Class of 2015 Begins College Career with Pre-Orientation Trips

Story posted August 22, 2011

Much of the Bowdoin Class of 2015 arrived on campus Tuesday, August 23, 2011, for pre-orientation activities.

Some students choose adventures that take them out into the environment while others select experiences that immerse them in their new community.

The "pre-o" trips run through August 26.

Pre-Orientation Trips
Some 327 students will participate in 36 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.

"One of the fastest and easiest ways to bond with a group of strangers is to be in the outdoors with them," says pre-orientation student organizer Sarah Liu '13.

Pre-O kayak512.jpg

"There's something about being outside together on a trip that brings people close together, and that's an incredibly valuable thing for our incoming first years. Their pre-o experience should help ease their transition into life at Bowdoin and create fond memories and lasting friendships. And there's no better way to begin exploring the beautiful region their new school is in than by foot, boat or bike."

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

"Our pre-o trips give students a chance to connect with different people and different areas in Maine on a very personal level."

"Our pre-o trips give students a chance to connect with different people and different areas in Maine on a very personal level," says student coordinator Erin St. Peter '13.

"Students can then begin their careers at Bowdoin with a deeper understanding of the communities and the state in which they live. Our trips are also a great way for first years to connect with the McKeen Center and begin thinking about different ways to become involved with service while 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 80 percent the size of Bowdoin's first-year class.)

North Haven Pre-O CI 2010trip512.jpg
Mark Ragusa '14 and Joanna Gromadzki '14 on a lobster boat during the 2010 North Haven trip.

The North Haven trip is tailored 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 volunteer in North Haven, other Bowdoin first-years will spend their immersion pre-o in greater Brunswick, Portland and Lewiston.

Each day of the trip students participated 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:

  • ArtVan
  • Bowdoin Organic Garden
  • Coastal Humane Society
  • Fur Cultural Revival/Meg Perry Center
  • Good Shepherd Food Bank
  • Lots to Gardens
  • Maine Building Materials Exchange
  • Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program
  • Morris Farm
  • New American Sustainable Agriculture Project
  • Pejepscot Terrace
  • Preble Street Resource Center
  • The Riverview Foundation
  • Skolfield House
  • Spindleworks
  • Sunnybrook Village

The remaining members of the Bowdoin Class of 2015 will arrive on campus Saturday, August 27, for orientation.

The College's 210th Convocation ceremony, which marks the official opening of the school year, will be held Wednesday, August 31.

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