The smiles of cardswipers and dining staff are some of the first to brighten our days as we swipe in at breakfast each morning; we often pass housekeepers in the hallways of our dorms, and we breeze past staff at the library front desk on our way to study. We encounter Bowdoin staff members just as often as we do our peers and professors, yet we may not always recognize them as equal stakeholders in our community.
Our housekeepers spend a significant amount of their days in our residence halls, so waving hello as we head out to classes and thanking them for their work is a crucial part of being a kind and friendly community member. Similarly, the cafeteria card swipers spend hours helping us access the dining halls, all usually with a welcoming smile. Dining hall workers make sharing a meal together—a vital part of the Bowdoin experience—possible. Librarians work daily acquiring and organizing new books and materials, not just when students have final papers to write, but all year long. Staff in the IT department keep our tech-dependent lives afloat, and the Mail Center employees ensure we get all of our packages in a timely and efficient manner. We could go on and on, but you get the point—our community is held up by a vast network of people outside of our classes and friend groups.
Beyond campus residents and employees, campus is more open this year than it has been since the beginning of the pandemic, and the protective division that existed between Brunswick and the College’s campus has been mostly dissolved. Residents of the areas surrounding campus sit alongside students at sporting events, shows and talks, and they enrich these experiences with their knowledge and warmth. For the most part, locals from Brunswick and beyond have been here longer than we have—they have long-standing relationships with the museum, they remember the big wins, they have a career and life experience that contextualizes the knowledge being shared by a guest lecturer. Engage with the local residents who come on campus and foster the symbiotic relationship between Brunswick and the College.
Further, Bowdoin’s campus is a crucial public space to the town of Brunswick. Families picnic on the quad, the same dog walkers traverse our campus every day—even the skateboarders that hang out near the museum steps are part of our community. A simple practice of the Bowdoin Hello can go a long way. Take the extra minute to stop and say hello, comment on the weather or offer a genuine smile.
Just as we make an effort to learn the names and stories of our peers and approach our professors in office hours, students should treat all those on campus as valued members of the Bowdoin community.
At the end of the day, Bowdoin’s community is more than our fellow students and professors—remember to treat them all as such.
This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, which is comprised of Clara Jergins, Lily Randall, Josie Tidmore, Talia Traskos-Hart, Juliana Vandermark, Halina Bennet and Seamus Frey.