Campus News

Common Good Day Wins Kudos

Story posted September 21, 1999

Bowdoin’s Common Good Day went off without a hitch. On Sept. 18, more than 300 volunteers - including about 200 students, 100 faculty, staff and Friends and some children - spent several hours doing community service projects in Brunswick and Bath.

Common Good Day was intended to further the College’s founding mission, as stated by Joseph McKeen, Bowdoin’s first president: "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."

The goal was to foster a sense of service among all members of the Bowdoin community; bring the entire campus together in a meaningful endeavor; encourage students to step beyond the "Bowdoin Bubble" and be part of the greater community, and build positive relationships among members of the College, Brunswick neighbors and social service agencies.

It succeeded in doing all that and more at 37 different sites, and there is little question that this will be an annual event. Jobs included building a garden and cleaning the coffee shop at Mid Coast Hospital; cleaning up Sawyer Park, the shoreline of Maquoit Bay and the Bath-Brunswick Child Care Center, as well as Garrison, Longfellow, Coffin, McKeen, Boody and Harpswell streets; painting at the Tedford Shelter in Brunswick and Shoreline Mental Health Services in Bath, and helping to build a house in Bath for Habitat for Humanity.

Kim Beaulieu, nurse manager for Mid Coast Hospital’s maternity program, praised the volunteers for their hard work. She said that when one crew completed their work in the coffee shop, they went on to help out in the garden, where there are already new plantings taking root.

One of the most spectacular achievements was a wall-sized mural at the Brunswick Recreation Building on Federal Street. Mark Wethli, professor of art, spent hours in advance designing the rural scene and sketching it on the wall. He and the students then completed the work on Common Good Day.

Don Brewer, deputy director of Parks and Recreation for Brunswick, is thrilled. He said the mural makes what was an unattractive, small room seem larger and more tranquil.

"It turned out just tremendous," he said. "This sends a message to the kids that we really care."

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