Smith College Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?


A large part of the population is involved in activism of some sort. You'll catch many Smith students hanging out in the downtown Northampton area because there are so many different places to eat and shop.


Athletics, music groups, and student government are all relatively popular on campus. Many students are very supportive of these kinds of groups and attend their events, but there are also so many other activities to participate in. In terms of partying, there are definitely parties on weekends, but many students go to the other four colleges in the area to party as well. We have no sororities or fraternities, so there are not parties as often as at schools like UMass.


I think one of the biggest groups on campus is the Smith Democrats. We have an excellent group and have a couple of students on the executive board of both the College Democrats of Massachusetts and the College Democrats of America! Sports are a great way to get involved and those teams tend to be pretty tightly knit. For example, I'm on the crew team and there are 60 people on the team but that is still how I met my closest friends. Smithies are very involved. We take our academics seriously and we take our extracurriculars seriously. There is always something to do, an event, a party, a lecture. A lot of people do spend Friday night getting take out and watching a movie, or catching up on some homework. But that doesnt' matter when you are surrounded by people you really like in your houses. My group of friends my from house first-year are still some of my closest friends. People do party here! We have parties nearly every weekend, and there are plenty of opportunities to go off campus and meet new people, if you choose to do so. Northampton is also a fun place. I volunteer at the Academy of Music, a local theater so I sometimes will spend my nights ushering and handing out programs then seeing a free show! There are so many ways to get involved here and so much going on that most students complain more about being overwhelmed with all the possibilities rather than being bored.


Students tend to leave doors open and houses are often quite close. Sometimes this leads to house-drama, but it also leads to a lot of house-love and really close friendships. Guest speakers are definitely more popular than athletic events, although the sports teams usually have a lot of spirit themselves (just not a lot of spectators). Smith is filled with beautiful traditions like Mountain Day (a spontaneous day off in the fall) and Ivy Day (a parade at the end of the school year). I met my closest friends in my house and also in an activist group I joined. If I was awake at 2 am on a Tuesday I would definitely be at the local 24-hour diner with my pals. In fact, we did that a lot. That diner has amazing spicy fries. There were always parties on the weekends, but there were a lot of smithies who weren't big drinkers and there were plenty of non-drinking things to do. People would stay up late talking, catch a movie in town, order ice cream and cookies to be delivered to the house, go visit friends at another campus... I never had a weekend where I didn't have anything fun to do. In the winter a lot of people go sledding and ice skating at night; a lot of people hike and go to concerts in town.


VIBES concert at Smith College


There are sooo many amazing clubs on campus doing a lot of incredible things. I spend almost all of my free time doing climate change activism on campus. A lot of students play sports but watching games doesn't have a prominent spot in Smith's popular activities. Guest speakers, however, draw quite a crowd, especially controversial ones, and many well-known people speak every year. Theater and dance is also popular and fun to go to. Dating can be very difficult, if not nearly impossible for straight girls. There are other co-ed schools nearby, but in reality the other schools are at least half an hour away and sometimes hard to enter the social scene there. The party scene at Smith is also a bit strange since it is a woman's school. Parties are strictly regulated, and while people drink, its not a drinking culture or allowed openly. Students also do drugs, but again, its not part of the culture and its done pretty quietly. Smith is definitely not a party school, and most girls who really party go off campus to Amherst or UMASS. House community is incredible and most people's closest friends come from their houses. I've also met a lot of people from extracurriculars - like my work in activism. I take many classes off campus to learn different things, meet new people and get off campus. I love Hampshire and have taken several of my classes each semester there - its a very short and easy (and free) bus ride away and offers quite a different atmosphere.


One thing that really determines your experience is your house placement. If you live in the quad, you're likely to have more party girls and fewer book worms. Central campus and Elm Street houses variety, tight house community, and the hipster crowd. If you like to wear a cape, read Jane Austen, and wield a sword, Green Street is your scene.


One of my favorite things about Smith is the housing system. You are put into a "house" that could have anywhere from 15 to 100 other students living in it. Houses have students from all four years, and people usually live in the same house for the duration of their time at Smith. House life is awesome--there is really strong house community, people leave their doors unlocked (I would feel comfortable leaving my door completely open for several hours). There are living rooms where people hang out together and most of the rooms are pretty nice, or at least unique. There is variation in house culture--some houses are really tight-knit and others are less community oriented, but if you don't like your house it is not too hard to move. I have been on a sports team, and it is wonderful. There are several teams you can join without any experience, even if you've never been an athlete before. Do it.


Smith is by no means a party school. That is not to say there aren't parties, but they tend to be kinda lame. I've had the most fun just opening a bottle with some friends and playing games. People do take school seriously, so while there is some of a party life, it's not crazy every night. also, it's easy to get off campus to party at another school. The student organizations are varied and there is something for everyone. there are varsity and club sports, as well. Smith has a lot of fun traditions, such as mountain day (a random day where the president cancels all classes as a surprise so we can enjoy a fall day), convocation, and lots of other things. One fun part about being at Smith is learning about all these traditions as you go.


At times it can suck. But there is usually something to always do or attend on campus. Plus we are near four other colleges and we can attend their events just as easily.