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Workshops, Events & Honoring Leadership

Profiles of a few students sitting in a workshop, with one student writing notes

The Wurtele Center for Leadership (WCL) offers a range of workshops, speaker events and other co-curricular experiences that offer students an opportunity to grow their own capacity to lead collaboratively and equitably, and gain inspiration from collaborative leaders in a variety of fields. WCL programming explores the contours of our Collaborative Leadership Model, creating space for students to reflect on and build their own practice (ME), learn effective ways of engaging in and leading a team (WE), and apply their knowledge to work toward positive change (IMPACT).

Engage at Any Level

Students have the option of participating in Wurtele Center programming at any level, from dipping their toe in the water with single events to taking the “deep dive” into courses and cohort or fellowship programs. Below are some introductory opportunities for engagement and skill building.

Integrative Learning & Leadership Events at Smith

The C Series

This series consists of a sequence of workshops open to the entire Smith community that give participants an opportunity to critically explore foundational concepts that are often associated with leadership and to reflect and practice developing their own definitions and skills related to those concepts.

Each session is framed around the question “So What Does ________ Really Mean, Anyway?”, with the blank space being filled in with a leadership-related concept that can often have a wide range of meanings. We have framed this as “The C Series” in which sessions invite participants to consider, critique, commune, connect, create and collaborate.

Sessions will include three parts:

  1. Consider: The first component is a shared experience where as a community we listen actively. The gathering will begin with a “fishbowl” style conversation between a Wurtele Center team member, a faculty member, a staff member and a student. The conversation will center around the concept at hand; conversation participants will explore different meanings of the concept and how it has shown up in their professional and life experiences. During the conversation segment, the audience does not participate in any way other than to serve as observers to the conversation. This invites participants to focus on the skill of deep and reflective listening.
  2. Critique, Commune and Connect: Following the conversation, everyone gathered will grab dinner and engage informally over a shared meal, to discuss ideas that have emerged through the conversation they just witnessed. This invites participants to engage in relationship building across community sectors and to share thoughts and ideas, while communing over food. (PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19 safety protocols and regulations, gathering over a meal may not be feasible. In that case, we will pivot accordingly).
  3. Create and Collaborate: For the final segment of the session, we will offer the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities that will help program participants make sense of the concept for themselves. While the activity will be tailored to the concept we are exploring, it might take the form of making (some form of hands-on activity), goal setting, concept reframing, or group work. At each session, we will help participants explore the concept’s relationship to the Wurtele Center’s Collaborative Leadership Model, which asks folks to consider their leadership as it relates to them as individuals (ME), as members of a team (WE), and as collaborative agents of positive change (IMPACT).

So What Does Burnout Really Mean, Anyway? 

Thursday, February 16, 2023, 5:30-7 PM, Neilson Browsing Room

Join the Wurtele Center for Leadership as we gather students, faculty, and staff in a conversation about this concept which has so many different meanings for different people. We toss the term around but how can we make sense of it for ourselves in nuanced and complex ways? This session is part of our “C Series” where we will consider, critique, commune, connect, create and collaborate around topics related to “burnout.” The session includes dinner, and features special guest panelists who will be announced in the coming month. 



So What Does Activism Really Mean, Anyway? 

Thursday, March 30 2023, 5:30-7 PM, Neilson Browsing Room

Join the Wurtele Center for Leadership as we gather students, faculty, and staff in a conversation about this concept which has so many different meanings for different people. We toss the term around but how can we make sense of it for ourselves in nuanced and complex ways? This session is part of our “C Series” where we will consider, critique, commune, connect, create and collaborate around topics related to “activism.” The session includes dinner, and features special guest panelists who will be announced in March. 

Collaborative Leadership Labs

Workshop group for the Wurtele Center


The Collaborative Leadership Labs are designed as a series of skill building workshops designed for student clubs and organizations. The spring sessions are designed specifically to aid in the transitions of club and org leadership and to help prepare them for the fall semester. 

Sign Up!

If you’re interested in registering for any of these workshops, watch out for them in the Smith Social Network or on eDigest, and sign up for our mailing list to hear more about them and other offerings from the Wurtele Center.


Schedule for Spring 2023

Transitioning Leadership
March 2, 2023
12:00-1:15 p.m., Location will be TBD

The spring is when clubs and orgs begin to plan for the following year. This includes elections. If you are a newly elected leader or wanting to support your org in transitioning to new leadership, come to this workshop for some tips and tools to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

GettingYour Club/ Org Ready for the New Year
April 5, 2023
12:00-1:15 p.m., Location will be TBD

Come August and September clubs and orgs will hit the ground running. Thinking about hosting a retreat for your org or wanting some resources on how to to team building or how to start off your year? If so, come and learn some tips and tricks for starting your year off on a good note.

