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Smith College

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I love Smith. I would never want to attend a large university where I didn't know every couple people I passed walking to class. But it isn't so small that I feel congested or that there still aren't new people to meet every day. When I tell people I go to Smith and they know what I'm talking about, they are very impressed and give the "ohhhh, Smith...!". I spend most of my time around campus--I work for the Music Department, I am President of the Student Government Association and spend lots of time in the SGA Office (in our Campus Center). Oh yeah, and I spend considerable amounts of time in the gym or at the boathouse with my crew teammates. Northampton is a great college town. I love going downtown on the weekends to drink coffee and do homework with my best friends. Other friends go to Amherst or other nearby towns to do work on the weekends, too. As a leader in the SGA, I am able to work closely with the college administration on student issues. After speaking with other SGA presidents from various universities, I realize that we are lucky to have an administration that is so responsive and actually listens to our concerns. Having said that, the administration definitely needs nudges and considerable pressure to get certain things done. The most recent controversy on campus happened last semester when a first year student attended a "Celebrity Rehab" party dressed as Whitney Houston. This incident and particularly its aftermath made it clear that Smith needs to be more proactive in seeking campus-wide multicultural competency. We are still working on this and having many conversations and planning groups to work on these issues. However, in my opinion, I believe that faculty need more pressure to address these issues within the context of their courses and take the initiative to learn more about multiculturalism themselves. We are also discussing whether or not we should arm our public safety officers. This decision will likely be made by the end of the Spring semester. We are also working on finding a new Smith spirit mark/mascot/identity/logo, etc. A local design firm has been meeting with various Smith community groups to talk about what it means to be a Smithie and what we would want from a new mascot if we were to get one. We are currently the Pioneers, though we don't have a visual identity to go with the concept of "pioneer".

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Smith is my home, it is the place where I am happiest and where I belong. I love the tradition of the school, the challenging academics, and the women that I live with. The one aspect which truly makes this school special is how every single student that attends this institution cherishes Smith in very much the same way. The most powerful moment is attending convocation at the beginning of the year, and as each professor marches before us, the room bursts into excitement. I will never forget my first convocation. At first I was shocked by the nudity and freedom of expression! There were women running around celebrating their house and their community together. And then the professors entered the great JMG Hall, and the room exploded with cheers, stomping of feet, and applause. I thought to myself, "Smithies really love this college. What a wonderful place to be". We adore our professors and respect their knowledge and are forever indebted to what they can teach us. One thing that I never want to lose is the element of tradition in this school. We have a very special and very unique tradition that has celebrated women for over a century. Our house teas, our Ivy Day celebrations, our convocation, our Mountain Day, all these elements make Smith stand out as a special institution. There is a lot of college pride at Smith, though not in the way that you see at the larger universities like UNC or Duke. Our pride is not defined through our sports teams (although we are certainly are proud of them). Our pride is in our tradition, in the success of our alumni, in the brilliance of our professors, in our unity as women. I think the biggest fear among my fellow classmates and myself is that someday Smith will lose the tradition that defines it. We are a small liberal arts college which allows for an intimate relationship between students, professors, and faculty. Our small houses allow more than friendships to develop, they allow families to develop. The fact that we are a women's college makes a Smith experience unique, and allows us for atleast four years of ourlives to for a true bond of sisterhood among our peers. The Smith experience is empowering, it is supportive, and it is something to be shared with women for generations to come.

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i really like smith, but if i could change one thing... well, several. see, we used to have dining halls in all the houses, until carol christ came around. she decided that this made the houses too clique-y, and got rid of a bunch of dining halls. there are still a good number of them, with varying menus at every meal. however, i know that when my house goes to eat across the street, we all sit together anyway. this goes for most other houses, to my knowledge. the clique-y-ness has hardly been avoided. for that matter, it's less cost-effective, believe it or not. that money could be put into something else, such as scholarships and financial aid, or library acquisitions. the other thing i'd like to change is laundry. i like to be clean, so it should be free. smith can sometimes feel too small. it's way bigger than my high school -- there were about 100 graduating people in my class -- but at the same time i feel like there's only about two or three degrees of separation between people. i mean, when you think about how many people you've indirectly made out with... anyway. the other amazing thing about smith is the town of northampton. your perfect college town, with great food and shops. you can get pretty much everything you need, and if not, hampshire mall is a 20 minute bus ride away, and it has a target. i've also mentioned the houses. we don't have dorms. the houses vary in size. for instance, i live in PARSONS complex, which is really composed of parsons house and parsons annex. there are 40-something people in the house, and 20-something in the annex. a lot of the time, i feel as though house-pride is way stronger than college pride. the house communities are generally pretty good, and it actually feels like home. i love my house, which is, by the way, PARSONS HOUSE.

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The best thing about Smith is housing. The rooms are much larger and much more manipulable than at other schools. Also, it is easier to do what you want i.e. a "closed door" policy. I spend the majority of time in my house. Northampton is also a typically "college town," and appeals to most people. However, being from a city makes the Hamp feel small. Smith's administration is overly concerned with their own liability. My own personal experiences vastly demonstrate this. Also; if mental health is a big concern for a prospective student, they should not even bother. Smith has one of the highest depression rates and an exceeding number of students forced to go on "short-term medical leave." People either have not heard of Smith College, or they ask, "isn't that an all-girls school?," or "how is the all-girls thing working out for you?"... if they're friends of my parents', they are generally impressed. Various "racial" incidents have beent he most recent controversy. These were "resolved" with mutual-masturbatory forums and panels that sought to discuss race and privilege, etc., etc. There is a lot of school pride, specifically house pride. Although the "women's college" atmosphere is supposed to foster sisterhood and help women find a voice in a patriarchal society, very often the opposite happens here. The "Smith bubble" brings out the worst in most girls, in my general experience. I find that when I come here I get more catty and more abrasive than I normally would. Also, the stress culture fostered here is ENORMOUS. I know of people who suffer physical ailments due to their stress levels. It's a lot of girls trying to out-peg each other. Also, the food sucks.

