Campus Quality

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Campus Quality


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5 College Sophomore

Campus Quality: Facilities are beautiful, well maintained and easy to access.

4 Recent Alumnus

Campus Quality: Facilities are awesome, and we are lucky to have all of what we do.

4 Recent Alumnus

Campus Quality: Our location in Maine is simply the best if you're outdoorsy.

5 College Freshman

Campus Quality: Life on campus is high quality. Best food topped with some of the best living spaces.

4 College Freshman

Campus Quality: There's always something exciting going on campus.

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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On its 200-acre campus, Bowdoin pampers its student body with an athletic center and multiple gymnasiums; dining halls; a convenience store; a pub and grill; computer labs; and music, science, and general-purpose libraries with a special collections department, a government document collection, and much more. The Olympic-sized pool, collegiate-sized hockey rink, climbing wall, indoor track, dance studio, aerobics room, separate Outing Club building, and squash, basketball, and tennis courts are all available for use by the Bowdoin community year-round. Campus is centered around the Quad but also extends down the road and to the coastal studies research center. Perhaps the most unique thing about Bowdoin's architecture is that each building seems to have its own personality or ambiance.

Bowdoin often renovates the campus in order to provide state-of-the-art facilities for its students. Most recently, the Peter Buck Fitness Center was built and meets the high demand of Bowdoin's athletically oriented student body. Another recent accomplishment is the completion of several LEED-certified buildings, part of Bowdoin's steps toward sustainability. Aesthetically, Bowdoin is a beautiful campus, and one quick glance at the academic quad alone proves that. Regardless of your taste, you’ll find at least one building visually pleasing. Between the gothic Hubbard Hall, the grand-pillared Walker Art Museum, the red-and-white Gibson Hall, the brown-brick Visual Art Center, the red-brick Searles Science/Math Building, the cobblestone Pickard Hall, and the vine-covered red-brick first-year dorms, you’ll see a little of everything at Bowdoin.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
205 acres
Student Centers
Smith Union (The Union, SU)
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
  • African American Center Library
  • Beckwith Music Library
  • Government Documents
  • Hatch Science Library
  • Hawthorne-Longfellow Library
  • Hubbard Hall
  • Language Media Center
  • Pierce Art Library
  • Special Collections & Archives
  • Susan Dwight Bliss Room
  • Women’s Resource Center Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • The Pub
  • The quad
  • Recreation Center underneath Sargent Gym
  • Smith Union
Bar on Campus
Jack Magee's Pub in the Smith Union
Bowling on Campus
There is no bowling alley on campus, but the Bowling Bowl is a short walk from campus, and a bit farther away is Spare Time at Cook's Corner.
Coffeehouse on Campus
The café in Smith Union has all sorts of coffee drinks, plus baked goods, smoothies, and, on Wednesdays, sushi!
Movie Theater on Campus
The Bowdoin Film Society shows a different film every weekend. All movies are free and shown in Smith Auditorium.
"Green" Initiatives
Bowdoin's main buzzword is probably "sustainability," and green efforts seem to permeate all parts of campus life. On the academic side, there are strong Environmental Studies and Arctic Studies departments supplemented by multiple research centers on the coast. The newest and recently renovated buildings on campus are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certified, meaning they're focused on reducing energy use, recycling rainwater, and so on.

Students can get involved in the green movement by becoming EcoReps or joining the student-run Evergreens Club. Sustainable Bowdoin has a large presence on campus by offering recycling in every dorm, encouraging less power use, and taking care of Technotrash (computers, DVDs, and other electronics.) Leftover food that is still servable is sent to the local homeless shelter, and anything that can't be served is given to a farmer for his pigs.

