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Stay safe, bears

April 27, 2023

This piece represents the opinion of the Bowdoin Orient Editorial Board.

It’s no secret that Bowdoin’s Ivies weekend looks different now than it did just a few years ago. Since its inception in 1865, the event had grown into a weekend-long affair with hundreds of thousands of dollars of programming attached. In the years leading up to 2020, Bowdoin’s Student Activities Funding Committee had perfected a months-long planning process which included surveys of students’ music taste, hours of negotiations and an annual message from Randy Nichols to exercise discretion.

All was well until the novel SARS CoV-2 virus hit the streets of Brunswick. Bowdoin’s administration took the chance not only to reimagine Ivies in a post-pandemic world but also to reckon with the ways in which Bowdoin students’ behavior at the annual event had failed to meet our standards for the Common Good.

In a letter to students last March, Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann wrote that “Ivies of recent pre-COVID years did not always showcase the very best of Bowdoin. Specifically, we saw an increased number of bias incidents, cases of vandalism, alcohol transports, violence and Title IX violations. The atmosphere drove many students to either leave campus for the weekend or to create an ‘alternative’ Ivies, thus inadvertently dividing an already small campus.” In our attempt to enjoy the long-awaited 2022 Ivies,

we yearned to return to the parties and concerts that made the weekend fun. This year, we want to re-emphasize the importance of being responsible for our conduct and remembering to care for one another.

Although Ivies is a cherished Bowdoin tradition, it is not a Brunswick one. Neighbors of the College may be familiar with Ivies, but that is no reason to force them to be a part of the College’s fun. Recall that, when you participate in Ivies festivities, you’re doing so not just as an individual but also as a member of the Bowdoin and Brunswick communities. That beer can you don’t pick up will have to be picked up by someone else—likely a member of facilities or housekeeping. Loud music and late partying are classic, and fun, parts of the Ivies experience, but with that comes the responsibility of being good stewards of the community. Treat it with the same respect you would every other day of the year.

Organizations in the College have taken steps to encourage this type of conscientiousness. On Wednesday, the Office of Gender Violence Prevention and Health Education (OGVPHE) hosted “Intervening at Ivies,” a training designed to encourage us not just to be cautious about our behavior but pay attention to others’ as well and check in with our peers if necessary.

As we head into Ivies this weekend, we encourage you to have as much fun as you have anticipated, but we hope you continue to look out for one another and for the greater Brunswick community. Having fun is an integral part of our college experience and should be embraced as such, but nevertheless, each of us carries the responsibility of creating a safe environment for the entirety of the student body. Regardless of our own personal choices, we must continue to remain cognizant of the people around you. Stay safe out there, Polar Bears.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, which is composed of Catalina Escobedo, Jaida Hodge-Adams, Michael Gordon, Nikki Harris, Mina Zanganeh, Sam Pausman, Juliana Vandermark, Halina Bennet and Seamus Frey.


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