The 2009-2010 academic year at Bowdoin, although replete with the usual accolades, affairs and adjustments, will probably best be remembered by some as the year of the alcohol discussion. Following a dramatic increase in alcohol-related transports, the campus has seen an increased police presence and preventative action by security. Yet, even with the new sense of supervision that is pervasive on campus, the students and staff have experienced a full range of activities, as summarized in the following chronology of the Orient's most important stories of the year.
The doors to the Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness flew open as students flocked back to campus for the school year. The new facility allocates 44,659 square feet for a fitness center, replacing the previous location in Smith Union and Farley Field House. The facility also includes athletic department offices, and the Student Health Services, replacing the former location in Dudley Coe. The fitness center now offers a variety of classes, while the Health Center provides more privacy for patients. Peter Buck '52 made the lead contribution to the $15.5 million project.
Almost as if to test the bounds of the new Health Center, the College was swept with 162 cases of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu. Students who reported symptoms were placed in isolation rooms on the third floor of Chamberlain Hall and in Dudley Coe or remained in their single on-campus residences. Other students returned home to recover. The number of outbreaks was much lower than other schools in the area.
The Yellow Bike Club (YBC) was forced to recall its colorful cycles after it became aware of the theft, or unlawful use, of the bikes around campus. The club was able to recover 33 of its 34 bikes and planned to replace the combination locks with locks requiring keys.
The Bowdoin Bookstore looked to expand its sales by adding a new location on Maine Street. The College Store, which occupies a portion of the Maine Street Station complex, opened on Parent's Weekend. The store sells items ranging from Bowdoin apparel to local merchandise.
CampusGrotto.com named Bowdoin as the 16th most expensive college in the country. Including activities fee, the College's total cost was $50,485, only $165 above Colby College.
After rigorous campaigning on both sides of the issue, Maine voted 'Yes' on Proposition 1, rescinding the state legislature's bill allowing same-sex marriage in Maine. Four-hundred-seventeen students voted on the early vote day on October 26 in Smith Union, and about 100 students voted at day-of registration in the districts encompassing on-campus housing.
Director of the Counseling Service and Wellness Programs Bernie Hershberger said that the Counseling Center had the busiest semester in his 13 years at the College. Increases were seen in requests for appointments and in the number of after-hour emergencies. Despite the increase in appointments, the Counseling Center was able to avoid waitlists.
As the end of the semester drew near, 35 students canceled their plans to study abroad, causing a major housing crunch on campus. While the number of students who changed their mind affected housing, Director of Off-Campus Study Stephen Hall said he was not surprised by the numbers, citing course registration and the declining economy as reasons to stay on campus for the spring semester.
Chosen out of an application pool of 805, Willy Oppenheim '09 was one of 32 Americans to win the Rhodes Scholarship, making him only the 22nd Bowdoin alumnus to be bestowed with the honor of the prestigious Rhodes Scholar. Oppenheim founded the Omprakash Foundation, which focuses on playing an active role in social change, and worked with the National Outdoor Leadership School. He was awarded $50,000 to study at Oxford University in London, England.
Students were pleasantly surprised with the warm weather in the beginning of the month. The 68-degree weather shattered the old record high of 55 degrees, but was accompanied with 49 mile per hour winds and rain, causing 6,700 Maine residents to lose power, according to the Associated Press.
After holding the position as the Interim Dean of Admissions for 16 months, Scott Meiklejohn was named the new dean of admissions and financial aid. A committee compromising of students, faculty and the search firm of Isaacson, Miller selected Meiklejohn as the best candidate for the job.
After years of anticipation, federal funds were allocated to allow Amtrak to extend its service to Brunswick by the end of 2012. U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced that $35 million was given to the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority to extend the Amtrak Downeaster passenger line from Portland to Brunswick. This extension will also bring over 200 jobs to the community.
Following the tragic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, killing over 200,000 people and injuring approximately 194,000, student groups around campus joined forces to raise $1,567.08 for Partners in Health within the first week students returned to campus after Winter Break.
The Brunswick Naval Air Station (NASB) closed on January 29, allocating 175 acres to the College at no cost. Overall plans for the land are still being discussed, but the College has discucssed using the land for biology and environmental labs, athletic fields, administrative buildings or dorms.
