Story posted February 03, 2009
While Bowdoin students provide over 40,000 hours of service to the local community each year through curricular and co-curricular activities, more and more Bowdoin staff members are working to address community needs as well.
Over winter break, staff members from the divisions of Student Affairs and Information Technology got together on a cold day in January for Community Action Day – the third winter break service day sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students Affairs working in conjunction with the McKeen Center. After gathering for coffee and bagels early in Main Lounge, seven teams headed out to work with various organizations. At Tedford Housing’s adult shelter, volunteers painted an apartment top to bottom. At the Bath Youth Skate Park, a group provided needed maintenance and upkeep, while another group worked on art projects with kids in Bath through the ArtVan program. Volunteers also traveled to Portland to sort donated clothes for Preble Street Resource Center – and met up with students on the winter break service trip in the process. A number of staff members worked on campus to build insulated window frames in Lancaster Lounge with the United Way. These windows will be installed in homes throughout the Midcoast area through the Making Homes More Energy Efficient Project.
When their projects were completed, participating staff members returned to campus to share what they learned about the community with one another over lunch. Many hope to make further connections to the organizations they served with that day; others expressed interest in more consistently connecting with organizations they already support through volunteering, board work, and giving. All agreed the day was important in meeting new people, learning about community needs, and being inspired to think about the role each individual plays in advancing the common good.
Commitment to community is displayed by many Bowdoin staff throughout the year. Last October, Bowdoin’s Support Staff Committee organized an all campus food drive. Over the course of 10 days, they collected nearly 500 canned good and household items to donate to the MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program. Piling all these things into a van, housekeepers Stella Crooker and Cathy Theriault and Patty Silevinac from Dining delivered their collections at a non-holiday time, when food shelters need steady donations. “I’d love to do it again,” commented Crooker. Many staff apply their professional skills to the community, such as Gary Weaver from the Financial Aid Office and Nancy Grant in IT, while others are involved in ways that represent their particular talents or passions, such as Steve Lavoie, in housekeeping, who is an active member of the Volunteer Firefighters in Topsham.
If you know of other staff members making a difference in their communities, please send their stories to Susie Dorn in the McKeen Center, firstname.lastname@example.org.
All agreed the day was important in meeting new people, learning about community needs, and being inspired to think about the role each individual plays in advancing the common good.