Advancing the Common Good
through Community Service at Bowdoin College

Taneisha Wilson '07

Taneisha Wilson '07

Taneisha Wilson '07

Major: Biology/English
Chemistry minor
Hometown: Milton, MA

Service Activities

  • Common Good Grant Committee: Member 2005-2006; Chair 2006-Present
  • Residential Life: Proctor Fall 2005- 2006; Head Proctor Fall 2006- Present
  • Brigham and Woman’s Hospital: Student Volunteer 2005- Present

How did you first get involved in service at Bowdoin?

The first thing I became involved with at Bowdoin was service; I participated in the Community Immersion Pre-Orientation trip. The point of this trip was to expose interested students to local non-profit organizations. We spent our days working in organic gardens, dusting libraries, mucking through stables, cleaning trails, and various other activities–the only problem with the trip was that it was so short. Interestingly, I chose the Community Immersion trip not only because it was the only Pre-O trip I was interested in, but also because of my mother. She has always encouraged me to “give back.” Because we have been blessed in our life, she believes that it is only right that I share my blessings and abilities with others: my mother is always right.

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

Freshman year at the Bowdoin Activities Fair, I signed up for almost every Community Service organization Bowdoin has to offer. Initially, I went to meetings, but then I became immersed in what was then an overwhelming college course load, and my attendance and participation in community service waned, and then it came to a complete halt my sophomore. Then Katrina happened. I was ashamed and guilty. I was sitting comfortably in my dorm room at my good school and doing nothing for the common good. Along with other Bowdoin Students, I immediately started planning and organizing ways to help in the Katrina Relief effort. Katrina was the rebirth of my service commitment. I realized that I did not have to be in the midst of disaster or in the midst of pain and suffering to "give back." Service has taken on new meaning for me while at Bowdoin. As a member of the Common Good Grant Committee, making the decision to fund programs proposed by small non-profits is as important to me as being a liaison between elderly patients and their physicians in hospitals. Through experiences that are simultaneously variable and similar, I have come to value different kinds of service while at Bowdoin.

What does it mean to serve the common good?

To serve the common good is to participate in acts dedicated to the welfare of others. To serve the common good does not only mean working in a soup kitchen or teaching English to an immigrant; it also means making a small donation to a local organization, or saying a small prayer if that is one’s belief. To serve the common good is to be aware of the needs of the community, as well as being willing to help in alleviating those needs: one has to turn positive thoughts into positive action.

Story posted on May 18, 2007

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