Residential and Extracurricular Life

Residential Life

On-campus activities are integral to life in a residential college. College houses and residence halls offer opportunities for shared learning, educational programs, lively dialogue, and nurturing friendships. At Bates, all students are required to reside on campus, except when the dean of students grants special permission to reside elsewhere or when the college requires a student to vacate college residences. Students who do not live on campus may receive a refund, and should accordingly consult with the Office of Student Financial Services. All residence rooms are equipped with standard furniture; bed linens and blankets are not provided. The college operates one central dining facility, the Commons, where all students gather for meals and conversation.

The college expects Bates students to be responsible individuals who respect the rights of others. Bates encourages students to decide what style of residence life suits them best and, whenever possible, it accommodates that decision as long as the rights of other students and the college's academic mission are not compromised.

Student Responsibilities. The educational goals of the college include the strengthening of social and moral maturity. For this reason, all Bates College students are held personally responsible for their conduct at all times. Any student who becomes disorderly, is involved in any disturbance, interferes with the rights of others, damages property, brings the name of the college into disrepute, or is individually or as part of a group involved in unacceptable social behavior on or off campus is subject to disciplinary action at the discretion of the dean of students or the Committee on Student Conduct, a combined student-faculty committee.

This expectation of responsible behavior stems from the presumption that membership in the community is a voluntary act of acceptance by both the student and the college. This mutually voluntary relationship may be terminated by the student at any time without the assignment of specific reason. Conversely, this relationship may be severed either by the President and Trustees, without the assignment of specific reason, or by the procedures of the Committee on Academic Standing or the Committee on Student Conduct. Neither the college nor any of its administrative or teaching officers is under any liability whatsoever for such withdrawal of privileges.

Attendance at Bates signifies acceptance of the provisions for the organization and policies of academic, residential, and extracurricular life set forth in the "Policies for Student Conduct and Safety" booklet and published on the Bates website.

Religion. Although founded by Freewill Baptists, Bates College has no formal religious affiliation. Through the Office of the Multifaith Chaplaincy, Bates works to foster a climate of genuine religious pluralism on campus. Members of many faith traditions represented at the college regularly meet, cooperate, and learn from one another. Opportunities for meditation, prayer, and spiritual reflection for people of all faiths are held in the Chapel and across campus each week. There are on-campus weekly ecumenical Protestant services, Quaker meetings, and Shabbat services and meals. A Muslim prayer room, a Hindu prayer room, and a Buddhist shrine are housed at the Office of Intercultural Education. Services offered by the synagogues, churches, and mosque of Lewiston and Auburn are open to Bates students and employees. In addition to regular on-campus services, several religious organizations are active at the college: Bates Hillel, Bates Christian Fellowship, Bates Baha'i Association, Salaam Namaste, Muslim Student Association, and Bates Dharma Association. Other groups concerned with spirituality and social justice provide varied activities for interested students. The multifaith chaplains are available to all members of the Bates community — regardless of religious affiliation — for pastoral conversation and support. Additionally, the Office of the Multifaith Chaplaincy engages volunteer associated chaplains from Lewiston and Auburn who provide counsel and religious services to those who seek them within their respective tradition. More information about the Office of the Multifaith Chaplaincy can be found on the Bates website (

The Office of Intercultural Education. Created to help advance diversity and inclusion at Bates, the Office of Intercultural Education (OIE) coordinates academic and social programs that support students from populations underrepresented in higher education and seeks to engage the wider college community in conversations and celebrations around difference. The OIE has a leading role in the Multicultural Core Team, which finds ways to advance diversity and inclusion and the college's progress in this endeavor. The OIE engages, educates, and connects all members of the community in the essential work of bridging cultural differences in order to strengthen and enrich the college community. Lectures, workshops, co-curricular experiences, and other programs offer insight into ways that cultural imperatives shape our lives and our understanding of each other. The OIE resources include a conference room, study spaces, designated prayer areas for Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist worship, student organization offices, a multimedia library, and a full kitchen.

