Universal meshes have recently appeared in the literature as a computationally efficient and robust paradigm for the generation of conforming simplicial meshes for domains with evolving boundaries. The main idea behind a universal mesh is to immerse the moving boundary in a background mesh (the universalmesh), and to produce a mesh that conforms to the moving boundary at any given time by adjusting a few elements of the background mesh. In this manuscript we present the application of universal meshes to the simulation of brittle fracturing. To this extent, we provide a high level description of a crack propagation algorithm and showcase its capabilities. Alongside universal meshes for the simulation of brittle fracture, we provide other examples for which universal meshes prove to be a powerful tool, namely fluid flow past moving obstacles. Lastly, we conclude the manuscript with some remarks on the current state of universal meshes and future directions.