Hearing a Bowdoin student complain about a lack of time in the day is just as common as finding a tree in a forest. It's shocking, then, that first-year Robby Bitting would want to set aside time each week to do nothing. But in founding Quiet, that's precisely what he's done.

From 10:30 p.m to 11:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Bitting can be found sitting quietly in the Chapel with a handful of other students. The scene is low-key: A row of votive candles runs down the middle of the aisle, and most individuals eschew the pews, sitting on the floor instead. Eyes fixate on the flames, drift elsewhere, or close. Breathing and the opening and closing of the doors are the only audible sounds.

Although as a kid he was "pretty noisy," Bitting discovered the value of being quiet during high school on a trip to the Taizé Community, a non-denominational Christian monastery in the eastern French countryside.

"Periods of silence were a focus there, a time to reflect and take it all in," Bitting said. "Ever since returning home from France, I seek out those moments, because [being silent] relaxes me a lot."

When he arrived at Bowdoin, Bitting knew he wanted to maintain some sort of time reserved for being quiet.

"I was disappointed to find that the Chapel was closed late in the evening," he said. This discovery prompted him to contact Allen Delong, Director of Student Life.

Bitting met with Delong and pitched his concept for Quiet, a time Bowdoin students could take out of their busy schedules to sit in the Chapel and think quietly together.

"The first time I met with Allen," he said, "I could tell that he was interested to hear what I had to say."

But when he finished his simple proposal, Bitting said, "[Delong] sort of smiled and leaned forward as if he were expecting more. He didn't really say anything, just sat there smiling and nodding, and I said, 'Yeah, that's pretty much my whole idea, can you help me start it?"

"I was very intrigued by Robby's idea of providing a quiet, contemplative time for students," Delong said. "Students at Bowdoin are busy?with academics and sports and co- and extra-curricular activities. Even when I see students relaxing, they're often texting, emailing or talking on their phones. Robby's club provides an opportunity for reflection in an unplugged, silent environment."

Delong put Bitting in touch with Roberta Davis, the Campus Scheduler, who was able to secure the Chapel space for Quiet late on Wednesday evenings. Though Quiet has official sponsorship from Student Activities, it is not recognized by BSG.

Bitting has begun the process of establishing Quiet as a BSG-recognized club and has submitted a charter, but he feels some discomfort thinking of it in such terms.

"I can't call it a club with much confidence, because there aren't really members," he said. "I have a hard time calling myself a leader, all I do is put out the candles and turn off the lights."

This lack of structure is exactly what drew first-year Hannah Stokes to attend Quiet.

"I like the informality of it," she said. "There are no group discussions, it's your time, for you."

Stokes, who has always held an interest in meditation, said that she doesn't necessarily meditate while she's at Quiet, but often simply sits and reflects.

"I really love the Chapel, and it's nice to go there and spend time being quiet with a group," she said, "[Knowing that] there are other people there adds another layer to the experience."

Bitting added, "I like how, aside from my friends who I tell to come, I don't know who comes. Everyone comes for his or her own reason, whether that is for 10 minutes, or most of the hour. It's about the individual and whatever he or she wants to make of it."

In the future, Bitting hopes for Quiet to exist as it does currently.

"I don't want it to change very much, because right now, it's as simple as it can be, and it shouldn't be any more complex," he said.

"If the [BSG] charter works out, I'll be able to have a table at the activities fair, and recruit more students, but my goal isn't to gain a ton of 'members.' I think everyone at Bowdoin could benefit from Quiet."

Bitting continued, "There's a handful of people who tell me they're going to come, but can't make time for nothingness. I mean, even fifteen minutes can make a really big difference in centering yourself and thinking things over."

"We say we don't have time to think about ourselves and our relationships with other people, and I feel that that should be more of a priority," he added.