Campus News

A Record Number of Prospective Students Attend Bowdoin Invitational

Story posted November 06, 2000

A record number of prospective students are expected on campus next weekend to attend a special series of events at Bowdoin College for students of color.

About 140 students are expected to visit campus November 9 12 for events intended to give talented secondary school students of color a look at Bowdoin. The College hosts two such events each fall, known as "invitationals." Last year, in the two weekends combined Bowdoin hosted 75 to 80 students. This year, the two weekends will bring about 160 students to Bowdoin.

"My staff and I are thrilled that so many talented students of color have signed up for the weekend," said Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid Richard Steele. "The word is out that our support for diversity is strong, deep and campus-wide."

College officials believe the increase in interest in Bowdoin among students of color can be traced to several initiatives begun last year to increase diversity on campus.

Among these is a task force convened last year by President Robert H. Edwards to find ways of attracting students of color from across the country to Bowdoin and to ensure that the College is able to accommodate the needs of a diverse student population.

Students and staff involved in the effort are quick to point out that diversity does not only mean ethnic and racial diversity, but also geographic and socio-economic diversity. Students are coming next weekend from such states as California, Mississippi, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, Indiana and Washington, among others.

As part of this renewed focus on increasing diversity, the College formed relationships with referral agencies, increased publicity about the effort and made changes to the way students are recruited. Last year the College also joined Posse, a program sending multicultural groups of students to participating colleges, and started the Chamberlain Leadership Scholarship, which is awarded to students who have shown great leadership and overcome adversity.

Wil Smith 00, coordinator for multicultural student programs, credits these efforts with increasing the number of students visiting Bowdoin.

"The biggest impact has been through Bowdoins use of these referral agencies," he said. "These organizations reach schools that would not ordinarily
.be on the Bowdoin radar screen."

The students visiting campus next weekend will be paired with Bowdoin student hosts to help them get to know the College. Erich Buschmann 01, who has helped organize the event, is happy to see so many students involved.

"Its just a great way for everyone to learn from people from different parts of the country, from different backgrounds. Its a great experience for everyone involved," he said. (Those interested in serving as a host should contact the residential life office at 725-3005.)

The visiting students will have the chance to meet professors and ask questions of student panels. Two distinguished Bowdoin alumni, Geoff Canada 74 and Stanley Druckenmiller 75, will also speak to the students. Visiting students are being invited to many campus events, among them the performances of Death and the Maiden, Common Hour with Stanley Druckenmiller, and the Friends Game.

According to Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, different offices on campus have cooperated in the planning of the weekend, all of which see value in increasing diversity at the College. He hopes the result will be a stronger Bowdoin Community.

"Your experience as a Bowdoin student, at the end of the day, is defined by those people who surround you," he said.

Smith agrees that diversity on campus affects the entire campus community.

"Increasing diversity around here is beneficial for all students," he said. "These students have a different experience in America, not only being students of color, which is obvious, but being from different regions
To have someone who offers a perspective from a practical side, from experience, to some of the phenomena that are discussed in the classroom is very beneficial, otherwise we are left to assume."

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