Dinner With 12 Strangers

I've always thought of universities as unique environments - islands of social life in an otherwise vast and dispersedly connected world. Social experiments and useful applications from this environment, once established on scale, prove to be just as useful in the outside world. The best example of this is Facebook. There were facebooks at universities first and foremost; Facebook became the facebook for the world.

In this way, an interesting tradition at Kellogg and other universities and schools is 'Dinner With 12 Strangers'. You sign up, and are randomly put together with others from the same university or school. You meet people that you might not otherwise meet.

GrubWithUs, while not having started out of a university, is taking the same concept to the masses. You go on to their website, and pick an evening and a restaurant to sign-up for a meal with 12 random strangers. It is the Dinner With 12 Strangers concept, but taken out of the city.

This raises some interesting questions. The first is, 'What other uniquely university environment activities might now have wider appeal because technology makes it easy?'. The second is, 'Is society changing? Are we more willing to treat strangers in the same city as us in as friendly a way a strangers in the same university?'