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Organizing the Universe Bar Forum

This is a place for conversation among organizers of the Universe Bar, not the forum for the Universe Bar itself. The forum is "private" in the sense that it is intended for the organizers alone and accessible only to those who know the URL.

Comments are posted in the order in which they are received, with earlier postings appearing first below on this page. To see the latest postings, click on "Go to last comment" below.

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something to start us off
Name: Su-Lyn
Date: 2004-10-16 23:39:40
Link to this Comment: 11101

Hi all, hope you had a great fall break. Our U-Bar discussion forum is up, and hopefully this will get rid of the problems of finding a time and place for us to meet. Before the break, a few of us got together to talk about how U-Bar should be conducted and what topics it could cover. A summary of discussion points:


On the U-Bar website, I characterized U-Bar as “an informal exploration of questions that matter”, in which we invite a speaker to introduce a theme before opening up the floor to anyone and everyone to contribute.

Anneliese noted that she had imagined U-Bar as a less structured gathering, and raised some important points: How do we encourage spontaneity? How do we get small groups talking? We thought about using poetry, art, music, games and Elizabeth’s mural project to get everyone to contribute. Another idea was to encourage everyone to be a speaker, or to make a presentation. Maria’s a big fan of laying paper on the tables and providing everyone with a big box of crayons. :)

During the break I was in Boston, and had the chance to talk to staff at the Museum of Science, which regularly organizes similar dialogue events, often about controversial topics (e.g. cloning, stem cell research). Their suggestions:


In order to encourage people to join us from different backgrounds, interests and disciplines, we need to get the word out to academic departments (preferably multidisciplinary e.g. Social Work and Cities at BMC, Bioethics at Penn) and campus organizations. Any suggestions/volunteers?

We’re also considering inviting Karen Greif (Biology, BMC) and Bruce Partridge (Astronomy/Physics, HC) to speak.


Maria’s checking out some place on Cambrian Row…? We have Lunt Café at Haverford all set up, and blessings from at least one of the managers (Greg thinks our objectives align very nicely with the Café’s and would be happy to turn the music down).


We didn’t really get to this, but I’ll throw out some ideas I had: Universe, Uncertainty, Death, Memory. These are big ideas, and I’m still wandering back and forth about whether they should be monthly themes, or weekly topics.

As an example, I’ll draw out some thoughts for Uncertainty.

What now?

Please add your thoughts about approaches, participants, topics, etc. Also, what days of the week should we organize U-Bar events (i.e. what days would you be able to make)?

I’d like to start U-Bar in November. We discussed starting on Oct 21, with a visit from Frank von Hippel, Professor of Public and International Affairs and Co-Director of the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University. He’ll be giving a talk at Haverford on the 21st & 22nd, but I’m wondering if that’ll be pushing U-Bar too fast...?

There’s room to experiment, for sure.

Signing off,

some reflections on what "works" and what doesn't
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: 2004-10-17 10:54:12
Link to this Comment: 11102

For whatever its worth, based on teaching together with SciSoc and Serendip experiences:

For productive and satisfying "informal conversation", there is a strong (and I think inevitable) conflict between quality and numbers. One needs a critical mass, but things don't get better as the number of participants increase; they get worse. Critical mass can be, in my experience, as small as four. The upper limit is in the vicinity of thirty or so. Above that one is dealing with performers and audiences rather than "informal conversation". This has nothing to do with "professors/speakers". It occurs as well with mass meetings of all kinds (where people inevitably speak "to the crowd") and is simply a function of group dynamics as a function of number of participants.

The upshot is that I'm less concerned about "Advertise! advertise! advertise" than Su-Lyn or her colleages at the Museum of Science. The Museum needs to justify its existence to funders who tend to look at measures like participant number. We don't need to justify our existence and so have the luxury of letting the requirements for good "informal conversation" be our primary concern. So let's aspire/start small, and we can deal with the problems the Museum has (how to draw in lots of people and make them feel like they are involved in "informal conversation") if/when it becomes a problem because of our success/growth.

