UPA Spring 2023 Retrospective

Please join the Department in celebrating the many successes of the Undergraduate Philosophy Association (UPA) over the past two years, summarized below in this communiqué from UPA leadership:

The UPA was re-established in Summer 2021. Though it had lay dormant for some time, this iteration of the UPA was founded by President Allie Mascarello and Vice President Lindsay Allebest, both of whom are graduating this year. It began with just a few members in its first year.

As of Spring 2023, the club has grown to have more than 50 regular members. It has also expanded its Executive Board to include several more people, some of whom are seniors, such as Advisor Joel Silvestri, Communications Director David Winner, Creative Director Wendy Li, and Creative Consultant Nancy Yang, and will be graduating this Spring.

The UPA meets every Friday at 5pm in Room 325 or 525 of the School of Theology Building. Meetings could be of several different types, including symposia on Philosophy and its intersections with other areas of study, Resources Meetings where information about the Philosophy program was provided to majors and minors, and free discussion meetings/hang outs known as tertulia. Symposia this year ranged from puzzles and paradoxes, to art and aesthetics, to mathematics and technology. Each of these meetings was led by students in these respective fields.

The UPA launched many programs in its first two years since reinstatement. It helped the Department partner with the Tutoring Writing in the Disciplines program, giving undergraduates in Philosophy the opportunity to tutor other students on philosophical approaches to writing. It also started the Logic Tutoring Program for students in PH160 and PH360, and began an underrepresented philosophy symposium series, holding meetings led by experts in Egyptian philosophy, Eastern European philosophy, and other philosophical traditions that were difficult to find classes on. In addition, Professors have always been welcome to give a talk at the UPA on a topic of their interest, in order to teach something they think is important and to build closer connections to the undergraduate community. This year, Professor Pollock and Professor Westberg both gave talks to the UPA.

The UPA also embarked upon many adventures together to strengthen the bonds of friendship that tie its members together. This year, they spent a day hiking and reading in Walden Pond, took a trip to the MFA, and traveled to Salem, Massachusetts to check out the local history and museums there.

Finally, the UPA successfully hosted the inaugural session of its new Annual Guest Lecture series. Professional Philosophy can feel intimidating for undergraduates, and the UPA wanted to give a chance for students to listen to a contemporary philosopher in an environment that was undergraduate-focused and built around their needs and interests. After raising over 8 thousands dollars this year, and winning the Giving Day competition for the student group with the most individual donors, the UPA invited Dr. Elise Woodard from MIT to give a talk on Epistemic Criticism & Atonement. At the reception, the UPA gave out pieces from their newly launched merch line.

The UPA has had a great first two years, and there are many more things to come!

Congratulations to the graduating members of the UPA, and here’s to the spirited continuation of our rich philosophical community here at BU!