Letters have gone out this month to all 496 incoming first-years informing them about their orientation trip assignments. On Aug. 22, after spending the night together as a class in Farley Field House, the students will disperse throughout the state – or as the case may be, stay in Brunswick – in small groups to hike, paddle, farm, do yoga, bicycle, study science, surf, volunteer, and get to know each other and Maine.
This is the first time in the three-decade-old tradition of orientation trips that all first-years will go on one of the 51 expeditions Bowdoin is offering this summer. Previously, orientation trips were voluntary, but the College decided to change the policy last year. “Instead of the haves and the have nots,” Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster said, “it’ll be a unified tradition for every class. This way we can create a common introductory experience and tradition, and traditions bring people together, connect them to the place and to one another.”
The majority of first-years, about 370 or so, will go on one of the 41 trips offered by the Outing Club. And 26 students will stay on campus for the Bowdoin Science Experience.
The McKeen Center for the Common Good is offering 10 service trips, for 93 students. McKeen Fellow Erin St. Peter ’13 and Caitlin Callahan, Bowdoin’s assistant director for student community service, plan on traveling next week to Washington County to pin down final details at three new community service sites there.
Also, this summer, the two Cambodian students who will study at Bowdoin this academic year through the Harpswell Foundation will participate in one of the service trips in the midcoast.
All trip leaders – 23 McKeen leaders and more than 100 Outing Club leaders – will be on campus Aug. 17 for three days of training. Trips leave at first light the 22nd. “That’s game day,” says Becca Austin, the outing club’s assistant director.