Philosophy at Haverford

Haverford has a vibrant Department of Philosophy. Haverford’s academic departments frequently invite professors from other colleges and universities to share their work at talks. Attending these talks is an excellent way to expand your knowledge and apply your learning from the classroom.

Throughout this year, the Department of Philosophy has hosted talks by, among others, Paul Snowden (“Wittgenstein on Rule Following”), Lisa Shabel (“Kant on the Mathematical Principles of Pure Understanding”), and Nate Zuckerman ’02 (“Becoming Who We Already Are: Heidegger and Kierkegaard on Repetition”). It has also hosted the Annual Global Philosophy Forum.

On Friday, April 10, I attended a talk by Professor Justin Broackes. Broackes talked about perception and knowledge and described what the soul understands through itself and through the senses in Plato’s Theaetetus (184-187). He also mentioned passages from Phaedo (65b-66, 82d-84c) and Symposium (210e-212b).

Another wonderful part of the Department of Philosophy is the New Philosopher’s Club. I am a member of this group of students that meets about once a month to discuss philosophical topics. Our most recent meeting centered on a discussion of performance studies and performatives. This meeting was also on April 10, which made my Friday quite philosophical! You can check out this blog post and this web page for more on the New Philosophers’ Club.

Global Dialogue Institutes

The poster for the Annual Global Philosophy Forum, courtesy of Professor Ashok Gangadean.

April Fools Day in the KINSC

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One of my all-time favorite traditions at Haverford is April Fool’s Day in the Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center.  Majors from each department work hard to transform the building into a giant prank. Professors and students have such close relationships at Haverford that students poke fun by posting photos of the faculty superimposed onto characters from Harry Potter, for example, or by making puns out of professors’ names and fields of study. Here are some photos from April 1, 2015. The Math Department is partially my handiwork!


Snowy Midterm Season

Even though Spring Break is right around the corner, it doesn’t look like Spring just yet in Philly. Today we had a snow day, and so I took the opportunity to get ahead on my Midterm Exams.

One of my favorite things about Haverford, and specifically its Honor Code, is that my professors trust me and expect me to do the right thing. So, my Microfinance professor assigned us a timed, take-home, closed-book test to do at some point in the week when we had time. Here’s me, cozy and warm in my apartment with a mug of tea as the snow continues to fall outside, just about to take my exam!


I’ve set a timer for 60 minutes. Wish me luck!!

Study Abroad: Exploring Paris

Eiffel Tower

Hello from Europe! I am currently studying abroad with Sweet Briar College’s Junior Year in France Paris program, one of FIVE Haverford-approved study abroad programs in France alone. The Study Abroad Office has approved over 60 programs in 40 countries and on every continent except Antarctica—if you might be interested in studying abroad, you have options!

Even before I started applying to colleges, I was 100% sure I wanted to study abroad and 80% sure I wanted to go to Paris…but if you’re not as into the whole planning ahead thing, fear not! Haverford helps with every step of the process and can provide you with great resources as you make a decision about studying abroad. About half of all students at Haverford go abroad for a semester in their junior year and some go abroad for the whole year.

Check out my shots of the Eiffel Tower and a panorama of the Paris as seen from the Sacré Coeur. Very cliché, I know, but they’re popular sites for a reason!

Here are some highlights of my time abroad so far: Continue reading

Plenary at Haverford College


Students raise their “Plenary Packets” to vote for a resolution.

Last weekend, Haverford students came together for a unique Haverford tradition: Plenary.

Plenary is a once-per-semester session where the student body meets in the gym to talk about life at Haverford and how we can make revisions to our policies and programs. It is a pillar on which stands our entire system of student self-governance. The Haverford administration trusts us to lead and run Plenary so that we can make administrative decisions and recommendations on our own, and they know that we take the process very seriously.

Two-thirds of the student body must attend in order for Plenary to take place. Students stand and present resolutions on which a two-thirds majority of attendees must vote “yes” on in order to pass. These resolutions can range from the expectations that Student’s Council places upon its members to a recommendation from the student body to remove the college’s paper towels in the interest of environmental sustainability.

This past Sunday, there were nine resolutions, including revisions to the official policies of Honor Council and the ratification of the Honor Code itself.  Continue reading

Science painting in the snow!