I trust/think that, along these lines, we already HAVE the minimum critical mass. Moreover, we already also have the second requirement for good "informal conversation", participants who are motivated by an interest in sharing stories, in both telling one's own and listening to those of others. Su-Lyn is right that I am reluctant to "preface each talk by laying some ground rules of conduct". IF one is trying to get lots of people involved, THEN one is likely to have people involved who don't understand and aren't there for "informal conversation" and THEN one may need to make explicit "rules of conduct". The alternative, more organic/preferable from my point of view, is to bring together people who are there precisely because they WANT the kind of interaction that any "rules of conduct" attempt to prescribe, and they create an environment characterized by that kind of interaction. I think we have a group that can do that, and by doing it ourselves we will make it apparent and necessary for additional participants (who will either discover they enjoy such an environment and are happy to become participants in it, or realize they are not in a place they like and leave).

The third requirement for "informal conversation" is a "non-authoritative" atmosphere. Participants are there because they think THEY have something to contribute to others as well as because they think others might have something to contribute to them. Here I may be echoing Anneliese. We do NOT want to draw people in because of "speakers", and THEN have to figure out how to make people engage in "informal conversation". We want to draw people in for "informal conversation". If there happen to be some people who have distinctive experiences with the subject under discussion who ALSO happen to be the kind of people who are good at "informal conversation" so much the better. We are happy to have them drop by, and even happy to have them start the conversation with a story or two of their own, but not as "speakers". So, I'm not inclined to start the whole thing with Frank von Hippel as an initial draw nor by inviting either Karen Greif or Bruce Partridge to "speak".

Instead, I'd start the whole thing with a list of topics WE are interested in, and a commitment from each of us to say a few things at the beginning of one session that would get the conversation rolling. That person might suggest a relevant web accessible reading and/or might, if they knew someone who they KNEW was a good participant in informal conversation AND had something interesting to contribute, might invite that someone to join the conversation for that session. This is I think important. In my experience, the surest way to prevent "informal conversation" is for people to do things that, however unintended, can be read as giving some people distinctive "authority". In the right atmosphere, there should be no need to "kick out professors/speakers after 30-45 minutes so that we can dispense with the classroom feel" because there is no "classroom feel". Identifying some people as those needing to be kicked out is itself CREATING a "classroom feel".

Bottom line is I think we KNOW what we want and we know how to do it and we should be confident in ourselves and just DO it, believing that it is worth doing and others will recognize that and join in. Happy to have Su-Lyn kick things off with some thoughts about "Uncertainty" (for which there is a relevant on going discussion at I know there are people in the group who have been thinking about death and memory so if they recognize the point is NOT to be "authoritative" but to get discussion rolling we've got three sessions already. Anneliese has been thinking about "Culture", so that could be a fourth session. And I've just finished a draft of a paper called "What is science? What is it for? And who gets to say?", and would be happy to be responsible for a fifth session on "Science".

Yeah, these are all "big ideas" and aren't going to be "settled" in one evening. But that's, for me, part of the charm and value of the "non-authoritative" posture of "informal conversation". We're not trying to exhaust a topic or "settle it", we're telling stories about things we're interested in as part of our continuing thinking about those things. My guess, based on SciSoc/Serendip experiences, is that "themes" will quickly emerge. They don't need to be created in advance and, in some ways, are more alive precisely because they emerge from the conversation.

Back to some practical details. As one "sponsoring organization", SciSoc doesn't, at the moment, care about numbers of participants but only about the quality of the conversation. It would like to be able to "evaluate" that but would be happiest doing so in terms of the products of the conversation (a summary of each session, with participant list, made available on line, and an active on-line forum; cf SciSoc would also be happy to provide some funding for posters and for refreshments and trusts some HC organizations will chip in along these lines as well.

We DO want participant diversity but here too I think we already have a good start among ourselves. If everyone currently involved brings one additional person DIFFERENT from themselves, I think we'll be in good shape both in numbers and in diversity. Word of mouth is the most important thing. Posters, notice in the SciSoc calendar/on the SciSoc listserv, and comparable efforts at HC can/should build on that.

