All incoming first-year and transfer students will receive a customized UMass Amherst version of Make Your Home Among Strangers when they attend their New Students Orientation (NSO) session during the summer. International students and students who are unable to attend the orientation session will receive a copy of the book at orientation in September.
Students will be expected to take part in class discussions about many of the novel’s central themes, including race, immigration, and socioeconomic class. The goals of UMass Amherst’s Common Read program are to engage students in connecting with their fellow community members, to introduce them to the intellectual culture of their campus community, and to help them reflect on significant topics that they will be discussing during their time at UMass Amherst. The school hopes that in-class discussions on Make Your Home Among Strangers‘s themes will spark a wider conversation on the question of what makes campus another home, as well as on how a diversity of perspectives and experiences enhances innovation.
Beyond the classroom, Jennine Capó Crucet will visit UMass Amherst for a five-day campus residency this fall, from September 25-29, 2016. A week-long series of events related to the novel will coincide with Crucet’s residency, including a keynote speech on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. The complete list of events can be found here.
Make Your Home Among Strangers was chosen through an extensive selection process. There were initially 24 book nominees from the campus community, which the book selection committee then narrowed down to three finalists. The three remaining books were read by more than 240 students, faculty, and staff. Make Your Home Among Strangers was ultimately selected because it depicts a wide range of subjects that will connect with a diverse student body, and it is especially telling of the experiences of first-generation college students and students of color.