Campus News

Hundreds to participate in 10th Annual Common Good Day

Story posted September 18, 2008

Five hundred Bowdoin College students, employees, alumni and friends will take to the greater Brunswick and Portland communities for an afternoon of service on Bowdoin's 10th annual Common Good Day, Saturday, September 20, 2008.

This year's Common Good Day is part of a weeklong series of events inaugurating the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good.

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Volunteers pause while taking part in Common Good Day 2007

The McKeen Center builds upon the work of Bowdoin's Community Service Resource Center, bringing together community-based teaching, learning, research and service in a closely integrated setting that supports the public engagement of students, faculty and staff and links diverse activities in order to compound their meaningfulness.

New McKeen Center Web Site

Check out the new McKeen Center for the Common Good Web site, offering continuously updated content regarding community service opportunities, a schedule of events and other happenings.

Teams of Bowdoin volunteers will spend three hours working on various projects for local non-profit and municipal organizations.

"We are so pleased to be the recipients of the goodwill and support of the Bowdoin community through the Common Good Day program," says Susan Preece, director of the Topsham Public Library.

"For the past three years, bright, energetic and caring student volunteers have brought their muscle power and good humor to the Topsham Public Library — and we have found these volunteers to be exceptional in their tireless devotion to service. We are grateful for all that they do — they are a credit to their families, their school and their generation."

This year's projects include:

  • Gardening at Curtis Memorial Library and Wolfe's Neck Farm
  • Assisting with the Family Arts Festival
  • Spreading awareness about the Mitchell Institute, an organization dedicated to encouraging Maine students to pursue college
  • Visiting with residents at the Topsham Senior Housing facility
  • Trail and coastal cleanup with organizations such as Morris Farm, Georgetown Conservation Commision, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Cathance River Education Alliance

"Common Good Day has for a decade provided needed service to organizations throughout midcoast Maine," says Jamie Nadeau '10, the 2008 Common Good Day Fellow. "Also important is the day's purpose in connecting the Bowdoin and local community on a day dedicated to fostering volunteerism and encouraging a sense of common responsibility."

Jamie Nadeau '10

Nadeau has worked throughout the summer coordinating the event, including everything from consulting with local organizations to designing the traditional Common Good Day T-shirt. "Participants have the opportunity to learn about various community needs, how they are being addressed, and how they can get involved in the future," Nadeau says.

"Organizations and local government agencies get to share their successes and challenges with community members, spreading awareness while simultaneously getting important work done. This annual tradition and its consistent success truly exemplify Bowdoin's deep commitment to the common good. I am excited about this year's special Common Good Day, and am looking forward to celebrating ten years of Bowdoin's commitment to the community!"

Volunteerism occupies an important place in the lives of many Bowdoin students, right alongside attending classes and participating in athletics and other extracurricular activities. In fact, Bowdoin volunteers donate 40,000 hours of service in one year alone.

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Luke Mondello '10

"Every year, Common Good Day restores my faith in our generation's ability to enact positive change," says Luke Mondello '10.

"The fact that students from all over the social and academic spectrum come together to serve their community exemplifies the potential Bowdoin represents. Many leave inspired by the sheer magnitude of the event, considering their role in the common good, and are ready to commit to regular service."

Launched in 1999, Bowdoin's Common Good Day takes its name from one of the College's guiding principles, as stated by Joseph McKeen, Bowdoin's first president, in his 1802 inaugural address: "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."

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