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Swarthmore Discussion Group

Department Overview

A Special Message from the Board of the Swarthmore Discussion Group

The Swarthmore Discussion Group board considers the health of its members to be its highest priority. After evaluating the current conditions, we decided that our Spring 2023 Series — January, February, March and April —  will be held in-person as we did prior to COVID.  We are excited that we can gather together again at The Inn, and we hope you'll join us for a memorable in-person experience.

Learn more about Swarthmore College's response to COVID-19.


The Swarthmore Discussion Group (SDG) offers members the opportunity to hear knowledgeable speakers and engage in lively conversation with local community members as well as Swarthmore College staff, faculty, and alumni.

Our speakers are distinguished scholars, community leaders, and experts in their field. Following their presentations on topics including politics, foreign affairs, economics, cultural, and social issues they welcome the questions, discussion, and debate engaged in by members.

Please  join our Spring 2023 Series of four monthly presentations on Wednesday evenings. We will meet in-person at The Inn at Swarthmore. The membership fee includes a catered dinner to accompany each inspiring lecture. No refunds are available.

Spring 2023 Swarthmore Discussion Group Series

Jan. 18  “Vaccination: History, Science, and Myth”

Judy Owen, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Haverford College

As early as 430 BCE, ancient practitioners knew that prior exposure to a disease could protect a patient against subsequent infection. But what does it mean to be "immune"? What molecules, cells, and organs facilitate the generation of immunity and how can we achieve protection from disease without first making ourselves sick? This talk will offer a history of vaccination, describe the types of vaccines in use now, and address current myths about vaccination. 

Feb. 15  “Improving our Health with Behavioral Economics”

David Asch, Executive Director, Center for Health Care Innovation, John Morgan Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Why is it so hard to lose weight, consistently take our medications, do the things we know we should do - and actually want to do - to improve our health? Dr. Asch, a physician and behavioral economist, explains why many traditional approaches to helping people accomplish their health-related goals often fail and what we can do instead. Behavioral economics is about harnessing the often counterproductive ways we go about our lives rather than trying to cover them. 

March 15  “The Court at the Center of the Corporate Universe”

Travis Laster, Court of Chancery

The State of Delaware is the leading American jurisdiction for corporate law, and the Delaware Court of Chancery  is widely regarded as the world's most influential business court. Separate courts of equity, which apply principals of fairness, as opposed to law, no longer exist at the federal level or in other states. How did Delaware's Court of Chancery survive? What are the keys to its success, and what challenges does it face?

April 19  “Reflecting Forward: Navigating Democracy and Saving Ourselves”

Khadijah White '04, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Rutgers University

In a reflection on media, culture, and activism, Dr. White talks about the sounds and silences of a democracy faced with demagoguery, grief, and injustice. Through the music of civil rights and the speeches of activist leaders, she proposes five ways for activists, especially people of color, to save ourselves in our work and daily lives. 

When and Where

SDG's Spring 2023 Series convenes on the second or third Wednesday of each month from January through April. We are delighted to return to our in-person format, and will gather together at The Inn at Swarthmore. 

Time (ET)

5–6 p.m. Happy Hour at The Inn at Swarthmore, Broad Table Tavern
6-7 p.m  Dinner in the Gathering Room at The Inn at Swarthmore
7–8:15 p.m. Presentation and Q & A

Location, Cost, and Registration

The Spring 2023 Series will be held in person, and includes a catered dinner. Registration opens Dec. 1, 2022. The fee for the series of four presentations with dinner is $190 per person. Payment is due by Jan. 10.  Maximum 100 participants. Registration closes Jan. 10, 2023.  Space may be available after Jan. 10 for individual talks ($55 each).  To register for the Spring 2023 Series click on "Membership and Registration" in the sidebar at left, or by selecting "Membership and Registration" from the menu.


Contact Meghan Bloome at We thank you for your support of the Swarthmore Discussion Group.