Recalling Memories From a Summer of Giving Back

The couple dozen students who received fellowships from Bowdoin to work for humanitarian or environmental organizations this summer recently gathered to celebrate their experiences.

“One of the unique aspects of the Community Matters in Maine fellowship program is that it’s jointly run by Environmental Studies and the McKeen Center for the Common Good,” said Janice Jaffe, associate director of the McKeen Center. “The fellows meet together on various occasions throughout the program so they really get to learn not only about their organization and the issues it focuses on in Maine, but also how that work intersects with that of various other organizations.” Jaffe added that the summer internships also cross disciplinary boundaries, enhancing students’ liberal arts experiences.

At the afternoon reception in Moulton Union, the students presented posters and briefly shared their most memorable moments from the summer. Below the slideshow is a sample of their reflections.

Camille Wasinger ’15, Maine Conservation Voters: “When I was shadowing a lobbyist at the statehouse, she was introducing me to legislators and told a group I was from Bowdoin. I found out that [several of them] went to Bowdoin. This fellowship has been so wonderful for me to learn about policy and expand my network.”

Casey Correa ’14, ArtVan: “I started making a whole beach scene [in clay] with [a little boy] and the smile on his face was my best memory.”

Tyler DeAngelis ’13, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust: “I was at the community garden working with 11 13-year-olds during the 95-degree heat wave. A woman gardening there offered us access to her lettuce. It was like these kids had never eaten lettuce before; they were astounded by how delicious it was.”

Molly Sun ’15, Town of Topsham: “My supervisor asked if I wanted to go to a site to determine if there was a stream or ‘not stream.’ We ended up calling it a ‘not stream.’ This really showed me that planning in a small town covers the whole spectrum of big and small things you have to take care of.”

Colin Swords ’15, Brunswick Housing Authority: “The highlights of the summer were when I got to sit in on two or three meetings with a man applying for a [housing] loan from BHA. It was really nice to learn the process by which people apply for loans, and to match faces with the organization’s mission.”

Leah Anderson ’15, Community Financial Literacy: “My best memory was sitting in on a course we offer called Building Wealth. Claude, the director, asked all the students about what they had done in their home country. I was astonished by people’s accomplishments: There were medical students; some had worked in government or for banks. It made me more impressed by CFL’s mission [to help immigrants and refugees navigate the financial system.] These people could help Maine’s economy so much — they just need a little extra help with money management.”

Courtney Payne ’15, Friends of Casco Bay: “This summer I was looking at pH levels across clam flats and seeing how human activity is impacting clam productivity. The first day I was working in clam flats I was covered in mud. And this Monday, I was out on the flats and this time I came out with not a speck of mud on me. It was a real accomplishment.”

Olivia Reed ’15, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project: “I was filling out forms for a tiny little old woman and had to ask her the formal questions, one of which was, ‘Are you engaged in prostitution?’ She started cackling and said, ‘Look at me dear, I’m old!’ Every client I met made the process unique and different.”

Courtney Chuang ’15, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program: “My best memory was one Thursday afternoon, a farmer from Fishbowl Farm unexpectedly dropped off pounds and pounds of lettuce, cucumbers and cabbage. We were squishing bags of beautiful lettuce in the fridge to make it all fit. It confirmed for me how the community in Maine provides food for those who need it.”

thumb:Bowdoin students aboard the Arctic schooner Bowdoin