All incoming first-year students (approximately 900 students) are required to read Citizen over the summer, before heading to campus in the fall. Copies of the book are available for purchase in the campus bookstore. Students will discuss Citizen with their First-Year Seminar classmates once classes begin; students have also been assigned to either write a 750 word essay or compose a creative reflection based on their reading of the book. This exercise is meant to push students to use their critical thinking, reasoning, analytical, writing, and communication skills. Each student must complete one of the following assignments:
“Rankine presents everyday, real life experiences of racism through poetry and image. How does Rankine create an effective argument about what it means to be an American citizen through these words and images?”
Creative Writing Project:
“Like Rankine does here, describe a specific experience of such a microaggression through poetry and image, or any creative medium that can be submitted electronically.”
The project is the first written assignment for the First-Year Seminar. Although all students are required to complete the assignment, they are also able to submit their work to the Class of 202o Essay Contest. Entries must be submitted electronically to the Director of First-Year Seminar, and up to three winners will win a $200 prize and lunch with Rankine.
Beyond the classroom, students will see Rankine speak on-campus on Sept. 6th at 2 p.m., when she attends the school’s Opening Convocation ceremony. The event provides students with an opportunity to establish an even deeper connection to Citizen.
Citizen was selected by a committee composed of first-year students, faculty, and staff from the Ramapo College community. Committee members used selection criteria to ensure that the book will:
- Elicit in-depth discussions among first-year students in the classroom
- Have a subject that is current, thought-provoking, and relevant to first-year students
- Have an author who is an engaging speaker
- Have style and content accessible to all students
Citizen: An American Lyric • Graywolf Press • 160 pages