A big part of my Connecticut College experience for the past three years has been spent at the edge of the Thames River. As a captain of the Varsity Sailing Team, I’ve spent countless practices and competition weekends at the waterfront, a short walk from central campus.

Maneuvering down the overgrown hill and through the grass to our humble but sturdy boat house was routine. Telling visitors that some of the floating dock pieces fell through to the water like trap doors was a part of the experience. Almost routinely, my friends from different sailing teams wouldn’t be shy in letting me know that our slippery ramp was one of the more difficult aspects of college sailing.

The characteristics of our old site were quirky, but after a while, you learned where you couldn’t step on the dock and how to avoid slipping up the ramp as we moved the boats in and out of the water.

I would say that many aspects of the waterfront before were uniquely endearing to those that spent so much time there.

However, the restorative changes that have taken place during the last three years have unlocked this charming part of our campus for the rest of the community. I’ve already seen students sprawling out on the new, wide docks and soaking in the last of the warm, sunny, autumnal days. More and more people are walking up and down Archibald Way on the newly paved sidewalks.

The revitalized waterfront provides new athletic facilities for the sailing and rowing programs, an outdoor classroom and living laboratory for marine science, environmental research and conservation, an expedition training area for Conn’s Outdoor Adventures program, and a vibrant recreational space for students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

I’m looking forward to watching the next generation of Camels take sail from this new and improved shoreline.