This place is a bubble. Of course it is. Every fall, two-thousand students leave their homes—many in affluent suburban neighborhoods outside of major cities—to head to a small town on the coast of Maine. As you cross the state border from New Hampshire to Maine, the “Welcome to Vacationland” sign greets you, and if you flew into Portland, you can find the phrase “Vacationland” stamped on the license plate of almost every car you pass on the ride from the airport to campus.
There’s nothing like walking home from a long day of classes and extracurriculars to find a dozen people crowding the thin halls of Coleman, munching on Hannaford brand potato chips and waiting for their love lives to be predicted from a random spread of tarot cards on the carpeted floors.
Welcome back to school! Thank you so much to everybody who participated in and tuned into “We’ve Seen it All” last semester. In case you are new here, this is how the advice column works: Bowdoin students can anonymously send in questions about anything—school, friendships, jobs, relationships, etc.
Nothing captures the essence of Bowdoin like a warm sunny day on the Quad. Students lounge on beach blankets shielding their screens from the sun as they attempt to get a reading done. Hammocks and slacklines anchored between two trees create mini coves in an open expanse of grass.
Campus culture is always evolving, but there are few instances when the change is as abrupt as the Covid-19 shutdown. As the College enters its second year with no Covid testing protocols or restrictions ingrained into campus life, student and staff leadership reflect on the state of student extracurricular engagement.
“I like that we’re on the same wavelength,” I tell my friend over dinner. Our eyes meet and the corners of his mouth curl up. We are pondering the good life and personal needs. The concepts are abstract, and the phrases my friend strings together are fragmented.
Campus has been feeling electric lately—Bowdoin Facilities Management is aiming to switch entirely to electric vehicles and equipment by 2028. Facilities started this initiative two years ago as a part of Bowdoin’s broader Climate Action Plan for the campus to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2042, and it has made significant strides towards this goal since then.
At 4:30 a.m. each morning, the Bake Shop above Thorne Hall begins filling muffin tins with homemade batter. 2,000 muffins are baked each week, but the Bake Shop’s operations do not stop there. From homemade breads to pastries to pies and cakes, Bowdoin’s Dining Service relies upon its baking staff for sweets at every meal of the day.
Bowdoin has become synonymous with a bear native to a region over 1,000 miles north of its campus—the polar bear. So I set out to finally settle the question: Why the polar bear? In the first installment of Burning Bowdoin Questions, I seek to discover when the polar bear was first introduced as the Bowdoin mascot and how the abundance of taxidermy made it all the way to Brunswick.
My older sister rarely speaks when unnecessary. Actually, Lucy rarely speaks. To be fair, she studied meditation in a Zen Buddhist monastery in Tokyo and has embarked on countless vows of silence at various points of her adolescence—one way to cope.
Last month, after a short, two-week stint visiting my family in China, it came time to return to Bowdoin, just in time for Lobster Bake. What troubled my mind wasn’t the imminent 30-hour connecting flight—my personal equivalent to being run over by a concrete roller in terms of magnitude of suffering.
While the majority of students packed up their cars or boarded planes to get to Bowdoin this August, Henry Penfold ’26 grabbed his 18-foot rowing boat and two oars to embark on a 100-mile trip from Deer Isle to Harpswell.
Many students know the Brunswick Town Commons as a parking spot for the Taco the Town food truck or as the setting of the wintertime ice rink. However, when the ice melts and Bowdoin’s students return to regular serotonin levels, the Town Commons becomes home to the Brunswick Farmers’ Market.
For over 160 years, Bowdoin has been connecting students and faculty members with the Arctic, forging intellectual and community relationships across Norway, Finland, Canada, Alaska and Greenland. This summer, the Arctic studies program sent student researchers to Greenland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador to continue this legacy of years past.
This summer, Sabrina Kearney ’26, Phincho Sherpa ’25 and Pranav Vadlamudi ’26 were three of six Bowdoin students who engaged in volunteer and public service work in various countries through the Global Citizens Fellowship. Sponsored by the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, fellows received funding to work with non-profit organizations abroad for ten weeks.
In addition to its move from 24 College Street to Ladd House this fall, the Sexuality, Women and Gender (SWAG) Center is welcoming a new face: newly-minted director Natalie Turrin. Turrin, originally from Toronto, Canada, completed her doctorate at Emory University before working there in the Office of LGBT life and later serving as the Associate Director of the Center for Women.