Since 2005, Bowdoin's electricity use and carbon emissions have greatly decreased. The College is working toward getting all of its energy needs from renewable sources. Shuttle services, the Yellow Bike Club, hybrid fleet vehicles, and carpooling are all efforts used to reduce Bowdoin's impact on the environment. Students are kept up-to-date on future environmentally focused events through the "Bathroom Reader," a monthly one-page newsletter taped in restroom stalls across campus.
School Slang
  • Af-Am: Refers to a house on campus where the Africana studies department is located. This house also offers social space, a kitchen, a library, and several residential rooms for students. The Af-Am is known for its substance-free parties.
  • BOC: Bowdoin Outing Club
  • Bowdoin Bubble: A term for the common mentality at Bowdoin in which students become very consumed with life at the College and a bit oblivious to the outside world
  • Brunswick: No, this doesn't refer to the town in this instance-it refers to the Brunswick Apartments, a popular place for upperclassmen to live.
  • Common Hour: Between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Fridays, Bowdoin brings speakers to campus that often draw big crowds.
  • CPC: The Career Planning Center, located in Moulton Union to the right of the Residential Life Office
  • Crack House: A popular off-campus place to party where several members of the lacrosse team reside. It is a rundown house, but it still attracts a steady following of Bowdoin students.
  • C-Store: The convenience store on the first floor of the Smith Union
  • Druck: Druckenmiller Science Hall
  • Farley: When someone says they are going to "Farley," they could be saying they are going to the field house, the soccer fields, the baseball diamond, the softball field, or the football field.
  • Hatch: Hatch Science Library
  • Kote's (pronounced Cody's): The ice cream store just off campus
  • The Orient: The College's weekly newspaper
  • Pre-O: The pre-orientation program that students can partake in before their freshman orientation
  • Proctor: Four proctors live in each first-year residence hall, and one proctor lives in each social house. Proctors work for Residential Life and assist with first-year orientation and help keep the first-year class safe.
  • The quad: A grassy area between Appleton, Hubbard, Maine, Massachusetts, Searles, and Winthrop halls and the Walker Art Museum
  • Safety School: The phrase "safety school" is often yelled at the opposing team at sporting events to imply superiority in not just athleticism but also intelligence (kicking them where it hurts).
  • The Schwarz or SOLC: Schwarz Outdoor Leadership Center, where the Bowdoin Outing Club is located
  • So Pro: Social Probation
  • The Stacks: Located in Hubbard Hall, which is attached to the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library
  • SU: The Smith Union, the main student center on campus. The campus mail center, bookstore, Express Store, and Jack Magee's Pub and Grill are found here.
  • The Tower: Coles Tower
  • VAC: The Visual Arts Center, where the art and visual arts departments are located. This building has a hole through it, so carriages can go directly to the chapel.
  • Bowdoin Hello: Traditionally, Bowdoin students are known to say hello to everyone they pass on campus, even if they don't know the person. These days, the Bowdoin hello sometimes emanates as a nod or smile-but there's at least some acknowledgment of their passing.
  • Bowdoin-Colby Hockey Game: The face-off between the Bowdoin and Colby men's hockey teams is the biggest game of the year. Students often pre-game with alcohol and then show up for cheering, shouting, and all-around rambunctiousness.
  • Chapel Bells: The bells chime every 15 minutes. The chapel bells underwent two years of renovation and were restarted on September 20, 2004, at 8 a.m.
  • Ivies: This spring tradition involves starting to drink on Wednesday in classes and continuing through the weekend. Ivies is the celebration of the ivy turning green on the Bricks; others say it's also a celebration of Bowdoin's mythic rejection of the invitation to join the Ivy League.
  • Lobster Run: Every fall before classes start, the students meet at Farley Fields to enjoy a lobster feast with all the trimmings. To end every year's festivities, students participate in a 5K run around the athletic fields to celebrate the start of classes and consumption of a lot of good food with the finish line having several students dressed as lobsters congratulate you on your participation.
  • Polar Bear: Bowdoin's pride and joy is its mascot, the polar bear, who makes an appearance at athletic events to rally school support against its competition.
  • Polar Bearing: A group of students meet every so often at midnight to jump into the frigid ocean, a lake, or a river.
Urban Legends
  • It has been said that 60 percent of Bowdoin students marry another Bowdoin student. however, this legend has recently been disproved.
  • The Ivies Legend says that the Ivy League invited Bowdoin to join its prestigious athletic conference because, at the time, Bowdoin was competitive rivals with Dartmouth College (a member of the Ivy League), and it only seemed fitting to become a member. However, Bowdoin was significantly smaller than other Ivy League institutions and was only an undergraduate institution, so it is said that if the College were to accept this honorary invitation, it would need to increase the size of its student body and create graduate schools. Bowdoin did not want to stray from its mission to foster the development of undergraduate students, so the College rejected the invitation. From that day on, the student body celebrates Bowdoin's superiority over the Ivy League for one week every spring by drinking extensively. Ivies Week is also said to be a celebration of the ivy turning from brown to green, but the Ivy League story is so much more interesting, even though it's probably not true.
Favorite Things To Do
Despite the small campus and moderate town size, there are many things to do. Artistic productions are regularly put on by students, including dance shows at Pickard Theater, plays and improv shows, art openings at Fort Andross or the Visual Arts Center, and numerous a cappella concerts at the chapel. Bowdoin also provides a number of diverse fitness facilities, which makes exercise and recreational activity extremely accessible. Students should also check out the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC), which does backpacking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, fly-fishing, hiking, kayaking, knitting, snow shoeing, whitewater rafting, winter mountaineering, and more! The BOC maintains a cabin in Monson, Maine, at the start of the Appalachian Trail, and owns Merritt Island on the New Meadows River.

