Justice is the 2011 Common Reading Book at Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University has chosen Michael J. Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? for the 2011 Common Reading Program.  Members of the incoming Class of 2015 will all receive a copy of the book when they visit campus for three-day New Student Orientation in July and August.

Students will read the book this summer, and they’ll have the opportunity to enter the annual Common Reading Program Essay Contest by responding to this prompt:

In your own words, describe the purpose(s) of American universities. Then, using some of the philosophical perspectives examined in Michel J. Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? decide if these purposes are just.

The winners, who’ll be announced in the fall, will receive a $300 University Bookstore gift certificate!

In August, first-years will return to campus for Welcome Days, a time for new students, and returning upperclassmen, as well, to connect and reconnect with the Case community through academic and social programming.

In addition to Meet the Faculty seminars, practical campus info sessions, a community service day called Case Connects!, and social activities like a Welcome Back Dance and an all-campus concert, new students will gather in small groups to discuss Justice during their first Share the Vision event.

Share the Vision is an ongoing initiative to “promote a just and humane campus for all.”  For 21 years, Case has been striving, as a campus community, to:

  • support the worth and dignity of each individual
  • respect new ideas and encourage examination and discussion of differing opinions
  • appreciate and enjoy our rich cultural, ethnic and racial diversity
  • reach for excellence and integrity in teaching, scholarship, research and service
  • promote justice and compassion on our campus and in our world
Through annual events like MLK Week, the Faculty/Staff vs. Student Basketball Game, and the Student Leadership Awards, and weekly events like non-traditional SatCo (short for Saturday College) experiential courses and workshops, and Community Hour forums, Case supports and celebrates the same principles that Michael Sandel writes about in Justice.

The author will visit Case and give the keynote address at University Convocation.  Here, Professor Sandel puts justice in terms of flutes, golf, and same-sex marriage at the TED2010 Conference in February 2010.

(For a quick snapshot of the twenty-minute lecture, watch at 7:30-8:45 when the audience joins Sandel in a debate about the 2001 Supreme Court case PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin.)

Last year, the Class of 2014 read Elizabeth Royte’s Bottlemania for the CWRU Common Reading Program.  The book tied in with the campus-wide Year of Water effort, during which the university implemented new and enduring water conservation measures and was recognized regionally and nationally for its accomplishments.

Justice • Farrar, Straus & Giroux Paperbacks • 320 pages

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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

Case Western Reserve University Selects Bottlemania for the 2010 Common Reading Program

Case Western Reserve University’s class of 2014 will read Elizabeth Royce’s Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It before the students’ first year begins this fall.  The assignment is part of Case Western’s 8-year-old Common Reading Program, which unites new students with the shared reading of one book.

Ultimately, Bottlemania makes a case for protecting public water supplies, for improving our water infrastructure and better allocating the precious drinkable water that remains.”

Bottlemania Selected for 2010 Common Reading Program, Jackie Fitch, CWRU

Bottlemania and its themes will serve as the basis for campus events and interdisciplinary discussions about the commercialization of water in America and the environmental, social, and economic effects of the bottled water trend.  One of those events is an author visit; Elizabeth Royce will give the keynote address at the university’s fall convocation in August.

Case Western will hold an essay contest based on the common reading.  All new students will be eligible to enter a response to a selection of topical writing prompts.

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

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier was one of the Common Reading Selection Committee’s finalists for 2010.  The committee, comprised of 18 members of the university faculty and staff as well as 10 students, recommends that book to the campus.

Bottlemania • Bloomsbury • 272 pages