With indoor gatherings limited by low occupancy limits in private residential common rooms, the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) recently partnered with Facilities to purchase outdoor fire pits as a means to give students another option to safely socialize—the most recent initiative to enhance the student social experience in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We obviously don’t want people hanging out inside, and I think we have the goal to get people to socialize outside … so we ultimately came down to the decision that fire pits were a great way to get people to hang out,” BSG President Marcus Williams ’21 said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “People feel they’re still able to have social connections without the fear of being cooped up inside all day.”
There will be two fire pits on campus. One will be on the Osher Quad, and the other will be behind the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center. BSG had planned to purchase more, but Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) restrictions limited what was possible.
“One of my classmates told me about another school having fire pits to help students socialize outside, and I brought [the idea] to the BSG assembly,” Tiffany Delgado, Class of 2023 Vice President, said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “I think it’s a restrictive semester, and we just need to be in this together. We need to not break the rules, and fire pits are one way to help us socialize outside, even though it’s cold.”
Director of the Outing Club Michael Woodruff is intending to host a training session to instruct students on how to use the fire pits safely.
“We’re looking [to] … create outdoor spaces that are usable and fun; fire pits fit that mold,” BSG Vice President Harry Sherman said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “This would’ve been nearly impossible during a normal semester, but we’re all paying close attention to the unique issues and opportunities we have now.”