Bowdoin Students Serve the Environment, Community

Story posted August 02, 2007

Bowdoin students are learning that community service and environmental stewardship are dual paths that often cross. The intersections of these journeys have provided rich learning opportunities for students involved in the Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowship and Psi Upsilon Environmental Fellowship Programs. "Students are learning the challenges facing the organizations in which they're working are common among all organizations," says Susie Dorn, director of the Community Service Resource Center.

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(L. to r.) Buffy Cloutier, Androscoggin Bank; Aisha Woodward '08; and Lisa Plimpton, Mitchell Institute, stand before a summary of Woodword's work

Aisha Woodward '08, a Community Matters Fellow, worked with the Mitchell Institute on a project funded by Androscoggin Bank to look at the barriers facing Maine students when considering post-secondary education. "It's an issue of justice. More students should have the opportunity," says Woodward, a Mainer who almost didn't go to college herself. "I wanted to help others through the process, so it was a natural match."

The Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowship Program, funded by the Morgan Family Foundation, the Community Service Work-Study Program and by the MainStreet Foundation of the Androscoggin Bank, was founded in 2006 and supports student projects with social service agencies.

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Jeana Petillo '09 talks about her project with Volunteers of America

The Psi U Fellowship program has been around since 2000, when proceeds from the sale of the Psi Upsilon house (now Quinby House) to the College were used to endow a fund to support an environmental internship program to provide opportunities for students in the environmental field while giving back to the community.

Brian Marcaurelle, the stewardship manager with the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA), is working with Psi U Fellow Allegra Spalding '08, to create geographic information maps to track growth and membership among MITA member islands. Read about Spalding's work. Brian Marcaurelle, MITA's stewardship manager, says the internship was crafted to benefit the organization and the students. "It exposes them to what it's like to work for a small non-profit — the good and the bad," says Marcaurelle. "Working for the islands, but also for donors. There are fun days working near the water, and less-than-fun days stuffing envelopes."

"The intent is to gain experience and strengthen those community partnerships," says Eileen Johnson, environmental studies program manager. "This is where it all comes together."

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A reception displayed summaries of the Community Matters and Psi U projects

Psi Upsilon Fellows

  • Van Du '08, Town of Topsham
  • Steven Kolberg '09, Natural Resources Council of Maine
  • Jackie Li '08, The Nature Conservancy
  • Jonna McKone '08, Town of Brunswick
  • Allegra Spalding '08, Maine Island Trail Association

Community Matters Fellows

  • Carolyn Boyle '08, Tedford Housing
  • Sara Griffin '09, Five River Arts Alliance
  • Suzanne Heller '09, Independence Association
  • Jeane Petillo '09, Volunteers of America
  • Aisha Woodward '08, The Mitchell Institute
  • Matt Yantakosol '10, Town of Brunswick

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