Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons

The Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons is a living and learning community that offers apartment-style residences in the heart of downtown Waterville.

Opened in fall 2018, it is home to 200 Colby students, faculty, and staff who are deeply engaged in our city, while also serving and supporting a variety of business, civic, and community organizations.

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Inside Alfond Commons

College + Community

Living downtown offers the opportunity to become a thoughtful leader, critical thinker, and engaged citizen by integrating academic work and community involvement.

The new Program for Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships at Alfond Commons will build relationships among the community, civic partners, and Colby faculty, staff, and students.

These partnerships are central to both Colby’s liberal arts mission and the College’s commitment to a more vibrant city.

Learn more about Colby’s downtown partnerships and initiatives:

Learn more about the Civic Engagement program:

What’s great about living downtown?

  • You will be part of a community dedicated to civic engagement.
  • You will learn from community partners in Central Maine.
  • You will become part of life on Main Street by living, shopping, eating, and recreating downtown.
  • You will put academic experiences into practice supporting community nonprofit organizations.
  • You will develop skills that identify, address, and solve problems.

Living at Alfond Commons

Alfond Commons is Colby housing. All the benefits and privileges that come with housing at Colby are offered, and all the procedures and policies apply.

Apartment Features

Alfond Commons bedroom rendering


Residents enjoy single bedrooms with a full-size bed, desk, desk chair, dresser, and wardrobe.



Kitchens feature granite countertops, island and chairs, and stainless steel stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers.

Alfond Commons living room

Living Room

Each apartment’s fully furnished living room comes with a couch, chair, and coffee table.

Residential Amenities

  • Fitness Center

    A first-floor fitness center provides a place for students to exercise.

  • Wellness Center

    A studio on the first floor offers a quiet space for yoga or meditation.

  • Alfond Commons resident lounge rendring

    Resident Lounges

    Connecting the second and third, and third and fourth floors, these two-story lounges offer modern amenities for recreation and study.

  • Reading Room

    The fifth-floor reading room is one of numerous places for quiet and group study throughout the building, including large spaces on the third and fourth floors, and study nooks on each floor.

  • Alfond Commons offers robust wireless Internet connectivity throughout the building. Each apartment has multiple ethernet ports; cable television is available in common areas.

  • A professionally staffed shuttle will run in a continuous loop between Mayflower Hill and Main Street every day. Hours of operation will be set to allow students to travel to and from campus safely from the early morning into late evening.

    Bike racks will also be available.

  • Residents of Alfond Commons, just like all students living in college-owned apartments, will have the option to drop down to a 100-meal plan.

  • Residents will have 24/7 keycard access to the building. Spaces for the public are separate from residential areas. As part of the Colby campus, Alfond Commons will be managed by security in a similar fashion as residence halls on campus.

  • Each apartment is granted one parking spot. Additional cars are expected to be parked on campus, and students will take the shuttle to and from downtown.

  • There are two laundry rooms on the third and fourth floor, each with four washers, five dryers, and a folding table.

  • Each floor has chutes for recycling and trash from residents. Refuse is collected on the ground floor for disposal.

  • There are two bathrooms in each apartment.

  • Alfond Commons residents will enjoy centrally controlled heating and air conditioning throughout the building.

  • Additional storage for residents will be available at a later date at 173 Main Street, across from Alfond Commons.

    Like all other residence halls, mail and package delivery for Alfond Commons will be to Cotter Union and/or the Eustis Service Center.

Civic Engagement

Civic engagement is a requirement for living at Alfond Commons. It connects academic study with community involvement through course work, research, independent study, internships, and/or volunteer service.

Chace Community Forum

With a $1-million gift from Malcolm Chace ’90, P’18, this 3,800-square-foot space on the first floor of Alfond Commons will support student-organized programming, such as workshops and lectures, to engage the community.

Chace Forum will also host public meetings and support local nonprofits by providing a public gathering space in the heart of downtown. For more information about reserving the forum, click here.

What meets the civic engagement requirement?

Residents of the Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons are a part of an intentional living-learning community focused on civic engagement. As such, residents are committed to being engaged members of their community guided by a set of shared values and are responsible for fulfilling the specific requirements outlined below.
Academic Work
  • Enroll in the Citizenship and Community seminar for the fall semester.
  • Volunteer weekly with a local non-profit organization, students are required to complete 30 hours of direct service per semester. (Students also have the option to fulfill their service hours by enrolling in an approved civic engagement course or performing a faculty approved community based independent study project with a non-profit organization.)
Formal reflection
  • Participate in bi-monthly peer group reflection and dialogue about civic engagement experience. (3 hours per month)
Civic Engagement staff work with students to identify a direct service opportunity or develop a project. Questions about the civic engagement requirement? Contact Kristin Bishop, Program and Outreach Coordinator at

Faculty in Residence

Faculty members who reside at Alfond Commons will guide the academic program and partnerships for the student residents, and are a key element of the residential experience downtown.

Denise Bruesewitz


Denise Bruesewitz and her family, Thomas Klepach and Roa, 8, and Isla, 6, will live in Alfond Commons. They have lived in Waterville for the past six years. Denise is a freshwater and estuarine ecologist and Thomas has a wide variety of expertise in chemistry, medicine, yoga, and art. Both Thomas and Denise are native Midwesterners, but most recently lived in Port Aransas, Texas, and Hamilton, New Zealand, prior to Waterville. The family enjoys spending time cooking and baking, hiking and canoeing, and watching all sorts of films.

