Campus News

More Than 500 to Participate in Common Good Day Sept. 12

Story posted September 10, 2009

More than 500 Bowdoin College students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends will take to the greater Brunswick and Portland communities for Bowdoin's 11th annual Common Good Day Saturday, September 12, 2009.

Launched in 1999, this event was inspired by the words of Bowdoin's first president, Joseph McKeen, 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."

Common Good Day
Student volunteers help each other at Care-Net of Mid-Coast Maine in 2008.

"Common Good Day is the most literal way in which Bowdoin students remember McKeen's call to action," says 2009 Common Good Day Fellow Jess Britt '10, who worked throughout the summer coordinating the event, which included everything from consulting with local organizations to designing the traditional Common Good Day T-Shirt.

On Common Good Day 2009, teams of Bowdoin volunteers will spend three hours working on various projects for more than 60 local non-profit and municipal organizations.

"Tedford Housing has many meaningful relationships with Bowdoin College, including service learning classes, Common Good grants, summer interns, and service projects conducted by students, faculty and staff. Currently a Bowdoin professor and librarian serve on our board of directors," says Don Kniseley, executive director of Tedford Housing in Brunswick.

"Common Good Day is especially important. We always have projects that we simply don't have the resources to get to, that the students tackle. I am always impressed at how eager the Common Good Day students are and how much they accomplish in a few hours. It is also fun to see the new Common Good Day T-shirt design!"

This year's projects include:

  • Trail work at Wolfe's Neck and Bradbury State Parks
  • Assisting with Community Day for Emergency Preparedness in Brunswick
  • Visiting with seniors at Sunnybrook Village and Thorton Hall Assisted Living
  • Creating a Public Service Announcement for Portland's Community Television Network

"The work that is accomplished on Common Good Day will be a huge help to the more than 60 organizations hosting volunteers, but we hope it will also have a more lasting impact," says Britt.

The event takes place early in the year, which makes it a great way for students to be introduced to their new community and be inspired to make a lasting commitment to service during their time at Bowdoin."

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 students donate more than 40,000 hours of community service each year.

"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."

Members of the community are also invited to participate in the day. This year, Common Good Day features a new children's activity. Brooks Winner '10 has helped coordinate an "Eco-Quest" activity so that children can learn more about the Town Commons in Brunswick.

For more information about how to get involved in Common Good Day 2009, contact Jess Britt at or (207) 798-4191.

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