No Impact Man: Summer Reading and All-Campus Initiative at Texas State University, San Marcos!

Texas State University, San Marcos has picked Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man for this year’s Summer Reading Program!  Incoming freshmen are all reading the book before they head to school this fall.

Several students have taken the time to write to Colin and let him know that No Impact Man has already had an impact on them! Read students’ letters

The book will be a focal point in University Seminar, “a course designed to help meet transitional needs of new Texas State University students. The course encourages reflection upon the value and nature of a university education, as well as helping students to develop strategies for life-long learning. Course content includes class discussion, student participation, and involvement in the university community.”

The shared reading and University Seminar are just two parts of TSU’s Common Experience initiative.  The 2010-2011 Common Experience theme is Sustainability: Science, Policy, and Opportunity; related programming will go on across campus and extend into the local community throughout the coming year.

“[Sustainability] engages quality of life issues that include personal accountability and social, economic, and political considerations. Engaging sustainability on this broader basis must include these considerations: What exactly do we want to sustain and why? What current and future needs are we working to meet? . . . The only way in which these problems can be realistically addressed is through interdisciplinary dialogue, outreach, and education . . . Indeed, issues of sustainability not only involve an understanding of our history, but compel us to look ahead to the future.”

2010-2011 Common Experience Theme, Texas State University

The Common Experience also includes a community learning component. Working as a team, each residence hall will implement a sustainability project through which “students will positively interconnect with the University, local, and global communities.”

For their Hall Project, students might volunteer to maintain the City’s nature trails; team up with the Student Association for Campus Activities to sponsor a screening of the No Impact Man documentary, or other related films; adopt an endangered species and advocate for its protection; or declare their residence hall a “No Impact Dorm.”

Colin Beavan will speak on campus on September 22 and kick off a campus-wide No Impact Week initiative, presented by Colin’s organization, No Impact Project. The organization can customize a program for any campus.  Interested?  Learn more

No Impact Man • Picador • 288 pages

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Peace College Class of 2014 Reads The Blue Sweater this Summer

This summer, first-year students at Peace College in Raleigh, North Carolina are reading The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World.  The summer reading at Peace is part of the New Student Orientation program and the first-year student curriculum, Adventures.

Each student will receive a copy of the book when they visit campus for an introductory orientation session this summer.  When they return in August for Pathways, the fall orientation program, they’ll meet with their academic advisers and new peers to discuss the book and its intent.

The summer reading and book discussions are the students’ first assignments in their seminar, Adventures for Women in Learning.  The course gives all first-years the opportunity to find community with their classmates by exploring important academic, social, and ethical issues together.  Through the first-year seminar, students interact regularly with their faculty advisers and peer educators, who co-teach the course and also serve as mentors to new students.

In October, author and founder of the Acumen Fund Jacqueline Novogratz will address first-year students and others from the Peace College community as the 2010 Adventures Speaker.

In 2009, Peace College selected P.M. Forni’s book, Choosing Civility: The Twenty Five Rules of Considerate Conduct, for the incoming class of 2013.  Of that title, Dawn Dillon, who is the Director of Adventures and Residence Life and coordinates the summer reading, said, “Although selected as the reading for the First Year Adventures Program, I feel that it is a great read for all the Peace campus community.”  Dr. Forni was the Adventures Speaker in September 2009.

Click here to see the other colleges and universities that have adopted The Blue Sweater and Choosing Civility, and other Popular Picks, for common reading programs!

The Blue Sweater • Rodale Books • 320 pages

This I Believe is the 2010 Common Reading Book at Tufts University

Tufts University has selected This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, based on the NPR series of the same name and edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, for the 2010 Common Reading Program.

This July, the university is sending a copy of the book to each incoming first-year and transfer student.  When they arrive on campus in the fall, they will engage in conversation with fellow students, Orientation Leaders, and faculty advisers.

In the “spirit of openness and free thought” embodied in Edward R. Murrow’s This I Believe project, Tufts is also holding an essay contest.  All first-year students are invited to submit their own This I Believe reflection essay; two winners selected by a faculty committee will receive an honor at the Class of 2014 Matriculation ceremony.

Students, faculty, and staff nominated more than 65 titles for this year’s program; This I Believe was selected for its potential to engage students and to build community through discussion, its reflection of Tufts’ core value of active citizenship, and because it lends itself to a variety of disciplinary perspectives, among other criteria.

“Personal beliefs are at the root of active citizenship . . . Our hope is that as our newest Jumbos reflect on their own beliefs and realize the disparity between the world as it is and the world as they believe it should be, they will also realize the potential they have to make an impact and to make lasting change.”

Rob Hollister, Dean, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University

To see a list of other schools that have adopted This I Believe or the second volume of essays, This I Believe II, as well as other Popular Picks from Macmillan, click here.

This I Believe • Holt Paperbacks • 320 pages

The Short Bus is the 2010 Common Read at University of Idaho

Jonathan Mooney’s The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal is the Common Read title this year at the University of Idaho. The book is assigned as summer reading to all incoming students. Transfer students are also encouraged to participate, as well as all interested faculty and upperclassmen.

The Common Read is an initiative of the Dean of Students and the Teaching and Learning Center. Each year, a committee of faculty, staff, and students chooses a book that is engaging and relevant to the student body.

The program “is designed to help students prepare intellectually and academically for their first semester at the University of Idaho. This coming fall, themes and ideas from the book will be used in CORE curriculum classes, orientation activities, civic engagement activities and across a variety of disciplines.”

Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future was the Common Read title in 2009. It, too, was assigned in CORE courses throughout the 2009-10 academic year, including Associate Professor Lee Vierling’s class in the College of Natural Resources, “The Earth and Our Place On It.” Professor Vierling’s students initiated a service-learning project that “explored connections among biodiversity, deforestation, poverty, community resilience and the social status of women.”

Read more about those students’ project here: Natural Resources Service-Learning Project Promotes Global Environmental Stewardship

How will University of Idaho students apply the principles and themes from Jonathan Mooney‘s book on their campus and in their community this year?

The Short Bus • Holt Paperbacks • 288 pages