Community Service Office
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.
"I've learned how much richer your life becomes when you step outside the college bubble and incorporate people from different walks of life into yours."
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
- Staffing the comfort station during a biannual blood drive
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
Application deadline: March 19, 2017
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, contact Brianna Halasa, at email@example.com.
- Brianna Halasa '17, Chairwoman
- Hanne Gaukel '19, Community Ed. Chair
- Lisa Guido '18, House Rep Chair
- Veronica Oberholzer '17, Recruitment Outreach Intern
- Dana Wood '19, Blood Drive Chair
- Aixin Li '17, Short-Term Project Co-Chair
- Emily Whittier '19, Short-Term Project Co-Chair
- Selina Husain '19, Short-Term Project Co-Chair
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). Coordinate and schedule regular goal-setting for the board. Administer individual board feedback three to four times a year. Chair weekly board meetings. Meet regularly with the director of voluntary services. Orchestrate monthly or bimonthly informal information dinners for students.
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.
Community Education Chair
Educate the Smith community about community concerns and issues. Showcase CSO volunteers and service-learning opportunities through the Community Education Luncheons. Organize three to four gatherings/discussions per semester. Use targeted outreach in order to advertise to potential volunteers.
Head of House Representatives
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 participate in short-term and ongoing community projects. Coordinate house rep-specific service activities to promote community and volunteerism.
Blood Drive, Organ Donor Chair
Coordinate the two blood drives in the fall and spring. Work with the American Red Cross staff for recruitment and publicity. Recruit volunteers and donors for the Red Cross. Plan organ and tissue donation drives each semester.
Recruitment Outreach Intern
Provide information to the Smith community on volunteer placements and community service opportunities. Schedule, attend, and document agency site visits for new or ongoing agencies. Recruit volunteers from the Smith community to work for one semester or longer in over 50 human service agencies. Organize the two recruitment fairs in the fall and spring. Maintain contact with agencies and volunteers throughout placement. Organize/attend reflection lunches or gatherings with volunteers. This is a paid position through OCIP.
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.
2017-18 Fellows positions open. For more details and to apply, see the Community Fellows Program Application.
Current partners: Connections After School Program; Girls Inc. of Holyoke; Homework House; Kensington International School; Safe Passage; and Treehouse Foundation.
First Link Orientation Program
Working with the Community Service Office (CSO) and student leaders, you will combine a one-day community service project with an orientation and reflective discussion to help put community needs into context. In small discussion groups, you will examine local social problems, improve your skills in working with diverse communities and discover how community service work relates to your college education. First Link accommodates up to 21 participants and 4 to 7 team leaders. If you're interested in becoming a team leader for 2017–18, contact CSO@smith.edu. Online applications will be available spring 2017.
Community Service Leaders Program
The Community Service Leaders Program is designed to give students who are federal work-study eligible an opportunity to deepen their commitment to a long-term community partnership by focusing on specific agency-identified projects that will benefit the agency's goals and mission and expand the student's learning and skills development. In addition to working directly with the community partner, the leader will be responsible for educating and informing members of the Smith community about the work of the agency.
Current opportunities: The HEROES Leadership Project through Treehouse Foundation; Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity