Our mission is to support student engagement in meaningful community service work and leadership training that enhances the educational experience, meets community-identified needs, provides opportunities for reflection, models the development of effective, collaborative community partnerships with local nonprofit organizations and encourages a lifelong commitment to community engagement. Our philosophy, which focuses on community service and social action, centers around building bridges among diverse groups of people and encouraging learning through community work.
Ways to Get Involved
Long-Term Community Placements
Long-term community placements are a great way to give back to the local community, learn about local issues and needs, and gain valuable skills. The Community Service Office coordinates regular weekly placements ranging from one to eight hours per week with a one- to three-semester commitment.
The CSO organizes short-term projects based on community-identified needs, providing a vital resource to the community and an enjoyable and satisfying way to get involved. Examples include:
- Planting or harvesting vegetables at local community gardens
- Reclaiming agricultural land with urban agricultural programs
- Assisting at fundraisers for local nonprofits
- Participating in a community cleanup
- Building a house with Habitat for Humanity
- Sorting food at a local food bank
These community organizations and government agencies host, mentor and provide community-based learning opportunities for Smith students.
Long- & Short-Term Community Service
There are several ways you can get involved in short- and long-term community service throughout the year.
Browse the Directory
The directory contains a listing of approved local agencies. You can call the contact person directly and talk about service opportunities and arrange to work at the agency.
Contact the Community Service Office
If you would like to talk to the CSO staff before calling the agency contact person or need any other support, you can call or email our office or set up an appointment.
Attend a Community Service Recruitment Fair
Recruitment fairs are held every September and February with many of our community partners. Talk with the agencies about the type of work available, the hourly commitment required, and sign up to volunteer.
Attend a Community Education Luncheon
Community partners present at three lunchtime discussions each semester.
Become a CSO House Representative
At the first house meeting of the year, each house elects a CSO house representative. As a liaison, you promote CSO opportunities and encourage house members to engage in CSO activities. The house rep's efforts and dedication directly contribute to the success of many community agencies and to the CSO. To learn more, talk to your house president or the CSO house rep chair.
The influence of CSO on the Smith College campus depends heavily upon the enthusiasm and commitment of the house rep. Each house rep has a responsibility to be an active and informed source for explaining and exemplifying the philosophy and goals of the organization as well as for promoting the events sponsored by the CSO. As a house representative, your duties include the following:
- Attend a mandatory training session
- Attend and participate actively in 30-minute bi-monthly meetings
- Actively promote community service in your house throughout the year
- Act as a resource for your house members who are interested in community service
- Keep your housemates informed of CSO events by making announcements at meal-times and updating bulletin boards, by distributing publicity for special events, and by making personal, face-to-face contact with house members
- Participate in the CSO volunteer recruitment fair where students can talk to agency representatives about volunteer opportunities
- Send regular house emails about CSO events and programs
- Act as an in-house volunteer recruiter for community service
- Educate housemates about CSO events and programs
- Plan house activities such as volunteer outings
- Sign up housemates for the Blood Drive in the Fall and Spring
- Solicit donations for and purchase Winter Gifts
CSO Student Executive Board
Being a member of the CSO Board offers you a voice in the scope and direction of community service projects throughout the year. You directly influence the community and gain lifelong, invaluable leadership training and project management skills. Board members get the opportunity to learn the basics of operating a small, nonprofit organization. Members must attend weekly one-hour board meetings and spend two hours in the office each week. A board position is a one-year commitment. Each chairperson is responsible for specific events and community programs.Join the CSO Board
Do you like to organize volunteer opportunities? Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to develop leadership skills? Join a highly motivated and diverse group of Smith students who are having fun and making a difference at the same time! Read the job descriptions below, then apply!
For more information, please contact Emily Whittier.
- Erin Price ’20, Chair
- Julia Fondiller ’21, Short-Term Projects Co-Chair
- Margaret Zhang ’22, Short-Term Projects Co-Chair
- Teniel Rhiney AC, Short-Term Projects Co-Chair
- Jessica Kim ’22, Student Org Outreach Chair
- Lily Diao ’22, Community Ed Chair
- Lily Stowe-Alekman ’22, House Rep Chair
- Denisse Manzo-Gonzalez ’22, Recruitment Intern (OCIP)
- Help ensure that the CSO philosophy is carried out.
