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Community

Students laughing over tea in Park House.

If you ask people name their favorite aspects of life at Smith, chances are that they’ll say "the community." With a diverse student population from all 50 states and countries around the world, and faculty and staff members from all walks of life, the Smith community is one of acceptance, inclusion, and celebration. Three offices across campus—the Office for Equity & Inclusion, the Center for Religious & Spiritual Life, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs—together form the Equity & Inclusion Team, working together to ensure community members of all backgrounds can live, work, and study happily and authentically with the support and resources they need.

Equity & Inclusion

Hearts. Minds. Systems. That’s what we get to work on in the Office for Equity and Inclusion. Through individual and community engagement, we reach hearts. Through inclusive education and programming, we nourish minds. Through institutional change and collaborations across the college, we realign systems. All of this is in the service of improving and enriching the educational and work experience of everyone at Smith—students, staff and faculty.

Smith College fosters access to knowledge, discovery and communication through research and education, and the creation and sustenance of a community of scholars, students and staff. We can realize these goals only in an atmosphere of trust and respect. The college aspires to create and maintain an educational, working and living environment that respects differences and is free from harassing behavior.

To foster trust and respect in a diverse community, Smith College encourages community members to behave in ways that affirm respect for each other. Within an academic institution, teaching, research and learning are subject to the protections described in the college’s policy on academic freedom. Actions or words used in the context of the academic curriculum and teaching environments that serve legitimate and reasonable educational purposes will not be evaluated as violating policies that bar certain behaviors, sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination.

In a diverse community, disagreements and conflicts, with varying degrees of seriousness, are inevitable. The college strongly encourages informal resolution of disputes and conflicts. Many issues are best resolved by direct communication between the individuals involved, sometimes with the help of a third party. Community members are expected to engage in good faith attempts to mediate their differences. To that end, all members of the Smith community are encouraged to use the deans, academic department chairs, supervisors and the staff members listed on this site to discuss concerns and seek resolution to differences.

With a firm commitment to promoting racial justice, the Smith community is taking concrete steps to build a more just and inclusive academic and work environment at the college. This requires every department and office to reflect on the past, study data from the present, and develop ways for their unit to move toward a more racially just future.

Learn more about Smith’s racial justice action planning initiative.

Floyd Cheung in front of a bookshelf.

You Belong Here

True collaboration, deep learning and transformational scholarship at Smith College call for every student, faculty and staff member to feel a sense of belonging. As Heather McGhee reminds us in The Sum of Us, “racism costs everyone” but by addressing it, “we can prosper together.” Education, reflection and action planning at the departmental level will help us reach our institutional goal of advancing racial justice. This is necessary and important work, and we deepen it together. My team and I in the Office for Equity and Inclusion and collaborators across the college look forward to working with you every step of the way.
—Floyd Cheung, Vice President for Equity & Inclusion

About the Office Policies, Forms, and Resources

Religious & Spiritual Life

The Smith Center for Religious & Spiritual Life offers guidance and pastoral care through a lens of mutuality and exploration, and we collaborate to respond with grace and courage to the events that threaten to disrupt our lives. We are invested in what Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and others before him called the “beloved community,” a dynamic vision in which the worth, dignity and promise of each human is honored and in which we strive to live as stewards of the earth and its creatures.

The Smith Center for Religious & Spiritual Life offers a unique setting for student engagement. You’ll find holiday and holy day celebrations, a cappella concerts, religious text study, intriguing discussions and fresh-baked cookies—sometimes happening all at the same time.

We tailor the programs and activities we offer each semester to students’ questions, concerns and ideas. Some of our popular programs include Soup, Salad & Soul, Mindful Mondays, Muslim Prayer Lunch, weekly meditation, and our annual Interfaith Sundae event.

We meet with students at the chapel, as well as in student houses, dining rooms, the Campus Center and for walks along the pond. Drop by the chapel anytime to visit, hang out or study. Our staff are also available to meet with students by appointment. We want all Smith students to feel there is a place for them here. We work to ensure that you have what you need to thrive here—whether it is food that meets your dietary requirements, listening hearts, religious community to worship or celebrate with, or a companion on your spiritual journey.

The Center for Religious & Spiritual Life hosts spaces for student activities, such as prayer, religious services, group meetings, performances and for simply hanging out. Most of these spaces are located in Helen Hills Hills Chapel, but others may be found around campus.

Helen Hills Hills Chapel Sanctuary

The Sanctuary is a holy and sacred space where religious observances from many different faith traditions are held. Through the use of its resources such as a flexible floor plan, AV system, and wonderful acoustics, students have found the Sanctuary to be a welcoming space that supports their rituals, performances, and practices. Cultural celebrations and beloved Smith traditions such as Baccalaureate and Pet A Pet Day occur in the space, as do meditations and mindfulness programs.

Bodman Lounge

Located in the chapel’s lower level, Bodman Lounge has couches, Wi-fi, a library of religious texts and a Zoom Room system. We encourage informal use of the space without a reservation, but students, faculty, and staff can reserve the space for events. The space accommodates 25 people, and can be accessed by a flight of stairs or the elevator at the rear of the building. Bodman is a true interfaith space and there are representations, including a library, of varied religions, spiritual and wisdom traditions.

Chapel Kitchen

The kitchen is located in the lower level of the chapel. It has been recently updated, and is conveniently connected to Bodman Lounge. The CRSL team is excited to use this space when hosting such programs as Soup, Salad, and Soul, Interfaith Lunch, and Spirituali-Tea. The kitchen is not available for reservation.

