Community service and civic participation are deeply ingrained in the Bowdoin ethos. In a testament to these principles, Samantha Collins '11, Sarah Pritzker '11 and Associate Professor of Education Charles Dorn were recently honored by the Maine Campus Compact (MCC) for their ongoing commitment to these pillars of the College.
The MCC is a coalition of 18 Maine colleges and universities "whose purpose is to catalyze and lead a movement to reinvigorate the public purposes and civic mission of higher education," according to its website.
Collins received the Student Heart and Soul Award in recognition of her work with refugee communities. Collins has been involved with the McKeen Center for the Common Good throughout her career at Bowdoin, and began delving into service with immigrant populations as a junior. She has also been very involved with the Alternative Spring Break programs, leading a trip this past March to Georgia where she and other students worked with international refugees who had recently resettled there.
Collins currently serves as the International Connections in Maine Fellow at the McKeen Center, a position she designed to develop relationships with immigrant populations in Maine by weaving together her interests in bridging Maine to international communities.
"I was really honored to be selected," she said. "It's great to have my work recognized, but at the same time, there are a lot of unsung heroes in this too, including the McKeen Center and all my co-leaders for all the trips I've led."
Pritzker received the MCC's Pillar Award for her dedication to the Bear Buddies program. Like Collins, Pritzker has been heavily involved in community service and activism during her time at Bowdoin. She took over Bear Buddies—a mentoring program for children with special needs and their siblings—during her first year at the College.
Bear Buddies volunteers work with children in the greater Brunswick area, providing social outlets that are not necessarily available at their schools. When Pritzker began there were 15 children; she now estimates that the program includes more than 40.
"It's very close to my heart," said Pritzker. "It's something I care a lot about and will probably continue working on my entire life."
Dorn was presented the Donald Harward Faculty Award for Service Learning Excellence, awarded to teachers who "have made public service an integral part of their teaching," according to the MCC website.
Dorn has a long career of incorporating service into his work as an educator. Before coming to Bowdoin, he taught high school history and civics and helped his students design and undertake community service projects in conjunction with the curriculum.
As a professor in the education department, Dorn has worked to foster reciprocal relationships with schools around Maine that education students work with in the course of their studies. He has also helped build exchange programs that send Bowdoin students to local area schools to work with students and faculty, and then bring students and teachers from those schools to the College to participate in activities pertaining to higher education aspiration and professional development.
For Dorn, the biggest payoff comes through the positive effect his programming has on his students.
"I'm told on course evaluations that those experience result in meaningful learning, and it's humbling," he said.
The award ceremony was held at the Maine State Museum in Augusta on April 26.