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Watch: Bobby Zipp '18


Hi, I’m Bobby Zipp, Class of 2018, and I’m here to talk to you about this vital place that so many of us call home. This campus is where we live, work, and play, and our physical environment supports that through academic buildings, dorms, and spaces for student activities, the arts, and athletics.

And though we often think of our time in college as a series of things we’ve DONE, the fact is that those experiences are intrinsically connected to the SPACES in which we’ve done them.

The Education Materials Center on the third floor of Pearson Hall is tied to many of my most memorable experiences at Swarthmore —from my intro to education course with Professor Jennifer Bradley to my honors seminar on urban politics and education with my advisor, Edwin Mayorga.

But no space carries more meaning for me at Swarthmore than The Phoenix office. That office on Parrish 4th is where I have experienced my greatest challenges and greatest successes during my years at Swarthmore thus far. It’s hard not to have strong emotions about a space you often occupy at three in the morning.

In this campaign, Swarthmore is looking carefully at how campus spaces support the student experience.

The Phoenix, as well as other campus publications like the Daily Gazette, have produced extensive coverage of campus initiatives like the ongoing visioning exercise around campus spaces. You can visit us at to learn more about this work.

But before you get out your phones to read our coverage, let me give you the highlights.

The visioning exercise has shown that the student experience fundamentally encompasses five things: studying (of course), socializing, dining, health and wellness, and something that often feels lower on the list of priorities at Swarthmore: rest, relaxation, and self-care.

To those ends, the College has already made good progress in creating and enhancing spaces that meet those needs.

We have strengthened our connections between the north and south sides of campus with The Inn at Swarthmore, the relocated bookstore, and a new dorm near the athletic fields.

Speaking of athletics, the Matchbox is a great example of a transformative space on campus, and one that everyone can use, not just students. With exercise and wellness classes and an inviting fitness center, it has never been easier to take care of ourselves and to make new friends in the process.

Creating vital spaces doesn’t just mean building new ones though. You’ve already seen and hopefully taken advantage of the new and improved lounge at Essie’s.

Sproul Observatory is going to see great change as it becomes the reimagined James Hormel-Michael Nguyen Intercultural Center. The new IC will serve the entire community and support collaborations across academic departments and student groups.

The biggest transformation of all, though, will be the BEP, which Carr spoke about. This is going to be the biggest building on campus. Can you imagine a building larger than Parrish Hall? In a few years, you won’t have to!

BEP—for biology, engineering, and psychology—will offer 167,000 square feet of flexible, collaborative, and technology-infused classrooms, state of the art labs and engineering shops, a commons, a rooftop greenhouse, and a sensory garden.

But it will be so much more than just an academic building, it will be a community building. Whether you’re a science major or not, can you imagine Swarthmore without the Science Center and Eldridge Commons? The Science Center was built during the College’s last campaign, and it’s no coincidence that we celebrate our new campaign at this location today.

So, you’ve heard all about Swarthmore’s vision for the future and how the campaign will support it. Now, I’m going to turn things over to my Student Philanthropy Council co-chair, Sarah Anne Tupchong, who will tell you more about how YOU can support the campaign. Sarah!

Watch: Bobby Zipp '18

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