Advancing the Common Good
through Community Service at Bowdoin College

Lindsey Noelle Parsons '06

Lindsey Noelle Parsons

Lindsey Noelle Parsons '06

Major: Sociology, Psychology
Hometown: Hampden, Maine

Service Activities:

  • Alternative Spring Break Trip: Washington, DC, Spring '03
  • Alternative Spring Break Leader: HIV/AIDS in Washington, DC
  • Summer Intern at Riverside Community Care in Communal Living for Adults with Severe Mental Disabilities
  • Bowdoin Mentor at Brunswick Jr. High: '02-'04
  • Tedford Shelter Volunteer: '05
  • Cultivated/Ran After-School Program at Mt. Ararat Middle School: '03
  • Ronald McDonald House: Making Dinner '02
  • Volunteers of America/Bowdoin Intern: '05

How did you first get involved with Community Service at Bowdoin?
My first volunteer experience at Bowdoin was in the fall of my first year. I took a trip to the Ronald McDonald house in Portland with a group of students where we cooked and ate dinner with the residents. I had done a lot of service in high school, and knew it was something that I wanted to continue at Bowdoin. My first experience was fabulous; the students involved were all energetic, enthusiastic, passionate, and genuine. It was great being with peers who shared my interest in helping others and took the initiative to make that interest a priority in their lives. Service has always been a niche that has made me feel at home at Bowdoin.

What have you gained from your service experiences and working in the community?
I think that the cliché that says you get more out of volunteering than you give is true. I think that the people that normally get involved in community service are typically a very grounded, caring group of wonderful individuals. I have always enjoyed my time with my fellow volunteers. Even more than that, the people I have "served" and with whom I have interacted in my four years here have taught me more about life, priorities, and remembering to appreciate how lucky we are at Bowdoin every single day than I ever could have gathered on my own. I think it is easy in such an academically (and often socially) challenging environment to lose sight of this fact - to enter a state where we don’t see the wonderful gifts that are all around us, and don’t take advantage of the unique individuals that we exist around and among on a daily basis. Overall the people that I have worked with in my years of volunteering here have had a true passion for life, they smile in the face of adversity, and they have shown me the power of a positive attitude and of being able to see the positive in a situation that may at first glance seem overwhelmingly negative.

What does it mean to serve the common good?
I think that serving the Common Good means that in giving of yourself and of your time you are not only having a positive influence on the individuals with whom you are directly connecting, but also fostering the spirit of kindness, caring, and giving. I think this spirit and ideology is intoxicating. It inevitably inspires others around you and makes the environment we all exist within more positive and mindful about what is truly important in life. Serving others makes you a better person, it makes the people you serve feel valued and cared about, and it makes our world a place to engage in exchanges in which we encourage, aid and truly value one another.

Story posted on January 19, 2006

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