Campus Quality

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Campus Quality


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4 College Freshman

Campus Quality: They're very accessible and comfortable to be.

4 College Junior

Campus Quality: Some traditions are stronger than others; some come and go in popularity depending on the year. Attendance for all-campus events is usually less than 50%. The campus itself is beautiful, with a lot of architectural variety; Nielson Library and Cutter/Ziskind are generally considered some of the less-beautiful buildings; Seelye Hall, Sage Hall, and most of the residential houses are gorgeous old buildings with a lot character (and fast burn times). The Greenhouse is a wonderful place to relax or get warm on a cold day. The gym has erratic hours sometimes, but extensive and pretty clean facilities. A major student pet peeve: there seem to be very few trash bins on campus!

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Campus Quality: The buildings are really nice and very well-maintained.

3 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Campus Quality: There are a lot of great spots on campus.

5 College Junior

Campus Quality: Everything on campus is pretty beautiful. The functionality of some spaces can be less than pleasing, but it's definitely aesthetically pleasing.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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The Campus Center is really the only public space to hang out on campus, and since opening in the fall of 2003, it has become the hub of the Smith community. The Brown Fine Arts Center also opened in 2003 and boasts an amazing collection of ever-changing exhibits. It is one of the nation’s foremost teaching collections, with originals by artists Chuck Close, Picasso, Rodin, and countless others. Smith's greenhouse, Lyman Conservatory, hosts the annual Fall Chrysanthemum and Spring Bulb shows and is a beautiful space to escape the winter New England chill.

The Olin Fitness Center is equipped with weight and cardio machines, and there are also stables and equestrian fields, a climbing wall, pool, squash courts, and a boathouse with kayaks and canoes that students can take out on Paradise Pond. Despite the fact that some buildings on campus are more than 100 years old, the College works hard to keep its buildings and facilities clean and up-to-date, and students never complain that the facilities are poorly maintained. Overall, with the constant upkeep of existing facilities and the development of new projects, including Ford Hall, a $73 million, 140,000-square-foot science and engineering facility that opened in 2009, Smith ensures that its students learn and live with the best amenities possible.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
147 acres
Student Centers
The Campus Center
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
  • Hillyer Art Library
  • Josten Performing Arts Library
  • Neilson Library
  • Young Science Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • Anywhere outside (when the weather is nice)
  • The Campus Center
Bar on Campus
Bowling on Campus
Coffeehouse on Campus
There are coffee bars in the café of the Campus Center and in the atrium of the Brown Fine Arts Center.
Movie Theater on Campus
None, but Rec Council shows a free movie each weekend on campus.
"Green" Initiatives
The largest and most recent green initiative on Smith's campus was the construction of Ford Hall, a sustainably built and functional engineering building. It boasts highly efficient electrical equipment, a water consumption management system, passive energy options like large windows, and a green organic rooftop garden.