Summer research at the Schiller Coastal Studies Center explores important ecological issues in the Harpswell Sound
From students making bioplastic with the shells of invasive green crabs to mapping microplastic levels throughout the Harpswell Sound, the Schiller Coastal Studies Center was far from idle this summer. Students took up jobs and research projects to further their understanding of the complex ecological systems in the Casco Bay region and humans’ vital role in maintaining this habitat.
The beloved Lobster Bake has opened the academic year since the 1960s, with students rushing to the Farley Fields in their finest outfits year after year. When cracking a lobster claw and catching up with friends who you have not seen all summer, you rarely stop to think about the preparation and planning that went into putting that lobster on your plate.
My mom asked me one of her usual “explain English” questions on the phone today. “I’ve always wondered why people say ‘you’re a smart cookie’ but not ‘you’re a smart bagel’ or ‘you’re a smart donut.’” She said it in a way that made me think she was going to tell me why, but she just stopped short right after that.
“My best friend’s name was Gil. We used to blaze down the sidewalks around here on our bikes with no-hands, cutting and weaving. I thought I was invincible, but Gil, Gil had a death wish. Everything I could do he did cooler, faster or with his emerald eyes closed.
Beer and pizza enthusiasts can celebrate a new addition to Brunswick’s downtown: Yarmouth-based chain Brickyard Hollow has moved into the Tontine Mall in the former location of Butchers & Bakers. The brewing company now has locations in seven Maine towns and cities, including Portland, Freeport and Ogunquit.
Raids and rivalries plague our campus, not just in the retelling of momentous battles in class or between the pages of a history textbook, but also in the epic pursuit of “catching ‘em all.” Now that the weather has taken a turn for the better, 2016 mobile game craze Pokémon GO has made a resurgence on campus seven years after its release.
For many Bowdoin students, the number of options for on- and off-campus employment is extensive. From summer internships and research assistantships to volunteer positions, these opportunities offer invaluable experience and often promise post-graduation offers. This situation is infinitely more complicated for international students, who make up almost seven percent of Bowdoin’s student body and generally need a visa to study at Bowdoin.
Memorials to past presidents surround Bowdoin’s campus. When students reside in first-year bricks Appleton and Hyde, move into Chamberlain Hall, Coles Tower and Howell House as upperclassmen, take classes in Sills Hall and swim in Greason Pool, they pay quiet homage to the fifteen leaders who have served the College.
I used to think my time at Bowdoin would be separated into a “before” and an “after” with the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 being the cataclysmic event. But as I sit here thinking about the last four years, I’ve realized that there is no such “great divide.” And while my life now does look different than it did during my pre-Covid first-year, perhaps that’s to be expected when the world stops.
Whether through Bible study groups or s’mores and songs around the bonfire, the Christian Students Association (CSA) works hard to provide Bowdoin students who identify as Christian with a sense of religious belonging and community grounded in inclusion, collaboration and celebration of their faith.
On April 10, Lilli Frank ’25 and I interviewed six members from People Plus—a community recreation center for older adults in Brunswick. This column is just a snippet of what we learned. Bill, 75 Bill lived abroad for 35 years and developed a knack for languages while intercepting Russian transmissions during the Cold War.
We ended up on Bowdoin Milk Spotters. We should have known, carrying our carton of milk, bouquet of roses, box of rice and carton of eggs to Thorne for some post-Hannaford dinner. This intriguing assortment of ingredients was to make another recommended dessert: payesh, a Bengali rice pudding.
“I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods meeting the unmarked strip of light— ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise: I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.” – Adrienne Rich We move through the darkness like fireflies, bobbing and swerving over the tire treads, like small trenches, dug into the logging road.
When Adriennie Hatten ’90 returned to Bowdoin for a visit in 2018, she was surprised to discover how few of the Black students she spoke to had visited the John Brown Russwurm African American Center. When Hatten attended the College, she recalls, the center was where many of the Black students and faculty members at the College could be found at any given moment.
Editor’s Note April 23, 2023 at 11 p.m.: A previous version of this article used the incorrect title for the Rachel Lord Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. On March 22, the Islamic community began observing Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year.
I knew something was wrong as soon as my mom told me that we could go out to eat “wherever I wanted” after landing back home in San Francisco for spring break. If you live in an immigrant household, you can understand why this would set off alarms in my head.
We have a lot to cover this week, so I’ll jump right into it. Welcome back to the advice column with a twist. This is how it works: all questions are anonymously sent in to the QR code, and older community members from People Plus—a community recreation center for older adults in Brunswick—write back with their advice.
