Mariya Ilyas '13, Amar Patel '13 and Sustainable Bowdoin Receive Campus Compact Awards

Story posted May 04, 2012


Juniors Mariya Ilyas and Amar Patel, as well as Sustainable Bowdoin, have received awards from Maine Campus Compact, a consortium of 18 higher education institutions dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement and service learning in higher education.

Heart and Soul Award Winner Mariya Ilyas '13
Mariya Ilyas, a math and sociology major from Alexandria, Virginia, is one of six Maine students selected to receive the Student Heart and Soul Award, recognizing exceptional leadership both on campus and within their community.

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(L. to r.) Maine College of Art President and MCC board member Don Tuski, University of Maine-Farmington President and MCC board chair Theo Kalikow, Mariya Ilyas '13, MCC Executive Director Liz McCabe Park.

Since arriving at Bowdoin, Ilyas has been involved in local, national and international communities through service and engagement coordinated both on her own and through the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good.

From teaching English to Somali and Iraqi refugees at the Portland Adult Education Center, to helping low-income Mainers navigate the legal system and tutoring SAT preparation to college-bound Portland students, Ilyas has assumed leadership roles to help others gain as much from the community as she has.

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.


Ilyas recently led her peers on an Alternative Spring Break to Washington, D.C., to look at issues of poverty and homelessness from a policy perspective while engaging in direct service in the nation’s capitol.

Ilyas has also been pivotal in re-establishing the Muslim Students Association at Bowdoin, which organized an interfaith service held on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

A passion for journalism prompted her to return to her native Pakistan to work with the Al-Imtriaz Academy, a high school serving underprivileged students. Funded by a Davis Projects for Peace grant through Bowdoin Career Planning, Ilyas developed and taught a journalism course that included not only course work, but field trips to local news and radio stations.

The other Heart and Soul Award winners are Erik Barth, Bates College; Katelyn Brown, St. Joseph’s College of Maine; Jake Kaplove, Bates College; Casey O’Malley, University of Maine at Farmington; and Dana Roberts, Colby College.

Sustainable Bowdoin Wins President's Leadership Award
Sustainable Bowdoin received MCC's President’s Leadership Award recognizing the efforts of a campus department or group to address community issues that result in widespread impact on the campus and in the community.

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(L. to r.) MCC Executive Director Liz McCabe Park, Sustainable Bowdoin Coordinator Keisha Payson, Director of Facilities Operations & Maintenance Ted Stam (in back), Andrew Cushing '12, McKeen Center Director Susie Dorn.

Since 2001, Sustainable Bowdoin, led by Keisha Payson, has helped guide a collaborative campus effort aimed at decreasing the College’s environmental impact.

Sustainable Bowdoin

Bowdoin’s commitment to sustainability is incorporated into coursework and research in environmental studies, economics and sociology and is infused throughout students’ co-curricular activities.

MCC applauded the College for it commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2020, doubling the campus recycling rate, and incorporating sustainability principles throughout campus, from environmental purchasing and building practices to developing its own organic garden and installing sustainable energy technologies such as solar hot water, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and a co-generation system that produces roughly 10% of the campus electricity use from steam that is used to heat the campus.

Pillars Award Winner Amar Patel '13

Heart and Soul Award nominee Amar Patel ’13, of Edison, N.J., double-majoring in government and legal studies, and economics, received the MCC Pillars award, which recognizes those students who support the civic efforts of others and take leadership roles in addressing and finding solutions to issues that face their communities through philanthropy, innovation, learning, leadership, action, responsibility, and service.

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Amar Patel '13

As a sophomore, Patel joined the Common Good Grant committee to explore philanthropy and provide resources to Maine organizations. At the same time he began volunteering for the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Pine Tree Legal Assistance to explore legal work as a possible career.

In the process, he became connected to members of Portland’s immigrant community. Intrigued by the economic issues that cause poverty and inequality, Patel worked with the Maine Center for Economic Policy as a Community Matters in Maine summer fellow to learn more. An op-ed piece in the Portland Press Herald highlighted a study Patel conducted with the MECEP detailing the benefit of every dollar spent at mom-and-pop businesses in Portland.

The Maine Campus Compact awards were presented April 20 at a ceremony at Bates College in Lewiston.

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