Skip Navigation
A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

Community Initiatives

Two young students at a community service event

The Jandon Center supports student engagement in meaningful community service work and leadership training that enhances the educational experience, meets community-identified needs, provides opportunities for reflection, and models collaborative and effective community partnerships. We encourage a lifelong commitment to community service and social action, with the goal of building bridges between diverse groups of people.

Community Service Organization

The Community Service Organization (CSO) at the Jandon Center works to connect student volunteers with community partners to utilize students’ passions and dedication to strengthen the greater Northampton-Springfield community. The CSO facilitates both short- and long-term partnership placements, valuing our partners’ expertise in how to best serve the most pressing needs of our community.

For over 20 years, Smith students have worked as tutors and mentors, manual laborers, organizers, and more with local entities such as K–12 schools, the International Language Institute, Manna Soup Kitchen, Gardening in the Community, Hampshire County Jail and many others.

Three students in the field for Jandon Community Service Office
 

Smith Alliance for Justice & Equity

The Jandon Center is proud to announce the Smith Alliance for Justice & Equity (SAJE) Fellowship, a one-year experiential learning opportunity for Smith College students and community organizers to promote justice and equity in their communities. It involves coursework, community events, site visits and faculty/fellow research projects. 

The 2021–22 SAJE Cohort

  • Denielle Amparado ’23, Government
  • Katlyn Andrade ’23J, Government
  • Charlie Diaz ’22, Study of Women & Gender
  • Abby Golden ’23, Studio Art 
  • Lucía González ’23, Government
  • Lexi Luckett ’23J, Government
  • Dori Mondon AC ’23, American Studies
  • Maria Mutka ’22, Anthropology
  • Claudia Olson ’23, Education and Child Study
  • Lily Stowe-Alekman ’22, History

The Smith Alliance for Justice & Equity (SAJE) Fellowship is a one-year experiential learning opportunity for Smith College students and local community organizers to dive deeply into the theories and practices of impactful Community Organizing.

Beginning with a 4-credit colloquium on Collective Organizing, fellows develop a strong foundation for effective and impactful social change work. Through readings, reflection and case studies, fellows learn the theories and best practices of organizing for empowerment and social change.

Site visits provide fellows with a rich perspective on cities in development, an understanding of the assets and issues in rural communities, first hand accounts from community organizers and a brief introduction into the vibrant arts and culture of a place. These on-site experiences range from simple to ambitious, blending historical context with current community life.

Additionally, fellows participate in community events focused on urgent issues impacting communities, from rural to urban and hyperlocal to global.

After building a solid knowledge and experience base, fellows work with the combined assets of the fellowship cohort, Smith faculty & staff, local communities and local organizations to develop and implement social change projects and research.

The SAJE Fellowship is an unparalleled opportunity for Smith students and community organizers to learn, grow and work together to solve some of the complex, urgent problems facing our world today.

SWG/CCX 245 - Collective Organizing

This course (strongly encouraged but not required) is designed to introduce key concepts, debates and provocations that animate the world of organizing for social change. Through a course of study that includes local activists, students explore central organizing skills to build an awareness of power dynamics and learn activists’ tools to bring people together towards common goals.

A central aspect of this course is practicing community-based learning and research methods that ground the study with community-based partners. CCX 2xx gives fellows the knowledge and skills they need to work alongside communities to develop and implement projects for change.

Special Studies

Optional with faculty approval

Fellows may, with approval of their adviser and the Jandon Center director, include a for-credit Special Study as an additional piece of their fellowship.

Speaker & Engagement Series

SAJE Fellows participate in a series of community events and panels focused on urgent issues impacting communities, from the hyperlocal to the global. This series will serve as a foundation for understanding methods, approaches and tactics for community organizing.

Reflecting current concerns, opportunities and successes in communities today, events range from thematic discussions on timely topics (e.g., the importance of local community engagement no matter the election result; effective support amid global crises) to gatherings to learn about a community and how to get involved (e.g., Holyoke Bound, Springfield Bound), to grassroots community action and advocacy (e.g., voter empowerment, local environmental clean up).

