Advancing the Common Good
through Community Service at Bowdoin College
Jamie Burwood '08
Jamie Burwood '08
Major: Math & Psychology
Minor: Visual Arts
Hometown: Sidney, ME
- Volunteer Counselor at Camp Sunshine (Alternative Fall Break '05, '06)
- Community Immersion Pre-Orientation (Participant '04, Leader '06-'07)
- Success by 6 Literacy Program (Participant '04-Present; Leader '06-Present)
- Circle K (Secretary '04-'05, VP '06, Co-President '07)
- Volunteer Math Tutor at Brunswick Jr. High School ('06)
- Common Good Day ('04-'07)
- Volunteer at Behavioral Health Unit, Midcoast Hospital ('07)
- Community Service Council ('06-Present)
- Falcon Friends Mentoring ('06-Present)
- Student Focus Group Leader for Mitchell Institute "Barriers II" Research Project
How did you first get involved in service at Bowdoin?
Back when I was looking at prospective schools, Bowdoin's commitment to the common good was one of the factors that strongly influenced my decision to come here. I was eager to become involved as soon as possible, and that opportunity came when I got the chance to participate in the Community Immersion Pre-Orientation trip. The trip was an amazing introduction to the Brunswick community and the opportunities for service that exist here. The upperclass students who led the trip were such fantastic resources, and they really got everyone on the trip excited about service opportunities at Bowdoin; the conversations I had with my leaders were extremely helpful in deciding what sorts of projects and service clubs I wanted to become involved in after the trip was over.
What have you gained from your service experience and working in the community?
My experiences here at Bowdoin have allowed me to see just how diverse service opportunities can be. I really believe that there is something out there for everyone, and I have loved getting the chance to explore what different forms service can take - everything from one-on-one mentoring, to helping with everyday maintenance/office work, to helping to organize events. I have been able to meet so many wonderful people through the Community Service Resource Center and through various service endeavors here at Bowdoin - staff, children, Bowdoin students, and community members. I feel like service always ends up being a great prompt for discussion about larger social issues and the role than individual initiative can play, both here at Bowdoin and on a larger scale.
Additionally, I have been able to see firsthand just how much work the service organizations right here in the Brunswick area are doing. There are so many passionate, motivated individuals in this community doing really amazing things. Some of the kindest and most inspirational people that I've met during my time at Bowdoin have been people that I've gotten to know through service work. Over the course of the past few years, I have come to feel connected not just to Bowdoin, but to the town of Brunswick as well, and I feel very fortunate to have gotten the chance to participate in such a diverse range of projects and service initiatives.
What does it mean to serve the common good?
To me, "serving for the common good" means dedicating yourself in some way to enriching the lives of others. I feel that this can include everything from helping out at a soup bank to trying to encourage dialogue here on campus about an important issue to getting an education with the intent of using what you've learned to enact some sort of change. I believe that serving the common good can certainly take the form of direct action and involvement, but I think that it also includes any time that an individual uses his/her strengths, knowledge, energy, and/or ideas to do something that makes a positive difference in the life of someone else.
Story posted on October 10, 2007
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