Many, many thanks to Su-Lyn for taking the time to bring us together for this initiative. Its an exciting one, not only for the bridging between disciplines but also for the bridging between campuses and between the academic and the rest of life. Most of all, for me at least, its a chance to spend more time in "informal conversation" with people I know I enjoy spending time with in that way. Looking forward to its coming to pass.

forward looking
Name: Orah Minde
Date: 2004-10-17 18:17:27
Link to this Comment: 11103

very excited to see that this is going to happen ... sorry to have missed the organizational meeting ... i like the idea of just sitting and talking with all of you: people who WANT / need to be talking about ... whatever it is we're going to talk about ... am more excited about listening to any of you than i am about listening to a lecturer. i think this will be a revolutionary endevor if we keep it to us chatting about the universe, rather than listening to "experts," who think they KNOW talk about the universe. doesn't socrates say something along the lines of : those who think they KNOW actually don't ... and anyways, who IS an expert on the subject of EVERYTHING ? i do like the idea, though, of maybe reading a poem, or a theory, or a formula at the beginning of the session to get things started. I think things written (as opposed to spoken) are easier to confront, easier to disagree with ... maybe better for an informal session if we don't feel intimidated to disaggree with "the expert."

i'm ready to start conversing ... 21st is not to early for me ... tonight wouldn't be to early for me ... i can't make the 21st though unless its after 9:30 ... in terms of finding a weekly time to meet : i am free any night except monday nights ... what time are we thinking ?
anyways, I am so looking forward to spend thinking time with all of you.
my best~

Name: Su-Lyn
Date: 2004-10-17 20:20:23
Link to this Comment: 11107

"We don't need to justify our existence and so have the luxury of letting the requirements for good "informal conversation" be our primary concern." -- Paul

That’s very comforting to hear, and I’ll remember to factor that into my expectations. I’m just all too familiar with the disappointment of low turnouts, but seeing that the aim of my previous experiences was not informal conversation, I’m willing to sit back for now and see how it pans out.

Apologies for my over-economy with words – I should have clarified what I meant by “speaker”. Paul, in his characteristic way (*grin*), echoes my intentions: I don’t want them to join us as lecturers, but as participants who will be able to contribute to our conversation and share with us a particular perspective (not every perspective): food for thought, not a straightjacket of ideas. For that reason, I refrain from ‘expert-bashing’. My point is this: don’t discount non-experts, but don’t discount experts either.

Having said that, I agree with the suggestion to start with topics that we will introduce, and provide a web reference or not-speaker.

Any offers?

just a thought
Name: Anneliese
Date: 2004-10-18 14:32:39
Link to this Comment: 11117

This is partly out of self-interest, but I trust it will be in others' interest, as well:
This Wednesday, from 5-6:30, the Graduate School of Social Work/Social Research together with the Center for Ethnicities, Community and Social Policy are hosting Eddie Daniels, a South African activist who will be speaking about his experience in South Africa's emerging democracy.
Depending on everyone's schedules, this might be a nice opportunity to get together following the presentation to share reflections/inspirations. There will be "light refreshments," too =]

Name: Su-Lyn
Date: 2004-10-19 01:19:20
Link to this Comment: 11128

Anneliese, sounds like a plan! I'll try to get out of Swat lab a little earlier to catch the van back to BMC.

In related news, I assume everyone's gotten the email about the Language Seminar Tri-Co lectures. They're one-off events at each college, but the interdisciplinary approach seems to align perfectly with what we're trying to achieve with U-Bar. The speakers are Eric Raimy, Anne Dalke and HC's Shizhe Huang.

Below is a snippet of the email, just to remind us what it's about:

"A new series of seminars will begin to explore the rich variety of available approaches to the study of language and the interrelations among them. Language is a topic that is particularly amenable to interdisciplinary exploration, as evidenced by the range of disciplines that relate to it (e.g. literary studies, language departments, linguistics, psychology, education, computer science, and cognitive science, among others). The aim of this series of talks is to foster cross disciplinary discussion among faculty members from all the Tri-Co schools. ... Talks will be presented in a manner that is accessible to all faculty members (and interested students) in hopes of fostering more collaboration and discussion about the nature of language."

Language has always been a favorite of mine. If others are in favor, Paul, maybe you could hop into the next room to extend an invitation to Eric to join us one night?


Name: Anneliese
Date: 2004-10-19 15:36:44
Link to this Comment: 11135


Bryn Mawr College
Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and The Center Ethnicities, Communities & Social Policy

Invite you to a lecture on...

