Bates' relationship with the community

Founded in 1855 and recognized as one of the finest colleges in the country, Bates has formed uncommon bonds with its community and its state. The College recognizes both opportunities and responsibilities in its relationship.

Some statistics from a December 2001 economic impact report offer a glimpse of our economic relationship:

  • Bates had an operating budget of more than $65 million in fiscal year 2001. As a national college, most of this money comes from outside of Maine, but many of its expenditures stay within Maine. During that year, Bates made $6 million in direct payments to more than 360 businesses with Lewiston/Auburn addresses and another $1.2 million in payments to individuals. Although it is a tax-exempt organization, it paid more than $341,000 in fees for services and taxes to Lewiston, and another $18,000 to Auburn.
  • Bates is one of the top ten employers in the Lewiston/Auburn area. It employs more than 700 permanent full-time and part-time employees at all skill levels. Employees received almost $30 million in salaries and wages, and $8.9 million in benefits in FY 2001. Bates jobs are secure, and are not as likely to be affected by economic fluctuations. Most Bates employees reside in the Lewiston/Auburn area, and most of those who live in neighboring towns shop here.
  • Bates students generate between $3.5 million and $4.2 million in local spending per year. The College attracts thousands of visitors to the local areas who would not be likely to come to Lewiston/Auburn otherwise. It provides many enrichment and educational opportunities for local residents. The College receives between 78,000 and 130,000 visitors each year, who spend between $1.2 and $3.3 million locally. About 6,000 visitors each year stay in local hotels and motels.
  • Conservative estimates show that Bates College, its employees, its students and its visitors generate at least $70.3 million in direct spending. College spending reverberates throughout the economy in many complex ways. A generally accepted economic “multiplier” amplifies College-related spending to generate an estimated $123 million to $140 million in direct and indirect spending as money recirculates throughout the local economy. Spending by the College, by its employees, by its students and by its visitors also creates many secondary and support jobs in the local community. Spending as a result of College activities increases the local tax base.

In benefits that are not calculated in dollars, Bates’ partnership with Lewiston-Auburn and Maine has been particularly evident in the work of its students and faculty.

The eight-year-old Bates Center for Service-Learning has gone one step beyond volunteerism, incorporating community service into academic course work.

In 1995, the Bates Center for Service-Learning and Professor Doug Hodgkin’s political science students helped introduce what is now considered a model for regionalization and cooperation between municipalities through the Lewiston-Auburn Collaborative. Students initially surveyed whether there was resident interest in inter-city cooperation in areas such as purchasing and public safety as a means to save tax money and improve services. There was. Today there are up to 24 intergovernmental agreements that fundamentally try to improve services and efficiencies between the two cities, everything from mutual aid for fire departments to having one water pipe, rather than two, extending from Lake Auburn, the cities’ common water supply.

Since 1995, more than half of Bates’ students have engaged in a service-learning project during their time at Bates, while a third of the 192-member faculty has included service components in their courses. In the 2000-2001 academic year, 55,725 hours of documented hours of service were given by Bates students through service-learning projects, including 24,873 hours given in connection with area public schools. Bates’ long-term partnerships with community agencies and organizations throughout the area create immediate contact for students, faculty and staff with members of the Lewiston-Auburn community. In addition to service-learning projects, an additional 9,052 documented hours of volunteer service were given by Bates students and 3,540 hours of mentoring were done in local schools.

In the past five years, Center for Service-Learning internships have been supported by Bates throughout the state, including, to name only a few: the Department of Marine Resources’ Lamoine Water Quality Lab and its lab in Boothbay Harbor; the Portland Housing Authority; the Maine Resources Aquarium in Boothbay; the Kennebunk Veterinary Hospital, caring for animals from the Maine Animal Welfare; the Maine Court System; the Water Research Institute in Orono; Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine, a camp for critically ill children and their families; the Maine Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services; the Maine Medical Assessment Foundation researching end-of-life care; and the Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp in Caribou.

Closer to home, Bates works with Lewiston and Auburn in a number of ways, planning for the future of a vibrant and vital metropolis.

  • The newly dedicated Harward Center for Community Partnerships will consolidate and unite key existing components of the college’s academic and service missions – activities involving community collaboration, service-learning, and applied research in a community context.
  • A local organization started by Bates and fueled by citizens and institutions, LA Excels, is dedicated to realizing the vision of becoming one of the nation’s communities of excellence. Former Governor Angus King has called LA Excels “the most extensive community development project in the history of the state.”
  • The Lewiston-Auburn Civic Leadership Institute, a creation of LA Excels, seeks to elevate the quality of leadership in the Twin Cities and to expand the already impressive numbers of individuals engaged in the civic infrastructure.

Click here for the monthly campus calendar showing all of the events, most of them free, which are open to the public for its enrichment and entertainment.