Story posted October 23, 2008
From September 21-28, 2008 the first Bowdoin alumni service trip traveled to New Orleans. Trip participants constructed homes with Habitat for Humanity and attended a presentation by Bowdoin Asst. Professor of Art Michael Kolster and a special reception with the local alumni club.
Seeing first-hand the devastation caused by the hurricanes deeply impacted the trip participants. Below are some of their reflections.
I see the common good at work that reminds us of the tremendous need all around us. The need for a little help toward making a better life. Working for the common good takes out of our day to day lives and connects us with people who live on the edge of economic security. The common good allows us, and will allow us not just to talk about inequality, but to do something about it. -Ann Prum '84
Three years after Katrina, whole neighborhoods remain vacant- left with shuttered, abandoned homes or just green spots where homes used to stand. The massive destruction of whole neighborhoods is hard to comprehend... Serving the common good goes beyond just helping people less advantaged than you are. It encompasses all we do that helps to make our communities better, more compassionate and responsive places to live. -Roswell Bond '56
My initial impression is that post-Katrina New Orleans is still struggling to rebuild and my sense is that the pace of rebuilding is slow. But what's been wonderful already about this trip is that through real, on the ground exposure to post-Katrina New Orleans (e.g. Professor Kolster's lecture, tour of the city, meeting local Bowdoin alumni, etc) enables you to see how multi-faceted and complex the problems are. For me personally, trying to better understand these problems and reflecting on what can and should be done about them, has made the gritty, hard work we're doing with Habitat very gratifying. -John Patrick (JP) Hernandez '04
"Serving the common good goes beyond just helping people less advantaged than you are. It encompasses all we do that helps to make our communities better, more compassionate and responsive places to live."
— Roswell Bond '56