A chance to share your opinions on relevant on-campus topics and make one hundred dollars in the process? About a hundred students each semester have been chosen to do just that for the newly-debuted Polar Bear Feedback Team (PBFT), a committee whose goal is to understand student opinions and implement changes based on the responses it receives.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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 never realized how comfortable I had become in the “Bowdoin bubble” until I ventured outside of it for the first time since coming to campus. Stepping off the train at Boston’s North Station during Fall Break felt like a jolt to my system in a way that I had never experienced before.
When Kaitlin Weiss ’25 saw the leaked Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision last May, she was frustrated that there was seemingly nowhere for her to direct her passion for reproductive rights on campus. In response to the leak, she, along with Luisa Wolcott-Breen ’25 and Cambron Wade ’24, revived the Bowdoin Reproductive Justice Coalition (BRJC).
The 2022 midterm elections are only 39 days away. As political campaigns are preparing for their final push, so is Bowdoin Votes, the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good’s nonpartisan group that serves to increase campus political engagement.
When you think of a forest, maybe you think of an ecosystem. A hierarchy, a function, a mechanism of inputs and outputs driven by competition. Maybe a million tiny elements working asynchronously, maybe a huge, labyrinthine conglomeration of life bound by rain and sunlight and soft dirt.
Looking out my bedroom window, I see a bright light blinking across the dark sky. The sound of an engine rumbles low in the distance. “Starlight, star bright,” I whisper to myself. Growing up next to Boston Logan International Airport, there was too much light pollution to see more than the moon and clouds in the night sky.
The other day, I was in Thorne, and I saw two of my friends talking. One of them said something, and the other laughed. My immediate reaction was that they were obviously making fun of me, even though I sat three tables away, and they had just arrived.
Associate Dean of Admissions Justin Fahey will be leaving the tour guide program this week, wrapping up five years of work at the College. Approximately two years of his time were spent heading the program, a role that Assistant Dean of Admissions Julia O’Rourke ’19 will enthusiastically take on.
With fake cigarettes in-hand, New York accents engaged and full-body vagina costumes donned, seniors Gita Kant and Lola Motley took the stage last fall in a sketch about sexual health before an overflowing Kresge Auditorium. After almost two years of Covid-19 restrictions, Purity Pact’s end-of-semester show marked a milestone in the return of campus comedy.
With Valentine’s Day in the rearview mirror, students have been reflecting on the most recent romantic phenomenon to sweep campus: Datamatch. The online matchmaking service, run by Harvard University students, arrived on campus for the first time last week.
Instead of spending their weekends at Urban Outfitters or Salvation Army, four students on campus have turned to knitting needles, sewing machines and “floofers.” These students—a small but passionate cohort—have turned to sewing for various reasons but remain united by their love of the craft.
Tucked away alongside a consignment shop, hotel and Vietnamese restaurant, Flip, Maine Street’s new brunch spot, is open for business. “What does Brunswick need? What does Brunswick want? It was breakfast!” owner Mike Jerome said. “There was no place to sit down and get a Bloody Mary and breakfast without having to go across the bridge to Topsham.” The brunch bar opened on Christmas Eve of last year, taking the spot of Benchwarmers, a long-standing sports bar and pub.
For many prospective students going through the college application process, traveling to Brunswick can often be difficult, impractical and expensive—especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite Bowdoin’s virtual tours and online information sessions, it can be difficult to replicate the College’s atmosphere through the confines of Zoom.
Bowdoin students have all received that email sent from Bowdoin DBMail: “You have a(n) item(s) ready for pick up at the Bowdoin Mail Center.” From here, schedule permitting, students make their way over to Smith Union, wait in a meandering line, recite their ID number, flash their OneCard, smile at the mailroom worker as they grab their package et voilà: a parcel of the student’s own.
Instead of saying goodbye to high school friends, packing up his childhood bedroom and buying decorations for his dorm room before coming to Bowdoin, Elijah Dumdie ’25 was trading in his army-issued uniform for a gray L.L.
For Senior Class President Carlos Campos ’22, providing students with a platform to share their stories in a safe, inclusive, creative space is a priority. His new project, “People of the Global Majority,” a student-run publication supported by Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) and its president Ryan Britt ’22, aims to give a voice to historically marginalized students on campus.
