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When new Bates students meet Lewiston, here’s what they say

You have one chance to make a first impression, and when it comes to Lewiston’s chance to impress first-year students, the occasion is the annual Downtown Walkabout during Orientation.

Held on Labor Day, the walkabout comprises many small group tours, each led by current students whose involvement in the Lewiston-Auburn community, through the college’s Harward Center for Community Partnerships, makes them expert guides for the day.

On their way back to campus, the first-years are asked two questions. The first is, “What caught your eye, interest, or imagination?” The second: “What questions does this experience raise for you?”

Here are some responses from newbies in last year’s entering Class of 2020.

1. Bates’ approach…

Bates’ approach to serving the community as a partner instead of as a savior made me think.

2. Our tour guide engaged…

Our tour guide engaged with Lewiston-Auburn community members during our tours. It showed her genuine comfort and care for the community.

A Lewiston Walkabout tour stops at the intersection of Lisbon and Maine streets on Sept. 7, 2015. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

3. I was interested…

I was interested in the non-gentrification of Lewiston.

4. Lewiston is the safest city…

Lewiston is the safest city in Maine! Poverty obviously doesn’t equal crime.

5. The diversity of the downtown…

The diversity of the downtown caught my eye — not only human but storefront and organizational diversity, too.

6. I liked how old spaces…

I liked how old spaces were being remade and modernized. I think it is so cool that these old buildings are being preserved. Also, I liked learning about the monthly Art Walk.

7. The large amount of culture…

The large amount of culture in such a small city surprised me. The city felt very real, which is uncommon for a college town.

8. I really like the Somali area…

I really like the Somali area in Lewiston. The shops and restaurants were all local and such a different culture than I am used to.

9. Although Lewiston…

Although Lewiston does have poverty, the city is still very vibrant and alive.

10. I am intrigued by the stories…

I am intrigued by the stories of Bates alumni and what they have done in this community, and what we as students can do in our new community.

11. In Kennedy Park…

In Kennedy Park, lots of different families (racially, income, etc.) really put into perspective how diverse Lewiston-Auburn is.

12. Different groups of immigrants…

Different groups of immigrants have combined over time to form the community of Lewiston.

13. Lewiston has so much to offer…

Lewiston has so much to offer to everyone regardless of race, gender, and/or sexual orientation.

14. The multicultural and multifaith community…

The multicultural and multi-faith community interested me, and it made me very interested in learning more about Lewiston’s diversity.