Today, students, faculty and community members will come together as part of the Campus-Community Collaborations Symposium to present the results of their semester of hard work in the local community.

The students and faculty, representatives of the 11 community-based courses offered at Bowdoin this fall, have worked in a diverse range of locales, ranging from the Maine Office of Minority Affairs to the Brunswick and Topsham Land Trusts. Today's symposium will showcase their work to the Bowdoin community.

Community-based courses are different from other courses taught at Bowdoin because, in addition to traditional course requirements, students are required to do between eight and 10 hours of work in the community over the course the semester.

This work can range from actual volunteer work to putting together social science studies. Whatever type of work the students do, however, their range of options is designed to have them interact with Maine residents outside of the "Bowdoin bubble."

"I think these classes are crucial to introducing students to the civic life of the larger community," said Associate Professor of Government Michael Franz, who teaches Introduction to Political Behavior, a one community-based course in the Government department.

In Franz's class, students work in places ranging from the Bowdoin Children's Center to the meetings of the Brunswick Town Council.

"In my class, most students used their off-campus activity to see how the life of a community can improve or suffer, depending on how involved its residents are. This has a direct relationship to the health of our democratic system," Franz said.

Students felt that the premise of community-based courses has helped their education at Bowdoin.

"The best type of learning is experiential," said Caryn Oppenheim '11, who is currently enrolled in Anthropological Methods, a community-based anthropology class. "When you can take what you learn in class and make it applicable to life-that is when it becomes the most real."

Lauren Xenakis '11, also a student in Anthropological Methods, used her mandatory community service hours as an opportunity to view a culture by when she was soon awed. Xenakis studied a group of volunteers associated with the Chans Hospice Care Project, which organizes volunteers to visit terminally ill patients and alleviate some of the burdens that come with dying by talking to them, comforting them and helping them with household chores.

Over the course of the semester, Xenakis interviewed the volunteers and learned about their experiences with the terminally ill as well as the volunteers' personal histories.

"Their experiences were absolutely awe-inspiring," Xenakis said. "The stories they told were about their own experiences with loved ones dying and how those experiences pushed them into hospice volunteering. And their stories about volunteering and the patients they worked with were so poignant. My eyes welled up a few times when I was interviewing these volunteers when they talked about the wonderful and sweet things their patients had done."

Presentations at today's symposium will be made by a selection of students and can be seen in the Maine Lounge in Moulton Union between 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.