With colleges and universities hemorrhaging alarming amounts of money due to the pandemic, institutions are searching for creative strategies to offset their losses. Leading the way is Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, which will offer a one-day virtual conference, The Toilet Paper Summit (TPS-1), on May 11th.
According to Bucknell President John Bravman, “all the data indicate that severe toilet paper shortages will continue to plague the United States long after the COVID-19 crisis passes. We plan to bring together scholars from around the globe to address this issue.”
Here is the tentative schedule for TPS-1:
9:00 am Keynote Address — “Biological Necessity or Capitalist Control Mechanism? A Post-Modernist Perspective on Bowel Movements” — Nigel Wiffton-Pipsey, Professor of Philosophical Biology, King’s College London
10:00 am “Folding vs. Scrunching TP in a Time of Scarcity: Implications of Findings from the 2020 Scandinavian Sanitary-Practices Survey”
11:00 am “Repurposing the Sunday New York Times for Bathroom Use: Which Sections Work Best?”
11:45 am Breakout Session 1: “Can the Toilet Paper Crisis Save the Newspaper Industry?”
11:45 am Breakout Session 2: “Damn, That Hurts! Glossy Magazines and the Challenge of Delicate-Area Paper Cuts” (Sponsored by the Aloe Foundation of North America)
12:30 pm Lunch in Place
1:15 pm “The Last Resort: Raiding Your Home Library”
2:00 pm Breakout Session 3: “Saying Goodbye to Your Favorite Novels: Grief Management Strategies” (Panel discussion with Ann Patchett, Zadie Smith, Richard Russo, and Margaret Atwood)
2:00 pm Breakout Session 4: “Wise Decision in Retrospect? Not Discarding Those Stacks of Unread New Yorkers”
2:45 pm “Running Here, There, and Everywhere: A Conversation with Survivors of the 1952 Spoiled Burrito Panic” (Sponsored by Taco Bell)
3:45 pm Ethics Roundtable: “Public Restrooms, Toilet Paper Theft, and the Common Good” (Jared Kushner, Session Chair)
4:30 pm Closing Plenary: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir — Mike Pence, Guest Soloist
Registration for the Conference is $250. Partial scholarships are available for furloughed faculty.