The Extras: Staying in Touch


With 400 plus student groups and tons of events daily, how does a Brown student navigate life outside of the lecture hall? I’m Lily Hartmann, and I am the freshmen behind “The Extras”; the blog that aims to give you a glimpse into the most exciting and noteworthy activities on campus. Throughout the year this blog will give you snapshots of what Brunonians do when they aren’t hitting the books on College Hill!

We had just returned from winter break, and a few of my friends and I were enjoying our first Blue Room muffin of second semester. While we drank our tea and coffee, we caught up about break, and discussed how none of us knew what classes we planned to take this spring. Out of the blue, one friend mentioned that that afternoon she planned to sign up for Brown Pen Pals. She explained that the program was looking for more people to sign up, and each of us would be paired with another Brown Student. The rest of us had never heard of Brown Pen Pals before but we decided we would give it a shot.

So we left the Blue Room and headed over to J. Walter Wilson where the leaders of Brown Pen Pals were waiting for people to come and sign up. We filled out the information sheet together, in which they asked us how frequent we wanted to write, what gender did we want to be paired with, and how many pen pals we wanted. So with our box number and a little bit of info about us, Brown Pen Pals matched each of us with another student, and the letter writing began!

One important detail about Brown Pen Pals is that the whole thing is anonymous. We aren’t given our pen pals name year, just his or her box number. And there is no way to find a person’s name with just their box number in the Brown Directory, believe me I’ve tried. So the letter writing process began with little clue about whom we are writing to and what to say. With my pen pal, we have each written one letter so far, so I will see where the letter writing takes us this semester. For me, one of the greatest things in life is receiving a handwritten letter, whether it is from your mom, your grandmother, or a friend. The idea of exchanging thoughts through letters and forming a relationship with one person via writing is what made me want to join this program. We will see where it takes me this semester! Brown Pen Pals is a great way to keep up casual writing throughout the semester, and so far it is a very low-key thing to be a part of. Let me know if you’re interested in more info about Brown Pen Pals later in the semester!

Have questions about a specific student group or event on campus? Want me to cover a specific topic in my next post? Feel free to shoot me an email at with any of your questions and comments


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