Joseph McKeen
Center for the Common Good

Elsie Thomson
Class of 2011

Posted June 08, 2007

Elsie Thomson '11 attended the annual Volunteer Fair as a first year and was thoroughly overwhelmed by the number of clubs and programs. She finally decided to work with Success by 6 - reading to pre-toddlers at the Bowdoin Children’s Center. Also that fall Elsie enrolled in her first Bowdoin Community Based Courses - Architecture and Marine Environmental Geology. Throughout her time here she participated in four more service learning courses: Environment and Culture in North American History, Perspectives in Environmenal Science, Ecology of Merrymeeting Bay, and Environmental Education.

Summer of 2008 found Elsie working as a Volunteer Education Intern at the Wildlife Images Education and Rehabilitation Center in Oregon. And in January of 2011 she traveled to northern Ghana with Community Water Solutions as a Winter Fellow working on safe drinking water initiatives.

Elsie became involved in the Alternative Spring Break program in the spring of 2008 – traveling to Lima, Peru to build playgrounds in shantytowns outside the city. This trip fostered her interest in organizing and leading service trips and she became very involved over the next three years leading two ASB trips – Finding Phoenix, Louisiana where students joined this rural community as they continued to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and Adventures in Appalachia in Beards Fork, WV where students worked with the Southern Appalachian Labor School to build and repair local homes in this former coal mining community.

Her experience as an ASB leader and her interest in service trips culminated in her role as the McKeen Fellow coordinating a record eight Weekend Service Trips this year.

"Serving the common good means taking advantage of the opportunities given to you to create them for others. It means working together to enrich and better the lives of everyone involved."

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“I am most grateful for the leadership opportunities and the skills and motivation these experiences have fostered in me.”