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Students express division in Orient survey

December 2, 2022

Last month, the Orient released this semester’s iteration of the Bowdoin Orient Student Survey (BOSS). The survey asked students about their opinions on a variety of topics pertaining to campus life and the College community. In total, 406 students responded to the survey, which represents roughly 22 percent of the student body.

While a near-majority of respondents—46 percent—reported neutral feelings toward Bowdoin’s counseling services, a wide range of opinions were recorded. Some respondents expressed satisfaction with the services the College has to offer.

“Nothing about counseling is perfect, but I think they do a good job with what they have,” one student from the Class of 2022 wrote. “I recognize the current shortage of psychiatrists [and] therapists and the difficulty of recruiting from these positions in Maine.”

Other students, however, reported having negative experiences and encouraged an expansion of resources and services.

“The counseling center has invalidated my mental health struggles at my lowest points,” a student from the Class of 2023 wrote. “We need to implement structural changes—improve access, decrease waiting times, hire more counselors and actually provide long-term care to students.”

Students were also asked to assess their approval of various aspects of Bowdoin’s administration. When asked to rate their approval of President Clayton Rose, less than eight percent of students who responded to the survey expressed some level of disapproval—a major shift from the 24 percent of students who expressed disapproval of him in last year’s survey.

A similar shift is observed in student approval of the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. While 55 percent of respondents expressed some level of disapproval of the Office last spring, just over 18 percent reported similar feelings this semester.

The general state of mind of the Bowdoin student appears to have improved since the end of the spring 2022 semester. In response to the question “Are you happy?,” 80 percent of Bowdoin students responded “Yes”— a ten percent increase from last spring.

In addition, most respondents feel at ease on campus with 79 percent of students responding “Yes” to the question “Have you found belonging?” Additionally, the majority of students who participated in the survey would describe themselves as a “Bowdoin student” rather than as a “student who goes to Bowdoin.”

Pickard Field Renovations

The proposed Pickard Field renovations have sparked much controversy among the Brunswick community, but responses from the BOSS indicated that students still remain somewhat unaware of the proposed plans. Of the respondents, only 54 percent indicated that they are familiar with the renovation plans. The following results on opinions regarding specific aspects of the proposed renovations comes from those who indicated familiarity, a sample of 216 students.

When asked to indicate their level of approval of individual parts of the proposed renovation plans, respondents were most strongly opposed to removing trees, with 74 percent of participants expressing some level of disapproval of this aspect of the proposed plan. On the other hand, respondents were very supportive of plans to pave pathways to the fields to increase accessibility, with 71 percent of respondents expressing some level of approval.

Respondents’ opinions toward the plan to install rectangular artificial turf fields was generally divided but leaned toward disapproval, with 44 percent of respondents expressing some level of disapproval, 29 percent of respondents expressing some level of approval and 26 percent of respondents expressing neutrality.

Overall, respondents’ feelings toward the renovation plan in its entirety were evenly split, with 36 percent expressing some level of approval and 36 percent expressing some level of disapproval. Twenty-eight percent felt neutrally.

“I think it is important to consider the environmental and community impacts of the Pickard Field renovations and make sure that the College is taking the proper steps to ensure we are respecting the land,” a student from the Class of 2022 said. “However, as an athlete whose team will be positively impacted by these renovations, I am in favor of improving the quality of our facilities (especially in comparison to other NESCACs) and the accessibility to fields that hindered my family from making it to games.”

Overall, the BOSS shows a growing approval among students toward administration, some concern about Pickard Field renovations and general neutrality about counseling.

Emma Kilbride, Josie Tidmore, Celeste Mercier, Janet Briggs, Shihab Moral, Andrew Cohen and Seamus Frey contributed to this report.


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One comment:

  1. Steven Xu '22 says:

    Nicely done!

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