First-Year Students at Augustana College Read Bottlemania

Augustana College (Rock Island, Illinois) has selected Elizabeth Royce’s Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It for Augie Reads, the summer reading program for all first-year students.

Each new Augie student will receive a copy of Bottlemania this summer.  During orientation in August, faculty will present a panel discussion “to model academic discourse and to begin conversation about issues raised in the book,” and students will meet in small discussion groups led by their academic advisers.

On September 9, Elizabeth Royte will speak at Convocation; the event will be open to all students as well as the local community.  Another book panel is scheduled during Family Weekend in October.

Students will write about Bottlemania in the Fall 2010 course, Liberal Studies 101: Rhetoric and the Liberal Arts.

“The Augie Reads Committee liked the book because it covers an important topic that affects every person while also being well-written and readable. It should provide an excellent model of writing with sources for our LSFY classes . . . We hope that the book will allow us to connect with other sustainability events on campus.”

Margaret Farrar, Associate Dean of the College, and Katie Hanson, Professor of English and Education, Augie Reads Committee

“What does it mean to be a liberally educated individual?” is the prevailing theme in the LSFY: Rhetoric and the Liberal Arts class, which emphasizes “thinking and communicating thoughts critically, thoroughly and with an open mind.”

For more on the issues addressed in her book, visit Elizabeth Royte’s blog: Notes on waste, water, whatever

Bottlemania • Bloomsbury • 272 pages

Illinois Wesleyan University Selects No Impact Man for the 2010 Summer Reading Program

Illinois Wesleyan University has selected No Impact Man for the 2010 Summer Reading Program.

The university will distribute copies of the book to their incoming students this summer. First-years are required to read the book before arriving on campus for “Turning Titan,” the new student orientation program, in August. Then, the class of 2014 will be introduced to the university community in discussion groups lead by faculty and staff.

In September, author Colin Beavan, No Impact Man himself, will visit campus for a day to meet with students and speak at the President’s Convocation.

No Impact Man was selected for the Summer Reading Program because “the topic of environmental sustainability is consistent with our University mission and is certain to stimulate a rich discussion and debate.”

The Summer Reading Program is central to orientation; Richard Wilson, President of the University, wrote about the program:

“At the outset, it reinforces the importance of critical thinking and effective communication skills. The discussions and lecture also expose students to a diversity of ideas and stimulate further reading and exploration. Finally, we have found that the discussions enhance the feeling among faculty, staff and alumni that education is a shared responsibility.”

Illinois Wesleyan’s previous Summer Reading titles include Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America which, like No Impact Man, is a Popular Pick from Macmillan!  Click here to see the other schools that have chosen these books for their common reading programs.

No Impact Man • Farrar, Straus and Giroux • 288 pages

UVa’s School of Engineering and Applied Science Selects The Viking in the Wheat Field for the Common Reading Experience

The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Virginia has adopted Susan Dworkin’s The Viking in the Wheat Field: A Scientist’s Struggle to Preserve the World’s Harvest for the Common Reading Experience (CRE) this year.

First-year students in the engineering program will pick up the book at the campus store, online, or at a bookstore local to their hometown and read it over the summer. In August, when the new students arrive on campus, peers will meet in small groups lead by a SEAS faculty member to discuss the book. Many professors will also assign it in fall semester courses.

The purpose of the CRE is to encourage fellow first-year students to share personal and professional views and opinions and “discuss the engineering profession and its connection and impact on everyday life in the context of the selected reading . . . While [The Viking in the Wheat Field] is specifically focused on food, the experiences and lessons learned have widespread applicability.”

Since 1993, the SEAS faculty has chosen a book specifically for their engineering students, one that is engaging, highly readable, and presents multiple themes for discussion (technologies, ethics, teamwork, workplace, unusual career paths).  Previous selections include Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and John McPhee’s The Control of Nature.

The Viking in the Wheat Field • Walker & Company • 256 pages