Former Bowdoin President Joseph McKeen once said that "it ought to be remembered, that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the common good, and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them for education."
This week, students did well by McKeen's legacy, snatching up every spot for Common Good Day 2006.
With more local organizations and service options available than previous years, students are rising to the occasion to help the greater Brunswick area.
Now in its eighth year, Common Good Day is a campus tradition, providing opportunities for students, faculty, and alumni to interact with the community.
"Common Good Day is an event in the beginning of the year that gets people excited for, and involved with, community service," said Z-Z Cowen '08, Common Good Day fellow. "It's a completely positive experience and a great way for the community to get together, build connections, and set the tone for the rest of the year."
This year, Common Good Day will be Saturday, September 16. Most of the projects will run from noon to 4 p.m., with registration between noon and 1 p.m. Students can stop by Smith Union for a catered lunch and a free T-shirt, and to meet one another before their service.
With more than 60 projects planned, more than 400 volunteers from the Bowdoin community are signed up. Projects include painting murals in the newly renovated first-year dorms and the Brunswick Teen Center, working with the Independence Association to help adults with special needs, doing grant research for Family Crisis Services, and helping with coastal cleanup at the Georgetown Conservation Commission and Coastal Studies Center.
Planning began in early July, when Cowen asked local organizations and non-profit agencies if the Bowdoin community would collaborate in service projects. Cowen said people she contacted were excited to be involved and grateful for the outreach from the College.
Since then, Cowen and others on campus have been working to coordinate the projects, advertise the event, spark the community's interest, and facilitate project registration on the internet.
"Our biggest goal was getting enough projects to accommodate everyone this year, yet we've essentially already filled the spots. I'm really happy that there's been so much interest. It's much better than having too few volunteers," said Cowen.
In order to accommodate students still looking for volunteer options, Cowen is now trying to coordinate some additional projects with other organizations.
Cowen said she understands how proactive and involved students and faculty are, and how fundamental service to the community is to the Bowdoin experience.
She added that volunteering for events like Common Good Day is a great way to venture beyond the "Bowdoin Bubble" and be introduced to Maine's communities.
"This year, I am praying for no rain; I'm expecting a huge number of volunteers to come out and do a crazy amount of work in one day," Cowen said. "And then coming back and doing it all over again next year."