The Third Half, the refreshing extra

By: Niki Fritz

coe_flyerYou may have seen the snazzy-looking flyers around the Radio-TV building beckoning you to a new event, something called the Third Half on March 6 (2:30 – 3:45, RTV 226). The flyers promise stimulating discussion on politics and religion with Media School Guest Speaker Kevin Coe of University of Utah. There is also the lure of “non-routine refreshments and superior coffee.”  The Third Half sounds promising, and yet I couldn’t help wondering what a rugby-reference could possibly have to do with an academic talk.

It turns out the name comes from one memorable brainstorming session, which included the brilliant minds of Norbert, Julien, Paul, Andrew, Betsi, and Harmeet.  The group wanted to move away from the standard brown bag, with all of its ritualistic predictability, and into something more “non-routine.”

In keeping with this new ethos, there was a desire to move away from the name brown bag and other tired words.

“We were looking for a name that encompasses the spirit we want to give to the new speaker series. We don’t want it to be another brown bag. We want to move away from the traditional speech which is followed by a few very polite questions,” Julien says.“We want it to be something much more participatory. We see this as a community building activity not just a talk where you sit while sipping on a soda pop. We want to make intellectual socialization a robust experience. We were trying to find a title that encapsulates all of that.”

It seemed quite a tall order for one name to encompass community, participation, socialization, and liveliness. To prompt out of the box thinking, the brainstormers began with a different type of word – “huddle.” The “huddle” gave way to “scrimmage” and eventually Julien hit on the Third Half.  It comes from rugby, a game he followed avidly as a fan of championship-winning California Golden Bears during his days at UC-Berkeley.  In the world of rugby the “third half” is the time after the two halves of the game when the two sides come together at a public house in the spirit of camaraderie.

The new Third Half mugs which will hold outstanding coffee or other non-routine refreshments

Third Half mugs for superior coffee.

Given our dry campus, our Third Half will bring together colleagues over coffee and other non-routine refreshments.  There are even new coffee mugs bearing the jazzy new Third Half signature, which was the artistic creation of Norbert. While the brainstorming was still in full swing, Norbert sketched the Third Half signature on his iPad.  The brainstormers loved it right away, as it captured the mood and energy in the room.  Teresa then brought that energy to the image for email announcements and the flyers that doubled up as mini-posters.

The hope of the brainstormers is that the Third Half will not only bring people together, but also ideas; that this extra inning will create flashpoints of synthesis, when the team becomes greater than the individual players and the whole becomes greater than the sum of parts.

As of time of print, this illustrious group of brainstormers were not willing to talk about how the Third Half will “play out” so-to-speak.  They say you will have to see for yourself on March 6th.  The grad blog will be able to offer more only after the first Third Half on March 6th.

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