This semester, 179 students have taken a personal leave of absence from the College—a slight increase from the fall, when 164 students took leaves. For these students, taking a personal leave of absence provides an escape from Zoom classes and an opportunity for creative or professional pursuits.
Buildings and classrooms were closed. Dining halls only offered take-out meals. Common areas around campus, normally overflowing with talking, laughing students, were deserted. “Closed to Visitors” signs were placed across the quad, making it eerily empty and devoid of activity.
Coronavirus and counseling: how the pandemic has left one of the College’s most crucial resources vulnerable
Editor’s Note 11/20/20 at 10:42 a.m.: This article has been updated for accuracy. In a period of stress and uncertainty that has contributed to increasing mental health issues in college-aged adults, Bowdoin’s mental health care, which students can access without paying any extra in tuition and fees, is as important as ever.
With the student body scattered across the globe, the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) class councils are working hard to prioritize connecting students and providing them with helpful resources. Each class council has slightly different goals. While first years are focusing on facilitating meetings and building community, upperclassmen are striving to make their final semesters special and enjoy more time together.
As students tune into Zoom lectures from across the globe, the Division of Student Affairs is launching an initiative to connect with students who are studying remotely. The Remote Connections Team, consisting of five staff members from the Division, is planning to reach out individually to every off-campus student this semester.
It is officially fall in Brunswick: cooling temperatures, changing leaves and the beginning of essay-writing season. For first years, it means getting back their first college papers and potentially facing the disappointment of lower-than-expected grades. “I was really struggling to get a strong cohesive idea throughout my paper,” said Ian Pratt ’24 of his first paper on Plato for his first-year writing seminar, “Human Being and Citizen.” That’s when Pratt decided to make an appointment with a writing assistant through the Baldwin Center for Learning and Teaching (BCLT).
The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum started planning its move to a virtual format as soon as Bowdoin closed its doors in the spring. Genny LeMoine, the curator and registrar of the Arctic Museum, is leading its virtual programming focused on goals of greater at-home accessibility and a stronger online presence.
Every Monday, Jill Tian ’21, who is studying in Beijing, China, logs into her first Zoom class at 9 p.m. and continues to stay on Zoom until 2:30 a.m., eventually going to sleep around 3 a.m.
With most first years living on campus and a majority of sophomores, the House residents during a typical semester, remote, the College Houses are facing a unique set of challenges in facilitating and building community this fall.
A space known for its open doors to women and LGBTQ+ students on campus, the Sexuality, Women and Gender Center (SWAG) at 24 College Street offers warm conversations and friendly companionship over tea in the kitchen or around pizza in the garage.
Previously scheduled to reopen to on-campus students on September 7, the doors to Hawthorne-Longfellow Library remain temporarily closed as campus status remains in orange. However, that does not mean library staff have not been busy behind the scenes—they have been doing everything from revamping the online delivery system to wrapping up dozens of books in brown paper bags for on-campus pick-up.
Between a pandemic and a precarious political climate, very little has gone according to plan over the past several months, and the world has had to learn how to improvise. “Improvabilities,” Bowdoin’s oldest improvisational comedy group, has worked to modify and adapt their craft to suit a remote model.
In an effort to address significant barriers to community-building this semester, Counseling Services has made major changes to their programming. In an email to the Orient, Interim Director of the Counseling and Wellness Services Roland Mendiola discussed the multitude of resources Counseling Services will offer this semester, including mental health classes, workshops, presentations and consults, along with the online counseling and psychiatric sessions that Counseling Services has offered previously.
This semester, without the ability to gather in the studio or rehearse on stage, faculty in the visual and performing arts have had to come up with creative approaches to remote instruction and artistic community-building. Despite these challenges, students have begun the semester with great enthusiasm, filling introductory courses and, in some cases, becoming part of long waitlists.