In my life, Italian soccer—calcio—has always been an afterthought, only to be considered when scouting a young talent while in FIFA career mode with my brother. The golden age of Italy’s greats—and their even greater hair—was resigned to forever be an unlearned history.
Kristy Beury-Moore is an art school drop-out, cosmetologist, the second-best female wrestler in Maine and the owner of Chuffed, Brunswick’s woman-owned barber shop located on Maine Street. Chuffed was founded in March 2022 with a mission to offer a friendly and trendy spot for anybody looking for a stylish, manageable haircut.
One of many spaces of belonging and shared interest on Bowdoin’s campus, the Catholic Students Union (CSU), provides a community for students who wish to practice and share their Catholic faith with each other. This past weekend, the CSU joined together in celebration of Easter.
The size of wedding cakes throughout history started out small, grew really big and now lands somewhere in the middle. Wedding cakes originated in ancient Rome, where a scone or barley cake would be cracked over the bride’s head to ensure luck and fertility.
“Raucous.” “Awesome.” “Lots of food and lots of complaining.” These are just a few of the words that Lia Kornmehl ’23, Bowdoin Hillel’s co-president, used to describe Hillel’s Passover celebration, one of many Jewish traditions that the club celebrates each year.
During her 13 years as a driver for a Bowdoin SafeRide Shuttle, Angela Keating has connected countless students to their destinations around the mile-radius of campus and witnessed notable connections made between her passengers. One of Keating’s most memorable moments in the shuttle was witnessing the meeting of two students who began dating and eventually got married.
My family’s photo albums are filled with mementos of musical pursuits. In one particularly treasured shot, my brother stands on our wooden kitchen floor as rays of sun pour in through wide glass windows. Though the table and chairs tower over him, he is more enthusiastic than his size might suggest as he strums a toy guitar, his head thrown back in classic rock star fashion.
The Helmreichs, the Baxters and now Bowdoin College are just three of the many past owners of 6 Boody Street, President-elect Safa Zaki’s future home. The December 2022 purchase of the 1927 structure marks the next chapter in a history intertwined with Bowdoin’s.
On Wednesday, filmmaker Nina Menkes spoke at a virtual Q&A session about her film, “Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power,” which features film clips by A-list directors from 1896 to 2020 to explore the gendered politics of cinema and its relationship to the objectification of women.
“The dead surround the living. The living are the core of the dead. In this core are the dimensions of time and space. What surrounds the core is timelessness.” – John Berger Crouched, drawing circles in the dirt with his finger under the glare of the afternoon sun, the boy waited for his grandfather to return.
Every Friday at 7 p.m., as the campus celebrates the weekend’s long-awaited arrival, students file into Mass Hall to partake in a tranquil kick-off to the weekend. Classical music plays, conversations flow and, most importantly, tea is brewed; thus begins the weekly convening of Bowdoin’s Tea Club.
Editor’s note 03/03/23 at 2:08 p.m.: This article mistakingly reported that Bourgeois started At Last… during the pandemic. This has been corrected to note that she founded the business in 2010. Lori Bourgeois, owner of At Last… Salon & Day Spa, dreamed of starting her own business since childhood.
One fateful day, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “God is dead!” And on an even more fateful day, Chayma Charifi wrote, “God is dead.… but Cupid isn’t!” According to Nietzsche, God’s death means that humans are now free to create their own values and meanings.
On Wednesday, Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State University Andrea Louie ’89 examined the model minority myth through an unconventional lens: lecturing about her grandmother. Selected as the U.S. Mother of the Year in 1952, Toy Len Goon was a Chinese immigrant who ran a hand laundry in Portland, Maine.
In the history of my Moore triple’s traditional Sunday bake day, the only food we cooked but didn’t eat was our grand, seasonally in-demand, gingerbread house. We woke up at 6 a.m. two days in a row and in the freezing cold, lugged ingredients and tools from Howell to Mac House, holing up in the kitchen to design and bake a meticulous replica of Howell House, our affiliate house.
“Nothing remained unchanged but the clouds, and beneath these clouds, in a field of force of destructive torrents and explosions, was the tiny, fragile human body.” – Walter Benjamin Endless fields, meadows and rolling hills stretch towards the horizon, where the earth and sky meet, have always met, will forever meet—except when viewed from the forest floor.
Habitat for Humanity 7 Rivers was founded in 1991 with the goal of assisting low-income families with their housing needs by building sustainable housing, repairing houses and modifying existing homes. Since its founding, 7 Rivers has cultivated a fruitful relationship with many local institutions, including Bowdoin.