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Best thing: I've had at least one class every semester I loved, I got to study abroad in the country of my dreams (Italy), and there's always something to do on campus (lectures, symposiums, concerts, poetry readings, house activities, bulb shows,...) What I would change: that students would stop to start sentences with "I feel" instead of "I think" I think the size is just right - at least for me. Since I'm an international student, I don't usually tell people at home where exactly I go. In the US it depends, some people have heard about it, and generally think it's a great school, others have simply not heard about it. Most of the time I spend studying at the library or in my room (very nice on-campus housing), but I also enjoy hanging out with my friends after meals. I think the administration is pretty good. I never had problems, and as anywhere else, it helps to be friendly, and not rush in screaming at people that you need something from them. The biggest controversy is always about political correctness. With such a diverse group of students, there's always somebody who gets offended by something, and the community is very receptive to such complains and tries to accomodate the beliefs of each of its members. there is of course a lot of school pride! The most frequent complain is that they have too much work. but in the end we all get it done, and are proud of what we accomplished.

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The best thing about Smith is that everyone can feel free to be WHOMEVER they want to be. There are so many opportunities available for us to explore who we are, and everyone in our community is so supportive of each person finding their individual path. That is the best aspect of it, I think, for students. When I tell people I go to Smith they are generally impressed. Not only are our academics excellent, but the fact that Smith is a women's college also impresses on people how seriously you take your education. The town of Northampton is wonderful. It is cute, and very welcoming. The variety of restaurants for such a small town is astounding. My complaint about Smith is the liberal bias. I wish that Republicans, and conservative people had more of a presence on campus so we could have substantial debates. The other issue is that we are not trained to interact with men. There just arent' that many men around, I have had to make a special effort to take classes at Amherst and UMass (another perk!) to make sure that I am getting a well-rounded social experience as well. I will say that there is so much value in a women's college - particularly because at co-ed schools leadership roles are male-dominated. At Smith everyone can be, and in fact IS a leader on campus.

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Smith was absolutely perfect for me. I loved the academics and I felt like my college experience really prepared me for my career instead of just being something I did because it was expected of me. I met wonderful people there and the campus was beautiful. I thought it was a good size; the first year or two when I wasn't used to living away from home it wasn't too big and overwhelming, but then as I got more confident I spent more time at the neighboring colleges and universities and in the town. Northampton has an amazing music scene and some good cafes, and even a couple of fun, cheap bars. Town-gown relationships are good and a lot of Smithies work in town. The administration is very focused on students and student-life; if the student body speaks up about something, it is usually heard and taken care of. There is a LOT of Smith Love and pride. Even after graduating, if I meet a fellow Smithie there's an instant bond. In fact, once my car broke down in a far-away state, and a woman stopped to help me. She said she saw the Smith sticker on my car, and she stopped because she was an alum too. There's a very very big sense of comraderie and once you graduate there's a big "Old Girl Network" of people willing to help you find a job and get on your feet.

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The best thing about Smith is the libraries. FOUR libraries!! You can get almost anything! I've heard that Smith has the largest library for a liberal arts college in the country. The Mortimer Rare Book Room is indescribable. I can always find journals that Smith libraries subscribe to when my friends at other colleges can't. If I could change one thing it would be the budget. Smith allocates funds for lectures and grants and expensive eco-friendly biodegradable forks (which melt when used for hot food), and we don't even have soap in the bathrooms! We have "hand sanitizer foam" because they want to conserve water. Sometimes you just need to wash your hands. There is less and less parking for students on campus every year. Dining halls often run out of what they planned on serving that night. Money is spent on all the "extra fluff" when some of the basic student comforts aren't provided.

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The best thing about Smith is the libraries. FOUR libraries!! You can get almost anything! I've heard that Smith has the largest library for a liberal arts college in the country. The Mortimer Rare Book Room is indescribable. I can always find journals that Smith libraries subscribe to when my friends at other colleges can't. If I could change one thing it would be the budget. Smith allocates funds for lectures and grants and expensive eco-friendly biodegradable forks (which melt when used for hot food), and we don't even have soap in the bathrooms! We have "hand sanitizer foam" because they want to conserve water. Sometimes you just need to wash your hands. There is less and less parking for students on campus every year. Dining halls often run out of what they planned on serving that night. Money is spent on all the "extra fluff" when some of the basic student comforts aren't provided.

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Some of the best things about Smith are the facilities- the green house, the art studios, the libraries, and the houses. Smith has a huge endowments and we reap so many benefits. So many things are still yet to be discovered every day- like the rare books room in the Neilson library, the wood shop in the bottom of Hillyer, the Kahn institute in Neilson Library, and more. There are also tons of funds and fellowships you can appeal to for money, like SSAS. I would perhaps make my school co-ed... i mean i would. I spend most of my time in my house, because it is one of the best places on Smith Campus and where most of my friends live- also one of the only 2 co-ops at Smith. I go into Northampton a good amount to study in the coffee shops and remind myself that my college isn't in the middle of nowhere, it has a great town!

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