Health Services. Bates recognizes that physical and mental health significantly influences a student's ability to participate fully in the life of the college. The Health Center strives to enhance each student's well-being by providing comprehensive, confidential medical and psychological health care and encouraging informed participation in all health-related decisions. The Health Center emphasizes health promotion during individual consultations and through campus-wide health education programming.

During the academic year, the Health Center is open Monday–Friday, twenty-four hours a day, and is closed from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The staff includes a physician, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, psychological counselors, a consulting psychiatrist, and support staff. Most services are covered under the comprehensive fee.

All students are required to have a comprehensive health insurance policy with at least $100,000 coverage, to supplement the services of the Student Health Center. Bates College has a Student Health Insurance Plan that may be purchased as the required policy or as a supplement to the student's own policy.

Extracurricular Activities

Because Bates is a residential college, extracurricular life is centered on campus and grows out of the many interests of the students. The Student Activities Office and the Organizational Review Board, a student committee, are charged with overseeing extracurricular life on campus. Organizations and activities are designed for all and open to all; there are no fraternities, sororities, or other exclusive organizations at Bates.

The Africana Club increases awareness of the peoples, histories, and cultures of the African continent, and brings together students and others with an interest in Africa.

Amandla! promotes better understanding of the many communities of the African diaspora. The organization sponsors lectures, campus discussions, and performances for the college community.

The Bates Ballroom Society promotes the many forms of social and ballroom dance by offering lessons and presenting dances. A team of society members represents Bates in intercollegiate ballroom dance competitions.

The Bates Buddies Club links some forty Bates students with first-, second-, and third-graders at Longley Elementary School in Lewiston, where Bates students share lunch and recess with small groups of children, engaging in play activities and modeling social skills.

The Chase Hall Committee takes primary responsibility for social affairs and activities at Chase Hall, the student center. This committee sponsors popular concerts, coffeehouses, dances, Fall Weekend, the Winter Carnival, and other all-campus events.

The Brooks Quimby Debate Council sponsors campus debates with visiting teams and enters Bates debaters in frequent tournaments from Maine to California. Widely known throughout the English-speaking world for its debating program, Bates was the first American college to compete in international debate (with Oxford in 1921). Since then debaters have taken part in more than 100 international meetings.

The Bates Discordians sponsor a wide variety of drug-free, alcohol-free activities for the
college community.

Bates Emergency Medical Services is a round-the-clock program run and staffed by students who are licensed emergency medical technicians and first responders.

The Environmental Coalition is concerned with campus, local, national, and international environmental issues, engaging in efforts ranging from campus recycling to grass roots activism.

The Filmboard, comprising student and faculty representatives, sponsors a diversified program in cinematic art for the entire community. The program includes first-run films as well as foreign film festivals and classics.

The Freewill Folk Society sponsors concerts and monthly contradances featuring traditional music from around the world.

The International Club encourages greater appreciation of the world's cultures, peoples, communities, and nations through films, dinners, and informal gatherings.

Investment Club members invest funds donated to the college as a way of learning about finance and markets while helping support the endowment.

Latinos Unidos explores Latina/o history, politics, language, and cultural traditions, and promotes greater awareness of the diverse Latina/o groups in the United States.

The Bates Modern Dance Company gives students the opportunity to dance, exercise, perform, teach, and choreograph. Each year the company presents several major productions on campus and in Maine communities.

The Bates Musicians Union brings student musicians together by managing rehearsal space and sponsoring many performances each year.

The New World Coalition presents activities and programs designed to increase awareness of the politics of international affairs, especially in emerging nations.

OUTfront serves the Bates community by providing a forum for education and discussion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues. The members also serve as a support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students.

The Bates Outing Club is one of the oldest and most active of such organizations in the country. It sponsors outdoor activities almost every weekend and provides alpine and Nordic skis, snowshoes, toboggans, camping equipment, bicycles, and canoes. Members assume responsibility for maintaining a thirteen-mile section of the Appalachian Trail.

