Advancing the Common Good
through Community Service at Bowdoin College

Emma Sears '06

Emma Sears '06

Major: Anthropology and Environmental Studies
Hometown: Lenox, MA

Service Activities:

  • Special Friends '02-present
  • Community Service Council, Co-President '05-'06
  • Bowdoin Americorps Program '05-'06
  • Alternative Spring Break Leader: Holla Guatemala, Spring '06
  • Organic Garden
  • Brunswick Middle School Mentor, '03-'04
  • Reef Check Volunteer, Fiji, Summer '05
  • Common Good Committee
  • Environmental Studies Service Learning Projects
  • Salt Marsh Restoration Spring '05
  • Brunswick Aquifer Protection Zone Fall '05
  • Common Good Day '02, '03, '05
  • I also frequently do trail maintenance/beach clean-ups with a variety of organizations throughout the state of Maine

How did you first get involved in service at Bowdoin?
During high school, I was a teacher's assistant in the Special Needs room. I knew upon arriving at Bowdoin that I wanted to continue volunteering and spending time with people who have both physical and mental disabilities. One of my close friends suggested joining Special Friends, a group of students that spends time with mentally disabled adults from the surrounding community. Also, the Common Good Day held the fall of my First-Year was a great opportunity to see how students could make a difference in Brunswick. It's been sweet love ever since.

What have you gained from your service experiences and working in the community?
College is somewhat of a selfish experience; almost every significant choice you make affects you, your progress, and your well-being. Participating in public service has not only been humbling, but it has also served as a constant reality check. I have become more aware of the issues in the community and have met wonderful people in the process. More importantly, working in the community has confirmed what people often say and rarely believe: that every ounce of effort makes a difference.

What does it mean to serve the common good?
To serve the common good means to put others in front of yourself and to foster a community that operates under this mission.

Story posted on April 05, 2006

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