Bryn Mawr College will be partnering with the Bithnian University of Science and Technology in the first intergalactic partnership between a liberal-arts college and an alien research university, announced Bryn Mawr President Jane McAuliffe today.
“Global partnerships are so 2010. Bryn Mawr is simply beyond global, and we are boldly going where no college has gone before. Our students need to learn to be intergalactic citizens,” said McAuliffe in the announcement.
Bithnian University Chancellor Figrin Dahai also praised the partnership.
“For hundreds of years our people have been praised for their ability as spacecraft mechanics and in other technical fields. But the fact is that those jobs aren’t going to be around forever. Our students need to be better critical thinkers and more engaged members of the intergalactic community,” said Dahai.
Not everyone is pleased with the plan. A group of students, faculty and staff, and alumnae/i sometimes characterized as “Earthers” have planned to protest at the next board of trustees meeting (see related story).
“I, for one, don’t welcome our alien overlords,” said Katherine Bakke ’11. “At Bryn Mawr we talk about students wanting to make a meaningful contribution to the world. What part of ‘world’ doesn’t the administration understand?”
McAuliffe says that concerns about the partnership’s impact on the main campus and the overall quality of life at Bryn Mawr are unfounded.
“We’ve already started renovation work on Thomas Hall so it shouldn’t be difficult to add in the construction of a teleportation device to replace the cloisters fountain,” said McAuliffe.
Details about the partnership are still being worked out, but the plan is for each school to offer programming on the other’s campus and to host student exchanges.
The Bith home planet Clak’dor VII is located in the Colu System. This once-beautiful world was all but destroyed in a Bith chemical war and the Bith now live in cities that are sealed off from the rest of the world to avoid the massive pollution.
“There’s a bit of a culture shock but otherwise it’s really quite lovely,” said, Provost Kim Cassidy, who led a group of faculty and administrators on a visit to the remote world during initial investigations into the partnership.
The two schools expect to begin the partnership in September of 2011, assuming the stars are aligned.