Sangai Asia hosts meetings, dinners, exhibits, and lectures that focus on Asian and Asian American identity and cultures.

The Bates College Student Government provides a forum for discussion and resolution of problems that are within the jurisdiction of students.

The Women's Resource Center promotes awareness, discussion, and activism around women's issues from health to sexuality to politics.

Women of Color celebrates the diverse experiences of women of color and confronts issues of racism, sexism, clanism, and heterosexism.

Opportunities for students interested in music are provided by ensembles including the College Choir, the College Orchestra, the Bates Gamelan Orchestra, the Jazz Band, the Steel Orchestra, and several a cappella vocal groups — the Crosstones, the Deansmen, the Manic Optimists, the Merimanders, TakeNote, and Northfield.

The theater program provides opportunities to act and to do technical work behind the scenes. Associated with the Department of Theater and Dance are the Robinson Players, one of the nation's oldest student theater ensembles. Strange Bedfellows, an improv comedy group, performs throughout the year.

Political clubs, social-justice groups, and other special-interest organizations enrich the extracurricular life of the college. Many academic departments and programs sponsor clubs organized to promote interest in their specific fields, supplementing classroom work through informal and panel discussions, talks by visiting scholars, social gatherings, and films.

The Bates Student, the campus newspaper, is published weekly under the supervision of an
independent board of editors. A few salaried positions are available for those who do weekly
reporting. Students also publish Seed, an alternative magazine of ideas and the arts; and The Mirror, a yearbook.

A student organization operates the college radio studio as a noncommercial station,
WRBC (91.5 FM). It is licensed to the President and Trustees of the college as an educational station. Students also run the Bates College Television Network (BCTV), a closed-circuit television station.

Many clubs are organized by students interested in particular extracurricular pursuits, from aviation to knitting and paintball to anime. Many clubs focus on athletic interests.

In addition to extracurricular activities initiated by student organizations, campus life is enriched by frequent lectures, concerts, and films sponsored by various academic departments and programs, the College Concert Series, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Committee. The college presents diverse speakers and artists as an integral aspect of a liberal arts education. Each year invited guests offer a variety of viewpoints and artistic traditions to faculty, staff, and students, as well as the broader regional community. Endowed funds help support some of these events, including the George Colby Chase Lecture, the Rayborn Lindley Zerby Lecture, and the Philip J. Otis Lecture. The Museum of Art offers changing exhibitions by leading artists and hosts lectures by renowned scholars.

Athletics. The college sponsors a variety of intercollegiate, intramural, and club athletics programs for men and women. All physical education facilities are available for student use as stipulated by the Department of Athletics and Physical Education.

Campus athletic facilities are shared among physical education classes, intercollegiate sports, intramurals, and club sports. In open recreation activities, students use the facilities informally for individual sports and personal fitness.

Club sports offered separately for men include fencing, ice hockey, rugby, water polo, ultimate Frisbee, and volleyball. Club sports offered separately for women include fencing, equestrian, ice hockey, rugby, ultimate Frisbee and water polo. Sailing is a coeducational club.

Sustained participation, fun, and low-key competition are the goals of the intramural sports program. Most Bates students take part in some intramural activity every year, and the program is run primarily by students. Intramural activities include basketball, bowling, broomball, flag football, ice hockey, racquetball, soccer, softball, squash, tennis, volleyball, and wallyball. Information and registration for intramural sports is available at

Bates sponsors thirty-one intercollegiate sports for men and women. Opportunities for men include alpine skiing, baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track, lacrosse, Nordic skiing, outdoor track, rowing, soccer, squash, swimming and diving, and tennis. Women's intercollegiate teams compete in alpine skiing, basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, indoor track, lacrosse, Nordic skiing, outdoor track, rowing, soccer, softball, squash, swimming and diving, tennis, and volleyball. The college abides by the eligibility rules appropriate to its educational mission and its designation as an NCAA Division III institution. It is a member of state, regional, and national athletic conferences and associations, including the NCAA and the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), whose members are Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Connecticut College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, Wesleyan University, and Williams College.