Advancing the Common Good
through Community Service at Bowdoin College

Dawn Riebeling '07

Dawn Riebeling '07

Dawn Riebeling '07

Major: Government & Legal Studies (International Relations)
Hometown: New Milford, CT

Service activities:

  • Common Good Grant Extension Committee '04-05, '05-06, Leader '06-07
  • Adopt-a-Grandparent '05-06
  • Environmental Studies Service Learning Project Fall '05
  • Common Good Day: The Commons '04, Tedford Shelter '05
  • Kidsí Fair Spring '04
  • Elementary school Halloween parties with Class of 2007, Fall '04
  • Weekly visit with Norm & Mary Seagrave, local elderly couple '05-06
  • Wind ensemble performances at nursing homes Fall '05
  • Cookie-baking with Independence Association Fall '05

How did you first get involved in service at Bowdoin?

After getting engaged in the community mostly through National Honor Society and French Honor Society during high school, I had to look a little harder for opportunities at college. Once I got involved, I found the Community Service Resource Center extremely helpful and just brimming with activities. I helped organize Kidsí Fair and tutored some my freshman year, but joining the Common Good Grant Extension Committee for its pilot year really jump-started my dedication to the common good.

What have you gained from your service experiences and working in the community?

Serving the common good jars me out of the self-oriented college bubble and connects me with fantastic people. I come away from a kidsí Halloween party refreshed and invigorated (if a little weary), any lost faith in humanity having been restored. The Common Good Grant Committee is a fantastic program because I have not only seen the fruits of my efforts but also learned about the grant process and donor relations.

What does it mean to serve the common good?

My concept of service is particularly broad. I do not believe that service must be a selfless sacrifice: we can take actions that benefit everyone, including ourselves. I work for the common good by pursuing an education and applying my skills to a field I am passionate about. Becoming empowered and helping others to do so is the most effective means. My service has primarily played out in teaching and consulting roles, where I can take a leadership role and yet continue to learn from others. I am more engaged in improving policies and helping people make educated choices than one-time charity offerings. I believe each of us has a particular role to play in ensuring equal opportunities for success and happiness.

Story posted on November 29, 2006

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