Six Honored for Commitment to Service and Civic Leadership

Story posted March 15, 2005

Six members of the Bowdoin College community were honored in Augusta March 15, when the Maine Campus Compact (MCC) recognized the past year's contributions by Maine colleges in the areas of community service, civic leadership, and service learning.

Students Sarah Mountcastle '05, Kate Mullin '05, Joy Lee '07 and Rebecca Sargent '06, Associate Professor of Geology Edward Laine, and Environmental Studies Program Manager Eileen Johnson were the Bowdoin honorees.

"I congratulate Bowdoin's recipients of the Maine Campus Compact awards, and thank them for their hard work and dedication to service," said Bowdoin President Barry Mills. "A commitment to serving the common good is a Bowdoin tradition that dates back to the College's founding in 1794, and continues to embody one of our core values. The work of these six individuals, representing students, faculty and staff, illustrates how this long-held philosophy of service is embraced and advanced across the Bowdoin community."

This year more than 750 Bowdoin students will spend over 20,000 hours engaged in service with the local community through volunteer programs and service learning courses.

"Bowdoin students are serving in the community at an ever-increasing rate, reflecting national trends of growing interest in public service," said Susan Dorn, director of Bowdoin's Community Service Resource Center. "Their passion is inspiring and their commitment to effecting change invigorating. And because the Greater Brunswick community reaches out to students and shares in their education, these programs and courses are tremendously effective."

Sarah Mountcastle and Kate Mullin were among six students statewide to receive the Heart and Soul Student Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions in community service, service learning, and/or activism.

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Sarah Mountcastle.

Mountcastle, an anthropology and Spanish major from Orono, Maine, became involved in volunteering through several service organizations that address issues relating to poverty. She has built houses in Nicaragua with the student activist group Global Help, and helped organize Bowdoin's 2005 Alternative Spring Break trip on the same mission. She has raised funds for affordable housing through Habitat for Humanity; tutored Sudanese refugees through the Portland Housing Authority; and used her Spanish to translate Head Start curriculum and tutor for the People's Regional Opportunity Employer. She volunteered for, researched and wrote grants to support Safe Passage (founded by Hanley Denning, Bowdoin Class of 1992), an organization that assists families living in the Guatemala City dump; and conducted mudflat water quality tests for three local non-profits.

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Kate Mullin.

Mullin, a government and anthropology major with an education minor from Cumberland, Maine, has been an America Reads tutor for the past four years, working with a local kindergarten class, and helping other tutors at weekly training sessions. She is coordinator of the Federal Street Family Shelter Volunteers; serves as a mentor through Bears and Cubs, the Bowdoin affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters; and mentors through the Baxter Junior High Mentoring program. Devoted to effecting change throughout the world, she has worked as a member of Global Help to educate the Bowdoin campus about such international issues as fair trade, labor rights and political oppression, and helped organize "Plates for Peace" to raise funds for an Afghani organization committed to advancing the roles of women.

The Donald Harward Faculty Award for Service-Learning Excellence recognizes faculty for accomplishments in service learning, an instructional method in which students enrich their learning through involvement in service that meets a community need. One of the three statewide recipients of this year's award was Bowdoin Associate Professor of Geology Edward Laine of Brunswick.

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Ed Laine.

Laine has become a leader in New England for using service learning as a powerful teaching tool. Laine and Friends of Casco Bay began a long-term partnership to consistently use students to conduct local water quality tests and ecological assessments. His students have also conducted water quality monitoring in the New Meadows River, and have assessed marshes along the river as part of a marsh restoration project. Laine has also worked with such community partners as the Lobster Conservancy, Return to the Tides, and the Town of Brunswick's Natural Resource Planning Department. He has taken his commitment to service learning and civic engagement to the regional level by serving as a co-facilitator of two Problem Based Service Learning institutes and traveling around New England providing faculty consultation. Laine has been a member of the Bowdoin faculty since 1985.

Joy Lee and Rebecca Sargent received the Unsung Heroes Student Award, which recognizes two students from each of the 19 MCC member campuses who show passion for a civic cause and actively engage through volunteering to address the cause.

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Joy Lee.

Lee, from Westford, Mass., began participating in service at Bowdoin during the Community Immersion pre-orientation program her first year, and spent her opening days at the College volunteering in Brunswick, Portland and the surrounding communities. She became involved with Habitat for Humanity, participated in weekly builds, and now chairs the campus affiliate. This year she co-led Bowdoin's Alternative Spring Break service trip to Dorchester, Mass., to work with Boston Project Ministries.

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Rebecca Sargent.

Sargent, an English major with a minor in education from Westwood, Mass., tutors immigrant children through the Portland Housing Authority and tutors and mentors students in Freeport Middle School's alternative education classroom. She has worked with first-generation college-bound students as a teaching assistant in Bowdoin's Upward Bound program, and has also served on the Bowdoin Common Good Grant committee, which awards grants to local non-profits. She recently worked on a computer science service learning project, creating a Web site for Harpswell Community Nursery School.

Environmental Studies Program Manager Eileen Johnson of Bowdoin, Maine, received the Campus Civic Stewardship Award, which recognizes one staff or faculty member from each MCC campus who has shown a significant commitment to promoting and supporting civic engagement.

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Eileen Johnson.

In her capacity as Environmental Studies (ES) program manager, Johnson coordinates ES service learning projects, functions as a field-based lab instructor for eight different classes, teaches and lectures, and works in some capacity with all the program's core courses. The Land Use Planning course examined Bowdoinham, and Johnson worked with town officials and the instructor to design projects, guide student research, and make the link between academics and the practical applications of what students learn in the classroom. Johnson worked to partner the College with the Midcoast Council for Business Development and Planning, and has built an array of other partnerships throughout the community that have provided classroom activities, outside-class projects, and student employment. She also coordinates the Psi Upsilon Summer Internship program, which places students in paying jobs with government agencies, towns and non-profits. Johnson has worked at Bowdoin for four years.

Maine Campus Compact is a statewide coalition of college and university presidents, established to encourage and enhance campus engagement in the community. To learn more about the awards and Maine Campus Compact visit mainecompact.org.

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