Celebrating Campus-Community Partnerships May 13

Story posted May 12, 2011

In partnership with non-profit organizations, Bowdoin students working through the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good provide more than 52,000 hours of service each year in the local community. Such involvement not only enhances their learning, but connects them to the issues important to the community.

A symposium highlighting that involvement will be held 3–4:30 p.m., Friday, May 13, 2011, in the Morrell Room of Brunswick's Curtis Memorial Library.

Community-based Courses and Research

In partnership with local agencies, students in community-based courses apply the knowledge and analytical skills they learn in the classroom to address environmental, social and cultural issues in the community. As students expand their understanding of a subject or issue, they also work to foster mutually beneficial ties between the campus and community by sharing their research results with and learning from local organizations.

Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good
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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.


Computer Science 280: Projects in Computer Science (E. Chown)
Two students in this course developed software that assists the Ronald McDonald House in scheduling its 21 rooms for guests whose children are having surgery in Portland hospitals.  The House currently has no software to support room scheduling, and yet the House is nearly fully booked every night.
Community partner: Ronald McDonald House, Portland, ME

Economics 211: Poverty and Redistribution (J. Fitzgerald)
Course liaison: Randy DeFeo,’11
Working in partnership with the Volunteers of America Northern New England’s CA$H Coalition, students helped with client intake and preparation of federal and state income tax returns for low- and moderate-income families to help them take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Students also collaborated with Community Financial Literacy in Portland to help assess the program and to think about expansion issues.
Community partners: Volunteers of America Northern New England, Community Financial Literacy

Education 230/Latin American Studies 230: Latinos/Latinas in the United States (M. Cruz)
Students created individual, group projects, and practitioner profiles that contribute to Latino/Latina community development in the areas of education, economic development, media arts, domestic violence prevention, public health, and leadership.
Community Partners: Tengo Voz/I Have a Voice, Mid Coast Hospital.

Environmental Studies 401: Advanced Independent Study (P. Camill)
Krista Bahm ’11 and Maryellen Hearn ’11 did a pilot study on coastal infrastructure and performed a vulnerability assessment for the towns of Brunswick and Harpswell focusing on implementation of Maine's Climate
Adaptation Plan.
Community partners: Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection and the Maine Coastal Program

Visual Arts 265: Public Art (M. Wethli)
Working with the Building Committee and the Percent for Art Committee for the newly built Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School, and after meeting with second grade students at Longfellow Elementary School, each Public Art student selected a site in the new school and developed a proposal for a work of public art to be added there. Once the Building Committee selects one, it will be added to the school at a future date.
Community partners: Brunswick Public Art Committee, Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School Building Committee

Student leadership Programs

Student leadership is an essential component of service at Bowdoin. Staff of the McKeen Center work closely with student leaders to make the following programs happen.

Alternative Spring Break
Students spend a week in various communities throughout the U.S. and internationally to address poverty and environmental issues.

America Reads and Counts
Students earn their Federal Work Study wages as tutors in local classrooms.

Bowdoin Volunteer Corps
Over 25 student-run service organizations work closely with a particular local agency, addressing community needs on a regular basis.  The following are a sampling of these groups and are represented here at the symposium.

Book Buddies
Volunteers work one-on-one as tutors and mentors with ESL students at Coffin Elementary School.

Bridge to Kids Mentoring
Bowdoin students mentor local youth one-on-one weekly at six different schools in S.A.D. 75.

College Students for College
Bowdoin students work to increase the college aspirations of high school students across the state of Maine through a variety of programs.

Food Forward
Volunteers deliver unused food from Dining Services to Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program daily and host gourmet dinners to raise money for non-profit organizations.

Tedford Housing Volunteers
Students serve the evening meal at the Tedford Shelter seven days
a week.

Common Good Grant
Students on this committee learn about philanthropy and fundraising as they award grants to local nonprofits.

International Connections in Maine
New in 2010-2011, this program works to provide opportunities for Bowdoin students to connect with Maine’s growing refugee and immigrant communities through courses, weekend service trips, and Alternative Winter Break.

Weekend Service Trips
Students devote a weekend to working with Maine nonprofits and community organizations including Camp Sunshine, Morris Farm, the Maine Island Trail Association, the Carpenter’s Boat Shop and Mano en Mano.

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