The Blog

Stories and things of interest

Lessons From the Dutch Masters: Original Paintings by Martha Gyllenhaal

The Friends of the Swedenborg Library are pleased to announce a new exhibit of paintings by Martha Gyllenhaal, opening on Sunday, April 23.

Dr. Gyllenhaal, head of the Fine Arts Area of Bryn Athyn College, is an art historian and painter who integrates humanities and the fine arts in her teaching. She enjoys using the art collections in Glencairn Museum to enhance her classes.

An opening reception with a talk by the artist will be held at the Swedenborg Library on Sunday, April 23, from 3:00pm-5:00pm.  All are welcome.

The paintings will be on display in the Library through June 30, 2017.

Read More

Warm Up America!

Over the past three months, students, faculty, staff, and library-goers have been knitting colorful squares to be assembled into an afghan for the charity project Warm Up America! Andi Sibley, reference and user services librarian at the Swedenborg Library, heard about the project and liked the way they encourage local involvement.

Sibley says, “Warm Up America! encourages communities to come together to knit and crochet and then donate their products to local hospitals, shelters, or charities, so we are giving it to the Bryn Athyn Cares refugee group. We love that we are able to do this fun project and give it to a local family.”

Tykah Echols, a student at Bryn Athyn College, works at the library and knitted four panels for the afghan. She says, “I had almost forgotten how much I love to knit when the knitting table appeared at the library and I got an excuse to do it again!” She has been knitting since she was about five years old, having learned by watching her mom knit for hours on end. Tykah says, “It was so wonderful rediscovering this craft that I have enjoyed all my life. Plus, the final product is not only useful, but beautiful too!”

This project was such a hit that it will likely return next winter. Sibley says that librarians are always interested in finding ways in the library to offer creative outlets for stress relief, like the coloring table that is set up on the main floor. Other ideas have come up, like doing a lego table or board games and tech toys. She adds, “Yarn arts seemed like an easy way to get started, have fun, and be creative.”

While students, staff, and other library guests benefit from the stress relief of crafting, the refugee family receiving the blanket will have a warm reminder of the goodwill and support from their local community.

Read More

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! The following work comes from Bryn Athyn College students: the first are haiku that were submitted anonymously to a BAC haiku contest; the final piece is a poem written by Bryan Martinez.


Stand in a meadow

You see the vastness of it

Yet the woods seem small



I sit in silence

Stars caress each leaf with light

Autumn, I thank you



You are powerful

Your dreams are attainable

Believe in yourself





Rain or Shine, We Fight

Don’t Give Up, For We Are Free

Believe In Yourself





What are Dreams Without An Imagination 

What are Dreams Without An Imagination

What is Imagination without your Dreams

Dreams are made in the far distance within clouds

Imagination is held with one simple spell

It goes up and up like a helium balloon

With fire beneath its wings

As it touches the sky; the night sky

The Stars Above

The balloon pops


The fire beneath becomes an ocean of waves

A flame of oceans swimming in the sky

With one attached























Read More

Embodied Expression: Dance at BAC

The Bryn Athyn College dance program presents stirring, evocative, and delightful performances every year. Behind the scenes in the classes, workshops, and rehearsals, amazing things happen as these shows are put together. Limits are tested, growth is nurtured, horizons expand, and lasting bonds are made.

Experience the thrill of the next dance concert on May 13th at 2pm and 8pm at the Mitchell Performing Arts Center. Let this BAC dance video inspire you in the meantime!

Read More

Long Night Against Procrastination

There is a student-centric, scholarly event at Bryn Athyn College that was introduced last year and has been getting learners into the library and keeping them on top of their workload. Named “The Long Night Against Procrastination,” (LNAP), this event is an idea that seems to have originated somewhere in Germany and made its way stateside. Various colleges and universities have adopted the practice, but Wendy Closterman, dean of faculty, learned about it through an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education written by Coe College assistant professor Allison D. Carr.

During LNAP at Bryn Athyn College, the Swedenborg Library stays open until 2:00am and hosts the studiers as they share a common space to tackle their individual assignments. There are prizes for various accomplishments, the café stays open and supplies coffee and snacks to hardworking students, the alumni association provides extra goodies, and at past events there have even been special guests: a masseuse and a therapy dog have made appearances, bringing some balancing calm and relaxation to the atmosphere.

Ann Buss, head of student support at Bryn Athyn College, gives us her own take on the event: “I love combining work and play, and that’s the idea behind these events. We aim to celebrate the slog of learning and study, not just the end result of a finished project.” Another objective is to help students see the library as the hub it is, and to develop positive associations with it.

Buss continues, “Many students avoid libraries because they are perceived as all work and no fun, but we think we can help students feel at home there and make a positive connection with both the library and with the community of studiers that is their college. Students enjoy being where other students are and the hum of useful activity going on around them is stimulating. By having the Cafe open and attracting lots of bodies there, we create an inviting atmosphere in which students can get going and spurn procrastination!”

LNAP happens once each term, and can sometimes make a huge difference in a student’s relationship to their studies. Bryn Athyn Senior, Cat Kirk, says, “I really like that the teachers come to study with us. I was almost failing calculus, and then at LNAP my teacher helped me understand something I’d been really stuck on. I passed my exam, and I ended up getting a B in the class!”

Initiatives like this may seem like fun little blips in a long year, but as such programming takes hold, these activities can most certainly contribute and lead to higher satisfaction rates in the student body. Junior Dan Uber says, “Mostly I go to lend support, but I always end up getting some kind of help in return in a way I didn’t expect.”

Spring Term LNAP:

Tuesday, April 11 from 7:30pm until 2am


Read More

Career Olympics Crowns a Winner

At the recent Bryn Athyn College academic awards ceremony, the champions of the career olympics were crowned. The competition began in October, when the office of career education and development organized a college-wide job preparation workshop.

Part of this event included forming teams, each taking on a country’s name, and working to fulfill a checklist of tasks together– things like creating or updating resumes, making LinkedIn profiles, and participating in a mock interview session with area professionals. In the last round of competition, the top five teams were invited to create a video that could be used to show prospective employers why that team should be hired.

The gold medal winners, representing team Djibouti, were: Luke David, Calvin Heinrichs, Zachary Odhner, Janina Smith, Derek Buss, Phoenix Fritch, and Justin Ball. Check out their award-winning video here!

Read More