Campus News

400 Students, Employees, Alumni and Friends Participate in Common Good Day

Story posted September 14, 2004

Four hundred Bowdoin College students, employees, alumni and friends geared up for an afternoon of community service as the College observed its sixth annual Common Good Day Saturday, September 18.

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Signing up for Common Good Day.

Teams of Bowdoin volunteers spent four hours working on over 50 separate projects for non-profit and municipal organizations - not just in the greater Brunswick and Portland areas, but in the communities of Alumni Clubs across the country. (Heavy rain across Maine resulted in five projects having to be canceled, but those volunteers teamed up with other groups.)

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Two inches of rain didn't discourage the mulching team.

Local projects included cleaning up contaminated soil and gardening with Cultivating Community in Portland, giving horseback riding lessons for children and adults with disabilities at Flying Changes in Topsham, building a teen center at the 55 Plus Center in Brunswick, visiting with residents at local assisted living facilities, and weeding, mulching and trail work throughout the area. The Bowdoin Alumni Clubs of Bath-Brunswick and Portland participated in these local projects, along with students, faculty, staff and friends.

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Volunteering in L.A. (left to right): Valerie Watson '84, Nikki LeBlanc '90, Zeb Rice '94, Sheldon Stone '74, Melissa Mansir '01, Chris Parker '87, and Jayne Grady-Reitan '77.

Seven other Bowdoin Alumni Clubs across the country organized projects for Common Good Day as well. The Bowdoin Club of Atlanta worked at the Product Rescue Center at the Atlanta Community Food Bank; the Bowdoin Club of Boston attended at American Red Cross blood drives in Danvers and Dedham; the Bowdoin Club of Denver joined the "Weed Warriors" at Roxborough State Park in Littleton; the Bowdoin Club of Minnesota participated in the Cooks for Kids Program at the Ronald McDonald House Twin Cities; the Bowdoin Club of New York discussed college preparation and choice with teenage residents of Dorothy Day Apartments, the latest project of Broadway Housing, a non-profit committed to redressing homelessness; the Bowdoin Club of Southern California assisted with Heal the Bay's Coastal Cleanup Day; and the Bowdoin Club of Washington, D.C., helped clean up and maintain Watts Branch Park with Washington Parks & People.

Participants in the various Alumni Clubs' projects ranged from classes in the 1940s right up to members of the Class of 2004, as well as parents. Alumni report looking forward to encouraging increased participation in their respective areas during next year's Common Good Day.

Launched in 1999, Bowdoin College's Common Good Day takes its name from one of the College's guiding principles, as stated by Joseph McKeen, Bowdoin's first president, in his 1802 inaugural address: "It ought always to be remembered that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the Common Good, and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them for education."

Volunteerism occupies an important place in the lives of many Bowdoin students right alongside attending classes and participating in athletics and other extracurricular activities. Seventy percent of all students participate in community service at some point during their Bowdoin careers, and volunteering is just one more way their education and overall Bowdoin experience is enriched.

For more information about Common Good Day 2005 contact Caitlin MacDonald.

(Story posted 9/14/04, and updated 9/23/04)

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