Hi everybody!
This semester, my biochemistry classmates and I are studying the biosynthesis of skyllamycin (an antibiotic) in the soil bacteria Streptomyces. Throughout the semester, we’ve been learning about site directed mutagenesis, protein purification, molecular modeling on the computer, and many other lab techniques. But TODAY we perfected the most important technique of all….snow painting!
Thanks to Fords Against Boredom (a.k.a. FAB) for supplying me an my friend Ali with “snow paint” so we could amuse ourselves by drawing skyllamycin in the snow during our short break between lunch and lab.
~~~~Katie (and Ali!)

Finals Week


Brandon’s favorite study spot. Photo credit: Jessica Dixon ’16

Happy Finals Week! My favorite place to study at Haverford is this desk on the second tier of the Science Library. Today, I’m preparing to write a paper for my Philosophy of Mind course. In this course, taught by Professor Ian Blecher, we have studied Plato (Philebus and short selections from Phaedrus and Parmenides), Aristotle (De Anima 3, 4, and 5), Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae, Question 79), René Descartes (Meditations on First Philosophy 1, 2, and 3), Immanuel Kant (The Critique of Pure Reason), and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (Faith and Knowledge and the preface to The Phenomenology of Spirit).  

Uniting our community: The Joe Schwartz ’83 Memorial 3K Run/Walk

Hello my beautiful audience! It’s crazy to think that 1) this is the last blog post I will be writing for admissions, 2) this is the first week of finals, and 3) I AM GRADUATING IN JUST 13 DAYS! Literally this year is just flying by.

With our final week of classes, I am excited to tell you about an event I have been helping with for the past four years: The Joe Schwartz ’83 Memorial 3K Run/Walk. This event has two main goals 1) to raise money for The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association and ALS research and 2) unite the greater Haverford community towards a greater cause. This Run/Walk was created in honor of Joe Schwartz ’83 who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 34; the full mission statement can be found at the end of this post.

This past year we had the MOST participation we’ve ever had with over 300 individuals! We were able to raise over $10,000 which will all go towards the ALS Association and of course ALS research. President Dan Weiss and his family even stopped by to show their support for the event.


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Exploring Haverford: Open Campus Day


Some of the Student Volunteers who made Open Campus Day such a success! Photo courtesy of Shane Trujillo

Some of the Student Volunteers who made Open Campus Day such a success! Photo courtesy of Shane Trujillo

April 13 was Open Campus Day, a day for students considering coming to Haverford to look around the campus, meet students, and learn about academic departments and extracurricular activities on campus.  It was a gorgeous day for walking around campus.  The Student Volunteers who work in the Office of Admission began the day at Ryan Gym – we reviewed our instructions and duties for the day.  A few students and I began near the parking lot, directing people to register at Founders Hall.  Next, I proceeded to Founders Hall for the academic fair.  There was a lively hub of people circulating in and out, talking with a wide variety of professors and students representing academic departments.  Of course, there were plenty of handouts to be had!  (Another way to learn about the academic ethos was at the Academics Panel later in the day.)  I talked with all sorts of parents and prospective students about my experience with academics and extracurricular life at Haverford, my interests (it helped that I had a name tag imploring, “Ask me about LINGUISTICS and Cognitive Science”), and, most importantly, the prospective students’ interests.  People had great questions which gave me a chance to expound upon what makes Haverford such a unique school with a plethora of opportunities. 

Tours of the campus and of specific buildings went off while I headed to lunch.  As I waited in the massive line, I answered more questions and shared more information about Haverford with other folks in line.  I moved back in line a few times to extend my time in line and thereby chat with more people.  (Some wonderful volunteers brought us cookies and brownies as we waited!)  After we were served, I sat down to talk with some visitors; when they left, I switched tables and had a wonderful conversation with two prospective students and their parents.  We were some of the last people to leave the Dining Center.  I directed the parents to the Parents Panel and walked the students to the Students-Only Panel, two excellent opportunities for the different cohorts to ask questions. 

My final event was at the Closing Reception.  As people met in the Gardner Integrated Athletic Center before they left campus, I approached various groups and even saw some folks I had seen earlier in the day.  It sounded like people had an exciting (and hopefully persuasive!) Open Campus Day experience, which made me ecstatic.  For me, the best part of the day was hearing so much about prospective students’ interests and ambitions, which, in turn, prompted conversations about the school.  I am a tour guide, so I get asked questions on tours, but, due to the limited time available on a tour, I can only share so much about the college.  However, on Open Campus Day, I felt like I had the chance to talk in a more extensive and detailed fashion and to describe in more detail what makes Haverford an outstanding learning environment and caring community on a personal level. 

If you are interested in working for the Office of Admission, one way you can do so is to apply to be a host (people who talk with students and parents as they wait for tours or interviews) or a campus tour guide during the Spring semester of your freshman year.  Both positions are opportunities to share the college with visitors and to present them not only with facts but with your or your friends’ personal experiences with classes and extracurricular opportunities, study abroad adventures and internships and externship experiences, funding from the CPGC and classes or exhibits from the Hurford Center.  This blog is my last for the semester, so, a bit in advance, I hope you all HAVER stellar end of the school year!

Spring has Sprung (?!)

Although the weather here has yet to catch up with the Spring Equinox, it is in fact spring on campus, and more specifically one of my favorite times of year at Haverford. As a senior this spring semester brings a lot of exciting things to look forward to: graduation (duh), thesis completion (maybe too soon?), senior week, Haverfest, and a whole bunch of other lovely events. However one of my FAVORITE events started this past Sunday, March 23rd. “What is this awesome event, Sophie?” you may be asking right now as you read my blog post. Well wonderful reader, that event is known as water tag, and it is the best.

Water tag is an event hosted by FAB (Fords Against Boredom) that occurs every spring. The way the game works is you sign up by contacting FAB, they assign you a target, and you seek that individual out while simultaneously avoiding the individual who is hunting you. In order to “eliminate” your target you must get him/her wet using water only. This can be achieved by using water bottles, water guns, buckets for the brave (and ambitious). If it holds water, you can use it. Once you have “tagged” your target, you inherit their target and the cycle continues until the last man, or woman!, is standing. The last remaining person wins $250 while the person with the most tags wins $150. A large number of campus participates in water tag so if you visit campus and see students running from building to building, now you know why!

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