Whether walking into Moulton, passing through the hallway in Smith Union or entering your dorm, you will see a display of bright posters advertising a dizzying array of on (and off) campus events. None of these would be possible without the dedicated efforts of Copy Center Coordinator Joe Calvo. Calvo oversees the online, mailed-in and walk-in printing requests from students, faculty and staff.

 Calvo has worked in the printing business for nearly 50 years. He said that he applied to his former job at Xerox—his first in the industry—because he wanted a change from his 60-hour work week as an electrician.

“When I applied for the job, I didn’t even know what Xerox did...I didn’t know what I was going to be doing, but it all turned out well,” he said.

He added that this job at Xerox is also what first led him to Bowdoin, as he would be called in to fix the school’s printers from time to time. After 27 years at Xerox, Calvo stumbled upon an opening at the Copy Center. He’s been at Bowdoin since July 1995.

From the Copy Center’s headquarters in the basement of Dudley Coe, Calvo and his coworkers handle jobs ranging from large-format posters and lab manual books to tests and quizzes. Calvo says this work enables him to learn about many aspects of life at Bowdoin.

“If I took the time to read everything, I would know more than anyone here,” he said. “But I don’t. I don’t have time for that.”

When asked if he had any favorite posters, he said he has liked them all.

“Some are funny, some are educational and informative,” he said.

Calvo said that he enjoys that his job allows him to interact with a variety of people on campus. He likes meeting new faces and watching the changes in older students during their four years here.

One of his favorite ways to connect with students is to “survey” them every once in a while. For one survey—basically an on-the-spot question—he asks students whether or not they have seen a ghost.

“Some people say they have and some people say ‘no, but I’ve heard them,’” Calvo said. 

Although he has not yet seen one himself, he said he believes the students’ answers are insightful.
“All those people that have seen ghosts got their answer the day they saw that ghost,” he said. “Life goes on after that. They don’t have to think about anything except what they want. So that’s pretty interesting.”

He also routinely asks students where they grew up and how they liked living there.

“I find that people from Washington state and Colorado are probably the most satisfied people in the country about where they live,” he said.

Calvo, who grew up in New Britain, Conn., admitted that unlike most of the students he talks to, he actually does not like living in Maine, in large part due to the weather. 

“Of course, six months of winter isn’t very cool,” he said.

As a self-described “Average Joe,” Calvo says that outside of the workplace he simply enjoys living life and taking his motorcycles, Corvette or boat out every once in a while. 

He also enjoys spending time with his family and the six children he raised in Maine.

“It was great...I was like the seventh kid,” he said.

After nearly 20 years at Bowdoin, Calvo said the time has gone by relatively quickly

“Every day here,” he said, “is kind of exciting.”