Service and Leadership

Child opening eyes Painting the community richer

The need for service is immediate, and our students have the ability to give. It has been said that a thoughtful individual can change the world — and at Bowdoin, the world's changing. Our students lead, think, and sweat to directly alleviate problems in Brunswick and around the globe nearly every day, of every week, of every month, of every year. That's more than 40,000 hours of service to the local, state, national, and international communities each year.

And while our students provide the people power to get things done, they also provide the principled leadership needed to bring people together to make just, safe, and healthy communities. Some of our students join student-led service organizations during their first year at Bowdoin — and they become so committed to the organization's mission that they choose to later become student leaders. Other students propose new programs to solve new challenges, and we're here to help them make their problem-solving plans a reality. All of the programs we offer were initiated by students and continue to be led by students today.

We recognize that our students need to fulfill the commitments that they make to Brunswick and to the world — that's why we challenge them to develop the knowledge to understand issues, the skills to persuade people, and the character to follow through. These traits are hallmarks of principled leaders, and these traits make McKeen Center programs unique. We want our students to leave with the knowledge and passion that will make them true leaders in their communities today and tomorrow.

The best part? Most students feel that they are simply fulfilling their responsibilities to help solve a problem when they see one.

Student and faculty questions about student community service programs and student leadership can be addressed to Nhi Nguyen, assistant director.