This Sunday, the College will host the delayed Class of 2024 Convening Brunch at 10:30 a.m. The event will feature a class photo taken on the steps of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, as well as remarks from President Clayton Rose, Associate Professor of English Emma Maggie Solberg and Bowdoin Student Government President Ryan Britt ’22.
This event follows a string of sophomore-only events that have been offered this year. Dean of Student Affairs Janet Lohmann noted that creating experiences for sophomores to bond has been a focus this semester.
“I recognize that the Class of 2024 had a limited and challenging first year. Considering that, we have worked to plan several class-specific experiences for the Class of 2024. Sophomore Sunday, sophomore-only trips by the Outing Club and McKeen Center, a sophomore-only fireside chat with counseling and wellness to talk over their experiences and, of course, the president’s welcome, class photo and convening brunch,” Lohmann wrote in an email to the Orient.
Jacob Trachtenberg ’24 feels that while he was able to meet other sophomores early in the school year, he still feels disconnected from the Class of 2024 overall.
“In the first couple weeks it was pretty easy to just meet people without any reason. I felt like I met more people in the first week this year than all of last year. But then after that, it’s leveled off,” Trachtenberg said. “There are a lot of people you just vaguely know from Zooms or you know their name from something, but you never actually talk to them. I feel like there’s a lot more of that this year. We’re still a little behind on knowing what the College culture is like.”
The brunch was originally scheduled for September 5 but was postponed because the College moved to Yellow status a few days prior, which restricted large gatherings on campus.
“That was disappointing, as we wanted to start the semester off [by] recognizing the Class of 2024 and giving them the opportunity to be welcomed by [President Rose] in person, have a class photo and a convening meal. The decision to do the event this weekend came about as we thought about the next opportunity to offer this experience to everyone. Most weekends in the fall semester athletic teams and other student groups are traveling. This weekend was the only one where it is possible to have everyone in the Class of 2024 present,” Lohmann wrote.
There are no current plans to take additional class photos to accommodate those unable to attend the brunch.
Solberg, who is a faculty house advisor, sees value in giving a speech at the brunch in part because she can show her support for the Class of 2024.
“The faculty is aware of…what the sophomore class has been through. I won’t say that we fully understand what it’s been like, because the pandemic has hit us all differently, and it can be hard for us all to really understand each other’s experiences—but we are aware,” Solberg wrote in an email to the Orient.
Lohmann is excited for the brunch and other sophomore-only events moving forward. She hopes that these opportunities will help the Class of 2024 feel more connected to one another.
“We recognize that we are not replicating what would have happened in a normal year first-year orientation for the Class of 2024, but we also want to offer opportunities for connection, conversation and community for this class to experience those moments with one another,” Lohmann wrote. “We hope these programs and more that are being planned will offer those opportunities.”
Trachtenberg, however, is more pessimistic about the brunch’s ability to bring the sophomore class together.
“I mean it’s good to make up things that they didn’t give us, but I feel like everyone’s going to sit with their friends,” Trachtenberg said. “It’s not going to build a community—I honestly don’t think it will.”