For years, the decentralized dining system was one part of Smith’s goal to foster on-campus communities. Most houses had in-house dining rooms and kitchens, so students, for the most part, ate with their housemates. To accommodate the desire for more options while dealing with a budget crisis, a dining committee submitted a proposal for a more consolidated dining system. As a result, several dining rooms closed and others are only open for dinner during the week, but students can now access any dining room during meal times. This allows students to bounce around to different dining halls each night, giving them more options when it comes to what and when they want to eat. Many students are embracing the new variety of meals available, but some still struggle to cope with overcrowded dining rooms. The house community is also suffering because individual house dining rooms provided a way for students to get to know everyone in their house. However, there are special Thursday night house dinners, where houses eat together at one dining hall and the dining staff places white tablecloths and candles on the tables, which help keep the house community strong.
Smith has recently started buying much more of its ingredients locally, which is a great part of the College’s new green, sustainable initiative. Everyone's favorite food day of the year is Julia Child Day in the fall. On this day, recipes from Child, an alumna of Smith, are made in every dining hall using delicious local ingredients. It is a very special and much-loved event that helps everyone relax before Thanksgiving break and reminds everyone how hard the dining staff works to make the students happy.