About the Center
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.
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.
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.
Professor of the Study of Women & Gender; Chair of CESC Concentration
DENISSE MANSO GONZALEZ ’22
Latin American Studies Major; Recruitment Outreach Intern
SHEENA KUHN ’23
Community Engagement and Social Change Concentrator
MAEVE MCCURDY ’21
Anthropology Major, Climate Change Concentrator; Jandon Center Fellow
Executive Producer, Presencia (WGNY/PBS)
SARAH STAPLETON '21
SC Community Engagement and Social Change alumna
HANNAH GATES ’22
Education & Child Study Major; Kensington Young Scholars Mentorship Fellow
Executive Director, Community Action Pioneer Valley
BEVERLY LIPSEY ’18
SC Community Engagement and Social Change alumna; Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Malaysia
Organizing Director, Neighbor to Neighbor MA
FARAH SAMAWI ’19
Smith College Community Engagement and Social Change Alumna ’19; Research Coordinator, CHA Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
Urban Education Initiative
The Jandon Center and the Urban 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 Urban 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.
Urban Education Initiative Staff
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.
Making a Difference in the Community
Smith College has a long history of supporting social and economic justice. At the Jandon Center for Community Engagement, multiple pathways exist for students, faculty and staff to come together with community organizations to address societal issues.