Divest Smith hosted a panel discussion titled “Climate Justice and Migration” last Friday afternoon in the Campus Center, led by Gabriella Della Croce ’11 and Andrea Schmid ’17 from the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and Professor Rick Lopez from Amherst College. Friends greeted each other as more chairs were pulled out to seat a full audience from both the Five College and greater Northampton communities. Conversation centered on the enormous effects of climate change on marginalized groups.
Hanne Gaukel ’19 participated in the Springfield Bound during her sophomore year at Smith. She came across the opportunity through an introductory course with the community engagement department. For Gaukel, the most memorable part of the Bound was getting to know Gardening the Community, a food justice organization.
Last week, I attended a movie night ran by a new student organization, Active Minds. We watched the equally poignant and comedic “Lady Bird”; there were only four of us in the room, but I was so grateful that we were spending time together. Active Minds is a nonprofit that works to “utilize the student voice to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses.” According to the Smith Social Network, the Active Minds chapter at Smith is a mental health education, advocacy and awareness group. Learning of its existence brought tears to my eyes. Tears because we need it, tears because Smith has already failed me multiple times in this area, but most importantly, tears because something like this should’ve been implemented much, much sooner.
When the weather outside is frightful, staying inside can be delightful. It’s February, but as all New England winter veterans know, that does not mean that spring has arrived. Thus, whether we are being treated to buffeting winds, torrential rains or snow showers, we are still in the season for indoor activities. There is a myriad of things to do indoors, ranging from social events in your house to quietly working on your own, but I would like to recommend something that combines the worlds of extraversion and introversion: video games.
On Feb. 11, Donald Trump Jr. made a speech that sent chills down my back. He had trivialized a profession I still hold dear to my heart in mere minutes. Thousands of people at the Texas border wall rally applauded his comment that motivated young conservatives to stay firm in their beliefs and stay away from “...these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth.” Though socialism has become a more popular political standpoint for young people today, you can’t say that this is because of what’s being taught at schools. But you could say that it’s disturbing how many of his supporters agree with his belief that teachers are “losers.” These very individuals who were raised by, nurtured, protected and supported by teachers had the audacity to agree that these people meant nothing.
We’re getting to that point in the semester where the first round of big assignments are hitting, the melting snow is leaving slush piles and black ice is everywhere. And is it just me, or is the big hole in the middle of campus getting bigger? For some of us, resolve may already be slipping. That doesn’t mean we can’t push through, but wouldn’t it be sweet if the semester wasn’t just about surviving? Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of “The How of Happiness,” puts it bluntly: “It’s equally important to investigate wellness as it is to study misery.” That’s worth pausing over. Holding both of these parts of the human condition with equal importance forces us to confront our self-concepts and how we act in our daily lives. My theory is that, generally, we wallow a little too much in the “misery” camp when we ought to be erring on the side of wellness, and leaning into moments of joy can really start to optimize our wellbeing.
When you walk around campus and see lovebirds holding hands all around you, you realize it’s that time of the year: Valentine’s Day. Everyone has their own favorite ways of celebrating this special occasion. Here are a few options for enjoying this year’s V-Day with (or without) your loved ones.
Fresh off of her debut tour through Europe, singer Madison McFerrin performed songs from her two recent EPs on Saturday, Feb. 23, in Sweeney Concert Hall. The daughter of music legend Bobby McFerrin (among his many accomplishments the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”), she exhibited her own unique style that explored soulful, sensual a cappella through electronic looping.
I have been away from Smith for nine months now. At first, it was hard to watch everything go on without me. I constantly checked my house’s Facebook group, watched my friends’ Instagram stories and tried to keep up with all the little things going on around campus.
This past Friday, I attended “Night at Your Museum 2019,” hosted by the Smith College Museum of Art. The event could be described as a party, an art exhibit and an educational experience combined. The theme of the night was “We Dream of Polymer Jellies,” referring to the art on display, most of which was either made from plastic or highlighted the abundance of plastic that currently exists on Earth.
At the Kensington International School in Springfield, Mass., 23 Smith tutors are working with children from nine different countries. Around the classroom you can hear students and tutors speaking several different languages. Tutors are encouraged to learn some basic phrases in Kiswahili and Arabic, such as “osha mikono” (“wash your hands” in Kiswahili) or “ma asmak?” (“what’s your name?” in Arabic).
As we enter the fourth week of classes, I can only assume that most of us are prematurely beginning to feel the mid-semester slump that inevitably affects us all at one point or another. We’ve sailed through syllabus week and are now faced with the the reality of endless readings and essays and presentations.
This weekend, I went to UMass Amherst and attended Hack(H)er 2019, the first hackathon exclusively for women and non-binary students in Western Massachusetts. For those unfamiliar, a “hackathon” is what it sounds like: a computation marathon. Teams are expected to create something from scratch using computers, whether their creation takes the shape of hardware, software or a website. The teams are given 24 hours to get their project done, and often teams use all 24 of those hours. Over 300 students attended the hackathon, a signal that the tech world could be becoming more equitable in terms of gender.