This is the first article in a new series that profiles staff members.
If you’re a Bowdoin student, Connie Chicoine has probably said your name, and she’s probably done it with a smile.
Chicoine is one of the weekend OneCard swipers at Thorne Dining Hall. After answering an Internet job position, Chicoine interviewed for a salad prep position, but was asked about her interest in the swiper position. She accepted the job and has been working at Thorne for over three years.
Before coming to Bowdoin, Chicoine worked as a receptionist for Norton Insurance Agency in Brunswick, another job that put her in daily contact with the public.
Chicoine grew up in Maine and went to high school in Auburn. She says she’s been familiar with Brunswick for a long time.
“I’ve always enjoyed the Brunswick area. I think it’s a quaint town,” she said.
Chicoine has two daughters and four grandchildren. Her daughter Sheri lives nearby, and Chicoine enjoys attending her grandchildren’s games and dance recitals. Chicoine also attends events on Bowdoin’s campus often.
“I try to get to the music shows at Studzinski. I go to a lot of the men and women’s hockey games in the winter, and I’ve been going to the volleyball games a lot recently. I even went to one at Bates the other night that our girls were playing in,” Chicoine said.
Chicoine said she loves how this position allows her to spend time with the students, even after she retired.
“I’ve always been a people person, and the students add so much to my life. They just do so much to make me feel good, and the idea of being around people all weekend is why I love it,” she said.
Chicoine says her role as a grandmother is a factor in her famously friendly demeanor.
“I look at Bowdoin students as if they’re my grandchildren. I look at them and I say, these are somebody’s grandchildren, and I treat them like I hope somebody will treat my grandchildren when they go to college someday,” Chicoine said.
Swiping the OneCards of every Bowdoin student who attends meals at Thorne means that Chicoine has seen most Bowdoin students’ faces at some point.
With such prolific contact, Chicoine says she aims to know every student’s name by sight, but with so many students it can be difficult. Regardless of how many names she knows, Chicoine says she loves the Bowdoin community.
“Bowdoin students are the best. They’re so welcoming to me, even the first years, and I’ve gotten to know some of them on a first name basis,” she said.
The cheerful woman behind the checker’s desk is active in and out of the Bowdoin community.
Chicoine enjoys playing computer games like Angry Birds, Bejeweled and Zuma. She’s a prolific reader and, at the moment, has a particular interest in old southern novels like “Gone with the Wind.”
Chicoine has also volunteered for the Maine State Music Theater for 11 years and ushers for the Portland Symphony Orchestra and Portland Ovations. She is a member of the Red Hat Society, an organization of women who meet for tea, dressed up in red hats and purple clothing.
She added, “I’m very proud to work for Bowdoin College. It’s just a part-time job and I’m retired, and for me this has been the best experience, getting to know the students, the people I work with at the dining hall—the whole experience has been great.”