Site Visits

Varying semester to semester, site visits are a critical component of the SAJE Fellowship. By blending historical context with visiting and documenting locations, Fellows learn from and work beside university affiliates and community organizers. Site visits explore a variety of locales including those close to home (Springfield, Holyoke, Greenfield) and some farther afield (Boston, NYC, Pittsburgh).

Community Based Learning & Research

Semester 2 allows Fellows to use what they have learned in real world situations. Working alongside community members and organizers, Fellows utilize best practices to engage in empathetic, impactful community based projects and research. Projects utilize combined assets of the community involved, the Fellowship cohort, Smith College faculty and community partners to support local, ongoing efforts to understand and positively engage in community work.

The research and projects developed and implemented are developed directly with Smith faculty and the community involved. In this way, Fellows ensure that the research and projects are truly respectful and beneficial to everyone involved.

Reflection Sessions

Reflection provides a crucial opportunity for fellows to link and synthesize classroom and experiential learning into a more complete understanding of the systems and assets that contribute to the health and success of communities and their members.

By taking time together to integrate knowledge, experiences, thoughts, and feelings, fellows develop new, deeper understandings of complex and urgent issues facing our communities and our world.

The cohort for 2021–22 has been selected. This competitive fellowship program will kick off September 2021 and run through May 2022. 

Our next application cycle will open in March 2022. Stay tuned for application information!

To Learn More about the SAJE Fellowship

Please contact Nancy Zigler, nzigler@smith.edu.

 

 

Data Science Corps

The Data Science Corps—Wrangle Analyze, Visualize (DSC-WAV) program provides a semesterlong opportunity for Five College students with an interest in data science to practice and develop their skills by providing data analysis and visualization support for local nonprofit organizations. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation and is a collaboration between Smith’s Department of Statistical and Data Sciences and the Jandon Center. DSC-WAV teams have worked with The Nature Conservancy, Valley Bikes, VentureWell, Girls Inc. of the Pioneer Valley and others. Read about recent projects in the Grécourt Gate. Interested in learning more or applying? Please contact Andrea Dustin, DSC-WAV coordinator at the Jandon Center, at adustin78@smith.edu.

 

Project Sparc

Project SPARC (Springfield Participatory Action Research Crew), funded by AmeriCorps, is an intergenerational team of young adults and invested members of the Smith College, Project Coach, Jandon Center and the New North Citizens’ Council community. In 2020, we recruited the first cohort of emerging adults for the Springfield Fellowship for Young Leaders. Through the summer and early fall of that year, fellows engaged in a series of remote leadership sessions designed to facilitate near-peer connections. We also provided opportunities for refection and long-term planning toward personal goals. Sessions included social capital building, financial literacy, strengths-finding and educational/vocational mapping.

Our Project SPARC young adult team expressed the desire to access community-based resources. A comprehensive guide to young adult life in Springfeld, Springfeld Choose Your Future, was designed and developed by our staff and student team. The guide lists over 30 Springfield-based organizations and networks. Resources include mental health services, scholarship portals and career training programs.

Currently, we’re invested in learning more about young people’s experience of life after high school, and how out-of-school programs can support that critical transition to adulthood. We are kicking off a spring research fellowship that will involve Smith students and faculty as well as youth and young adults in Springfield and Holyoke. Want to learn how to get involved? Please contact Erin DeCou, Project SPARC Program Manager, at edecou@smith.edu.

WATCH A VIDEO ABOUT PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH AT AMERICORPS

Smith Partnerships

We know that college-community partnerships not only sustain stronger communities and advance community goals, but they also support and advance our goals as an educational institution.

Ireland: Overcoming Divided Histories

This project, coordinated by the Jandon Center and the Lewis Global Studies Center, involves examining different views of Irish identity and exploring how they are represented in the urban landscapes of Belfast and Dublin.

The group looks at ways in which artists and writers respond to divisions and then work together to propose alternative futures. Participants walk the streets of both cities, meeting local activists, artists and writers, and sampling local culture, with ample time for reflection and dialogue.

Project on Women & Social Change

The Smith Project on Women and Social Change is an interdisciplinary faculty research group that was founded in 1978.