This year, the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC) and the McKeen Center for the Common Good worked together to create a  series of hybrid pre-orientation trips that combined outdoor adventures and a service aspect. 

These Service and Adventure Orientation (SAO) trips provided a third option for incoming first years, one that was welcomed by both trip leaders and new students.

“I absolutely wanted to lead one of these trips because it was kind of like a new guinea pig idea,” said Lloyd Anderson ’16, one of the leaders of an SAO Trip to Carrabassett Valley. 

For both Anderson and his co-leader Bailey Moritz ’16, however, it was more than just the novelty that drew them to lead these trips.

“I requested to do a hybrid trip because I felt like the idea to combine adventure and service was very Bowdoin and represented Bowdoin really well,” said Moritz. “In the Offer of the College, it talks about how important place is, as well as giving back to the community and contributing to that place that you’re enjoying.” 

The types of service on the SAO trips included working on trails, digging and implementing an outhouse pit—which Anderson christened—clearing beaches and removing trash. 

“The trail maintenance was actually the best part,” said Moritz. “I had never thought about the people who actually go to maintain the trails. The guy who helped us maintained a 60-mile part of the the Appalachian Trail. It really gave me an appreciation for the people who do this work.” 

For Erik Liederbach ’19, the service aspect of his trip helped his group bond. 

“We were hiking through the rain carrying a giant plank of wood to cover boggy areas, and I was like, ‘wow, this is the epitome of team bonding,’” he said. 

Anderson also believes the service activities of the SAO trips helped bring their groups together in a more meaningful way.

“It’s a special kind of bonding that I don’t think would have happened if they hadn’t had this work to do,” Anderson said.

According to BOC Assistant Director Adam Berliner ’13, BOC trips had featured a larger service component in years past. Berliner said that future student opinion would dictate whether service once again becomes a substantial part of the BOC’s repertoire. 

“In the end, because the BOC is a student club, whatever the students are interested in becomes the focus of what we do,” said Berliner.