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Thank you, community

April 16, 2020

This piece represents the opinion of the authors.

To the Editor,

On April 2, we started a mutual aid fund to support Bowdoin community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The concept was simple: we would fundraise to fulfill individual requests submitted by students, staff and community members who needed immediate, direct financial assistance. At the time, we had no idea what the scale of this initiative would be; we only knew that there was great need in our community, and we wanted to do something—fast—to help meet that need. Since this initiative began, we’ve collected over $13,500 in donations and fulfilled 36 requests for financial assistance. The fund has also received an incredible amount of community support from staff, faculty, students and alumni. We’d like to take a moment to thank those who have contributed to this mutual aid fund, and to also thank the Orient for its coverage of this fund; since the Orient article published last week, Bowdoin community members have donated over $4,000 to assist their fellow Polar Bears.

While it has been inspiring to realize networks of mutual support, this initiative has also highlighted the deep class divisions that exist within our Bowdoin community, evidenced by the stories of low-income students and low-wage workers at the College living through this pandemic and economic crisis. Although this moment has been a challenge for all of us, it has been especially difficult for those of us from vulnerable financial backgrounds, as the pandemic has both laid bare and aggravated pre-existing socioeconomic disparities.

We hope that the success of our mutual aid fund demonstrates the need for solidarity and collective action—not only to support our communities through this moment, but also to resolve the conditions that have made the impact of this pandemic so unequal at Bowdoin, in our country and across the world. Again, thank you to the Bowdoin community—for your contributions and your support. We hope that you and your loved ones are safe, cared for and healthy.

Sincerely,

Sylvia Bosco ’21

Diego Grossmann ’20

Anibal Husted ’22

Benjamin Ray ’20

Jack Swartzentruber ’23

Amanda Trent ’20

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