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The McKelvy House Scholars invite the campus to join a dinner discussion about “blogs,” or web logs, Sunday evening.

Dinner begins at 6 p.m. at McKelvy House, 200 High Street; no reservations are required. McKelvy Scholar Briana Niblick ’05 (Hatboro, Pa.) will lead the discussion at 6:30 p.m.

“The word ‘blog’ is now included in the Oxford English Dictionary, yet according to BusinessWeek, more than 60 percent of Americans don’t know what a blog (a kind of Internet diary) is,” notes Niblick, a Marquis Scholar who will earn an A.B. degree with a German major in May and a B.S. in civil engineering next year.

The Oxford English Dictionary noun definition: “A frequently updated web site consisting of personal observations, excerpts from other sources, etc., typically run by a single person, and usually with hyperlinks to other sites; an online journal or diary.”

Its verb definition: “To write or maintain a weblog. Also: to read or browse through weblogs, esp. habitually.”

Niblick notes that a short history and description of the blogging culture is available at the collaborative encyclopedia web site, Wikipedia. Another article considers the connection between blogging and journalism. “The author notes that some newspapers have included weblogs as part of their publication, but then asks, ‘Is a Weblog truly a Weblog if it is supervised editorially?’” says Niblick.

Some questions she offers for consideration when reading the articles:

  • What purposes do blogs serve? What purposes could they serve? Are there ethical limitations to what one may write in a blog?
  • What parallels exist between the method(s) in which blog(ger)s dispense information and the method(s) in which such information has been dispensed throughout history?
  • In this technological age, do blogs tend to bring societies together or do they tend to deepen the divides between them?
  • Many blogs focus on political issues. Can these blogs be used for activism by generating change within society or do they merely represent words on a screen, similar to newspaper articles or essays?
  • Finally, what have your experiences been with blogs? Have you ever read a blog? Do you have personal favorites? Do you maintain a blog yourself?

“I look forward to a lively discussion on Sunday — with all our new furniture, too!” says Niblick.

This is the student’s third year as a McKelvy Scholar.

“McKelvy provides opportunities for intellectual exploration, which a standard dorm cannot necessarily provide,” she says.

She has conducted research as an EXCEL Scholar with Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures, on the quest for cultural identity in East Germany along a long-disputed border with Poland.

Niblick spent the January 2002 interim session in Russia and Poland, where she was introduced to the culture through a Lafayette course, Russia and Poland: Past and Present, and also traveled to Germany and Austria in May 2003 to take a special three-week Lafayette course entitled “Germany and Austria: ‘Green’ Europe.”

She has been co-president of Association of Lafayette Feminists and president of German Club, tutored neighborhood children in reading and math through the America Reads program, served as activities coordinator for Society of Women Engineers, and been a member of the multicultural recruitment team, International Students Association, brass ensemble, concert band, and choir.

Since 1962, the McKelvy House Scholars program has brought together Lafayette students with a wide range of majors and interests to reside in a historic off-campus house and share in intellectual and social activities. Sunday dinner discussions that engage the students in debate and exchange of ideas are the hallmark of the program; several Wednesday discussions have been added this school year. Most members also contribute to the annual McKelvy Papers, written on a topic of each person’s choice. McKelvy Scholars participate in activities together such as field trips to plays, concerts, and exhibits, and sponsor events for the campus as well.

In addition, three McKelvy Scholars host a weekly radio program, Two Blocks Past Wawa, on campus radio station WJRH (104.9 FM), that features discussion and debate with guests and listeners who call in.

Previous discussions:
April 17 – The Right to Life
April 10 – Second Amendment
April 3 – Torture
March 23 – Drug War, Poverty, and Drug Trade
March 6 – Nationalism and Patriotism
Feb. 27 – Human emotion
Feb. 13 – Rationale Behind Military Duty
Feb. 9 – Ghosts
Feb. 2 – Death
Dec. 4 – Mind and brain
Nov. 21 – State of music industry
Nov. 14 – Consistent moral arguments
Nov. 7 – Privilege
Oct. 24 – Modern religion
Oct. 17 – Capital punishment
Oct. 3 – Revenge
Sept. 26 – Suicide
Sept. 22 – Sexual lust
Sept. 15 – Envy
Sept. 12 – Themes from A Clockwork Orange
Sept. 8 – Materialism, satisfaction, and poverty
Sept. 5 – Obesity in America


April 25 — Anti-foundationalist critique of philosophy
April 18 — Dark humor
April 11 — Cults

April 4 — Link between ethical behavior and intelligence
March 28 — Five Images of Man

March 7 — Idealized body forms

Feb. 22 — Countercultures

Feb. 15 — Eternity

Feb. 8 — Bisexuality

Dec. 7 — Anger toward computers and technology

Nov. 9 — “Unnecessary” crimes

Nov. 2 — Nov. 2 — Genetic alteration

Oct. 26 — Social construction of gender

Oct. 19 — Greed as an economic force
Sept. 28 — Value

Categorized in: Academic News