The New South Africa: An Emerging Democracy
Eddie Daniels, South African Activist

5:00 pm
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
School of Social Work Gymnasium

~~Light refreshments will be served~~

Eddie Daniels, an anti-apartheid activist, member of the Liberal Party of South Africa and the African Resistance Movement, was banned, detained and imprisoned for his actions and beliefs. He served a sentence of 15 years on Robben Island in the company of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and other resistance leaders. Mr. Daniels will speak about the emerging democracy in South Africa, and the accompanying political and social challenges and opportunities. We are pleased to welcome Eddie Daniels as an activist- in- residence.

Eddie Daniels
Name: Anneliese
Date: 2004-10-20 18:33:16
Link to this Comment: 11149

Sue-Lyn asked me to report on the above event, which it seems no one was able to attend. Eddie Daniels told us one version of his life story (an abbreviated one, bien sur), spanning from his birth in a very poor neighborhood in South Africa to his involvement in the African Resistance Movement, for which he was imprisoned on Robben Island for 15 years--which he spent in the company of Nelson Mandela and other great figures of the struggle against apartheid.

Most striking, to me, were his introductory remarks. I cannot quote him directly, but the gist of his message was, 'You live in a great country. When you have an election, no one gets shot--the competitors shake hands.' I was moved to hear him express admiration for our electoral system--it's not the stance I usually take, but he certainly put things in perspective.

I was also interested in what his take was on the situation in Iraq, and whether he saw any parallels between the insurgency movement there and the actions of the ARM. Another woman evidently had a similar question in mind when she asked him to compare these two groups in light of the question of how to define terrorism. Daniels was unequivocal: the ARM was against harming innocent people, and although civilians did get caught in the crossfire, they were not targeted. The distinction seems to be a matter of intent versus accident. He did not elaborate any further on the ongoing conflict between the US military and Iraqi insurgents.

His was a compelling narrative, and for anyone interested, he's published an autobiography (the name of which escapes me, but which I can easily obtain from the dean's office). On a personal level, it's a bit mind-boggling to be sitting less than 20 feet away from someone whose life experience encompasses the kind of things you only read or see movies about.


further organizing? ...
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: 2004-10-23 12:27:01
Link to this Comment: 11179

Would be more than happy to extend an invitation to Eric to trigger a U-bar discussion on language, and am sure he'd be happy to do so.

Sorry to have missed Daniels. There were/have been/are a few other things going on as well (eg an art opening, a diversity and a grad idea forum discussion on pedagogy, a brownbag discussion on the introduction of western medicine into Africa, and a talk I was asked to give on "Is biology relevant to thinking about sex and gender?").

Point in present context, of course, is there is already LOTS going that relates in one way or another to U-bar. And so if we want to create U-bar itself we need to get with it and DO it. I for one think we do and should. There is, it seems to me, an intent and spirit among us that can be "fed" by other events organized for other reasons but isn't expressed by them.

Trusting others agree, and that we are individually not only willing but anxious to commit time, let's lay out the plan and commit the times. Start with Su-Lyn on "Uncertainty"? Follow with Anneliese on "Culture"? Add Orah on "Death", me on "Science", Eric on "Language", other volunteers on ????. Make a schedule and an open forum (where, among other things, announcements of related events can be made) and we're off an running?

E on...
Name: Elizabeth
Date: 2004-10-23 17:28:25
Link to this Comment: 11184

Elizabeth on Empty Space (negative space/liminal space etc)?
Elizabeth and Maria on Gender and Creative Process? or just the notion of generation/creation/creativity... I would like to start off a discussion with Maria because our perceptions about things esp. on the Descartes forum have been so pleasingly different. This okay with everyone, most specifically Maria? And are these topics in the spirit of the universe bar conversations??? hmmm... i'm broadening the universe to include anything of interest. These topics are much more specific than memory, culture, uncertainty and death... but do they sound okay? :-) Was wondering... even though we'd not be leading/would be a group/ collective effort, could we bring in say an art image to start things off... or organize a group project as a part of the group discussion as long as we remember that what we're doing is group oriented... deep appologizes if i'm behind or misunderstanding what we're going to do. Have not fully read all the posts here. But will of quite excited. thanks!