Enduring the stresses of the pandemic last school year, Paul Russo ’23 needed to de-stress and wanted to give other students the opportunity to do the same. Combining his love of poetry with a need for community, Paul formed the Nightingale Society, a club meant to foster vulnerability and connection for poets on campus.
At 6:35 p.m. Thorne dining hall was abuzz with students checking their email, screams were heard on the first floor of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library and FaceTimes were ringing in as the Bowdoin Marriage Pact released the initials of the ideal match of each student who participated.
After a disjointed year on (and mostly off) campus, the Class of 2024 returned to campus this fall as sophomores. Having experienced an atypical year at the College, the class is still expected to step into leadership roles within the community.
Last Saturday afternoon, Masque & Gown, using the steps of the Peary-MacMillian Arctic Museum as a makeshift stage, performed a reading of Terry Wayne Gabbard’s play “Our Place.” The reading marked the first time that Masque & Gown has staged an in-person performance in over a year.
Video game difficulty is extremely adjustable in most cases. However, developer FromSoftware has created a niche genre with strict difficulty as its core tenet. The genre, commonly referred to as “souls-like” (in reference to the game that sparked the genre, “Dark Souls”), is centered around the idea that players want a challenge.
Jose Melo ’23 mixed his first beat on his school-issued laptop when he was 13 years old. Today, when he is not doing laboratory work or taking classes for his integrative biology major, Melo sells his dorm-studio-born beats to local artists in his hometown and the greater Boston area.
For the first time since COVID-19 sent students home last spring, the College hosted a campus-wide in-person event. Dubbed a “May 1 Celebration,” the Office of Student Activities scheduled a day of outdoor activities, live music and food trucks last Saturday afternoon to usher in the final month of the semester.
After a long year without the chance to sing in person, the Bowdoin Meddiebempsters, Bowdoin’s oldest a cappella group, are back on stage. When COVID-19 cases surged last March, the Meddiebempsters had just started their annual tour and were prepared to sing at colleges and venues all over the northeast.
In October 2013, Pokémon introduced the fairy type—the first new Pokémon type since October 2000. In summary, each Pokémon has one or two “types,” and each move has one type. The move’s type determines how effective it will be against the opponent’s type(s).
As the spring 2021 semester begins to come to a close, Finn Woodruff ’21 is polishing and completing his senior music performance project—a collection of original fiddle songs influenced by his experience playing bluegrass, jazz and folk music.
Although COVID-19 has prevented Bowdoin from holding Ivies weekend, several student bands have been working to ensure that students will be able to attend distanced, outdoor concerts as the semester comes to a close. The College’s outdoor concert series began on Saturday with a performance by student band Lady and the Tramps on the steps of Baxter House.
Ever since middle school, Kate Padilla ’23 has enjoyed creating visual art. Padilla recently began sharing this long-time passion by creating an Instagram page and Etsy shop. On these platforms, she shares and sells watercolor and gouache paintings—her current favorite media.
Theater and Dance students from Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 present senior studio projects in remote format
In past years, spring in the department of theater and dance has seen the culmination of seniors’ work in studio projects: performances written, directed and acted by Bowdoin students. For the Class of 2020, however, the beginning of the pandemic made live studio productions impossible.
Turn-based video games are direct descendants of board games and tabletop role-playing games such as Monopoly or Dungeons and Dragons. This video game genre includes classic series, such as Civilization and Total War, and their gameplay consists of players making set moves within a given turn.
Since the beginning of the spring 2021 semester, Emily Ha ’21 has been pursuing a senior honors project in choral conducting—an effort that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, has required far more planning, research and distance between singers than it would have in a more normal semester.
In response to the challenges posed by social distancing and remote learning, several dance groups at Bowdoin—including Polar Bear Swing Dance, VAGUE and Arabesque—have adapted their structures to keep their members socially connected and active. Polar Bear Swing Dance, led by Sydney Cox ’23 and Zachary Kaplan ’21, has been meeting exclusively over Zoom since last semester.
Spencer Wilkins ’21 has known that he wanted to write a play since the fall of his junior year. Four semesters later, he is preparing for the premiere of his senior studio project, “WALDO,” an original, 87-minute Zoom play that will be pre-recorded and streamed to the Bowdoin community on April 8.
