Programs & Services for Clubs
Smith has a long history of alumnae gathering together. We currently have more than 100 active clubs of varying sizes around the globe. Each club has its own personality – some are large, well-established, and have a robust volunteer structure, while others are smaller with fewer financial and personnel resources. Whatever your club size, you can offer rich and interesting programs in your area.
Please use this information as a resource if you are thinking of starting a new club, reviving an old one, or planning events for an established one. You will find new ideas as well as links to information that already exists on the Office of Alumnae Relations website.
We encourage you to connect with fellow club leaders for advice and counsel on ideas and best practices. A good place to start is the Smith College Club Leadership Facebook page. The Office of Alumnae Relations staff can offer you support in starting a club or planning a program for an established one. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your interest in Smith clubs!
Services and Support Provided to Clubs by the Office of Alumnae Relations
The Office of Alumnae Relations provides the following support and resources:
- Supplying the most up-to-date lists of alumnae in your region
- Posting club events on the Alumnae Relations online calendar
- Sending broadcast emails to alumnae in your area
- The online Alumnae Community Portal: https://smith.force.com/alumnae/login
- Liability Insurance for club/alumnae events: http://alumnae.smith.edu/volunteer/volunteer/tools-for-leaders/insurance-liability/
- Special assistance for club treasurers: Finance professional Katie Naughton ’70 has served as treasurer for both the Smith College Club of New York City and the Smith College Club of Hampshire County. She is available for consultation on financial and tax issues. (Please note that up to five hours of consultation are covered by the college; additional time must be paid by the club.) Contact Katie at email@example.com
Tips for Club Programming
- In planning events, consider the diversity of alumnae in regard to race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, geography, ability, religion, single/partnered, etc. If a club can only plan one or two events per year, aim for the widest possible diversity of attendees at those events. If a club has the luxury of holding many events each year, it’s inevitable that some of those events will be more narrowly focused.
- If possible, cover a variety of topics over each year. Suggestions include events based around art/cultural, theater/movie, food/wine, wellness/health, intellectual/literary, garden/outdoor, career/life-skills, financial planning, technology, entrepreneurship, college admissions planning, sports, local/city pride – walking tours, visiting landmarks and off-the-beaten path treasures.
- Whenever appropriate, include news of the college and an appeal to support it financially.
- If possible, always include enough time for socializing. Smithies love to meet and network with other Smithies.
- Your group may want to choose a theme for each year’s series of events. Keep up with campus happenings that might translate into a theme.
- Offer events at different prince points, always making them as inclusive as possible.
- If your club covers a wide geographical area or a large city, plan events in different areas. You’ll be more likely to see different faces.
- Select the best date: take into account holidays, religious observances, and conflicting local events.
- Collaborate with other women’s colleges groups, Seven Sister alumnae groups, and Ivy League groups.
- Plan events around an alumna’s exhibit, concert, lecture, workshop, performance, or reading.
- Create a special event to benefit student scholarship(s) if your club awards scholarship monies, or to build awareness and support of the Smith Fund.
- Smith in the Community: co-sponsor events with a local girls’ school, organization that supports women and girls, local college or university, or any community organization already planning to sponsor an event related to/focused on women and girls, education, or other issues of interest to alumnae.
- Network with other club leaders through the Facebook Group “Smith College Club Leadership.” Join other clubs’ Facebook pages. Check the Office of Alumnae Relations Events Calendar to see what other clubs are doing.
- Keep up with two additional alumnae groups on Facebook:
Smith College – Alumnae is the college’s alumnae group and Smith College Alumnae is the group started by alumnae
Be sure to review this page. You’ll find a lot of general information as well as information on specific programs.
- Book Club: http://alumnae.smith.edu/clubs/clubs-groups/events-programs/book-clubs/
- Smith Reads: http://alumnae.smith.edu/clubs/clubs-groups/smith-reads-book-club/
- Groups for investing, cooking, knitting and crafts, walking/hiking.
- Young alums – bowling, after work meet-ups, game night (including Smithopoly!)
- Oral History Project: interviewing local alumnae of note and producing a printed collection of their stories (http://alumnae.smith.edu/clubs/clubs-groups/tools-for-leaders/best-practices/)
- http://alumnae.smith.edu/clubs/clubs-groups/fundraisers/: pecans, local products, Close Buy Catalog (closebuycatalog.com). Close Buy operates in all of New England, New York and New Jersey, making available a large selection of locally made items with sales benefitting your club. It’s all done online – you only need to promote it.
- Special speaker/benefit event with request for scholarship contribution.
- Organize a panel of alumnae with similar fields of interest or expertise, e.g. women in science, law, education, the arts, health and wellness.
- Salon series: casual meetings where individual alumnae present on a topic of interest or experience, based on their career, hobby, travel, or volunteering.
- Brunch or potluck with alumna at each table facilitating conversation on a different topic of choice, e.g. creative writing, news from Smith, personal finance, or successful parenting. The possibilities are endless!
- Bring together young alumnae and alumnae from earlier classes for lunch or tea to hear about Smith today from young alums, share Smith stories of different decades, discuss the issues that are central to the lives of each age group; reach out to alumnae living in retirement communities/nursing homes.
- Scanning all class notes in the SAQ will yield names of alumnae who can be tapped for any of the above events.
- Meetings for working alumnae to discuss issues of work/life balance, career development, and career transition. See http://alumnae.smith.edu/?career=career-3 for career resources.
- http://alumnae.smith.edu/clubs/clubs-groups/events-programs/community- service/
- This could also be a sub-group within your club.
Celebrating with Smith and Smithies
- Mountain Day events: before or after Smith’s actual day; share your favorite apple dessert (or the recipe), your best Mountain Day memory, go apple-picking, take a hike, or do some other outdoor activity.
- Julia Child Day: potluck dinner or weekend brunch with menu using her recipes.
- Otelia Cromwell Day: gather to honor Smith’s first African American graduate with facilitated discussion of any issue affecting the education of black women in America or other countries, past or present.
- Christmas Vespers: livestreamed on a Sunday in early December. Holiday cookie party/exchange or potluck.
- First-year book selection: discussion group to kick off the fall schedule of events.
- Meeting to discuss an alumna’s or faculty member’s book.
Admissions and Current Students
- Work with your Alumnae Admissions Coordinator to host an event for prospective students and their parents.
- Holiday party over winter break with alumnae and current students. Prospective students (prospies) could also be included.
- Congratulatory emails to all accepted students (ED I, ED II, Regular Admission, Transfers)
- Yield event for accepted students and their parents; young alums can share their recent college experience.
- Summer send-off party for first-years, their parents and alumnae.
- Postcards, care packages (http://alumnae.smith.edu/clubs/clubs-groups/events-programs/care-packages/) , and emails to current students: exam times, congratulations to graduating seniors.
Note: contact lists for current students can be obtained from the Admissions Office.
Faculty Speaker Program
- Everything you need to know about having a faculty member visit your club:
- Tools and strategies: http://alumnae.smith.edu/clubs/clubs-groups/tools-for-leaders/communications/
- “Notes from Paradise,” “The Gate,” and “Insight” are sources of news that can be added to club newsletters.
- Social media ambassadors can share from these same sources on club Facebook or Twitter pages.
- Welcome new graduates who’ve moved to your area: request current club database from the assistant director for clubs at the Office of Alumnae Relations, or email request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to the members of the Community Committee of the AASC Board of Directors for creating and editing this valuable resource.