In the final weeks of the semester, the Orient conducted its annual Bowdoin Orient Student Survey (BOSS). Approximately 20 percent of the student body, 353 students, responded to the survey.
Students expressed their opinions on everything from the Health Center to the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs—about which they had much to say—following a year that saw attempts to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann was a common topic of conversation amongst survey participants.
“It seems that Covid[-19] has given [Dean] Lohmann the courage to try to completely uproot tradition," a student in the Class of 2023 wrote. "I consider myself to be a progressive, so it’s offensive to me to see the College ruining the few good traditions we have in the name of pseudo-progressivism. Hell in a handbasket, if you will."
Responses revealed that overall, students believe that the College’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has gotten worse over the past year and a half. In Fall 2020, when participants were asked “How well do you think Bowdoin is handling the Covid-19 crisis?”, 80 percent responded “well” or “very well,” whereas in Spring 2022 that number dropped to 55 percent.
When reflecting on their own lives, students were just as negative. The majority of the Class of 2024, 2023 and 2023 responded “No” to the question, “Are you happy?” The Class of 2025 diverged from this trend, with 54 percent of respondents answering, “Yes.”
Despite negative impressions of their own lives, upperclass students remain optimistic about the future beyond Bowdoin. When asked if they believed that the world would be a better place in 25 years, the majority of students believed that it would.
The Faculty and Dining Services received the highest approval ratings, garnering ninety-two percent and eighty-eight percent “Approve” or “Strongly Approve” answers, respectively.
Students’ views of President Clayton Rose have remained largely consistent, although the percentage of students who feel neutral about Rose increased significantly this semester. Forty-three percent of students felt neutral about Rose this semester, whereas that figure was in the low-thirties during both semesters last year.
In sum, the BOSS signifies a decrease in favorability for much of the administration but also an increase in the hopes for future semesters.
Ari Bersch, Janet Briggs, Lucas Dufalla, Clara Jergins and Maile Winterbottom contributed to this report.