Honoring Campus Leadership

Impact Awards

In alignment with the values of Smith College, The Impact Awards, hosted by the Wurtele Center for Leadership, recognize and honor members of our community who demonstrate the creativity, courage, and collaborative capacity to make positive change at scales both large and small. Honorees lead in diverse ways: some build community; others tackle complex, urgent problems; while still others work to dismantle inequity. As we seek to develop a nuanced definition of leadership, we encourage those who are nominating candidates to broaden their thinking beyond simply the standard definitions of the front-and-center leader and to think of those who have made an impact from various vantage points.

There are awards honoring students, faculty, and staff, for individual contributions or group efforts. You are welcome to nominate any current member of the Smith community, including yourself!

The Impact Awards committee, hosted by the Wurtele Center for Leadership, helps shape the awards and select the award winners each year. This year’s members include:

  • Kim Alston, Center for Religious and Spiritual Life Program and Communications Manager; Muslim Student Adviser
  • Annie Del Busto Cohen, Leadership Development Designer, Wurtele Center for Leadership
  • Kathy Guo, Prototyping Studio Manager, Design Thinking Initiative
  • Rachael Hagerstrom, Smith College Social Media Manager
  • Kelsey Hunter, Assistant Athletic Director for Equity, Inclusion and Student-Athlete Well-Being
  • Megan Lyster, Assistant Director, Wurtele Center for Leadership
  • Sahar Mahmood, Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs
  • Stacey Steinbach, Assistant Director for Residential Leadership
  • Bailey Streeter ‘23, House President Association President
  • Julie Thomson, Botanic Garden Communications Coordinator


We are accepting nominations for the Impact Awards until March 10, 2023!

Read more about awards, criteria, and eligibility


Nomination Form


You may nominate students, staff, and/or faculty who are current members of the Smith college community (including yourself!). Nominators must also be a current student, staff, or faculty member.

Award Descriptions

Smith College Collaborative Change Maker Award
This award recognizes a student-led effort and/or student collaboration with a staff or faculty member to work with others to make a positive change in the Smith community.  Positive change is defined as having left an impact that improves the community in some measurable way -- change that has been noted as needed and necessary for the community to grow and evolve. Nominees can be individuals who brought others together and encouraged collaborative efforts, or groups who worked together effectively to make a positive change.

The Sustainable Smith(ie) Award
This award recognizes an individual who has blazed a trail/ led an initiative or a group of students that have worked collaboratively to enact meaningful change or move an initiative forward in regards to environmental sustainability. Specifically, they have demonstrated a commitment to critically examining complex environmental issues through advocacy, programming, or community events. They’ve recognised an environmental issue and set out to improve it, on or off-campus. They’ve helped engage their community and fostered an awareness of their targeted issue as part of their goal, through program development, planning, and implementation of their initiative or program. 

Community Engagement Award
This award recognizes a long-term or consistent student-led effort to engage the community and have an impact beyond the Smith College campus (this could be local - Northampton and surrounding areas - or national or global). Nominees can be individual students or groups, including student organizations, athletic teams, house communities, academic classes, or co-curricular community engagement project groups.

Social Justice, Inclusion, and Equity Advocate
This award recognizes an individual or group for their demonstrated commitment to issues of social justice, inclusion, and equity at Smith College and/or in the global community.

The Seedling: An Emerging Leader Award
This award honors a student who in the past year has begun to discover and exercise their latent leadership capacities.  The person who receives this award embraces a growth mindset and has demonstrated both the ability and desire to impact their peers and/or the community in positive ways.

The Humble Warrior: An Award for Collaborators who Get Stuff Done
This award honors a student who demonstrates a superb ability to engage as a central support and implementer of ideas when they are working as part of a group or team. The recipient of this award is a person who, in their collaborative efforts, is crucial to the group or team’s success because of their capacity to work with others and complete tasks. Nominees can hold formal or informal leadership roles.

The Academic Catalyst: An Award for Classroom Leaders
This award recognizes a student OR student group who have shown up for their peers in a course-related environment (ie. in a shared class experience, with individual faculty as a peer tutor or student pedagogical partner, tutoring through the Jacobsen Center or as a Student Academic Advisor [SAA]) and supported them in a tangible way during the 2022-2023 academic year. Alternatively, the student may have acted in a leadership role within an academic department (ie. as a student member on a committee).

Outstanding House Leader Award
This award recognizes a student (with or without a formal title or position) who has demonstrated a strong impact on their house community through their leadership in advocacy, work with others, and community building. 

Community Well-Being Award
This award recognizes an individual student, recognized student organization, club or varsity sport, or house community who has shown an impact on the community through highlighting or embodying the power of movement; physical, mental, and/or spiritual health; and wellness.

Co-Curricular Mentor/ Supervisor of the Year
This award recognizes a faculty or staff mentor who has offered meaningful guidance to the co-curricular efforts of an individual student leader or a group of students, including cohorts, athletic teams, student organizations, clubs, and club sports. This person may serve in a supervisory capacity but goes above and beyond typical supervision to cultivate potential and growth in areas both related to work and non-work.

Each fall, the Wurtele Center for Leadership offers workshops and events that encourage students to develop a public voice as a form of powerful leadership.