This semester, Elena Sparrow ’22 and Dalia Tabachnik ’21 started the Mail Art Collective, a student group dedicated to building a sense of community by creating and sharing postcards. According to the group, participants are now in their second round of cards, centered around the theme of “the old and the new.” “[Art] is a gift.
With indoor gatherings limited by low occupancy limits in private residential common rooms, the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) recently partnered with Facilities to purchase outdoor fire pits as a means to give students another option to safely socialize—the most recent initiative to enhance the student social experience in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After recognizing potential obstacles not addressed by the College’s formal plan for welcoming students back to campus last week, Thomas Bao ’21 and Maddie Hikida ’22 launched Polar Bear Community Action (PBCA), a mutual aid network intended to streamline the process for students arriving back on campus.
Programming for this year’s Black History Month opened with a dialogue between three prominent alumni. This conversation, a reflection on the history, barriers and foundational principles of the Harlem Children’s Zone, was moderated by President Clayton Rose and featured founders of the Harlem’s Children’s Zone Geoffrey Canada ’74 H’07, George Khaldun ’73 and Stanley Druckenmiller ’75 H’07.
Co-hosted by Maya Dowling-Wolfe ’23 and Esther Park ’23, the Stripped Bear podcast explores self-identity and self-love every Friday. Each month has two solo episodes—one hosted only by Dowling-Wolfe, and one hosted only by Park—one joint episode and one “wild card” episode.
The Bowdoin Animation Society (BAS) continues to virtually watch and critique animation through online platforms in an effort to maintain their tight-knit community during the mostly remote fall semester. The members of BAS hope to simulate the social experience of gathering together and discussing animation by using a variety of messengers and servers.
Bowdoin’s Catholic Student Union (CSU) fosters unity and strength through shared faith and experiences. Despite its members being scattered across the country, CSU has maintained a regular schedule that includes weekly meetings, mass watch parties, prayers and meditation.
This fall, a group of students is engaging in a six-week workshop series called “Race, Power, Oppression, and Liberation.” Responding to students’ interest in engaging in racial justice work at Bowdoin and beyond, the workshop will meet weekly to discuss personal identity and power, institutional and social systems of oppression, anti-racist work and liberation.
The High Holidays are considered a time of reflection for the Jewish community, but this year they fall during a time of reflection for the whole College community. When Hillel received requests from 29 on-campus students to attend the organization’s Friday Rosh Hashanah dinner—nine students more than the maximum capacity for campus gatherings—the College had to make a decision.
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.
As first years, student staff at the Office of Residential Life and approved upperclassmen moved onto campus in late August, they said goodbye to a number of things. Some of the 653 students residing on campus said goodbye to their hometowns, while some said goodbye to their home states or home countries.
President Clayton Rose informed students that the College may not be able to reopen the campus to “everyone” for the fall semester in an email sent on Thursday. “We do not know if it will be possible to bring everyone back to campus for the fall semester, but I want us to carefully examine if it can be done (and if so, how) in a manner that accounts for the presence of the virus and would be safe for our community,” Rose wrote.
Not long after students arrived on campus this semester, posters supporting various political candidates began to appear. The ongoing primary season prompted the Division of Student Affairs to remind students of a longstanding policy regarding political posters and events.
This week, the Orient sent out its biannual approval rating survey, known as the Bowdoin Orient Student Survey, to gauge student opinion on campus institutions. The survey was sent to all 1,973 students and yielded 504 responses (25.5 percent).
Around the bar at Moderation Brewing on the first Friday in March, 10 students and 10 professors discussed the purpose of American colleges. The group, formally titled the Concordia Forum, had departed from the couches in the Massachusetts Hall Faculty Room and walked to Moderation Brewing to continue their conversation, which lasted for over two hours.
Ishani Agarwal ’20 says she came to Bowdoin “blind.” An international student from Mumbai, India, Ishani gleaned everything she knew about Bowdoin from pamphlets and the internet. Once transplanted to campus and settled in small-town Maine, Agarwal wondered about a lot of things.
