December 2011 Archways

On Campus

One Tree Lost to Irene

Ulmus Glabra Scotch Elm

The gleditsia triacanthos var. “inermis” (honey locust) by Denbigh survived Hurricane Irene.

While downed power lines did lead to the closure of New Gulph Road, English House, and Russian House for more than a day following Hurricane Irene this September, only one of the 3,611 trees on Bryn Mawr’s campus—a honey locust in the wooded area near the president’s house—was lost.

Assistant Facilities Director Ed Harman credits the lack of downed trees on campus to careful pruning, which allows wind to flow through trees rather than get caught in the branches, and an effort in recent years to remove potentially dangerous trees.

Harman came to Bryn Mawr three years ago and instituted a five-year maintenance cycle for the care of the campus’s trees. In the past three years, 54 trees have been removed from campus for various reasons. This year, however, only six trees have been removed, and Harman has been able to shift his focus more to the maintenance of the current trees. That focus will continue over the next two years, along with a more aggressive effort to plant new trees.

Bryn Mawr has been named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation and has six state-champion trees on its campus (state champion trees are the largest of their kind on record in the state).

For many years, the oldest tree on campus was a sycamore located between the Benham Gateway building and the Wyndham Alumnae House. That tree came down in 2009, and the oldest tree is now believed to be a mazzard cherry that stands between Rhoads and Canaday and is probably about 225 years old.

Swamplandia! on a Plate

Dessert in Thomas Great Hall was transformed by Dining Services into a fanciful swamp, complete with stuffed alligators, in honor of visiting writer Karen Russell’s highly acclaimed novel Swamplandia!

Celebrated author Karen Russell inaugurated the Emily Balch Speaker Series for first-year students on Wednesday, Oct. 19, with a lively presentation about her work, noting how valuable her undergraduate liberal-arts education has been to her career as a writer.

The speaker series is linked to the Emily Balch Seminars, which are discussion-oriented, reading- and writing-intensive courses for first-year students. Russell, who had already been identified by The New Yorker as one of the nation’s top young writers when her first novel, Swamplandia!, was published last spring, is teaching in the Bryn Mawr College Creative Writing Program this fall.

Creative Writing Program Director Daniel Torday introduced Russell and served as an interviewer, asking her questions about passages from her work that were projected on a screen. Russell then took questions from the audience, which included members of the faculty, deans and first-year students.

Following the presentation, Russell joined her audience for dessert in Thomas Great Hall, which had been transformed by Bryn Mawr College Dining Services into a fanciful swamp, complete with stuffed alligators, in honor of Russell’s highly acclaimed novel. Swamplandia!-themed desserts included a Ouija-board cake and leviathan punch.

The Myopia: An Epic Burlesque of Tragic Proportions

The MyopiaFriday and Saturday, December 2–3, 8 p.m.,
Sunday, December 4, 2 p.m.
Hepburn Teaching Theater, Goodhart Hall

In this celebrated one-man show, Obie Award-winning actor and visionary Guggenheim-winning playwright David Greenspan creates a dazzling and disorienting work that, according to the New York Times, is “part splashy Disney musical crossed with a Greek tragedy and a kitchen-sink drama, or an evening of Samuel Beckett plays as staged by Florenz Ziegfeld.”

The Ying Quartet

The Ying QuartetFriday, January 20, 8 p.m.
Thomas Great Hall

These Eastman School of Music residents will take on Novacek, Beethoven’s Quartet in A minor, Op. 132, and a newly-minted work from their LifeMusic commissioning project, for this one-night only performance. Lauded for their dazzling technique, pure tone, and intensity of expression, the Grammy-winning Ying Quartet promises a bracing musical evening.

Since 1984 the Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series has presented great artists and performances to audiences in the Philadelphia area, creating an environment in which the value of the arts is recognized and celebrated. Talks and workshops provided free to the public help develop arts awareness and literacy. The series works to lower barriers to arts access through its partnership with Art-Reach, a nonprofit dedicated to improving arts accessibility for people of all ages and circumstances, in part through its low ticket prices. For tickets and more information, visit or call 610.526.5210.

Boosting the Charm Factor

photo of food cart with BMC Dining Services staffer and studentThe campus has upped its charm factor: there’s a new student lounge in Merion, Erdman Dining Hall got a makeover, and an outdoor food cart now greets students at Canaday (left).