Location: Bowdoin / Residential Life / Profiles

Residential Life


Mel Gaynes

Melanie Gaynes

Leadership Position: Head Proctor of Moore Hall
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Major: Sociology & Chemistry

I was interested in ResLife because I wanted to help Bowdoin students form communities outside of class, sports, and other extracurriculars. There are few other times in our lives where we will get to live with hundreds of people our own age and I think its so important for us to take advantage of that and build connections with a wide variety of people.

Being on ResLife has taught me the importance of having an open mind. When I meet my residents I like to start fresh and build a genuine relationship instead of relying on first impressions or preconceived notions. Having an open mind allows me to be more adaptable and quick-thinking, two skills which have really helped me be successful not only on ResLife, but in my classes and internships as well.

One of my favorite programs was inviting my affiliate first-year floor over to my on-campus apartment for a local foods dinner. I bought my food from the local farmers market and made pesto pasta and salad. It was a great way for us to hang out outside of more traditional Bowdoin venues like the dining halls.  The programming event I am most proud of was the holiday party I organized with my residents in Macmillan House for kids in a mentoring group on campus. We put on an event with arts and crafts, a performance from an a cappella group, and food from restaurants in town. It was really amazing to see the Bowdoin community coming together to make the party a success.

Tori Guen

Tori Guen '13

Leadership Position: Head Proctor of Coleman Hall
Hometown: East Brunswick, New Jersey
Major Art History and Visual Arts

One my favorite memories from being on the Reslife staff occurred during our annual training in August, during the last week of summer as we were gearing up for the school year. During this week we learned a lot about campus resources, how to deal with specific crisis situations, and much more. A highlight of the week, however, was when we got a chance to venture off-campus for a two day retreat that allowed us to talk more in depth about ourselves, learn about each other, and do some fun (and somewhat extreme) team building activities. We work hard all year to foster a sense of community and inclusion at Bowdoin (whether it's on our floors, in our dorms, or in other groups that we are involved in); however, after being on staff for three years, I have learned to love not only those moments of cohesiveness and community that we help to create back at the college, but also the moments of connection and togetherness that form among the staff members.

Sarah Nelson

Sarah Nelson '14

Leadership Position: Ladd House Resident (College House)

Hometown: Darien, CT, Major: Biochemistry and French

I decided to apply to live in a College House my sophomore year because the College House system played a large role in my social experience during my first year at Bowdoin.  As a resident of Ladd House this year, I had the good fortune of living with an amazing group of people with whom I got to program events that we thought would be enjoyed by the rest of campus. I think that the most valuable thing that living in a College House taught me was how much time and effort is required to plan a successful event.  We were very lucky to have such strong bonds in Ladd House that the high level of teamwork necessary to program successfully was achieved.

Sam Burnim

Sam Burnim '14

Leadership Position: Head RA in Stowe Inn Apartments

Hometown: Haverville, MA, Major: Biochemistry, Italian minor

Being someone who tends to over think things, and second guess my own decisions, I've learned to place an enormous amount of trust in what I've learned through my experiences as a staff member. But more importantly, I've learned how ResLife is a team, and how important it is to work with everyone to make the best decisions. I went into the job with the idea that a proctor needed to be an independent, self-sustaining trailblazer. But I've found that it's a lot more than that: It's about working with staff members, proctees, and affiliates to really make the best decisions possible. You have to be open to learning an enormous amount from both the mistakes you make (there's a lot of them!) and from others. If something happens in the dorm, approaching it on your own might work out just fine, but working with the other proctors and RA's in your building to handle it is often times so much better. It's one of the things I'm most grateful for with the staff-you learn an enormous amount about how to handle crises, organize programs, set the tone for a dorm, and so many other things just by virtue of working with them.

Duncan Taylor

Duncan Taylor '14

Leadership Position: Baxter House Vice President (College House)

Hometown: Washington, DC, Major: Economics, Spanish

The desire to be a positive force on campus inspired me to run for an officer position. I enjoy planning and organizing events, as well as ensuring that things run smoothly, and I could not have been happier with my experience as vice president of Baxter this year. Perhaps the programming event that I am most proud of occurred this winter when we hosted an informal talk with Jared Porter, the Director of Professional Scouting for the Red Sox and an '03 Bowdoin alum. With the tremendous help of Dean Jarrett Young, Chris Rossi and the rest of the Residential Life staff, and the Bowdoin Outing Club, who allowed us to use the Schwartz center, we were able to provide the campus with a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes operations of a professional baseball team. Mr. Porter responded honestly and openly to question after question for over an hour, and the event was a huge success. This incredibly informative and fascinating experience would not have been possible without the College House system.  

Katie Ashby

Katie Ashby '13

 Leadership Position: Head Proctor of Osher Hall (Residential Life)

Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado, Major: Anthropology, Chemistry minor

Following my own transition into college, I knew that I wanted to help create that sort of positive experience for other incoming students.  During my time on staff I have learned about the importance of simply being there for others - it's ok to not always know the answers or have the magic phrase ready.  Letting residents know that I am available for them and being open to spontaneous conversations have led to some of the most rewarding experiences I have had on ResLife.  

Micah Ludwig '13

Micah Ludwig

Leadership Position: Howell House President
Hometown: Waldoboro, ME 
Major: Biochemistry, Chemistry Minor

A programming event that I am particularly proud about was the Red Carpet party we hosted in October. It was a huge success with about 400 people in attendance. I think one of the coolest aspects of the party was that we were able to rent limos for the night to transport to and from the party. In planning the event we said we need to have some sort of "thrill" to get people to come. However, while the limos were awesome, the best part of the party was being able to see how much fun everyone was having, and knowing that your house made it happen.