Why the Absence of Snow Days Violates the Offer of the College

The Offer of the College, written by William DeWitt Hyde, is perhaps the greatest document ever: it’s what shaped Bowdoin into the best liberal arts college in Maine! When snowstorms hit the campus, students, faculty, and staff debate the pros and cons of declaring a snow day. I decided to look to the Offer for answers, and the results are groundbreaking. Here’s what the Offer of the College promises:

To be at home in all lands and all agesFirst off, the Offer begins by telling us to stay home.  For me, during these harsh winter conditions, home is my bed. Notice how the Offer doesn’t say, “To be at class in all lands and all ages.” Obviously, Hyde understood that walking from your dorm to go to an 8am class in the middle of a blizzard is possibly the least comfortable, least home-y thing a Bowdoin student can do.


To count Nature a familiar acquaintanceDuring blizzards, Mother Nature is not a friend of mine. We used to be BFFs back around the time when grass was a thing (Lobster Bake days), but now she’s like an annoying little brother who never goes away. The college needs to understand that we need some alone time to improve our current love-hate relationship with Nature. Give me some time with Mother Netflix instead!


…And Art an intimate friendThe Offer tells us that we should value our artistic talents, but who would want to spend time with our pal, Art, when Edwards Art Building is so far off the (semi-plowed) beaten path? Vincent Van Gogh once said, “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” Instead of heading to class, let’s channel our inner artist by sleeping in!


To gain a standard for the appreciation of others’ workOk, so this line actually still stands. I have tremendous respect for all the employees who still manage to get to Bowdoin despite the disastrous weather. Here's a shout out to the real MVPs who clear the sidewalks, clean up our messes, and prepare meals for us lazy students!


...And the criticism of your ownSnow days help me catch up on all the unfinished (ahem, not-yet-begun) things I have to do. If I want to write the best paper ever, I need a lot of time to revise it. Proofreading is key, and that is what snow days are for. Right?


To carry the keys of the world’s library in your pocket, and feel its resources behind you in whatever task you undertakeI can’t carry anything in my coat pockets during a blizzard because they are already filled with freezing cold hands and a bunch of used tissues! Maybe if I was in my dorm room, I could fit these keys into my sweatpants’ pockets. Also, where were these "resources" when the WiFi was down, or when I needed to print out my readings and Hatch was closed at 7:30PM?


To make hosts of friends who are to be leaders in all walks of lifeOne of the worst things about blizzards is that they rob me of my ability to engage in the “Bowdoin Hello.” How can I make friends if when I walk outside, the only thing I’m staring at is the ground? I'm just praying I don’t slip in front of anyone! How about we promote the “Common Good” with some common room Cards Against Humanity?


To lose yourself in generous enthusiasms and cooperate with others for common endsRight now, I think it’s accurate to say that I have lost these “generous enthusiasms.” Winter doldrums combined with a heavy class schedule are pretty rough, but a snow day could definitely lighten up everyone’s mood and make us appreciate each other’s presence little more.


This is the offer of the college for the best four years of your life.Yes it is. And we should honor it all day, everyday. #SnowDay2015