A typical Bowdoin student usually becomes involved in lots of activities, and eventually gets caught up in a chaotic but rewarding routine. To unwind after a long day, students like to take walks, chill out and read on the quad, visit the Walker Art Museum, toss a Frisbee around between the dorms, tune into the campus radio station WBOR (91.1), or flip on the Bowdoin Cable Network. Others go to the Smith Union to enjoy the company of friends, a cup of java, sushi from the café, or play a game of pool. Another favorite thing Bowdoin students enjoy doing is attending guest lectures. The College has been known to bring in experts from time to time to speak about their professional and life experiences-past notable speakers include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Barbara Walters. Many students also like to hang out at the ITS Center while doing "work"-around finals time, you'll find more of a social setting here than actual studying.
Student Newspaper
The Bowdoin Orient
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
There are tons of organizations on campus that focus on everything from the arts to community service to recreation. Students can create charters for new organizations by finding an adviser and students who are interested in joining, outlining a tentative budget, and creating a proposal that includes a mission statement, plan of action, and leadership structure. Student organization funds are allocated by the Student Activities Funding Committee.
Student Activities Offered
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Student newspaper
  • Student-run film society
  • Symphony orchestra
  • Television station
  • Yearbook
Air Force ROTC: No
Navy ROTC: No
Army ROTC: No
Did You Know?
Since 2006, Bowdoin has opened Studzinski Hall and Kanbar Auditorium, a 270-seat state-of-the-art music recital hall with expanded rehearsal space; has gutted and fully renovated all six first-year dormitories; and has reopened the Bowdoin College Museum of Art following a three-year and $20.5 million expansion and renovation. A new ice arena-Watson Arena-will open in December 2008.

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 42 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

What are your favorite things to do around campus?    Based on 15 responses

  • 15% Spend time with friends
  • 13% Going on a Brunswick adventure
  • 12% IM sports with friends for fun
  • 12% Guest lecturers on campus
  • 10% Freshman floor common rooms
  • 8% Frisbee on quad
  • 6% Outing Club Trips
  • 6% Any hockey game
  • 6% Open hours at ice rink
  • 4% Wild Oats
  • 4% Visit Freeport
  • 2% Eating at Sher Punjab (Great Indian restaurant).
  • 2% Free Concerts on the LLBean quad
  • 2% Visit College House events and parties

What are your favorite campus events or traditions?    Based on 16 responses

  • 17% Ivies
  • 16% Back to school lobster bake
  • 13% Thanksgiving Dinner
  • 11% Bowdoin-Colby Hockey Game
  • 10% Polar Bear
  • 8% Bowdoin Hello
  • 8% Pre-O Trips
  • 6% Chapel Bells
  • 6% Epicuria
  • 3% Cold war party
  • 2% Greenstock
  • 0% Lobster Run
  • 0% Polar Bearing

How accommodating is this school to students with physical disabilities?    Based on 16 responses

  • 62% Very accommodating. The school does everything in their power to make sure the needs of every student are met.
  • 25% Pretty accommodating. The school has taken a lot of steps to accommodate the needs of students, but they've missed a few things.
  • 6% Slightly accommodating. The school has taken a few steps to accommodate students, but not nearly enough.
  • 6% Not accommodating. Students with physical disabilities are practically ignored here.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 42 responses

  • 64% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.
  • 29% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 5% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 2% I hate my school and have no school spirit.



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