Name: Su-Lyn
Date: 2004-10-23 17:49:49
Link to this Comment: 11185

Wednesday 8pm at Lunt Cafe: does that work for people?

I've emailed Bridget Pratt about the "Uncertainty" topic. We've been having some really interesting conversations in our Science & Society seminar about popular conceptions of brain fingerprinting and misuse of forensics in the courtroom. I'd love to open up that discussion.

Shall we say, 5-10 minutes for us to introduce the topic?


Big enough
Name: su-lyn
Date: 2004-10-23 18:11:00
Link to this Comment: 11187

Elizabeth on Empty Space (negative space/liminal space etc)?
Elizabeth and Maria on Gender and Creative Process?

Those topics sound perfect. I found "Uncertainty" rather unwieldy so I focused in on the idea of certainty/uncertainty in determining guilt/innocence, and the use of forensic evidence to that end. Whatever gets the thoughts flowing.


meeting of the universe
Name: Elizabeth
Date: 2004-10-23 23:55:33
Link to this Comment: 11188

excellent, su-lyn! glad those topics seem good for you. can't come wed. i have work then am manning my installation, then listening to Jean Kilbourne on body image/thiness/advertising, then i have a nimbus meeting. so no room in evening to slip out and come over. will try and make the next one. have fun, all! most of my upcoming week reads like that-- so i think best for you to stick with wed if that's best for you all. and i'll catch up with you soon.

oh, oops
Name: E
Date: 2004-10-24 00:00:40
Link to this Comment: 11189

wed. nights in general fine. missed the basic notion of this- so did you mean this wed. for uncertainty, su-lyn... really sorry if i have to miss that. and then weds for the rest of the semester? hmmmm....

when to meet
Name: su-lyn
Date: 2004-10-24 15:23:18
Link to this Comment: 11192

Could everyone please weigh in about days that would & wouldn't work for them, if we met at 8pm?

M -- out (Senior Sem)
T -- doable
W -- best
Th -- doable

I doubt weekends will be very popular.


Name: orah
Date: 2004-10-24 15:57:45
Link to this Comment: 11193

Wed. 8pm works perfectly for me ... looking forward !!

Name: Anneliese
Date: 2004-10-24 16:02:04
Link to this Comment: 11194

Generally, M, Tu, W, 8pm are fine. Will not commit to being there every week, but will try to be there more often than not.
Cannot do Wed. Nov 17th.

when to meet
Name: Bridget
Date: 2004-10-24 16:39:25
Link to this Comment: 11195

Wednesday & Thursday nights at 8 work for me... although this week Thursday would be preferable... unless I finish my takehome midterm early. If we met at Haverford, I could probably do Wednesday though.


Name: maria
Date: 2004-10-24 17:12:49
Link to this Comment: 11196

hi everyone, Wednesday at 8 works for me.

Name: maria
Date: 2004-10-24 17:16:40
Link to this Comment: 11197

um, I forgot (above) to add that ALL nights at 8 work for me. So whatever works for you guys. -Maria

wednesday it is
Name: su-lyn
Date: 2004-10-24 17:45:31
Link to this Comment: 11198

Okay, Wednesday sounds convincing enough. :) This week, we'll be at Lunt Cafe. The Blue Bus leaves BMC at 7:45pm, and there's one going back to BMC at 8:45pm and at 9:15pm.

For those of you who don't know where the cafe is: After getting off the bus, take the path that goes past the Dining Center, and walk to the end of it. You'll be standing in front of Roberts Hall / Marshall Auditorium. Take the path on its left, and walk until you get to the 3 North Dorms. Lunt is the one in the middle, and the Cafe is in its basement. I'll be waiting at the south entrance to let you in.

In following weeks, we'll alternate between BMC and HC. Maria, have you had a chance to check out the place on Cambrian Row that you mentioned?

So excited.

Web ref
Name: su-lyn
Date: 2004-10-24 17:59:18
Link to this Comment: 11199

Criminal Science: The Paul House Case

This is the web reference that got me thinking about this topic of uncertainty. It's a fantastic read!


future conversations
Name: su-lyn
Date: 2004-10-24 18:16:18
Link to this Comment: 11200

Aaaaaand, me again.

