This year’s Innovation Challenge grants will fund a range of programs, including student/alumnae networking, outdoor programs for Smith’s student unity groups and a conference on diversity in athletics.
Established in 2016 by President Kathleen McCartney, the Innovation Challenge grants support research, teaching and learning programs built around themes of inclusion, diversity and equity. This year, the college will fund and implement 14 projects chosen from 39 applications by a working group representing the president’s cabinet, students, faculty and staff.
Here’s an overview of this year’s Innovation Challenge award recipients.
What I Thought I Saw
As part of an ongoing national traveling exhibit and photo book, members of the Smith community will volunteer to be photographed and share their stories.
Primary applicant: Lou Ann Bierwert, instruments and techniques instructor and technical director, Center for Molecular Biology
Black Healing Arts Festival
To be held on campus in January 2019, the Black Healing Arts Festival will feature plays by five Black playwrights—all current students or Smith graduates—as well as discussions, workshops and wellness activities designed to address the effects of racial bias on college campuses and beyond.
Primary applicant: Danielle Kimbro ’20
A Longitudinal Evaluation Study of Smith Programming and Well-Being Among Smith Students of Color
Smith researchers will study the relationships among stress, well-being and participation in selected Smith programs, including student organizations, house activities, wellness services, athletics and religious and spiritual life.
Primary applicant: Shakira Halloway ’19
Conference: The Athletics Web (where everyone belongs)
This one-day conference—open to all NEWMAC member schools—will feature a keynote speaker, small-group conversations, and discussion of best practices around diversity, inclusion and mental health in athletics.
Primary applicant: Kristin Hughes, director of athletics and recreation
Help All Identities Reconnect to Nature
The Smith Outing Club and Smith Outdoor Programs will work with Smith’s student unity organizations to plan outdoor trips that support each group’s interests in connecting to nature and one another.
Primary applicant: Hanxiao Lu ’19
Multicultural Experience program (ME!)
The Multicultural Experience will provide ongoing programs that enable students of color to consciously investigate the world, develop a stronger sense of self, actively engage in the community and envision what they can accomplish with their life at Smith and beyond.
Primary applicant: Whitley Hadley, assistant director of multicultural affairs
New Narratives: Children’s Book Creators of Color Share Stories at Smith
The Campus School of Smith College will host classroom visits and public events with several authors, illustrators and poets whose work “reflects and honors the lives of all young people.”
Primary applicant: Emily Prabhaker, librarian, Campus School of Smith College
Smith’s African & Caribbean Students Association will work with college departments to enhance efforts to support international students applying for jobs and internships.
Primary applicant: Patience Kayira ’20
Count Me In
By generating financial support from recent graduates, this initiative will provide mini-grants to Smith student organizations that offer diversity- and inclusion-themed programming throughout this academic year.
Primary applicant: Sandra Doucett, associate vice president for development
Community Building through Book Groups
A partnership between Faculty Council and Staff Council, this community book group will discuss Ijeoma Oluo’s book, So You Want to Talk About Race.
Primary applicant: Maddy Neely, administrative coordinator, School for Social Work
Dining with Diversity
Dining with Diversity will provide an opportunity for a select group of alumnae of color to return to Smith to connect with approximately 80 Smith students in rich and meaningful ways.
Primary applicant: Madeleine DelVicario ’93, program coordinator for alumnae engagement
ISO Human Library
The International Student Organization will recreate the Human Library project, focusing on the distinctive stories of the international community at Smith.
Primary applicant: Jingjie Hu ’20
Redefining, Reclaiming and Practicing Self-Care as a POC
A team of students and staff will present a workshop designed to help students of color define, reclaim and destigmatize self-care practices in their lives.
Primary applicant: Amelia Windorski ’20
Natural Hair Care Fair
This student-run event is designed to introduce students to the natural hair products, creams and oils designed for different hair types.
Primary applicant: Eseza Kironde ’20