- Set the tone for the organization.
- Convey enthusiasm and act as a spokesperson for the organization to college officials and the community at large.
- Keep all the board members informed and linked together as a unit.
—Facilitate several opportunities for board bonding.
- Chair weekly board meetings.
—Facilitate discussion about goal setting, project process and community service-related issues.
- Meet regularly with the community service director.
- Co-chair winter gifts program.
Short-Term Co-Chairs (2–3)
- Develop and orchestrate short-term volunteer projects each month.
- Recruit students to volunteer for short-term projects in the community.
- Coordinate project details and transportation.
- Maintain contact with agencies and volunteers throughout placement.
- Each chair is required to do three projects per semester.
Community Education Chair (1)
- Educate the Smith community about community concerns and issues.
- Showcase CSO volunteers and service-learning opportunities through the Community Education Luncheons.
- Organize 3-4 gatherings/discussions per semester.
- Use targeted outreach in order to advertise to potential volunteers.
Head of House Representatives (1)
- Plan and hold introductory orientation for the CSO House Reps.
- Organize bimonthly informational meetings for the CSO House Reps.
- Act as a liaison between this group and the board.
- Provide the reps with a forum to discuss ideas and concerns.
- Promote volunteerism and participation in short-term and ongoing community projects.
- Coordinate house rep-specific service activities to promote community and volunteerism.
- Co-chair winter gifts program.
Student Org Outreach Chair (1)
- Identify student orgs engaged with community-based projects and strategize to help promote them.
- Provide outreach to orgs about long-term and short-term projects that are relevant to the org’s missions.
- Create working lists of community-engaged orgs and representatives.
- Identify student boards that have a community service liaison.
- Work to build connections with those groups.
- Share short-term project ideas, help student orgs plan short-term projects by writing up plans and guides for orgs that want to engage with the community as well as sharing the best practices.
- Work closely with the chair and director to establish the position’s role on the board.
Recruitment Outreach Intern (1)
- Provide information to the Smith community on volunteer placements and community service opportunities.
- Recruit volunteers from the Smith community to work for one semester or longer in over 20 human service agencies.
- Organize the recruitment fairs in the fall and spring.
- Maintain contact with agencies and volunteers throughout placement, responding to any email queries sent to the CSO.
- Assign, write and edit articles for the CSO newsletter.
- Work with agencies to create publicity (posters, write-ups) for volunteer opportunities.
- Run the CSO Facebook page.
- Create CSO profiles to be used in promoting volunteer opportunities.
* This is a paid position thru OCIP.
General Board Responsibilities
- Regular attendance at board meetings (in general, missing no more than two meetings a semester unless personal conflicts are both unavoidable and excusable).
- Regular meetings with the director.
- Prompt responsiveness to all electronic communication, appropriate to the subject.
- Participation in board bonding events to promote camaraderie.
- Participation in personal and board goal-setting initiatives.
- Promotion of CSO projects, activities, etc.
- Support of fellow board members in non-CSO endeavors.
- Participation in all reflective activities, such as, but not limited to, individual feedback and board reports, in a prompt manner.
- Personal recruitment of volunteers for various projects and for the CSO board.
- Embodiment of the idea that the greatest factor in determining whether or not someone will serve is simply whether or not she was asked to do so.
- Reevaluating the board descriptions yearly to ensure that they are consistent with position responsibilities.
Other Leadership Opportunities
Community Fellows Program
The Community Fellows Program is for students who are interested in deepening their commitment to a particular long-term community partnership by acting as a leader and liaison between the Smith community and the agency. Community fellows focus on recruiting and supporting volunteers, being a primary contact person for that specific partnership, and organizing reflection and training for Smith volunteers.
CSO Fellows 2019–20
- Jennifer Warren ’20, Homework House
- Hannah Gates ’21, Kensington
- Laurent Tinglin ’22, Treehouse