At Orientation, new students get an extended introduction to the Bates community. That includes a glimpse of the college’s hometown.

Each year on Labor Day, older students — each with deep experience in Lewiston and Auburn through the Harward Center for Community Partnerships — lead groups of first-years on tours of the downtown area.

They take in and learn about the historic Bates Mill complex, the shops and businesses on Lisbon Street, and the river’s connection to city history. The expert guides introduce the city’s past and ever-changing present, places to eat and spend time, and opportunities to get involved.

On the way back to campus, students are asked, “What caught your eye, interest, or imagination?”

With the Class of 2022 set to arrive on Aug. 27, we thought we’d share a few responses from last year’s incoming Class of 2021.


It was really great to see the diversity in the restaurants that are available in such a small area.

It was super cool to see Lewiston’s architecture, as well as some of the restaurants/spots downtown I might want to visit.


The downtown park was beautiful. I also liked the modern art sculpture on Lisbon Street.

I love all the public art!


I loved the area that locals call the Somali block. In my experience living abroad or being in cities that have significant foreign populations, I’ve always loved exploring the stores and businesses and talking with the owners. I’m excited to do that here as well!

An aerial view of Lewiston and Auburn, bisected by the Androscoggin River. The Bates campus is at bottom left. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)


[I was struck by] all of the community-service opportunities, particularly the pre-law community program at the courthouse. I was also struck by the number of Bates grads who continue to engage with the Lewiston community after graduating.

I previously thought Lewiston was going be very similar to my small hometown, but it’s pretty different. It is bigger than I imagined, and there are a lot of interesting restaurants and things to get involved in.

I liked how many opportunities there are for students to get involved with local politics.

The “edible Lisbon Street” planters caught my eye. What an interesting way to get people to think about healthy food and access to food.

During last year’s tour of downtown Lewiston-Auburn, students cross a bridge over the canal in Lewiston. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)


The plaza and park are inviting and pretty. The people are diverse and friendly, and there are many different types of shops to explore.

The locally owned restaurants, coffee shops, and small businesses look like good alternatives if you want to get off campus.