Story posted September 15, 2009
More than 500 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members descended upon Farley Field House Saturday, September 12, 2009, before fanning out to help in the community as part of the College's 11th annual Common Good Day, while more than 200 alumni took part in Common Good Day events hosted by Alumni Relations in eight cities around the country.
Greeted in Farley Field House by jazz music performed by Hassan Muhammad '09, Peter McLaughlin '10 and Scott Nebel '09, volunteers heard from speakers including Karen Mills, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and wife of President Barry Mills.
Ms. Mills noted that Bowdoin's involvement is unique in that "we have been doing this for 200 years since the call of Joseph McKeen in 1802, when he communicated that, 'Literary institutions are founded for the common good and not the private advantage of those that resort to them for education.'"
Ms. Mills chose to respond to President Obama's request that all members of his administration engage in a National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11 by volunteering in the Brunswick area on Common Good Day alongside Bowdoin students.
Mills joined the group that did extensive trail work and bridge repair with the Cathance River Education Alliance.
Check out the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good Web site, offering continuously updated content regarding community service opportunities, a schedule of events and other happenings.
Common Good Day Fellow Jess Britt '09, coordinator of the event, thanked the crowd, and David Hunter '59 of Issaquah, Wash., who last year traveled on the first alumni service trip to help re-build homes in New Orleans, spoke of the importance of continued community involvement beyond graduation.
Teams of volunteers then spent three hours working on various projects for more than 50 local non-profit and municipal organizations.
"It was a tremendous success," said Sarah Seames, assistant director for community service programs at the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, who worked with students to organize the day.
"Volunteers were cleaning the kitchen at Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, sorting donated items at Preble Street, clearing trails at Bradbury Mountain State Park, walking dogs at the Coastal Humane Society and painting at Merrymeeting Adult Education, to name a few."
The Common Good Day partnerships allowed the Bowdoin community to contribute a total of 1,500 hours of service in one afternoon.
"Common Good Day reflects the McKeen Center's role in helping students discover the ways in which their talents, passions and academic pursuits can be used for the benefit of society," said McKeen Center Director Susie Dorn.
"It's as much an introduction to the community for new students as it is leadership development for the students who play an integral role in making it all happen for their peers."