Department of Philosophy
As Trinity marches boldly into the Future, I offer a few very strategic new ideas designed to enhance and position Trinity in a preeminently enhanced position. Submitted for your consideration:
1. Stick to bricks. The recent $12.6 million legal judgement against the College has put in question many cherished “bricks and mortar” projects now in the planning stage, including the completion of the original 19th-century Burgess master plan for Trinity — I refer of course to the “Very Long Walk,” the tree-lined, gothically detailed, digitally wired, community sensitive, academically rigorous, architectural corridor stretching from the Downes Memorial Arch to Medford, Massachusetts. (The plan includes several new dorms and a social center which will not be called the New Party Barn.) Rather than scrap this bold vision, I suggest that we adopt a simple cost-cutting strategy: Leave out the mortar. Mortar is always less attractive than the bricks it sticks to, and it is hard to clean. Without mortar, too, people can rearrange whole buildings to reflect their needs and moods. Against this proposal, some may say that since part of the height and width of brick walls is mortar, all the new buildings will be smaller and shorter than planned. But in my opinion most of the time people spend in buildings is spent either sitting or sleeping or (in the case of social centers) falling down. Five foot ceilings will have no impact on these activities.
2. The Temporal Sites Program. While our “Global Sites” program enlarges students’ geographical and cultural experience, few have commented on its temporal narrowness. Students may travel far in space, but find themselves still inhabiting the Now, just like the rest of us stay-at-homes. To overcome temporal provinciality, I propose that Trinity launch a program in Temporal Sites, in which students engage in intensive study in the remote past or far future. Examples include:– The ‘Sixties Semester: Students spend a semester wearing bell-bottoms and paisley, using the word “groovy” a lot, and protesting the War in Viet Nam. — Serf and Turf Program: A semester of fealty and subsistence farming on the main quad – what better way to explore the Y1K problem? Features: rooming with domestic animals; Bubonic Plague Exploratory Internship; Midterm bath.– 24th Century Perspectives Exchange Program with Star Fleet Academy: Meet Wesley Crusher, wear your Star Fleet jammies to class, and catch up on subspace gossip (in Klingon, of course). The Warp Core Curriculum includes: Space-Time Management; Ferengi Econometrics; Transporter Maintenance/Refrigerator Repair; Dilithium Crystal Gazing. Required: Set Phasers on Stun.
3 TCCCCCJ. A recent survey revealed that 22% of adult Americans had heard of Trinity College. Yet, 89% had heard of Bob Hope, the 137 year old comedian (most recently in the news for entertaining our troops in Dunkirk). Why the disparity? One obvious reason is that Hope has a staff of joke writers — as many as a dozen working full time for him. How many joke writers does Trinity employ? Zero. The Trinity Center for Constructing Contagious Collegiate Jokes will close the gap. The Center will seek external funds to retain lots and lots of FTEs (Full Titter Equivalents) to infuse our curriculum with interdisciplinary, intradisciplinary, and crossdisciplinary one-liners, puns, sarcasm, and irony. We can say to the world, “Take our college — please.”
4. The Trinity Exclamation Initiative! We are very excited (!) about everything going on here, and yet if you look at Trinity promotional literature, you find many sentences that end with simple periods! Can a boring old period convey the inspiration, the hope, and the potential of these times?! Of course not! With the help of a grant from an anonymous (!!) donor, we will systematically upgrade our punctuation to reflect our true feelings! The Exclamation Initiative will also fund pilot programs to explore multiple exclamations (!!!) and their impact on our admissions pool!!!!! And even other kinds of punctuation, like smilies 🙂 and dotting our i’s with little flowers!!!!!!!! (Do not confuse this with the Trinity Center for the Study of Italics.)
In sum, I urge the Trustees, this week’s Administration, the PPC, EPC, SGA, TCAC, CLI, FBI, and CIA to look into these strategic plans right away, by next week at the latest. Oh, and we’ll need a new slogan too:
Trinity College: Liberal arts… with a difference …with a difference.