The College plans to introduce two new upperclass student living spaces in fall 2019—four suite-style apartment houses as well as the conversion of Boody-Johnson House into a College House. Born out of more than 1,600 survey responses from students, faculty, staff and neighbors as well as the efforts of a working group on off-campus and upperclass housing, these two changes to Bowdoin’s campus work to address student desires and entice students to remain living on campus.
Four students have received court summons in the past two weeks for charges of jaywalking and possession of liquor by a minor. One of those summons resulted after the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) showed up at the annual Cold War party at MacMillan and Quinby Houses last weekend, while the remaining three were issued the previous weekend.
Correction: In our desire to break this story, an earlier version of this article jumped to the conclusion that Boody-Johnson House was to become student housing next year. In an email to the Orient, Dean of Students Tim Foster said the administration was only exploring the possibility of the house being converted into student housing, timeframe unknown, and confirmed that if this transition were to happen, it would not be next year.
Eleven percent of seniors have used cocaine during their time at Bowdoin, according to data from an Orient survey conducted this past December. Use of the drug among the class of 2018 substantially outpaces the other class years, and represents an increase from the last Orient survey on drug use, conducted in 2013.
Bowdoin has already seen some effects of the influenza epidemic, characterized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as moderately severe this year. According to Director of Health Services Dr. Jeffrey Maher, the bulk of the cases will present in the coming months.
The number of students seeking counseling services at Bowdoin has increased dramatically over the past decade, making it difficult for Counseling Service to accommodate all students’ needs and driving some students to seek help through off-campus providers.
Twenty students in the class of 2017 received Fulbright Fellowships and one student received the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which funds a student’s travel and research for one year. Nineteen students have already accepted fellowships, 14 of which are English Teaching Assistantships (ETA) and five of which are Study/Research Awards (SR).
This Monday, the Bowdoin Financial Literacy Club (BFLC) will hold a financial literacy day in order to educate the Bowdoin community about money management. A series of workshops targeting those already in the workforce and students interested in investing will run throughout the afternoon and address a variety of subjects related to personal finance.
This evening, Bowdoin V-Day, an organization dedicated to fighting sexual violence against women and girls, will end nearly 20 years of performing “The Vagina Monologues” due to debate about the Monologues presenting a one-dimensional, outdated portrayal of womanhood. In its place, V-Day is debuting the student-written show, “RISE: Untold Stories of Bowdoin Women.”
The Health Center has seen an increased demand for longer-term contraceptives among students concerned about insurance coverage of birth control, according to Director of Health Services Jeffrey Maher. This increase in demand for long-acting reversible birth control coincides with the Health Center’s current emphasis on education about more proactive, effective forms of preventing pregnancy Under the Affordable Care Act, private health insurance plans have begun reducing or eliminating co-pays and deductibles on contraceptives.
The Housing Lottery opened on Monday with several changes in housing options for the 2017-2018 academic year. Cleaveland Street Apartments will no longer be offered as student housing; one-bedroom triples in Brunswick Apartments will revert back to doubles and the fifth floors of Osher and West Halls will no longer be available to upperclassmen in order to eliminate quints in the first-year bricks.
Journalist and author Helen Zia discussed her career as an activist and the future she envisions for America at a talk entitled “Building Bridges Across Communities” in Kresge auditorium on Wednesday. The event was sponsored by the Asian Students Association as part of Asian Heritage Month.
Last night, Macauley Lord ’78 and Reverend Jeff McIlwain, volunteer chaplains at Cumberland County Jail in Portland, spoke about their work during this month’s Theology on Tap event at Jack Magee’s Pub and Grill. Bowdoin Catholic Student Union co-leaders Jack Lucy ’17 and Sam Hoegle ’17; Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Reverend Robert Ives; and Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland Campus Minister Joy Segovia organized the event.
Rev. Dr. Marvin M. Ellison, former Willard S. Bass Professor of Christian Ethics at the Bangor Theological Seminary and a Presbyterian minister who is openly gay delivered a talk yesterday afternoon discussing the difficulties of interpreting the Bible and how people should approach issues of homosexuality and religion.
Despite the generally positive reception of the Free Flow project—which installed dispensers for free pads and tampons in 12 women’s and four men’s bathrooms across campus—the initiative has also elicited negative responses. Housekeeping confirmed that all the tampons and pads in the men’s restroom of the first floor of David Saul Smith Union were thrown away unused several times.