Reflect, Resist, Rejuvenate Lounge

The RRR Lounge is a contemplative waiting area and a meditation room, for anyone of any tradition. We welcome anyone to meditate on a cushion or sit quietly on a couch, journal, sketch, read poetry or a sacred text or any literature that is contemplative for you. We ask that this room be free from social media use, and that technology use be limited. If you need to work on a computer, we warmly welcome you to any other space in the building that is available. To reserve under specific circumstances, fill out a reservation form.

Blue Room

The Blue Room is a non-reservable quiet space on the lower level of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel for contemplative practice, prayer or meditation. Resources in the Blue Room include religious texts, prayer rugs, meditation pillows, chimes, and candles, and the cardinal directions are marked on the walls. The Blue Room is a sacred space. Anyone using the space is asked to remove their shoes and only use it for activities that align with the space’s purpose. No food or drink is permitted in this space. Groups may use the room, but louder or larger group meetings are asked to please reserve a different space, such as the Bodman Lounge.

Hindu Mandir

The chapel houses a mobile Hindu prayer space currently located in the Reflect, Resist and Rejuvenate Lounge, lower level of the chapel. Equipped with images, incense, and religious texts, it is a place for Hindu worship and prayer.

Wright Hall Prayer Space

The Wright Hall Prayer Space, featured above and to the left, is located in Wright 004 and is a non-reservable quiet, contemplative space for anyone in the Smith community to pray, reflect or meditate. Resources include religious texts and prayer rugs, candles, and the cardinal directions are marked on the wall. This space is meant as a space of solace and is not intended for group meetings. If you would like to use this space, please contact Maureen Raucher or Kim Alston for access.

If you would like to use this space, please contact Maureen Raucher or Kim Alston for access or questions about using the space.

Kosher Kitchen

The kosher community kitchen (warmly referred to as the "K"), is located at Jordan House and is under the direction of Dining Services and the Rabbi/Jewish student advisor via the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL) The “K” is the main location for the Friday Night Shabbat Services sponsored by the Smith College Jewish Community Org (SCJC) in collaboration with the CRSL. It is centered around Jewish tradition and community, and Rabbi Noam will occasionally hold individual or small group sessions there. On Fridays it is usual to find the space teeming with choppers, would-be chefs, dishwashers, and others prepping for Shabbat. During the academic year, some special holiday events, and other occasional Jewish programming activities are held at the K.

Local congregations are very welcoming to students, and offer worship and other programs that are open to the public. Check out a list of local congregations and places of worship.

Transportation

We provide transportation vans for students interested in attending a worship service off campus. See the Jandon Center’s website for more information. Contact the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (413-585-2750) for details.

Smith’s shared sense of space and commitment to learning is what makes us a strong community. A community that generously engages in discourse grows and makes the group stronger and even more knowledgable.
Julianne Ohotnicky, Dean of Students and Associate Vice President for Campus Life

Multicultural Affairs

The Office of Multicultural Affairs is committed to shaping a strong community among students of color while promoting an understanding of cultural diversity for the Smith community. The office emphasizes the interests and needs of those who identify as students of color, beginning with the first-year pre-orientation program, Bridge. The Office of Multicultural Affairs staff is committed to providing guidance and advocacy for students of color navigating their Smith experience.

Mwangi Cultural Center

The Mwangi Cultural Center opened as the Afro-American Cultural Center in 1968. In 1973, the center was renamed to honor Dr. Ng’endo Mwangi, a member of the Smith class of 1961 and the first female physician in Kenya, for her dedication and service to her community. In the winter of 2017, the center underwent an extensive renovation project resulting in a new study lounge, conference room, reception area, administrative office, unity work room and expanded multipurpose room.

The center continues to be an important cornerstone on campus, providing a physical space for cultural organizations and students of color to engage in holistic programming, host intellectually enriching discussions and effectively build community. Students can look forward to innovative programming, expanded resources and a “platform for possibility.”

Mwangi Cultural Center Spring 2023 Hours 
The Center’s hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to midnight and Saturday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Unity House

Unity House is the headquarters of the alliance of 11 cultural organizations known as Unity. Unity was formed in 1991 when leaders of several Smith student-run organizations joined to create an umbrella organization. Unity House serves as the home for the Asian Students’ Association, the Black Students’ Alliance, the Chinese Interregional Student Cultural Organization, EKTA (students of South Asian heritage), Indigenous Smith Students and Allies, the International Students’ Organization, the Korean Students Association, the Latin American Students’ Organization, Multiethnic Interracial Smith (MISC), the Smith African and Caribbean Students’ Association and the Vietnamese Students’ Association. Unity House continues to be the organizing hub of multicultural affairs at Smith.

Our commitment to fostering a strong, diverse community involves providing our students with the resources and tools—both on campus and off—to thrive while living their most authentic lives.

We partner and collaborate with the other Five College institutions and with groups across campus to help you get what you need, when you need it.

Meet Dean Richmond

L’Tanya Richmond, M.A., Dean of Multicultural Affairs

Dean Richmond is responsible for the strategic leadership, vision and management of multicultural affairs. She is devoted to programs and policies that maximize student personal development and academic excellence opportunities. Dean Richmond oversees the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program, Emergency Fund, the Mwangi Fund and all multicultural student-directed services.

Contact Dean Richmond 
Email: lrichmon@kellyswhitegoods.com  
Phone: 413-585-4945
Schedule time to meet on Mondays and Fridays, 2–3:30 p.m.

LTanya Richmond at her desk.