Bowdoin Concert Band and Chorus conducted a variety of performances over the years, and for both groups, Bowdoin students aren’t the only ones performing. The band and chorus are medleys of students, alumni, high school students and all sorts of other community members.
Increasing diversity in academia has been a significant concern for collegiate institutions in recent years. As a result, organizations and programs, such as The Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD), have emerged to address disparities in diversity in higher learning.
It’s become the universalized symbol of winter: the first snow, where you run out in the now cold air. A light dusting covers the ground and you try to catch a snowflake on your tongue. I always look forward to that first snow of the year, because it marks the changing of the seasons and the beginning of a beautiful winter.
We often hear that young people are the future. We’re not just the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today. I call BS. Well, not totally. We do rock. But we only rock and roll with a little nudge—advice from people who are more experienced than we are.
The Steller’s sea eagle is back, and people from all over the country are lining Midcoast Maine’s rural roads and bridges—armed with scopes and cameras—in hopes of catching a glimpse of this rare bird. Attracting throngs of people, the Steller’s sea eagle, a black and white bird native to Eastern Russia, was spotted roosting in pines north of the Route 127 Back River Bridge between Arrowsic and Georgetown on Saturday.
Nate and Armie Mangoba opened Quickly Boba Cafe on December 15, and in just two months of business, they have taken the Tontine Mall Complex by storm with their authentic boba creations. The franchise, based in California, was originally uprooted in Taiwan and has gained rapid popularity in Brunswick.
Sheets of silky phyllo dough stretched so thin they’re transparent are buttered, then layered with a filling of finely chopped pistachios, walnuts and cinnamon. Phyllo dough is unleavened so that after it has baked, it does not rise, and the layers settle into each other like the pages of a closed book.
Maine is a paragon of serene, pristine natural beauty, but has also been affected by pollution and other environmental harm. Lizzy Kaplan ’23 honors Maine’s environmental history—and celebrates 50 years of environmental studies at the College—in her exhibit “Woods, Water, and World: Environmental Studies at Bowdoin College.” Though Bowdoin’s environmental studies department was founded in 1972, the College’s relationship with the environment dates much further back.
What was once another eyesore on Pleasant Street has recently been recycled into a new business that offers alternatives to plastic products, allowing Brunswick residents to skip the recycling bin altogether. Opened in November, GoGo Refill encourages a low-waste lifestyle by selling reusable, refillable or compostable products, all with the goal of replacing everyday plastic purchases that often end up in the landfill.
On Thursday evening, Trinity College Professor Davarian Baldwin visited Bowdoin to give a lecture titled, “Chicago Could Be the Vienna of American Fascism: How Two Black Graduate Students Transformed Higher Education’s Vision of the American City” in the audience of a crowded Beam Auditorium.
Every Sunday before sunrise, Jeremy Kratzer is hard at work putting bagels into a wood-fired pizza oven to prepare for a morning serving customers that travel from near and far. Kratzer and his wife Marina started operating Dutchman’s, a bagel pop-up housed in Nomad Pizza’s cafe space, in November of 2022.
“Drew is my home name and Andrew is my school name.” – Me, circa 2007, before going off to kindergarten. For my entire life, my family has called me “Drew” and just about everyone else has called me “Andrew.” When I tell people that I go by Drew at home, they usually react with a mix of shock and confusion, which I always find surprising.
I’ve struggled with my mental health all my life, and what conditions I may have burrowing inside my head have been a mystery to me up until this past year. Even though I have dealt with nearly debilitating anxiety and depression since elementary school, I didn’t get properly diagnosed until spring of last year (happy one year diagnosis-versary to me!) thanks to Bowdoin Counseling and Wellness Services.
As December begins—and the sun sets at 4:03 p.m.—winter is here. Maine’s harsh winters can be difficult for both new and experienced residents. Compiled below are voices of the Bowdoin Community speaking on some of their favorite parts of the season.
As warm aromas of Thanksgiving cooking rose from the kitchen into my bedroom, I woke up with a feeling of excitement that my family and I were finally having a real, home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. As I ran down the stairs, I looked forward to saying goodbye to our annual, premade Costco Thanksgiving dinners and hello to homemade turkey and mashed potatoes.
In a Bowdoin Orient survey sent to the student body in October, nearly three-quarters of respondents said they had tested positive for Covid-19 at some point during the past two years. While the rates of Covid on campus dwindle and pandemic restrictions wane, there are continued implications of having once tested positive.
Every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., ambient music and calm energy fill the garage at 24 College Street for the Student Reiki Clinic, an initiative pioneered by the Wellness Center and carried out by community volunteers.
