BAR HARBOR — A total of 100 new students, hailing from 18 countries and 22 states, were welcomed to the College of the Atlantic community during a convocation ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
Convocation was preceded by several days of orientation activities, including a sea kayaking trip, group bike ride and an outdoor movie. The first groups of new students arrived Aug. 28 for weeklong outdoor orientation programs in the Maine wilderness.
Nearly 25 percent of the students in COA’s newest group have an international background. These students provide an incredible variety of perspectives and help keep the community integrated to the world at large, said Dean of Admission Heather Albert-Knopp. They come to COA as part of the college’s largest-ever applicant pool of 540 students.
“This year’s incoming students come from an especially diverse array of backgrounds and geographies, from Kosovo, Namibia, Japan, Italy, Sweden and Argentina, to Texas, Washington, North Carolina, Colorado, New Jersey, New Mexico and across the state of Maine, including Bar Harbor,” Albert-Knopp said. “They’re artists, environmentalists, humanitarians, scientists and budding entrepreneurs, and I can’t wait to see what they will accomplish during their time at COA.”
COA President Darron Collins ’92 said he was very excited for the new term. Collins planned to speak Wednesday about the importance of sustainability and the difficulty involved with creating truly sustainable communities.
“Approaching and addressing sustainability questions – like those regarding energy, food, wildlife conservation and social justice issues – is challenging physically, intellectually and socially, and this work requires of each of us a commitment to working on our physical, intellectual and social selves,” Collins said.
This year’s keynote speakers were Genio Bertin ‘97 and Sarah Faull ‘98. The couple own Mandala Farm in Gouldsboro, where they specialize in farming with Fjord work horses. They raise vegetables, cashmere goats, chickens, sheep and cows. All of their animals are grass-fed, naturally raised and free of hormones and antibiotics.
Of the 99 new students at COA this fall, 19 are transfers, and 80 are first-year.