Community Immersion Orientation Trips


Organized by the McKeen Center, Community Immersion Orientation Trips are intensive four-day experiences of hands-on work confronting the social, economic, and environmental issues facing Maine communities. The experience includes daily service projects, field trips to sites of interest, discussions with staff from area non-profits, nightly reflective discussions, and social activities that support local businesses.  Students build life-long friendships while fostering a commitment to service throughout their stay at Bowdoin and beyond.

Past projects during Community Immersion trips have included:

  • Harvesting produce grown by immigrant and refugee farmers as part of the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project in Lisbon
  • Preparing lunch for clients at Preble Street’s soup kitchen in Portland
  • Connecting with local children during a body-painting activity with ArtVan in Brunswick
  • Clearing trails at a non-profit organization in Topsham
  • Throwing an ice cream social at a senior center in Brunswick
  • Lobstering with local fishermen off of North Haven (an island community off of the coast of Maine, near Rockland)

Student Leadership

Many students who have taken part in the Community Immersion Orientation Trip program often go on to become Orientation Trip leaders and help first-year students begin to navigate college life and the local community. Whether it is organizing service projects, leading discussions about important community issues, modeling endurance and patience in backbreaking work, or making first-years feel more comfortable by leading fun ice-breakers, these leaders devote four days to making new students feel at home once they arrive at Bowdoin.

For more information about Community Immersion Orientation Trips, including how to become a leader, please contact Matt Gee.