Made available on Serendip
In association with Making Sense of Diversity: An Exploration, a world wide conversation

Making Sense of Diversity:
A Series of Friday Noon Conversations at Bryn Mawr College

September 10, 2004

Jackney Prioly (Customs Mistress, BMC '06) and
Chris MacDonald-Dennis (Director, Office of Intercultural Affairs)
Leading a Discussion about "Re-imagining our Customs"


Prepared by Anne Dalke
Additions, revisions, extensions are encouraged in the On-Line Forum

52 of us gathered to talk about what we thought about customs and traditions at Bryn Mawr. There were quite a range of experiences and reactions to them:

Central themes that arose during the conversation were these: Do we want to be more reflective about this notion that "at a woman's college, everything is relational"? Might we focus less on making the Customs group an end in itself, less protective of its borders, and more of a pass-through to other things, a stepping stone to finding a group you do feel a part of? A fall back and support system when other plans fail? Customs sounded like a cult, a group you couldn't get out of. Where does this attitude of "self-containment" come from? Who defines the "corporate nature" of a Customs group? Who sets these guidelines?

For some, Customs groups functioned as "temporary families until we found our real ones"; for others, they got in the way of finding more sustainable friendships. Must individuals defend themselves against the groups they are part of? Might we replace forming and defending groups of all kinds with just enjoying the groups we are part of? Must all groups be in competition with one another? Couldn't we each enjoy participating in several groups, w/out feeling a sense of disloyalty to one, when we engage in another?

This discussion is invited to continue on line.

"Making Sense of Diversity" will resume in person in two weeks, at noon on Friday, September 24, when Laura Kramer (BMC ), Orah Minder (BMC '06) and Deborah Harrold (Political Science Department) will lead a discussion about "Listening for Peace: The Israeli-Palestinian Struggle."

| Return to Schedule for Friday Noon Conversations

| Bryn Mawr Conversations | Archived Forum | Archive of Bryn Mawr Conversation | General Conversation | Serendip Home |

These pages are sponsored by the Bryn Mawr College Office of Intercultural Affairs, the Center for Science and Society and the Serendip website. Send us additional comments or suggestions at Serendip

© by Serendip 1994- - Last Modified: Wednesday, 21-June-2005 15:18:00 EST