Campus News

Community Service Banquet Recognizes Student Volunteers

Story posted April 26, 2001

Bowdoin College held its first annual Community Service Banquet Wednesday, April 25, in Thorne Hall. The purpose of the event was to recognize the hundreds of student volunteers who take part in either one-time volunteer events or on-going efforts throughout the year.

About 70% of Bowdoin students volunteer during their college careers, and over 250 students attended the banquet. The College also invited community representatives who host a "Bowdoin Volunteer Program" at their service agencies or institutions. The Bowdoin Volunteer Programs are established efforts, such as the Red Cross Blood Drive or Habitat for Humanity, that continue from year to year.

"This has been a very exciting year for us," said Peggy Schick Luke, Bowdoin's Assistant Director of Communications for Community and Government Relations. "There is an increased interest in service across the nation among young people, and we feel that at Bowdoin. I have been contacted by prospective students who want to know if Bowdoin students are involved in specific projects that they have been active with in high school."

The banquet program included a formal dinner and thoughtful remarks from student volunteer Deborah Wissel '03 and Michael Wilson of the Portland Housing Authority, and students Matthew Norcia '03 and Joseph Turner '03 from the Bears and Cubs mentoring program. Many students present commented how meaningful it is to them to affect the lives of children through volunteering.

Timothy Patrick McCarthy, lecturer on History and Literature from Harvard University, presented a keynote address titled "Moral Choices and the Good Life."

Schick Luke and Lydia Bell '00, the College's Americorps VISTA Coordinator of Community Service Programs, hosted the program. The two women have been hard at work all year to expand volunteer programs at the College, improve communication between the various volunteer organizations, and increase the number of community agencies the College supports.

Schick Luke also noted that through the generous gift of an alumnus the College is able to fund the purchase of a van dedicated to transporting students to volunteer project sites, produce a community service brochure for students, and fund the annual banquet, among other things. "There's real momentum here. We have new initiatives to introduce next year. It's just a matter of getting ideas and programs in place. We are so fortunate to have such a high level of student participation and the resources to implement new ideas."

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