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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

Sustainable Smith

Students collecting sap from a tree

In 1886, Florence Merriam Bailey, a student concerned about the plight of birds, started the Smith College Audubon Society and began weaving the fabric of sustainability at Smith that can now be found across all aspects of the college—in academics, operations, research and student life. Smith prepares women through active learning and societal engagement to foster and lead sustainable, just communities and to make significant and lasting contributions to address the critical issues of the times. Like Florence, students are frequently at the heart of sustainability issues on campus. You’ll find their stories throughout these pages.



Need clothing, toiletries, room essentials, or funds for travel or emergencies? The Common Goods Resource Center is here to help connect students with resources.


See How Smith Plans To Be Carbon Neutral by 2030

We are committed to acting against climate change and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. Carbon neutrality means achieving net zero carbon emissions by sequestering or offsetting the equivalent amount of carbon or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as we release. Since the early 2000’s we have been reducing our energy consumption (demand) and cleaning up our energy supply with renewable generation sources.


Sustainability News

Rethinking Carbon Neutrality in Higher Education - Opinion piece by Prof. Alex Barron, Lucy Metz '22, and Aaron Strong

Assistant Professor Alex Barron, student Lucy Metz '22, and Aaron Strong published an opinion piece in Inside HigherEd based on their research into how university carbon neutrality commitments are working in practice. 

Sustainable Packaging: College Dining Adaptations to COVID-19

For their Environmental Concentration capstone course in Spring 2021 Smith College students, Chloe Birney, Audrey Dawson, and Austin Slesinski partnered with Farm to Institution New England (FINE) to research the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on to-go packaging and waste at college and university dining services.  Their

Professor Reid Bertone-Johnson Shares How Smith College Established a Land Consevation for the MacLeish Field Station

Landscape Studies Professor Reid Bertone-Johnson, and former manager of Smith College's Ada and Archibald MacLeish Field Station, presented this week at the Friends of Lake Warner and Mill River Watershed Summit. 

Farm to Institution New England publishes Smith student research about Land Grant Universities and Indigenous Nations in the Northeast

In the Fall of 2020, Smith students Maeve McCurdy '21, Fee Pelz-Sharpe '21, and Sofia Perrotto '21, partnered with Farm to Institution New England (FINE) through the Environmental Science and Policy 312 course, to investigate how land grant universities view their historic relationships with the Indigenous tribes whose land they occupy.

‘The Health of Our Population Depends on the Health of the World’

“We are inextricably tied to our natural environment, yet we continue to damage it. The time has come to invest in this precious resource,” writes Simran Sethi ’92 in this essay on nature in a post-pandemic world.

Applying Psychological Research to Promote Sustainability and Behavior Change on Campus

During the fall 2020 semester, students in Professor Benita Jackson’s PSY 240 Colloquium: Health Promotion class drafted policy memos addressed to President McCartney that proposed sustainable initiatives to address environmental issues on campus. 

Smithies in Action: Advocating for the Youth Climate Movement

Four Smithies spent their 2021 interterm working with the Future Coalition, researching tools and policy frameworks that could help fund the climate justice movement. 

Smithcycle - Giving Purpose to Discarded Move Out Items

After seeing the waste produced by students moving out at the end of the year, Emmy Longnecker ’20J, a chemistry major and environmental science and policy minor, was determined to solve the problem. She worked with staff and faculty in CEEDS to create a two-semester special studies to understand the issue and develop a solution. As a result she has created Smith Cycle—the college’s first student-designed, comprehensive move-out waste reduction program.

On Biodiversity: Six Questions for Desiree Narango

The opening lecture for this year’s annual Bulb Show—all online this year—will focus on the connection between plant choice and conservation. Wildlife ecologist Desiree Narango will discuss “The Birds, the Bees, the Flowers and the Trees: Why Native Plants Matter for Wildlife Conservation,” on Thursday, March 4, at 4 p.m.

Building Connections to Nature

How do you take your class on a science field trip when your students are living all over the world? Marney Pratt, a laboratory instructor in biological sciences, came up with a semester-long project designed to help students become skillful observers and feel more connected to the natural world—no matter their location.



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