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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s UPDATED plans as of August 5, 2020,
for an entirely remote fall 2020 semester.

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News & Events for the Smith College Community
Campus Life August 19, 2020

Orientation 2020: A Week of Virtual Engagement


Each fall during Orientation, new Smith students have a chance to learn about the campus community and its resources. And that’s as true this year as it has been in the past. 

With the college moving to remote learning for the fall, Smith has transported the traditional week of orientation programs into a week of virtual engagement, featuring new and creative ways for students to connect with each other and launch their semester.

The full schedule of events, which begin Monday, August 24, is available through student Moodle sites. A special orientation will be held for family members on Wednesday, August 26.

Here are six things to know about the start of this unique semester:

1. One Stop for Information
Moving Orientation programs online means that everything students need to know about the fall semester is available at their fingertips, 24/7. Students will gather synchronously for academic Orientation programs, and can take part in campus life programs at their convenience throughout the week.

2. Help from Advisers
Faculty advisers are ready to help students discover the full range of resources Smith has to offer. In addition to individual appointments with their liberal arts advisers, students will meet collectively with others who share the same adviser on Tuesday, August 25, from 10 to 10:50 a.m. This year, the college has also appointed campus life consultants—support staff members who will provide information about Smith centers, student organizations and ongoing opportunities for student engagement and friendships.

3. Virtual House Communities
Students will connect regularly with their housemates for informal discussions, special events and virtual programs with fellow Smithies. Virtual house communities will engage in the college’s residential life curriculum, and student leaders—including Heads of New Students (HONS)—will reach out to new students via those communities as the semester gets underway.

4. Smith Reads
On Tuesday, August 25, at 4:30 p.m., new students are invited to attend an online conversation with author Tara Westover, whose memoir “Educated” is this year’s Smith Reads book selection. Westover will answer questions submitted by new students in a conversation moderated by Baishakhi Taylor, dean of the college and vice president of campus life. On Monday, August 31, from 4 to 5 p.m., faculty members will host virtual discussions of Westover’s book for Smith house groups. Links to both events can be found on Moodle.

5. A Focus on Belonging
From virtual fitness programs to an online campus resource fair (on Wednesday, August 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), the start of the semester will be a time for students to engage with each other and the broader Smith community. Access to the resource fair will be available via student Moodle sites beginning Monday, August 24.

6. Convocation
This Smith tradition will be fun—and virtual—this year. On Monday, August 31, at 7 p.m., students will be welcomed by President Kathleen McCartney, will meet Dean Taylor, and will hear a musical selection performed by Smith’s Glee Club.