New Student-to-Student Mentoring Program Kicks Off

Fifty seniors met their first-year advisees last night to kick-off the Generous Enthusiasts, a new mentoring program created by seniors Anna Ackerman and Laura Armstrong. The program pairs first-years and seniors based on common interests, such as their majors, to provide first-years with a friendly guide to Bowdoin. (The name comes from the two lines in the college’s promise: “To lose yourself in generous enthusiasms/And cooperate with others for common ends….”)

Ackerman says she and Armstrong organized Generous Enthusiasts after listening to a common complaint among seniors of “things they wished they had known” earlier in their time at Bowdoin, such as how to pick a major, how to get involved in student government or how to get a summer internship. “It’s rare to have freshman conversations like that with other freshmen,” Ackerman said.

At the end of the last semester, the 50 seniors – who were recruited for their mentoring qualities – attended a training “to help them think about where mid-semester first-years are and brainstorm ways to help them stretch a bit this spring,” said Mary Pat McMahon, associate dean of student affairs and director of residential life. Participating first-years signed up for the program. Ackerman says eventually the program could be expanded to include more students.

Last night in Moulton Union, the seniors and first-years were instructed to find one another after a word was pinned to their back that represented one half of a common pair, such as chips and salsa or salt and pepper. They had to figure out what was on their backs by asking other attendees yes and no questions, and from that point find their match. Following the successful pairing, the duos participated in other activities, such as a rotating circle in which people in an inner circle asked people in the outer circle about their favorite campus spot, favorite professors or dream job.



  1. Libby Gordon says:

    I am very impressed, both with the progressive thinking of Laura Armstrong and Anna Ackerman, and of the Deans Office at Bowdoin to compile and hear student feedback and to create this dynamic program to meet the expressed need. Congratulations!

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