This year, kNOw Poverty Week, which begins Sunday, will focus specifically on public health and poverty in Maine.

Though last year the week centered on issues of international poverty, the events this year are geared toward a local level, preparing students to initiate change in Maine.

Americorps*VISTA for the Community Service Resource Center Nicole Hart '06, said that she is excited about many of the events, particularly the "Perspectives" photo exhibit. The exhibit features photos from Alternative Spring Break trips, which had more than 80 student participants.

Hart also anticipates that Tuesday's performance of "Hear Our Stories, Know Our Names," in Kresge Auditorium will be an intriguing event.

Sponsored by the Maine Council of Churches, "Hear Our Stories, Know Our Names" is a dramatic performance by activists as well as people who are or have been homeless.

Actors will share with the audience how they became homeless, what it was like, and how they were treated. There will also be a game show component of the performance that will teach about the "cycle of poverty."

"It's been performed around the state," said Hart, "and it's always really, really well received."

Another main event of the week is the Habitat for Humanity Camp-Out. Each of the past two years, about 20 people have spent the night in boxes to simulate a night of homelessness. This year's event will take place on Thursday, April 12.

Participants will attend a dinner with a representative from Tedford Housing before spending the night on the Quad in their makeshift shelters. The students will paint statistics about homelessness on the boxes to draw more attention to the simulation.

"They'll make it a visual representation, so people who aren't participating will notice it," said Hart.

In addition to kNOw Poverty Week, the College has sought to address issues of poverty by discussing the creation of a poverty studies center.

Despite the lack of a physical building, Professor of Studio Art Tom Cornell, who has been involved in discussions surrounding the center's creation, said that "a center is a nice way of talking about it."

"One of the main reasons for [the center] was to talk about something substantive we can do...about the notion of the common good," he said.

"Let's try to get something concrete that we can be committed to," he added.

Cornell said that the issue of poverty will only worsen with time, because global warming will hit those in poor communities the hardest.

He added that Bowdoin should continue to work on the issue of poverty, acknowledging the incredible inequality that could arise from such environmental conditions.

"Environmental one of the fundamental moral responsibilities of the new global culture," said Cornell.

With support and enthusiasm from students and faculty, Cornell suggested that the fight against poverty could extend well beyond kNOw Poverty Week to become a fundamental part of Bowdoin's pledge to the common good.

"Part of the culture we would try and develop is a kind of ethos of equality, and ethos of fairness, an ethos of trying to make things less unequal," said Cornell. "Have some fun and speak out with a little courage."