Campus News

Class of 2014 Begins College Career with Pre-Orientation Trips

Story posted August 23, 2010

The Bowdoin Class of 2014 arrives on campus Tuesday, August 24, 2010, for pre-orientation activities. Approximately three-quarters of the students from the incoming first-year class will begin their Bowdoin careers with a variety of pre-orientation — or "pre-o" — trips through August 28. Some students choose adventures that take them out into the environment while others select experiences that immerse them in their new community.

Pre-Orientation Trips

Some 345 students will participated in 38 trips that focus on the Maine outdoors. Put together under the direction of the Bowdoin Outing Club, the trips serve to build community and leadership among the incoming class, as well as to introduce students to the beauty, geography and natural resources of Maine.

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Students take a break during a pre-o canoe trip.

"Pre-O trips are a great way for incoming first-years to meet each other, upperclassmen leaders and the great state of Maine," says Emma Nathaniel '12, student coordinator for the trips.

"The chance to get to know a few fellow students off campus before the rigors of the academic year begin is invaluable, and it helps students to walk into Orientation and the first weeks of school with a support system on campus. Students also get the opportunity to push and challenge themselves in new ways, whether it is through sea kayaking, backpacking, or even practicing yoga and tai chi. Ultimately, the Pre-O program creates positive experiences and memories that provide a fun and exciting introduction to Bowdoin."

The excursions include backpacking the Saddleback and Mahoosuc sections of the Appalachian Trail, canoeing the Penobscot River in the shadow of Mt. Katahdin and sea kayaking among the islands of Casco Bay. Students also may choose trips that take them to the Bowdoin Cabin in Monson or to the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada. Read a description of all the trips.

Community Immersion Pre-Orientation

Thirty-one first-year students will explore their new environment by way of four "Community Immersion" Pre-O trips coordinated by the McKeen Center for the Common Good. The three-and-a-half day community immersion experience familiarizes new students with greater Brunswick, Portland, Lewiston and nearby island communities, and serves to help foster a commitment to volunteerism and community service.

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Students working with Cultivating Communities in their Portland garden.

"The trips are a great way to start the college experience," says Benny Chen '11, Community Immersion Pre-Orientation Fellow.

"Before classes start, students are introduced to the communities surrounding Bowdoin and the opportunities for involvement that are offered. The students are also introduced to each other, as well as upperclassmen, in a low stress environment that helps to foster strong friendships. My hope is that each student will leave the trip with the knowledge and resources to step out of the Bowdoin Bubble, get involved in the community and enrich their time at Bowdoin."

One group of students will volunteer in the tiny island community of North Haven, about 12 miles off the coast of Rockland in Penobscot Bay. (At 380, the year-round population of North Haven is about three-quarters the size of Bowdoin's first-year class.)

The North Haven trip is designed to introduce Bowdoin students to island culture and a lifestyle vastly different from their own. Students board lobster boats for some hands-on experience with an activity central to the community's livelihood. Other activities include meeting with island teenagers and senior citizens, trail work, and church and community center maintenance.

While their classmates volunteered in North Haven, other Bowdoin first-years spent their immersion pre-o in greater Brunswick, Portland and Lewiston.

Each day of the trip students participate in service activities loosely based around themes of outdoor/eco-service, urban issues of hunger, homelessness and affordable housing, and service with local organizations in Brunswick.

Community Immersion locations include:

  • Bowdoin Organic Garden
  • Bowdoin Yellow Bike Club
  • Good Shepherd Food Bank
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Lots to Garden
  • Maine Building Materials Exchange
  • Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program
  • Morris Farm
  • New American Sustainable Agriculture Project
  • Pejepscot Terrace
  • Portland Housing Authority
  • Preble Street
  • Spindleworks
  • Stevens Home
  • Sunnybrook Village

The remaining members of the Bowdoin Class of 2014 are to arrive on campus Saturday, August 28, for orientation.

The College's 209th Convocation ceremony, which marks the official opening of the school year, will be held Wednesday, September 1.

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