In an interview with the Orient on Wednesday, DeRay Mckesson '07 summed up Bowdoin in just nine words. ?This place is yours. This place exists for you,? he said. After four years as a prominent student on campus, Mckesson was reflecting on the role that students can play in leading and owning this place. One virtue of a small, wealthy liberal arts college such as Bowdoin is that there is enough room for every student to chart his own path and there are the resources to help him reach his destination. When this year?s graduating seniors look back at their years at Bowdoin, they will remember those moments when they learned about greatness from some of this country?s greatest teachers, those moments where great friendships felt just perfect, those moments when they championed a great cause and furthered the common good at home or away.
The College?s No. 1 goal today and in the future should be to make sure that these moments saturate Bowdoin life. Students have shown initiative on a number of important issues in recent years?on topics such as the College?s investment policies, the selection process for the Judicial Board, and the credit-fail policy. In many cases, students haven?t been completely victorious, with officials meeting them halfway. That give-and-take is important, and officials and faculty shouldn?t shy away from it. When browsing the Orient?s archives, it is hard not to notice how so many issues are recurring at an institution like this. This, however, shouldn?t deter possibilities for student self-governance. For an education here should not be limited to academic experiences?an education here should include in its fabric the belief that students should shape their own world in a way that they find best as they live it.
When this year?s graduating seniors return to campus for a reunion in a decade or two, we hope that this college will still be a place that enables opportunity. Opportunity offered by need-based financial aid policies that allow Bowdoin to be accessible for those who can excel here. Opportunity offered by close relationships built on the knowledge and wisdom of the faculty. Opportunity offered by resources provided to students who are willing to show commitment for a cause or craft.
This year?s prospectus begins with a notice informing future students that not every day at Bowdoin is perfect. That?s true. What counts is that Bowdoin does what it can to make this self-contained community a place where democratic values are cherished and opportunities exist to make every day perfect. As students, it?s up to us to seize those opportunities and carry them as far as we possibly can.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient?s editorial board, which comprises Bobby Guerette, Beth Kowitt, Anna Karass, Steve Kolowich, and Anne Riley.