Our Community

The community of Lewiston/Auburn, Maine is an amazing place for a small liberal arts college, and at Bates we are proud to be part of this community. From the Abenaki people who hunted and fished on the shores of the Androscoggin and whose ancestors are still vitally present in Maine to multiple waves of immigrants who built mills, schools, hospitals, parks, cultural centers, and houses of worship, Lewiston/Auburn comprises diverse individuals, groups, and organizations working together to be a community worth living, working, playing, and investing in.

Bates College is an active member of the Lewiston/Auburn community. The fifth largest employer in Androscoggin County, many Bates faculty, staff, and students are deeply involved in the off-campus community. Like others in this community, Bates employees and students are workers, customers, athletes, entrepreneurs, board members, parents, public servants, artists, investors, and volunteers. Bates provides students with a rich and rigorous living-learning experience that would not be possible without Lewiston/Auburn and the many opportunities, mentors, projects, and collaborators it offers.

At Bates, we celebrate our location as integral to our identity and to the world-class education we offer. We learn from and participate in the off-campus community in myriad ways each year, taking advantage of the many opportunities for cultural, economic, educational, and social enrichment that Lewiston and Maine provide. We also work to make the resources of the college available and accessible to off-campus neighbors and guests through, for example, hundreds of free, publicly-available arts, cultural, and athletic events each year; public access to our outdoor track and the lovely Lake Andrews walking path; and the extensive work of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, which cultivates reciprocal collaborations between college and community. Whether Bates students are working with the City of Lewiston to analyze data on recycling rates of residents, providing academic tutoring and enrichment activities at an after-school program in Auburn, partnering with a local organization to research effective practices in re-entry programs for incarcerated individuals, or volunteering at a downtown health clinic, our students benefit enormously from opportunities to learn from and participate in the off-campus community. As the main connector of Bates students to the Lewiston/Auburn community, the Harward Center is home to a wealth of information, insight, trainings, and relationships that help support ethical, reciprocal, and mutually beneficial engagements between college and community.

The Harward Center at Bates embodies these commitments in the following ways:

  • For faculty who wish to offer community-engaged learning courses or to undertake community-engaged research, we provide a range of professional development programs designed to ensure ethical, reciprocal, partnership-based practices. We also serve as ongoing thought partners for faculty, and we provide certain kinds of logistical and financial support to CEL faculty. 
  • For students taking CEL courses, doing community-engaged research, participating in civic leadership programs, or serving as volunteers, we provide orientations, trainings, and reflective practices designed to elevate community cultural wealth, to build critical awareness of how power, privilege, racism, and other oppressions often manifest in community-engaged work, and to build students’ knowledge and skills for principled, mutually transformative community engagement. 
  • For community members willing to collaborate with Bates students or faculty in community-engaged work, we serve as point of contact, source of information, navigator of all things Bates, thought partner, and colleague. We aspire and strive to develop sustained relationships of mutual trust with our community partners. Harward Center staff are deeply embedded in the off-campus community as residents, friends, parents, partners, colleagues, learners, consumers, creators, civic leaders, board members, and more. We love Lewiston/Auburn and are committed to working with others in full partnership to advance community well-being and social justice and to share Bates resources in those efforts wherever possible.