Colleges and universities have long been hotbeds of social change, with campus demonstrations influencing executive government decisions and students’ activism morphing into national and global movements for justice. From wartime efforts and protests to rallies and riots for racial, religious, and sexual liberty, both the young optimism and the newfound freedom and power of college students have enabled college activism to become one of the most influential forms of activism in modern history.
Although Smith’s own campus and community are immediate sources of motivation for social improvement and change, Smith students have always looked to the world beyond the Grécourt Gates in their mission to make life better and more just for everyone. From protesting wars to rallying for racial justice reform, Smith students are widely known for being incredibly driven and passionate about issues of social justice.
As both a historically women’s college and a predominantly white institution, Smith and its students occasionally have trouble identifying their roles in movements for social justice and equity. In recent years, Smith has begun to learn to lift up the voices of the marginalized and vulnerable among us, since those are the voices that so often have both the most to lose and the most to gain depending on Smith’s actions. As Smith and its students continue to grow, learn, and advocate for change, its influence can only increase, and hopefully its positive impact on the world and its own community members will continue to increase as well.