Last weekend, the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC), alongside the Bowdoin Sustainability Office and Bowdoin Wellness Services, hosted a sustainability and wellness overnight trip at the Schiller Coastal Studies Center, the second trip to the Center this semester. Students had dinner and a campfire on Friday night and were able to do yoga, go on trail runs and paint with watercolors to relax.
The BOC began using the Center for overnight trips after Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann raised the possibility during a Student Affairs department head meeting, according to Outing Club Director Mike Woodruff.
Dejie Zhen ’23 chose to go on the trip in order to relieve some stress during midterms, noting that there are fewer programs available this semester than in past semesters for this purpose.
“Last year I didn’t really feel the need to get away from campus because there were a lot of events on campus that I could go to. It was different this year because there really [aren’t] any events that I could go to, to relax,” he said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “The only outlet for relieving the stress is to go to these BOC trips.”
The need to relieve stress was the impetus for many students who went on the trip, including Sara Morcos ’24.
“I really wanted a chance to reset and somewhere off campus to clear my mind and get away from it all, the workload and the stress, along with everything that’s going on in the world right now, and I really just wanted to have a new experience and honestly, meet new people,” Morcos said in a Zoom interview with the Orient.
Sustainability Outreach Coordinator Bethany Taylor and Assistant Director of Wellness Services Kate Nicholson led a discussion about wellness and sustainability within the cultural context of Bowdoin. Morcos enjoyed connecting with fellow trip-members during this conversation.
“We just talked about sustainability and wellness and what that means, and recognizing that this time is very unusual for everyone, and Zoom is not necessarily sustainable for people, and all of the mental health impacts that has had on us … It was honestly just a very safe space to come together and acknowledge the fact that we’re struggling,” she said. “Being there at the Coastal Studies Center was a reaffirmation that it’s OK to … take a step back and reflect and have a reset.”
The conversation was eye-opening for many students. Kayla Stuhlman ’22 said that the trip gave her a different perspective on stress.
“I feel like the biggest thing I took away from the experience was just putting a pause on the ‘worth equals productivity’ mindset. Even though every time I come back to Bowdoin, I come back to doing my work, I kind of adopt that mindset again, but it’s nice to take a short break, even if it doesn’t last forever,” Stuhlam said in a Zoom interview with the Orient.
Taylor said that she hopes to continue organizing trips and events with the BOC in the future.
“It was really fun to get to work with [Outing Club Assistant Director] Tess [Hamilton] and Kate [Nicholson] on this … There’s been a lot of really good collaboration,” she said. “We’re building better programming that meet[s] students’ needs better than if we were all trying to do our own thing. It does feel good to be able to work with my colleagues on this, and it was delightful to get to see the students that were out there.”
Woodruff expressed his desire for the Coastal Studies Center to be used more often in the future.
“The facilities there are beautiful and I am excited about the potential programming that the College will be able to offer to students for generations to come,” he wrote.