Story posted August 27, 2008
The Bowdoin Class of 2012 arrived on campus Tuesday, August 26, 2008, for Pre-Orientation activities. Seventy percent of the incoming first-year class began their Bowdoin careers with a variety of pre-orientation — or "pre-o" — trips through August 30. Some students chose adventures that took them out into the environment while others selected experiences that immersed them in their new community.
Some 320 students participated in 37 trips that focused on the Maine outdoors. Put together under the direction of the Bowdoin Outing Club, the trips served to build community and leadership among the incoming class, as well as to introduce students to the beauty, geography and natural resources of Maine.
"Pre-O's are a great way for first years to start off their first semester at Bowdoin," says Sarah Lundrun '09, student coordinator for the outdoor trips. "They bond with a small group of students, as well as get to know upperclass Outing Club leaders, all while experiencing the outdoors of Maine. Sending students out into the wilderness for three nights is a great way for the students to get to know each other, as they are challenged, and put out of their element. Students always have a lot of fun on Pre-O trips, and return to Bowdoin with positive experiences and memories, as well as some new friends."
The excursions included mountain biking in Acadia National Park, backpacking the Saddleback and Mahoosic sections of the Appalachian Trail, canoeing the Penobscot River in the shadow of Mt. Katahdin and sea kayaking among the islands of Casco Bay. Students also chose trips that took them to the Bowdoin Cabin in Monson or to the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada.
Community Immersion Pre-Orientation
Thirty first-year students explored their new environment by way of four "Community Immersion" Pre-O trips coordinated by the McKeen Center for the Common Good. The three-and-a-half day community immersion experience familiarized new students with greater Brunswick, Portland, Lewiston and nearby island communities, and served to foster a commitment to volunteerism and community service.
"The Community Immersion Pre-Orientation trips are great because they give students a chance to learn about the Brunswick and surrounding communities from the moment they arrive on campus," says student coordinator Suzanne Heller '09.
"By participating in a Community Immersion Pre-O, students are able to begin the transformation from 'just a Bowdoin student' to an actively involved community member. They also begin their first year with a group of new friends, the support of their upperclassmen leaders, and a connection to the McKeen Center for the Common Good."
One group of students volunteered in the tiny island community of North Haven, about 12 miles offshore of Rockland in Penobscot Bay. (At 380, the year-round population of North Haven is about 80 percent the size of Bowdoin's first-year class.)
The North Haven trip is tailored to introduce Bowdoin students to island culture and a lifestyle vastly different from their own. Students boarded lobster boats for some hands-on experience with an activity central to the community's livelihood. Other activities included meeting with island teenagers and senior citizens, trail work, and church and community center maintenance.
While their classmates volunteered in North Haven, 22 other Bowdoin first-years spent their immersion pre-o in greater Brunswick, Portland and Lewiston.
Each day of the trip students participated in service activities loosely based around themes of outdoor/eco-service, urban issues of hunger, homelessness and affordable housing, and service with local organizations in Brunswick.
Community Immersion locations included:
The remaining members of the Bowdoin Class of 2012 arrived on campus Saturday, August 30, for orientation.
The College's 207th Convocation ceremony, which marks the official opening of the school year, will be held Wednesday, September 3.