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About Purposeful Work

Preparing students for lives of meaningful work lies at the heart of the liberal arts mission.

Purposeful Work at Bates helps students discover the joy and power that arise from aligning who they are with what they do. It guides students to identify and cultivate their interests and strengths and provides opportunities for them to acquire the knowledge, experiences, and relationships necessary to pursue their aspirations with imagination and integrity.

It is grounded in the Bates mission, has curricular and co-curricular aspects, and takes a four-year, developmental approach to working with students. Informed by this philosophy, students emerge from Bates equipped to make intentional decisions about their work, selves, and how the two relate. It’s about our liberal arts mission and an imperative in today’s world.

Students experience the possibilities of Purposeful Work across campus and throughout the Bates curriculum, programming, and events. Through funded internships, practitioner-taught courses, a speaker series, and other opportunities, Purposeful Work promotes greater agency in students’ approach to their college years and a stronger bridge to life after college. (More on Programs)

Purposeful Work helps students in structured and concrete ways to seek and find work that aligns with their interests, values, and strengths and brings them meaning.

Grounding Principles

What sort of work is purposeful?

Work is purposeful when it contributes meaning to an individual’s life and has relevance to the greater community. Work that is meaningful for one person might not be for someone else. Through Purposeful Work, students are equipped with the skills, mindsets, and mentors to help them make their own determinations about what will bring meaning to their lives.

Fulfilling our equity promise

Purposeful Work reinforces Bates’ long-standing commitment to equity by ensuring that all students have equal access to the tools and funded work experiences that help them align their interests, values, and strengths with purposeful work throughout their lives.

Financing Purposeful Work at Bates

Launched with seed funding, Purposeful Work has become a recognized part of the student experience at Bates and a distinguishing feature of a Bates education. It has continued to be financed through the generous philanthropy of Bates families. As a priority of The Bates Campaign, we now seek to ensure its future by securing the funds to make it a permanent program.

History of the Purposeful Work Initiative

In May 2013, President Clayton Spencer convened a working group of Bates faculty, staff, and students to “develop a conceptual case for ‘purposeful work’ as a core concern of the liberal arts and to create a plan for a specific set of steps we will take as a college to translate that commitment into action.”

The Purposeful Work Working Group met bi-monthly through May 2014, culminating in the release of their Purposeful Work Final Report.

Are you looking for a meaningful experience?

Getting involved with Purposeful Work at Bates is simple. Sign up for one of our mailing lists, or contact us directly at:

Bates Center for Purposeful Work
146 Wood Street
Lewiston, ME 04240
Media Inquiries
Bates Communications Office

Learn more about Purposeful Work

Sign up to learn more on how you could can get involved with Purposeful Work during your time at Bates.