Why are you excited about living downtown?

“I look forward to joining a community of Colby students, faculty, and staff as we learn and build upon relationships that link Colby to the broader Waterville community. I’m especially excited to engage with students in the sciences to think creatively about how they can be involved in our local community and explore how they can incorporate civic engagement into their intellectual work.”

Justin Becknell


Justin Becknell is a forest ecologist. He teaches Ecology and Forest Ecosystems and studies interactions among forests, people, and global change. Before Colby, he spent 10 years studying the destruction and restoration of tropical rain forests in Costa Rica and Brazil. He is continuing this research at Colby and has begun to study how Maine’s forests are changing in the 21st century. In his spare time, Justin likes to walk in the woods, take long bike rides, collect records, and cook.

Why are you excited about living downtown?

“As someone new to the community, I want to help build connections between the people of Waterville and Colby’s students and staff. Colby students have a lot of energy and passion, and I’m interested in finding ways to channel that into benefits for the whole community. As an environmental scientist, I’m interested in learning more about the relationship between Waterville residents and their urban ecosystem. I’d like to learn what questions Waterville residents have about their environment and how Colby students and scientists can help to answer those questions.”

Sarah Duff


Sarah Emily Duff will be visiting assistant professor in the History Department in 2018-19. Recently arrived from South Africa, she is a historian of age and sexuality, and the author of Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhood, 1860-1895 (Palgrave, 2015). Her current project is on histories of sex education in 20th-century South Africa. Before coming to Colby, she taught at universities in the UK and South Africa.

Why are you excited about living downtown?

“As a relatively recent arrival to both Colby and the U.S., I was interested in living downtown as a way of getting to know both the College and Waterville a bit better. I hope that this new development pulls the people of mid-Maine into Colby life and invites our students to think of themselves as Mainers as well as Colby students. I’m really keen to put Colby and Waterville people in conversation with one another. We’ve all a great deal to learn.”

Denise Bruesewitz


Kevin Rice graduated from Colby in 1996, and after graduate and postdoctoral work at Wisconsin and Yale, he joined the Colby faculty in 2005. He is associate professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry, in which he teaches general chemistry and biochemistry. Kevin has mentored dozens of Colby students who have gone on to top graduate and medical schools. Kevin’s wife, Stacey, a native of Harrison, Maine, will also live at Alfond Commons. She is an artist with a passion for helping others tap into their creativity and is pursuing her degree from the University of Maine. For years, Kevin and Stacey have welcomed students into their home and are proud to be part of the Colby community.

Why are you excited about living downtown?

“Stacey and I are thrilled to be a part of Colby’s efforts to strengthen the relationship with the city of Waterville. We have witnessed the passion and altruism demonstrated by Colby students and excited to partner with them as we engage our community, especially in the realm of education, the arts, and social justice.”

Sustainability at Alfond Commons

Colby’s commitment to environmental protection and sustainability is evident in every aspect of the Alfond Commons design and operation.

  • By being downtown, residents have walkable access to groceries, restaurants, etc. to minimize vehicle travel.

  • Preferred parking for carpools will be available, and a professionally staffed shuttle will run between Mayflower Hill and Main Street every day to reduce dependence on car travel.

  • The water systems in Alfond Commons are engineered to reduce consumption by 45 percent against industry-standard practices.

  • Alfond Commons will run completely on green power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through grid-source, renewable energy technologies and carbon mitigation. The energy systems in Alfond Commons will reduce usage by 20 percent against industry-standard pratices.

  • The construction of Alfond Commons prioritized the use of materials produced in a responsible manner, such as with recycled content, and products with minimal concentrations of chemical contaminants that can damage air quality, human health, productivity and the environment.

  • Alfond Commons was designed to allow for “quality views” in 95 percent of all regularly occupied areas, which drive greater satisfaction, attentiveness and productivity for residents.

  • Using a white roofing material, in place of a conventional black roof, reflects sunlight and therefore reduces heat, which reduces building energy use.

  • The goal of Alfond Commons is LEED Silver certification by the United States Green Building Council.

Start your application

Applying to Alfond Commons is through Colby’s room draw, but with a few added questions as part of the process. You can either apply as part of a group or as an individual.

Apply to live in Alfond Commons

Questions about this process?


Alfond Commons FAQs

Residents choose either a four- or six-person apartment.

Only juniors and seniors are eligible to live in Alfond Commons.

Yes. You will be asked to rank your choices, and then have the opportunity to answer additional questions relating to the halls in which you’d like to live.

You may identify a roommate to fill your place, or we will work with the group to identify someone to join.

You can complete an individual application and residential education staff will work to assign suite mates based on interests. This is an exciting opportunity to meet and learn from other members of the community.

No. As part of our institutional commitment to access and inclusion, all Colby housing costs the same.

Yes. Alfond Commons is governed by the same policies governing on-campus housing. Students found in violation of the College’s community standards or student handbook, or who violate Maine or Waterville laws, may have their privilege of living in our residential communities alternated or removed. If you have questions about policies in the student handbook, please contact Melvin D. Adams III, assistant dean of conduct and accountability/Title IX coordinator, at 207-859-4256 or