Today marks the formal opening of the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, Bowdoin's streamlined operation for perpetuating the "Common Good" beyond campus.

Located in Banister Hall, on the side of the Chapel, the McKeen Center builds upon the groundwork laid by the College's previous community service institution, the Community Service Resource Center (CSRC). The CSRC was formed seven years ago by Lydia Bell '00 in response to increased student interest in organizing initiatives to serve the community.

According to the center's recently launched web site, "The McKeen Center houses all former CSRC programming, including volunteer programs, annual events, leadership development programs, and support for service-learning courses. The McKeen Center strengthens these programs by providing a secure financial endowment. In addition, the new center provides cross-campus connections for community engagement and opens new pathways to community-based research and community-based teaching."

Susie Dorn, the director of the McKeen Center, said that the need for an expanded campus resource became apparent as an increasing amount of faculty became interested in leading community initiatives. She cited Professor of Sociology Craig McEwen, now the Senior Faculty Fellow at the center, and former Dean of Student Affairs Craig Bradley as specific faculty members involved in bringing the vision of the McKeen Center to life.

According to Dorn, McEwen and Bradley thought that the center could increase community effectiveness while simultaneously becoming an important part of the campus.

Dorn explained that funding for the McKeen Center has been provided by "a few key alumni who have supported [existing service-oriented] programs generously over the years, as well as [contributions] to the capital campaign to establish an endowment for the Center."

Dorn said that for students not already active with community service projects through the college, "it's hard to understand how much is happening....[The center's staff is] excited about the [center's] opening, because it will communicate the breadth and depth," of the Center's offerings and "connect students to issues they find compelling."

The McKeen Center has nine student fellows who work with the staff members within the center and serve as leaders on campus, connecting students to the center's various programs.

Shelby Davies '10, who serves as one of two Common Good Grant fellows, said she hopes that "the McKeen Center will broaden the Bowdoin perspective of 'what is considered community service.' I think that [in] creating a center for the 'common good,' Bowdoin will bridge the gap between 'good' done on campus and 'good' done in the community."

Sayre McAuliffe '09, a co-president of the Community Service Council, said she hoped the center would create "a stronger presence [of service] on campus,... [and] that more students will be encouraged to get involved and give back to the community."

After a week of activities marking the dedication of the McKeen Center, including Senator George Mitchell's '54 Common Hour address last Friday and Saturday's Common Good Day activities, there will be additional events on campus today and tomorrow marking the center's opening.

Today, from 3 to 5 p.m., there will be an open house and reception in Morrell Lounge highlighting the exhibition, "Bowdoin and the Common Good," which looks at the ways in which members of the college have carried out Joseph McKeen's vision for serving the common good over the years.

At 7:30 p.m., Adam Weinberg '87, the Executive Vice President for World Learning and Provost for the SIT Graduate Institute, will deliver a keynote address, "Educating for Democracy," in Kanbar Auditorium, Studzinski Recital Hall.

On Saturday, the year-long series "Seeking the Common Good" will kick off with a reception for the exhibit, "Visions of Industrial Spaces: Photographs and Drawings by Cotton Estes '07" at the Fishbowl Gallery in the Visual Arts Center from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (See related article, page 10).

Dorn said that today and tomorrow's festivities were "in part dedicating this space, but more importantly, dedicating a mission."