Bowdoin students gathered alongside students from Colby College and Bates College at Bayside Bowl in Portland for a multicultural bowling social.
The event was sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and spearheaded by Assistant Class Dean Roosevelt Boone, who worked at Colby for two years before joining the office this past fall. The Center for Multicultural Life at Bowdoin, as well as the multicultural offices at Colby and Bates, also offered support for the event.
“I wanted to provide an opportunity for students at each institution to meet other students that are navigating similar challenges … just so that they have another fellowship opportunity,” Boone said. “Be yourself. Come bowl. Talk trash. Compete. That’s what the event entailed, and that’s what it presented. It was a good time.”
Ayana Opong-Nyantekyi ’23, a member of the Athletes of Color Coalition and Black Student Union, noted her appreciation for the community fostered by the event. Instead of sticking with students from their own schools, attendees mingled across lanes to get acquainted with one another.
“I was excited to participate in the event because I thought it’d be a great opportunity to connect with other students at Bowdoin and at Bates and Colby, but also to meet other BIPOC students across the different schools,” Opong-Nyantekyi said.
Cross-college multicultural events used to happen more frequently before the pandemic, according to Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for Inclusion and Diversity and Director of Multicultural Student Life Eduardo Pazos. However, the inter-school connections established before the pandemic have endured, allowing for the swift reinstatement of these events.
“Throughout the years, we have built a very collaborative relationship with Bates and Colby. This year we’ve had Bates and Colby students join different cultural celebrations like Eid, Diwali and Ebony Ball,” Pazos wrote in an email to the Orient. “This is the first event that was specifically designed as a [Bowdoin-Bates-Colby (BBC)] event after the pandemic, but in the past we’ve had [Bowdoin-Bates-Colby] conferences and other events that were hosted by our institutions, so this is a continuation of some of that work.”
Boone is hoping to not only continue but expand these cross-college multicultural opportunities, especially for first-year students.
“They’re our peer institutions. We’re 45 minutes apart. We should do more,” Boone said. “Just knowing that there are other students of different ethnicities or less represented ethnicities at each institution, and they are all navigating the same space, going through the same challenges.… They’ll form closer relationships that will carry them for the next three or four years in their time here in the NESCAC.”
Students who attended the event share Boone’s hope for more chances to connect with students from other schools in a multicultural context.
“I hope events like these continue,” Opong-Nyantekyi said. “I know that I won’t be here, but … I hope that they keep having it.”