On Saturday evening, the South Asian Students Association (SASA) invited students to gather in Moulton Union to celebrate Diwali, or the festival of lights. The night was complete with food, dancing and celebration. At 6 p.m., guests were welcomed with food from Mughal Place and the opportunity to eat in community.
Well folks, we’ve got a lot to cover this time, so I won’t pontificate. Our bachelor this week (he/him, class of ’24) is interested in meeting people who use she/her pronouns. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
One Sunday morning, you wake up, check your phone and gawk at the early hour—who would have thought that you would be up naturally at 8 a.m. on Sunday? The world is your metaphorical oyster, and a quick peek behind the blinds confirms the weather is beautiful.
I grew up in a working-class neighborhood a few minutes away from the Newark Airport. My father, a limousine driver, purchased the house right before the 2008 recession. As the mortgage payments rose and the foreclosure letters hit the mail, my father worked longer hours behind the wheel.
Josh Duffy is a die-hard Down from the Wound fan and lover of calzones with an unshakeable, deeply entrenched urge to connect with others. On a random day eight years ago, Duffy felt this routine desire to befriend his peers when he met Jake Jakubowski.
In my hometown, the first snow usually falls a little before Halloween. Trick-or-treaters routinely trek up shoveled yet still icy driveways as cold snaps force red and yellow leaves from their branches. Last year, it was early December by the time there was snow on the ground at home.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, students hurry across the quad to class, passing by a comparatively less stressful scene—a group of community members practicing Tai Chi. The classes are taught by Bowdoin alumnus Ken Ryan ’71. Ryan started these classes 20 years ago, and since then they have grown every year.
The weather is getting cold again, and you know what that means. It’s officially the season of desperately wishing that special someone were there to take photos of the leaves falling cinematically around you and your one true love: the pumpkin-spice latte.
Many traditions have come and gone at the College. From Ivies and Supers to pub trivia and Dinner with Six Strangers, the common thread is clear: an emphasis on social connection. Many students apply to Bowdoin with hopes of belonging in a small, tight-knit community.
Working one profession is a time consuming and challenging endeavor. For many, voluntarily adding another to the list is out of the question. This is not the case for Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Ashley Shaw, who treats patients as a clinical psychologist in addition to teaching at the College.
Editor’s Note October 30, 2022: In a previous version of this article, the “Real Talk on Class” series was mistakenly called the “Real Talks on Class” series. This has been fixed in the headline and throughout the text.
Nomad Pizza, a business that originated in New Jersey, officially opened its brick and mortar restaurant in the Fort Andross Mill earlier this month. For the past year, Nomad operated as a food truck, serving pizza, homemade pasta and salads in Belfast, Monmouth and Portland, among other cities and towns in Maine.
The structure of Peer Health at the College looks different this year than in years past. The change comes as the volunteer student group attempts to shift from its historic independence from the College and internal approach to programming to a more intentional partnership with Residential Life in order to cultivate a unified front to support students.
Well, the annual trial of Marriage Pact has come and gone, leaving broken hearts and more than one extremely awkward interaction in its wake. Or perhaps I’m just cynical and some of you are freshly off the market, successfully wooed by the lure of a software-determined soulmate.
I spent most of my fall break circumnavigating Kent Island’s tidepools—slipping over mounds of seaweed, hopscotching boulders, singing to periwinkles, bushwhacking a mile in rubber boots and lifting tiny green crabs out of the water. Until I was closed in by the Atlantic in every direction, my experience with the ocean was limited to yearly beach outings and a few whale watching trips in Canada with my family, and I was fascinated by it.
On most weeknights, Thorne dining hall is shrouded in darkness, but on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, a light flickers on, illuminating rows of American-favorite foods. While the mouth-watering views draw students in, they are first met by an ever-changing glow of hair, glitter and a bright smile.
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Danielle Dube has worked at the College for the past 15 years. Almost two decades ago, she started in the Bertozzi Lab, led by Carolyn Bertozzi at the University of California-Berkeley.
Root, Rind & Petal is a local health and wellness boutique on Pleasant Street. Its unassuming exterior, chalkboard sign, covered porch and charming white paint doesn’t reveal much to the passerby. Inside, however, owner Jenny Fitzpatrick has created a truly unique space.
Upon entering the barn behind 52 Harpswell, warmth radiates from a small gas stove on the ground, complemented by the nostalgic scent of Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. This scent is the fragrance of elderberry permeating the crisp fall air.