Over the past three years, the Purposeful Work Initiative, comprised of various departments, offices, and faculty across campus, has grown to include many facets that aim to engage students in conducting purpose-driven work in nearly every aspect of on-campus life. While the initiative works to engage students in purposeful work in and out of the classroom on campus, it also aims to provide students with knowledge of what purposeful work means to them, which they can apply to potential post-graduate endeavors.

This year’s campaign of the Purposeful Work Initiative offers students with many opportunities to seek out purposeful work on campus, as more programs within the initiative are being offered this year. These programs, which afford students the opportunity to conduct purposeful work in nearly every aspect of on campus life include: How to Adult seminars and workshops, the Purposeful Work Infusion Project, the Purposeful Work Internship Program, Practitioner-Taught Courses, Purposeful Work Unplugged, and the Student Employment Development and Reflection Program.

While each of these programs operate under different pretenses, the goals of each program are in line with the Purposeful Work Initiative’s overall mission to “help students find meaning, launch careers, and maximize their time at Bates and beyond”, according to the PWI website.

In doing this, students are able to gain insight into their values and strengths as individuals while also realizing “the world’s needs and how they fit into those needs, and how to construct a compelling narrative about their past experiences and future goals”.

The Purposeful Work Infusion Project operates in the same vein, with many Bates students opting to take courses that require students to look at ways in which their course topics may pertain to completing purposeful work outside of the classroom. In these courses, professors in various departments work with PWI faculty to finds ways to infuse ideas of purposeful work into academic topics.

“PW Infusion courses help students understand how their coursework relates to career outcomes, meaning and purpose through activities and assignments that take place in class and as homework. Over 28% of faculty have opted to teach a Purposeful Work Infusion Course, and over 1500 students have taken at least one Purposeful Work Infusion Course since the Project’s inception in Winter 2014”, according to Christina Patrick, Associate Director of Purposeful Work Internship Program.

Also a staple in the Purposeful Work initiative, Practitioner-Taught Courses offer an opportunity for students to learn about topics or subjects not offered by the various academic departments on campus. The individuals teaching these practitioner courses are experts in their field, and many are Bates alumni, who have made careers in industries such as urban planning and music production and have a vested interest in applying their career knowledge to help current Bates students who may have similar professional interests.

Co-produced by the Residential Life office and PWI, How to Adult workshops allow current students at Bates to learn information regarding post-graduate life, such as lessons on insurance, salary negotiations, and renting apartments. The intention of the How to Adult workshops is to provide students, most notably upperclassmen, with information on how to operate in the daunting “adult” world.

In addition, the Purposeful Work Initiative aims to engage students in purposeful-driven work outside of the classroom as well. The newly introduced Student Employment and Reflection Program is an opportunity for students to hold on-campus employment positions that foster goal-setting conversations, in which students can think about how their gained knowledge can result in conducting purposeful work in other aspects of their life.

Lastly, the Purposeful Work Initiative conducts a program known as Purposeful Work Unplugged, which provides students a chance to hold Q&A sessions with Bates alumni, faculty, and staff. These Q&A sessions are meant engage students with individuals who have been successful in their careers and, in turn, may provide students with valuable insight into finding purpose in the own potential careers.

It is important to note that while the Purposeful Work Initiative strives to engage students in conversations on how to conduct purpose-driven work, it does not explicitly define what sort of work is “purposeful”. The various programs within PWI ultimately want students to define their own sense of what purpose-driven work means to the individual, which will hopefully lead to students becoming more engaged about what kind of academic, professional, and personal decisions they make. For more information about the Purposeful Work Program, please refer to their website at https://www.bates.edu/purposeful-work/.