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Common Hour Statement of Purpose

The academic calendar includes a block of time called "Common Hour," which takes place on select Fridays from 12:30-1:30 p.m., during which no classes or committee meetings will be scheduled.

Instead, the Common Hour aims to provide an occasion for faculty, students, and staff to absent themselves from daily concerns, gather in common spaces, and engage in the ideas of speakers and the presentations of artists, and with each other in discussion of shared interests and concerns. The hour will seek to bring into the public Bowdoin forum the best of what happens in our academic departments, student groups, and the wider world: political commentary; discussion of scientific and technological issues; the work of writers, poets and journalists; philosophical ideas; the visual and performing arts; sports; business; and international affairs.

The venue for these events varies, depending on their content and genre, but their regularity throughout the academic year will not. The intended audience is the entire campus community, students, faculty, and staff. The purpose will be to rejoice in our collegiate purpose, to interact with each other, and to deepen our common understanding, concern and delight.

The Common Hour will also advance the academic purposes of the College. Its events should broaden audiences and provide fresh angles of vision for members of a college community in which most such events are scheduled by individual academic departments acting in isolation. The Common Hour can thus be a means through which new avenues of interdisciplinary discourse can be opened and broadened.

In addition, it is hoped that the Common Hour will enable new opportunities for community-building among faculty, students, and staff outside the classroom. If the Common Hour is to grow and flourish, and attract the entire campus community to share experiences and concerns that relate to contemporary life and culture, a wide and diverse range of campus constituencies will need to propose events.