Dana Smith
Curriculum/Institute Chair, NLC Nashville

Dana Smith grew up in Michigan and graduated from Purdue University in 2016. She learned to sew when she was 10, leading to an interest in the fashion industry, but it was not until becoming active in feminist organizing efforts in college and learning about the exploitation of women garment workers around the world that it became clear that the way forward was to join the labor movement. Dana re-founded a United Students Against Sweatshop chapter on campus to fight for social and economic justice by pushing the university to end apparel contracts with brands that used sweatshops and campaigning against the privatization of campus services.

Organizing at a large, public university showed her that good jobs, good education, and democracy are at stake when billionaires and corporations gain more influence over public higher education and value profit over people. This led her to work for SEIU Faculty Forward in Washington, D.C. on adjunct and graduate worker organizing campaigns before heading to Tennessee. For the past two years she has been an organizer for United Campus Workers, CWA Local 3865 in Nashville, TN, where she works to builds a grassroots union of faculty, staff, and students taking collective action to change their workplaces and communities.