I'm trying to do up our website with a schedule of topics. Next week's will be at Bryn Mawr, the following at Lunt, etc. Offers?

Nov 3 -- BMC
Nov 10 -- Lunt
Nov 17 -- BMC
Nov 24 -- Lunt


Name: emj
Date: 2004-10-24 19:54:46
Link to this Comment: 11202

i'll see you all this wednesday at lunt. looking forward to it.

Name: maria
Date: 2004-10-24 20:03:09
Link to this Comment: 11203

okay, I'm back again, I checked out the living room space in Clynnoc on Cambrian Row and I think that it would work really well and is conducive to the sort of informal conversation vibe that we're going for. Should I reserve it? Incidentally, do we know (roughly) how many people are coming?

Name: Hannah Wil
Date: 2004-10-24 22:06:36
Link to this Comment: 11204

Hi everyone!

I'd be excited to participate ( as one who prefers in-person conversations I haven't been around the forum yet ) but am not available this Wednesday. See you all the next time?

Name: maria
Date: 2004-10-25 10:03:52
Link to this Comment: 11206

hi again, okay, I have reserved Clynnoc (who NAMED these houses?!) on Cambrian Row for next Wed. night. We don't HAVE to use it but I think it works well, and I'm happy to show it to anyone who wants to see it, just to get a second opinion.

another venue
Name: su-lyn
Date: 2004-10-25 21:14:16
Link to this Comment: 11225

From Chris Kingsley:
I think we should hold one on Kelly Drive though, where Fairmount park overlooks Philly - I got serendipitously lost coming home last night and found this place that just... it's as likely a nexus for mysterious universal forces as anywhere I've ever been. Black river behind you, strange upwardly lit statuary, miniature city over the tree line - every concievable path for electricity, information, automobiles or marine critters within a half a mile, and all of them totally invisible. I suspect Druids.

Never been, but told him if it's all that, might be worth making the 20 minute drive for a special occasion, or ending the semester with a big bang. Not weekly though.


Name: Elizabeth
Date: 2004-10-27 12:03:23
Link to this Comment: 11232

Just wanted to send good good thoughts to you all for tonight. I'm sure it's going to be so much fun. I'll be there in spirit, can't wait until next week when I'll be there in person.

Name: maria
Date: 2004-10-28 18:09:49
Link to this Comment: 11256

hi, is anyone else having problems getting to the ubar's forum? When I try it says I am "forbidden" or don't have permission on my server. -Maria

Name: spoon
Date: 2004-10-30 12:56:09
Link to this Comment: 11274

Hey all, just a quick update...

I have a fellowship application due on Tuesday, so you probably won't be hearing from me until Wednesday. Could someone else pull together next week's U-Bar?

Our first conversation last Wednesday went extremely well -- Maria/Emily/Bridget can probably tell you more about that. I'll type up a summary next week.


oooops ....
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: 2004-10-30 15:12:14
Link to this Comment: 11276

Hey, I thought this forum was for ORGANIZING. And once things were organized, we'd have a regular web page and a regular forum and .... etc.

So, apologies but wasn't looking here for announcements of meeting and so didn't know about last wednesday until heard afterwards about it form Su-Lyn and Maria. Glad things went well but do think we need to get a little more organized around here. And get some publicity out, more people involved.
Su-Lyn, we have a web page that shows schedule, can be moved to Serendip? Then the link from here should work (the one Maria was worried about). And I'll make a regular forum for meeting conversation. And I'll link from the SciSoc home page and announce on the listserv. Yes, nice to have a few good people but let's see how MANY good people we can get involved.

Name: spoon
Date: 2004-10-31 15:18:42
Link to this Comment: 11281

Hey all, tentative schedule... how does this sound?

