A new tri-college alliance, launched by Bowdoin seniors Fhiwa Ndou and Drew Zembruski, is attempting to bring the students of Colby, Bates and Bowdoin colleges together beyond the field or the rink, where they know one another just as “the other side.”
“The CBBA’s goal is to supplement the inherent rivalry and competition among the Maine NESCAC schools with a friendlier sense of community,” Zembruski said.
Ndou says that he sees the alliance as particularly beneficial to student groups. “It has huge potential for club leaders. Bowdoin is a small school, and clubs like the Asian Student Association, for example, have to have the numbers to make a big impact.” If the alliance is successful, he said that groups with similar interests across the three campuses can join forces to organize events or bring in speakers.
Each of the three colleges has started its own chapter of the Colby-Bowdoin-Bates Alliance, headed by on-campus student leaders.
To kick off the alliance, its leaders recently invited students from the three campuses to a holiday social at Bowdoin’s Jack McGee’s Pub. The party gave students a chance to meet and chat with their NESCAC peers in a casual, personal setting.
“We’ve been working with the heads of the other CBBA chapters quite a bit this semester to build the organization from the ground up,” Ndou said. “When I told [Elliot Marsing and Umar Khan] that Bowdoin would love to host Colby and Bates students for a late-night holiday social, both of them jumped on board right away.”
Marsing and Khan, the leaders of the CBBA chapters at Colby and Bates respectively, arranged for buses to bring students down to Brunswick for the evening.
The Holiday Social attracted big turnouts from all three colleges. Ndou says the support of students is crucial to CBBA in years to come. “At Bowdoin, I think that when people hear that you’re passionate about something, they’ll want to do more than just lend a helping hand: they’ll want to become involved. I find this so important because it ensures that CBBA will continue into the future.”
Ndou and Zembruski, along with their counterparts at Bates and Colby, have more plans for next semester. They’ve discussed holding a day-long event that showcases clubs and student organizations from all three colleges, as well as a more formal concert and dance.
Eventually, Zembruski and Ndou would like to set up a website portal where events at all the colleges can be posted and shared.
Seeing their ideas come to fruition at the holiday social bolstered Ndou and Zembruski’s belief that a tri-college community is possible. “Toward the end of the night, one Colby student told me how excited he was to finally meet kids from Bowdoin and Bates,” Ndou said. “It reminded me of something that I’ve heard often lately: how strange it is that something like CBBA wasn’t already happening.”
Photos and story by Elida Heuck ’13