Although business went on as usual at Bowdoin on Monday, a certain awareness of the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s work in civil rights pervaded campus. This year, the national holiday served as an appropriate prelude for the inauguration of our first African-American president. At Bowdoin and everywhere, Americans recognized how Dr. King's leadership laid the groundwork for an event that many of our parents would have never dreamed possible in their youth.
Though we acknowledged MLK Day with personal reflection, participation in College-sponsored programming was minimal. Few students paused to watch the film that was screened in the Union, and the program held during the evening in the Chapel attracted only a small crowd of students. Because active celebration of such an important holiday was so low, it is time to rethink how we mark MLK Day at Bowdoin.
As we grow more diverse as a College community every year, it becomes both more exciting and important to break down barriers on our campus. We've all experienced little moments at Bowdoin where our community came together spiritedly or unexpectedly—whether it was cheering for the Polar Bears when they faced Colby's hockey team or chanting with hundreds of students on the Quad on the night of Obama's election.
What if we used MLK Day as a celebration of our own community and diversity? It could be the perfect opportunity for a campus-wide "Dinner with Strangers," a second Common Good Day, or a winter carnival. We should make the day reflective, but also fun. MLK Day shouldn't be a holiday that is only acknowledged silently and individually. Instead, let's get together, connect with strangers in our own community, and have a good time. That would be true recognition of Dr. King's spirit.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board, which comprises: Nick Day, Nat Herz, Will Jacob, Mary Helen Miller, and Cati Mitchell.