Nov 3 (BMC) Elizabeth on Empty Space
Nov 10 (HC) Eric Raimy on Language
Nov 17 (BMC) Paul on Science
Nov 24 Thanksgiving
Dec 1 (HC) Su-Lyn on Innovation (tie to next week's Creative Process?)
Dec 8 (BMC) Elizabeth & Maria on Gender (and Creative Process?)


thoughts on publicity, increasing attendance and t
Name: maria
Date: 2004-10-31 17:47:56
Link to this Comment: 11285

Hi everyone. I wanted to put a couple of things on the table for general consideration and to provide directions to Clynnoc (on Cambrian Row), where the meeting this Wednesday will be held. First of all, thanks to Su-Lyn for getting the schedule worked out (schedule can be seen in above posting). Secondly, I wanted to ask for any ideas people might have for advertising the conversations and increasing attendance. Obviously, the first step toward increasing attendance is to have everyone who SAYS they’re going to show up to actually do so (that would be referring to anyone who is reading this/is a part of this forum…basically, avoid ditching the meeting at the last minute just because Radnor dormitory spontaneously decides to transform itself into New Orleans during Mardi Gras at 7:45 on a Wednesday night…) Beyond that, there is the challenge of convincing self-involved, solipsistic college students that engaging in “a dialogue about how they and others relate to the universe” is something worth doing…I’m thinking we’re gonna need some visually engaging posters that promise free food to those who attend. To that end, what are everyone’s thoughts on posters? A couple of us should probably get together in the next week and agree on a poster design. I’m willing to take some responsibility for that though obviously, anyone who has any input is more than welcome (Elizabeth, as an art person and someone who just generally seems more able than I am at things like poster design, do you think you’d be willing to work with me on that?).

In terms of getting people involved in the conversation via methods other than just posters…I’m sure we all are familiar with individuals who would be interested in participating and I’m personally in favor of shamelessly bugging/guilt tripping/coercing friends into coming. However, all of you may be more mature/have more dignity than I do, in which case you are more than welcome to come up with your own method for recruiting others….though, let's avoid blackmail or threats of physical violence…after all, this is a Quaker community…or at least Haverford is.

This Wednesday we’re meeting at 8 pm in Clynnoc house on Cambrian Row (Cambrian row is the line of brown shingled houses on the edge of BMC’s campus, overlooking the soccer fields. Clynnoc is the last house on Cambrian row, so if you’re approaching from campus it would be the one of the left end…or one could say the most leftist house of them all. Except that makes it sound somewhat socialist.) Haverford people, there is a blue bus that leaves HC at 7:35. If the prospect of walking the length of bryn mawr’s campus is unappealing, let me know and I’ll make a run from Pem Arch to Cambrian row at around 7:50 to give people a ride. Otherwise, just walk through pem arch and then continue past the front of Thomas Great Hall, past the front of the crashingly ugly structure that is Canaday Library and then keep going on that path continuing the steps down to the soccer field and then UP the steps on the other side and Cambrian row is on your left.

Name: spoon
Date: 2004-10-31 18:51:09
Link to this Comment: 11286

Advertising: online calendars. Haverford has GO (student portal), and I understand Bryn Mawr has something equivalent. But I think word of mouth will yield better quality over quantity. How much emphasis are we placing on quantity? I'm confused -- I thought Paul was saying we should stick to small numbers rather than plastering the colleges.

Buses & location: how long is the walk to Clynnoc? Will 15 mins be enough to get from Clynnoc to the bus after our get-together ends at 9pm? If this turns out to be a problem, we might have to consider relocating, but will see after next week.

Schedule: Orah, Anneliese, are you still interested in talking about death and culture? I didn't want to presume, but I can easily change the schedule.

Name: maria
Date: 2004-10-31 19:17:25
Link to this Comment: 11288

15 minutes should be more than enough to get from Cambrian Row to Pem Arch. The walk takes about 7 minutes (I live in a dorm behind Cambrian Row, so I've pretty well mastered the amount of time required to get to campus). I think that as a general rule quality over quantity is a better choice for our purposes, but that enough posters should be put up that an interested student would at least be made aware of the groups existence. Obviously we don't want people who are not in fact interested showing up, but bringing in new "quality" or sincerely interested parties seems to me a good idea. It's also somewhat challenging at times simply to get interested parties to show up, while someone might be interested in the idea of a "universe bar," getting them to show up can take some effort and that's where I think the posters etc can be helpful, just to 'remind' people.

Name: spoon
Date: 2004-10-31 19:54:58
Link to this Comment: 11289

Paul, could you extend the invite to Eric Raimy? Nov 10 at HC Lunt Cafe, talking about Language.