The concerns about record-high number of alcohol transports this year culminated when a student was arrested for assaulting a female nurse at Parkview Adventist Medical Center. the student was transported from Quinby House, where he was reported to have been under heavy influence of alcohol, and was "not aware of his surroundings," according to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols. A friend of the student posted the bail of $560. The incident was one of an increased number of alcohol-related hospital transports seen this year, causing a greater presence of Brunswick Police Department (BPD) officers on campus.
In response to student concerns, a new gender-neutral housing policy was approved beginning in the fall of 2010. While the policy does not apply to incoming first year students, doubles on campus will now be "gender-blind", allowing for men and women to share bedrooms.
BPD received a grant for $12,000 aimed to increase enforcement against underage drinking by the Communities Against Substance Abuse. Nichols believed that BPD received the grant because of the "recent events" on campus.
Following a 2008 court case concerning 17 Cleaveland St., the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of the owners of the home, Dimitiri Seretakis '94 and Anthony Seretakis '95. The decision was made on February 2. Some claimed that the owners converted the house into a "boarding house", which was considered a zoning violation, prompting four neighbors to sue. The court ruled in favor of the owners with a 6-to-1 vote, claiming the residence was not a "boarding house".
A story in Newsweek published misleading information about Bowdoin graduates, claiming that, "While nine out of 10 white students routinely get their diplomas within six years, only seven out of 10 black students made it to graduation day in several recent classes." In more recent years, however, there has been a higher percentage of black students graduating, with 88 percent from the Class of 2007 alone. According to Associate Dean of Multicultural Student Programs Wil Smith, the gap between graduating black students and graduating white students has dropped significantly in the past years from 20 percent in 2003 to 7 percent in 2007.
The Bowdoin Daily Sun was created at the end of the month as a daily blog for campus news and features. President Barry Mills came up with the idea for the blog, but it is managed by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Mills said he hopes that the blog will help foster community connections.
The Committee on Curriculum for the Educational Policy (CEP) approved academic recognition for internships. The new policy allows for a notation on a student's transcript about internships, but will not give an actual credit toward students' degrees at the College.
Security had its hands full when the "Laptop Bandit" struck campus, stealing two MacBook Pro laptop computers and iPod from Winthrop Hall and a MacBook Pro laptop computer from Druckenmiller Hall. The bandit also stole a cell phone from the lost and found bin at the Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness. The thief was reported to have stolen similar items from other colleges in the area. Though pictures of the suspect were obtained, security and BPD were unable to catch the thief.
Kyle Dempsy '11 was named a 2010 Truman Scholar, while Sarah Ebel '10 and Skye Lawrence '10 were both graned prestigious Watson fellowships. Bowdoin once again had success in winning Fulbright awards, with six confirmed by Director of Student Fellowships and Research Cindy Stocks by May 1.
The Student Aid Bill eliminated bank-based loans for college students. This new bill will save the government $81 billion, but will have little impact on Bowdoin because of the school's exisiting no-loan policy.
After a WBOR-sponsored Shwayze concert fell through at the last minute, the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC) pulled funding for the annual spring concert for the first time since 2003. This prompted a further investigation of allocation of SAFC funds. The Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC) asked for a $12,000 increase in budget and the E-Board requested $8,000. The two clubs were granted $10,000 and $6,000, respectively. The money that was to have been used for the spring concert will be used to "fund everything that comes to the SAFC 'til the end of the year..." said SAFC Chair Kyle Dempsey '11.
Associate Dean of Multicultural Students Wil Smith announced plans to leave the College after 14 years. He plans to take the position as the Dean of Community Life and Multicultural Affairs at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass.
Stacy Wilson announced her resignation as Women's Hockey Coach after working with the team for three seasons. Wilson intends to move back to her hometown of New Brunswick, Canada, and said she plans to continue supporting the team by attending events.
Though the weather was questionable during the week, the skies cleared for Ivies weekend where students enjoyed Passion Pit, The Cool Kids and Reel Big Fish on the new location of Whittier Field rather than the main Quad.