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The Smith Network: Connection. Care. Community. October 19, 2020

The Smith Network: Connection. Care. Community. October 19, 2020

Dear alumna,

Even with the majority of teaching and learning happening remotely, the Smith community is vibrant and active. Staying Connected to Smith is a curated resource and lists many activities for alums. I am writing today to draw particular attention to some of these many opportunities designed to foster connection, care for self and others, and continued investment in our community. 

As you know, Cromwell Day is a time set aside for the Smith community to reflect on and learn about diversity, racism and inclusion. This year’s theme is “Tackling Anti-Blackness: Moving Past the Abstract.” Award-winning journalist Yamiche Alcindor, the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, will deliver the keynote address, “The 2020 Election in Black and White,” on November 10 at 1:30 p.m. ET. The event will be livestreamed and available via the event webpage.

Visiting Associate Professor of the Study of Women & Gender Loretta Ross is offering an online course starting November 11 entitled “White Supremacy In The Age Of Trump.” You can be notified of the upcoming registration by completing this webform.

Recently, President McCartney wrote to students, faculty and staff to remind everyone to vote on November 3. Her message included a host of voter education activities and called specific attention to The League of Women Voters Education Fund’s VOTE411. This comprehensive, nonpartisan site offers information on every aspect of voting. I encourage you, my fellow alums, to vote in the 2020 election as well. As you will see below, both our Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning and our Jandon Center for Community Engagement are offering election related programming open to alums.

This is a critical time in our nation and our world. I believe in the power of Smith and the strength of our alums. I hope you will find these educational offerings to be rich deposits to your own thinking.

Yours in community,

Denise Wingate Materre ’74
Vice President for Alumnae Relations


On October 23 at 6 p.m. ET, “Difficult Political Conversations Roundtable, Part I” will bring together a panel of faculty and staff from across campus to address ways to have difficult conversations, “calling in” peers instead of “calling out,” and leading with empathy while honoring other complex feelings. The 2020 election brings with it feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and conflict. This event serves as a space to honor these feelings and give some tools to those in the Smith community who find themselves navigating difficult conversations leading up to this year’s election.
Learn more and register.


On October 22 at 7:00 p.m. ET “Equity & Place: How Location Shapes Life Prospects and What We Can Do About It” will examine implications for equity in cities, towns and rural communities. Panelists include Clare Higgins, executive director, Community Action Pioneer Valley; Steve Moga, professor of landscape studies at Smith, urbanist and city planning historian; and Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Contact the Jandon Center at for login information. 

On November 12 at 7:00 p.m. ET “The Activist’s Post Election Playbook” will feature a conversation with Raquel Ortega ’11, organizer, ACLU of Northern California, and Kerene Tayloe, director of federal legislative affairs, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, New York City and Washington D.C.. Contact the Jandon Center at for login information.


The Smith Network at Work webinar series includes two upcoming events. You can also view previously recorded webinars on Smith’s YouTube page.

On October 27 at 3 p.m. ET Smith psychology professor Patty DiBartolo ’89 will speak with Anu Aiyengar ’91, co-head of global mergers and acquisitions at J.P. Morgan, about “Adapting to the Changing Horizon.” This year has demanded unprecedented agility from resilient leaders who must tackle new challenges and manage significant uncertainty. In a conversation about leadership and performance in tumultuous times, participants will be invited to consider how they measure their own resilience and standards and learn how to develop strategies for coping with change as we face the new norms of a COVID world.
Learn more and register.

On November 17 at 12:00 p.m. ET Tomi-Ann Roberts ’85 will present “Objects in Mirror Are Closer than They Appear.” A professor of psychology who co-founded “Objectification Theory,” Roberts will review more than 20 years of research on the consequences of the sexualization and objectification of girls and women and will share how her findings have implications for the workplace, the courtroom and the boardroom.
Learn more and register.


Join President McCartney and poet Tracy K. Smith on October 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET for the dedication of the newly endowed Boutelle-Day Poetry Center. Smith is the author of four acclaimed collections of poetry, including, most recently, Wade in the Water and Life on Mars, which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2012.
Learn more and register.


On October 29 at 8 p.m. ET join Shereen Marisol Meraji for “The Public Voice Tax.” Meraji, the award-winning co-producer of the NPR podcast Code Switch, will share her experience as a journalist and engage in a conversation with Smith faculty members Carrie Baker, Samuel Ng and Liz Pryor about the intersections of race, identity and public voice.
Learn more and register.


On November 12 at 12:30 p.m. ET “How to Take Action & Stay Hopeful in an Age of Climate Crisis” will feature four alums living in Africa and Europe working in the climate, sustainability and environmental protection fields. They will share specific actions they are taking to keep motivated and enact change in these challenging times. The conversation will be moderated by the Faculty Chair of Environmental Science and Policy, Professor Leslie King.
Learn more and register.


Every semester at Smith features theatre, dance and music performances. This fall is no different! Smith Arts is hosting a number of performing arts events virtually this year.
Learn more and register.


From November 7 to 22, the Botanic Garden will host its first-ever Virtual Chrysanthemum Show. Learn more on the garden’s website.


Join our free alumnae book club, where we discuss exceptional books about strong female characters, personal growth, leadership and more. The group is currently reading Jesmyn Ward’s The Fire This Time. You can connect and network with other alums—all through a private forum from anywhere in the world when it’s convenient for you.


Don’t forget to check in with your local club to see what programs are offered in your regional community.