Empty Space
Name: Elizabeth
Date: 2004-10-31 20:08:50
Link to this Comment: 11290

Hey guys, does anyone think they can switch with me this week? I'd be really grateful for that, i've only got about an hour free between now and wed. to prepare so my leading a discussion of empty space is going to seem a little bit, empty... So since the idea is to discuss this empty space rather than create it, it might be cool if someone could switch with me but if not, i'm happy to do it, it just won't be too well planned.... i could do better if it were later. Just e mailed Su-Lyn about this, but do let me know if anyone else might be able to switch.

Name: su-lyn
Date: 2004-10-31 20:22:56
Link to this Comment: 11291

Is this clear?


Name: spoon
Date: 2004-10-31 20:24:52
Link to this Comment: 11292

(Sorry for the double post, I forgot to add in the bit.) I've put up directions to the different spots on HC/BMC campus. Are the directions clear?


updated schedule
Name: spoon
Date: 2004-11-01 18:13:05
Link to this Comment: 11309

Hey guys, switched a couple of conversations around. Here's the updated schedule:

Wed Nov 3, Clynnoc House (BMC) @ 8pm
Paul Grobstein

Wed Nov 10, Lunt Cafe (HC) @ 8pm
Eric Raimy

Wed Nov 17, Clynnoc House (BMC) @ 8pm
Empty Space
Elizabeth Catanese

Wed Nov 24
Thanksgiving break

Wed Dec 1, Lunt Cafe (HC) @ 8pm
Su-Lyn Poon

Wed Dec 8, Clynnoc House (BMC) @ 8pm
Gender and Creativity
Elizabeth Catanese, Maria Scott-Wittenborn

Sound good?

going public/live
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: 2004-11-02 18:27:45
Link to this Comment: 11325

Have created "official" universe bar website at And created a new "public" on-line forum at Let's use that one for most things, keeping this one for private conversation by u-bar organizers about u-bar organization?

Sorry if I seem sometimes on one side of organizational issues and some times on other. Do in any case think we should take Maria up on offer to make some posters (maybe even some u-bar calling cards?) that can be discretely posted around to generate additional interest (this partly but not entirely a wish to ALSO generate SciSoc interest).

Will ask Eric about next Wednesday. Might want to think about alternates just in case. In meanwhile, looking forward to kicking off "science" tomorrow evening. Made a link from the new home page schedule to a relevant reading. Expecting everyone to bring the proverbial "one new friend". See you all tomorrow.

Name: maria
Date: 2004-11-03 10:13:41
Link to this Comment: 11329

I also think we should take maria (otherwise known as me) up on the poster thing...largely because I have one poster designed already (and I think it's pretty) and Elizabeth and I are meeting tonight to design others. Interesting idea..."calling cards"...(brings to mind those big "Z"s that Zorro used to leave...can just see "ubar" inscribed on the wall of Lunt...)

People from Haverford: we had talked about me giving you a ride from Pem Arch to Cambrian Row...If you're interested either post it here or email me (

ride to Cambrian Row
Name: Bridget
Date: 2004-11-03 13:57:35
Link to this Comment: 11337

Hi Maria,

I could definitely use the ride. I'll be on the 7:35 bus from HC. Thanks.

Name: Elizabeth
Date: 2004-11-15 22:29:27
Link to this Comment: 11588

hey guys maybe i should be posting this on the forum forum rather than this forum but was wondering if anyone is sending out an activities e mail on the BMC campus. I can do that... just wondering if anyone else was planning to.

Name: Maria
Date: 2004-11-16 17:23:43
Link to this Comment: 11610

Okayyyy...not to seem totally psychotic by repeating this so many times in emails postings etc but...THERE HAS BEEN A CHANGE OF LOCATION FOR THE MEETING THIS WEDNESDAY: WE ARE NO LONGER MEETING AT CLYNNOC...WE ARE MEETING AT THE MULTI-CULTURAL CENTER. It is near is in view of Clynnoc...if you try to go to Clynnoc we will easily be able to fetch you and, like a child who has gone astray, bring you back to the multi-cultural center where you belong...BUT WE WILL NOT BE AT CLYNNOC. The next meeting at BMC (December 8th) IS ALSO at the MCC. Soooo, see you Wednesday!

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