restoration of ecosystems at MacLeish and beyond. He has been a periodic instructor at Smith since 2007 and currently teaches courses in the Environmental Concentration. Paul received his M.S. in environmental science from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Iowa State University.

Deirdre Quirk

Administrative Coordinator, CEEDS

413-585-3352 |

Deirdre Quirk has a personal passion for climate change action and is proud to be supporting CEEDS and Smith College in achieving their environmental goals and educating future climate leaders. She has a background in both municipal government (working as office support staff for the city of Portland, OR) and the publishing industry (working as a marketing coordinator and a slush reader). Deirdre holds a B.A. in theater from Reed College and a professional certificate in editing from the University of California, Berkeley.

Deirdre Quirk

Kala’i Ellis

Spatial Data Specialist, Spatial Analysis Lab

413-585-3862 |

Kala’i Ellis is passionate about blending fields and knowledge bases to provide innovative approaches to new challenges in this ever changing world. His background in merging Indigenous and Western knowledge bases, especially in the realms of marine and terrestrial remote sensing and geospatial analyses, have been shaped by his lived experiences growing up in Hawaii and attending college in Utah. Kala'i holds a B.S. in Biodiversity and Conservation with a minor in Geospatial Sciences and Technology and received his M.S. in Biology from Brigham Young University, Provo.

Kala'i Ellis

Engaging with CEEDS

Study Sustainability

Explore Smith’s various sustainability-related academic pathways.

Learn more about the variety of options in Academics on the Sustainable Smith site or come visit us in CEEDS to chat about your interests.

Work-Study Positions & Spot Jobs

During the academic year and summer, CEEDS hosts a variety of work-study positions and internships such as:

  • CEEDS Programming and Communications Internships
  • Smithcycle and Eco-Reps Program coordinators
  • Periodic short-term jobs such as zero waste ambassadors

Adventures and Events

CEEDS hosts programming to help students get access to, play in, and learn about our natural environment. We lead birding, mushroom hunting, snowshoeing tours, do apple cider pressing, and much more. Lean about all our events, lectures, and workshops by visiting the events page.

Visit Get Involved on the Sustainable Smith site for more ways to participate.

Partnering with CEEDS as a student

CEEDS collaborates with and supports students in all manner of pursuits.  Examples include: 

  • One-on-one academic and career advising
  • Support for student organizations and student-led initiatives such as Sunrise Movement
  • Co-designing and supporting special studies and research
  • Hosting outdoor events such as mushroom hunting, birding, snowshoeing, campfire-making and more.

If you are interested in collaborating with CEEDS in these or other ways, please reach out! 

Supporting Faculty

Smith’s faculty are continually involved in cutting-edge research that enriches society, and faculty research shapes the content of course offerings for students. CEEDS encourages and supports faculty throughout the college in numerous ways with the goal of expanding and deepening sustainability research, embedding sustainability concepts into courses, and creating authentic learning experiences for students. 

In addition to our Curricular Enhancement Grants and Faculty Research Fellowships we can tailor our work with you in a number of ways to help deliver great learning opportunities to your students.

Reach out to to start the process.

CEEDS staff are available to offer traditional and non-traditional support and partnership for teaching and learning at Smith. We have helped faculty by:

  1. Co-producing amateur videos (with closed captions) of topically relevant videos to support asynchronous learning. See an example here.

  2. Filming virtual tours that are content specific on campus or in the greater Connecticut River Valley such as local farms, energy systems, and businesses (e.g. Mill River, Barstow Farm, Northampton wastewater treatment plant, Holyoke Dam, and hydroelectric facilities). We can film you or others at one or multiple locations and provide video editing 

  3. Collaborating to identify and secure guest speakers on content-specific topics at the intersection of faculty expertise and sustainability, including data science, psychology, government and policy, economics, film, indigenous studies, and much more.

  4. Identifying or recommending data sets and text or media materials to support your assignments.

  5. Supplying real campus or community challenges or opportunities to be used as case studies or problem prompts for course work.

  6. Providing in-course student support for individual or group work. For years CEEDS has supported courses such as Interpreting and Communicating Environmental Information, Psychology of Climate Change, and Critical Design Thinking by supplying project prompts, advising, professional support, and more.

CEEDS is lucky to be situated adjacent to the library and Burton lawn.  Our sunny conference room is available, by arrangement, for student organizations, classes, and small meetings.  Please contact CEEDS at for more information.

We have recently installed an art wall where we will be showcasing student work developed in courses or in their free time.  

Contact CEEDS

Wright Hall 005

Smith College

Northampton, MA 01063