On Wednesday, President Clayton Rose attended the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) meeting to solicit student opinions on future use of the College’s funding.
This funding comes primarily from donors and investments. According to Rose, Bowdoin has the second highest alumni donation participation rate in the nation. During every president’s tenure, the College customarily engages in multi-year fundraising campaigns to raise money for future projects.
“No matter how much we raise, in whatever campaign, we will have to make choices about what we’re going to do because our eyes will be bigger than our stomach, which is a great problem because our ambitions are big,” said Rose at the meeting.
BSG assembly members broke into small groups to talk about their priorities. After the discussion, students presented their ideas to Rose.
Some members suggested that Bowdoin should dedicate its funds to developing its academic offerings. Amber Rock ’19, Inter-House Council liaison to BSG, urged the College to address the growing needs of the computer science department, which has repeatedly experienced overcrowding in its classes.
“For a lot of us, we realized that the College isn’t matching the demand for certain departments. I’m a computer science minor and couldn’t get into a class that I wanted to take this semester. Students who want introductory classes can’t even get into them because there is so much demand,” she said.
Some members thought that fundraising efforts should be directed toward bolstering financial aid instead.
“Socioeconomic status separates people into two communities and culture groups. On campus there is a divide, maybe circumstantial, between students who have financial aid [and students who do not]. Increasing financial aid, whether it be all-in or more dispersed, helps … Bowdoin to be a place where everyone is [part of one community],” said BSG Vice President for Student Affairs Salim Salim ’19.
BSG Director of Curriculum Ural Mishra ’20 agreed, saying that certain aspects of financial aid policies are unrealistic.
“If you look at a financial aid package, there is a designated number of hours for work study. We looked at the work study, and it [assumed] that a student would work eight to 10 hours a week and some students cannot do that easily,” he said.
Other suggestions included revamping David Saul Smith Union and increasing funding for Counseling Services, which would support programs like meditation and increased sun lamp distribution for students suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Salim said, “From what I know, sun lamps can be helpful but are only given to students for two weeks, and I think that could be more helpful.”
Rose plans to send out a survey in the following weeks to gather more student opinions on how Bowdoin should allocate its funds in the future.