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We hear you: Bowdoin Student Government responds

April 19, 2019

This piece represents the opinion of the author s.
Phoebe Zipper

We would like to thank the Orient Editorial Board for publishing last week’s piece entitled “BSG, do better.” We hear you. Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) works for all students, and we strive to be a platform where students can share their ideas and concerns about campus. That said, we understand that sometimes it’s hard to know what BSG is up to, especially when our meetings are in Daggett Lounge at 8:45 p.m. on a Wednesday night—not a typical student hang-out spot. However, in our meetings with administrators, trustees, faculty, staff members and, of course, you, we diligently work to represent your interests.

Much of what we do as BSG is behind the scenes—emails that students never see, projects that we try to push through but are unsure of whether they’ll come to fruition, as well as regular operations of the College like Spring Gala, port-a-potties at Ivies and “free” bowling on Thursdays. Navigating the bureaucracy of Bowdoin can make it difficult to implement our projects and initiatives within a year. A lot of our work focuses on long-term visions to improve Bowdoin’s community for future generations—but that can mean that in the moment, it looks like we aren’t doing a lot.

In this light, we as an Executive Team would like to share some of the things that we have been working on this year. Our tenure is almost up, but we are hopeful that the long-term projects will be continued by the new BSG Exec Team next year. These projects have included:

• Establishing a Driver’s Ed program that will begin in the fall and will provide students with driving lessons and help them obtain a Maine license

• Adding important information like counseling and mental health resources to the back of our OneCards—they’ll be phased in over the next few years

• Renovating the Game Room!

• Partnering with Communications to bring Xfinity to campus

In our separate committees, we’ve: published our BSG budget to be more transparent with the student body, worked to address the athlete/non-athlete divide by providing t-shirts at a women’s basketball game, organized a town hall about the string of bias incidents in the fall, placed benches in Thorne and worked closely with Associate Director of Student Wellness Programs Melissa Quinby to increase wellness offerings across campus. And these are just some of the flashier things—unless you also consider condoms in upperclass housing “flashy.”

We wish we saw more students during our Public Comment Time. However, we recognize that we could do a better job of encouraging you to come. It is our hope that next year’s Executive Team will make student involvement a greater priority. We hope they will commit to sending the minutes from the meeting, updating our social media platforms and soliciting student feedback in the places that you are, not necessarily just in Daggett. By emphasizing other means of engagement, BSG can truly partner with and speak for the student body.

But, for the rest of the semester and for years to come, remember that BSG works for you. Ask us questions, tell us the issues you care about on and off campus and demand that we do something about them. We’re listening.

This piece represents the views of the members of BSG Executive Team: Nikki Tjin a Djie ’21, Harry Sherman ’21, Nate DeMoranville ’20, Benjamin Painter ’19, Amber Rock ’19, Jenna Scott ’19 and Mohamed Nur ’19,


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  1. Shaun Hogan, Roy's Driver & Rider Education says:

    As a state certified educator who has previously worked at Bowdoin College in the Office of Safety & Security, I welcome the opportunity to establish a driver education program on campus. I am a Maine Class A Driver Education instructor and have been working with Roy’s Driver & Rider Education since 2015. I currently administer and teach both of our Brunswick and Freeport locations. Many of the private driving lessons I teach in Brunswick have been with Bowdoin students. In fact, I am currently working on a 10-hour program with one student and have two more scheduled for upcoming lessons. All of the Bowdoin students I have worked with successfully passed their road test, many on the first attempt. Roy’s will provide a flexible class schedule that suits the time constraints placed on a college student and all road lessons can begin and end on campus if that best accommodates the customer. Setting up a program specifically targeted for Bowdoin College students would be quite easy and could be accomplished in short order. Our cars are also available to use when taking the BMV road test. It would be my pleasure to continue serving the students of Bowdoin College.

  2. Class of '20 says:

    Honestly, not sure why we should be proud of bowling, a “game room,” a big student party, t-shirts, condoms, or even drivers ed, when other student government actually take a stand on issues that matter. Even if BSG can’t really impact admin decisions too much, they could at least represent student interests in real ways. I recommend looking at Tuft’s Student Senate for ideas: https://www.tcu.tufts.edu/resolutions They use their leverage as a powerful student group to lobby the administration. Wellness is of course important, but “BSG works for you” should mean more than making campus more luxurious. There are real issues to be tackled and a town hall is not enough.

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