Tremendously humble and exceptionally generous, Alaina Smith integrates the university and community in ways that make each of them more just. Alaina has devoted her college career to addressing problems of injustice. As an Anthropology major with minors in Public Health and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, her academics and commitment to civic engagement blur the boundaries between Washington University and the broader community, offering possibilities for challenging oppression, reorganizing social constructions, and imagining strategies to address social injustice.
Alaina’s passion for anti-violence advocacy led her to become a group facilitator atRAVEN’s Batterer Intervention Program and a Victim Advocate at the Domestic Violence Court in St. Louis County, where she helps petitioners filing for Orders of Protection navigate the legal process. Alaina’s form of leadership just as often finds her working selflessly behind the scenes to raise widespread awareness of social issues. This year she led actors and volunteers in a performance of the “Vagina Monologues,” reaching hundreds of students and community members with powerful messages about the impact of violence against women worldwide, a performance that also raised thousands of dollars for a local sexual violence organization.
Alaina is deeply committed to the St. Louis community and equally committed to encouraging her peers to make meaningful contributions in St. Louis. As an intern in the Community Service Office, she coordinated the Leadership Through Service program, which equips 80 incoming students with the inspiration and resources to be actively engaged in serving the St. Louis community. She also managed the office’s newsletter, taking pride in providing individualized support to each non-profit seeking WU volunteers. At the global level, Alaina served as Co-President of GlobeMed, facilitating the group’s partnership with a grassroots NGO in Uganda.
Beyond Alaina’s specific contributions, she works tirelessly to empower those around her to be ethical, effective agents of change. She is proud of others’ service yet bashful when recognized for her own. One of her nominators, Jami Ake, wrote, “Over and over again, Alaina finds ways to serve community members who do not have full access to the resources and support they need, unafraid to put her knowledge into action.”