In an effort to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, the College recently installed a co-generation power plant and solar panels. Smith has also begun phasing in green cleaning products and cleaning machines that use less water. Dining Services purchases as many local ingredients as possible, composts all of its waste food, and buys from a produce company that recycles its large cardboard delivery boxes. Each house is very conscious of recycling, and the College occasionally holds competitions to see which house is the most green-friendly.
School Slang
  • CDO: Career Development Office
  • HCA: House Community Adviser. This student is employed by the College to enforce policy within houses and "advise the community."
  • HetNorm: Heteronormativity, or the belief that people fall into two distinct and complementary genders with corresponding heterosexual sexual identities.
  • HONS: Head of New Students. These students are elected by their houses to come early to campus to greet first-years and transfers during Orientation. They also work during the year to integrate students into the Smith and house community.
  • House Council: Students elected by their house to organize house events. Each council usually includes a president, vice-president, social chairs, HONS, and diversity representative.
  • House Party: Houses, usually on the quad, throw parties once or twice a semester. They have to be approved by Res Life, and there has to be a minimum number of Res Life staff at the parties.
  • HR: House Resident. This student is employed by the College to enforce policy within houses and "encourage community."
  • LUG: Lesbian Until Graduation. Refers to straight students who come to Smith and only date girls while they're here, but then leave Smith to date guys again.
  • OLs: Orientation Leaders. They lead groups of new students (called Orientation groups) in activities while they become accustomed to Smith.
  • Res Life: Residential Life, the department that deals with party policies and social code infractions (i.e. drinking). HRs and HCAs are part of Res Life.
  • SGA: Student Government Association
  • The Smith Bubble: Term used to describe the feeling that Smith is isolated from the rest of the world.
  • Celebration : Celebration originated more than 10 years ago as a candlelight vigil in response to a homophobic incident in one of the Quad houses but has since evolved into a night of celebrating, dances, skits, and songs. Taking place on the second Thursday of November, each of the Quad houses does a performance, and then students visit other houses that set up booths for everything from handing out hot chocolate to head shaving to a kissing line. The event culminates at the Campus Center where students dance and hang out.
  • Convocation : Convocation marks the formal beginning of the college year. All members of the Smith community (including the faculty, dressed in caps and gowns) gather the night before classes begin in John M. Greene Hall to listen to an opening address and a performance by the glee club. Each house dresses according to a common theme, and the costumes range from togas to lingerie to outfits made entirely out of Saran Wrap.
  • Ivy Day and Illumination Night : These are traditional parts of Commencement Weekend. On Ivy Day, alumnae escort the seniors, who are dressed all in white, around campus. The seniors then plant ivy to symbolize the connection between the College and its graduates. On Illumination Night, campus is lit by colored paper lanterns.
  • Julia Child Day: Julia Child was an alumna of Smith, so to celebrate her, Smith dining services makes some of her recipes, which are served in all campus dining rooms for a day.
  • Mountain Day : The College president chooses one day in the fall as a break from classes. The holiday is announced by ringing the college bells. All classes are canceled, and students spend the day apple-picking, boating on Paradise Pond, picnicking, or getting caught up on work.
  • Primal Scream: The night before finals begin, students go outside late at night to participate in Primal Scream-a chance to yell and relieve stress. Many then head over to the Campus Center where music and food (like chocolate-covered coffee beans) are offered as motivation for the night's study.
  • Tea : Every Friday at 4 p.m. students gather in their house living rooms to enjoy pastries, fruit, and tea. It's a great time to relax at the end of a hard week and catch up with people you might not see every day. Occasionally, houses have teas with themes.
Urban Legends
  • Many Smith houses have ghosts associated with them. One is Sessions House, where it's said that a ghost hangs out in the secret stairwell there.
  • The rumor that Mel Gibson's daughter goes to Smith has been around for years. People keep swearing that she's abroad.
Favorite Things To Do
Students like to go to the gym before or after classes, and most afternoons, the Campus Center is packed with students gossiping, eating, or catching up on reading. Smithies looking for a study break can check out a free movie hosted by the Recreation Council or watch a student- or faculty-directed play or dance performance, of which there are several each semester. The Recreation Council has also brought musical acts like Pink, Busta Rhymes, and Ben Folds to perform on campus, which are popular student events. The academic emphasis at Smith is obvious by the number of lectures and panel discussions it sponsors. Overall, students never complain that there isn't enough happening on campus-the tough part is balancing it with other commitments.
Student Organizations Web Site
Student Newspaper
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
There is a diverse array of clubs and organizations on campus, and you would be hard-pressed to find a Smithie who does not belong to at least one. Each club and organization has a member who sits on the Student Government Association to advocate for allocation of funds, and club events are usually advertised by a banner in the Campus Center. The organizations know that college students love food, and so most events offer or center around food. There is a variety of groups on campus in all sorts of categories, including academic, arts and performance, athletic, communication, college and self-governance, career, cultural heritage, language, religion, social and political action, special interests, and support.
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Model UN
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Student newspaper
  • Television station
  • Yearbook
Air Force ROTC: No
Navy ROTC: No
Army ROTC: No
Did You Know?
  • The annual Fall Chrysanthemum Show and Spring Bulb Show bring hundreds of visitors to the campus and greenhouse each year.
  • In her will, Smith's founder Sophia Smith stipulated that each new building on campus be designed in the style of the time period in which it was built. As a result, there are buildings ranging in style from Tudor to Bauhaus.

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 58 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

What are your favorite things to do around campus?    Based on 17 responses

  • 28% Sit on the swing by the pond
  • 20% Hang out with other housemates
  • 13% Movie Night and Zumba
  • 11% Chapin lawn when its warm
  • 9% Go running on the trails
  • 7% Get mudslides
  • 4% Go to Seeyle at night to study
  • 4% Go to the Art Museum
  • 2% Sit in the quad tanning.
  • 2% Study in Hillyer

What are your favorite campus events or traditions?    Based on 19 responses

  • 28% Mountain Day
  • 25% Tea
  • 13% Julia Child Day
  • 10% Convocation
  • 8% Primal Scream
  • 8% Celebration
  • 8% Ivy Day and Illumination Night

How accommodating is this school to students with physical disabilities?    Based on 20 responses

  • 20% Very accommodating. The school does everything in their power to make sure the needs of every student are met.
  • 45% Pretty accommodating. The school has taken a lot of steps to accommodate the needs of students, but they've missed a few things.
  • 35% Slightly accommodating. The school has taken a few steps to accommodate students, but not nearly enough.
  • 0% Not accommodating. Students with physical disabilities are practically ignored here.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 48 responses

  • 38% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.
  • 56% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 4% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 2% I hate my school and have no school spirit.


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