No Impact Man Selected for the Common Reading Experience at UNC, Wilmington

Colin Beavan’s book, No Impact Man is the common reading book at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington this fall!

The primary goal of UNCW’s Common Reading Experience (known as the Synergy program) is to introduce first-year students to academic expectations and intellectual engagement and encourage self-reflection and critical thinking through a meaningful common reading experience with peers and faculty.

Check out UNC, Wilmington’s student readers guide, including the book’s themes, reflection questions, and Colin’s six guidelines for a low impact life.

As part of the new student orientation program, the university will send all incoming first-years their own copy of No Impact Man, customized with a letter from Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo. Students will use the book in their Freshman Seminar course in the fall.

For one year, New Yorker Colin Beavan aka “No Impact Man” and his wife and 2-year-old daughter tried to live without making any net impact on the environment. No Impact Man is his account of the experience and all he found out about the planet—and his place on it—in the course of that year with no trash, no carbon emissions, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no toilets . . .

The entire campus community is invited to participate in the Common Reading Experience.  Lectures, discussion groups, and films related to the book and its themes—sustainability, quality of life, and personal responsibility—will take place on campus throughout the semester.  Perhaps there will be a screening of No Impact Man, the Oscilloscope documentary filmed during the author’s year-long No Impact Experiment?  (Click here for info about screening the film on Earth Day!)

The University of North Carolina, Wilmington adopted A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah for the common reading program in 2009.

Both books are Popular Picks for first-year reading!  Click here to see other colleges and universities that have used them for similar programs.

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

Update: No Impact Week at UNC, Wilmington!

The University of North Carolina, Wilmington held a campus-wide No Impact Week in September 2010.  Each day was devoted a different area where students could reduce or alter their impact on the planet: Consumption, Trash, Transportation, Food, Energy, Water, and Giving Back.

To kick off the week, Colin Beavan gave the Synergy Common Reading  Keynote Address,  part of the UNCW Leadership Lecture series.  The first common reading author to visit campus, Colin was greeted by a standing room only crowd.

On the Food-themed day UNCW’s Campus Dining and the Housing and Residence Life offices co-sponsored a special event called No Impact Lunch.  Local vendors brought chocolate, hot sauce, and more so students could get a taste for North Carolina’s homegrown products, and Campus Dining served a special menu featuring farm-raised tilapia, smoked turkey quesadillas, and eggplant ratatouille, all prepared with goods purchased locally to minimize impact.

“The No Impact Lunch completely tied in with the book that the students read as well as UNCW’s strategic goal of sustainability . . . Students got to make the connection between the book in a tangible and creative way.”

Rita Gordon, Director of Auxiliary Services, UNC, Wilmington

For its contribution to the No Impact Week initiative, UNC, Wilmington’s Campus Dining services was recognized by the National Association of College and University Food Services!

Colin Beavan invites students and classes to take part in a “No Impact Experiment,” a week-long carbon cleanse that gives readers a chance to see what no-impact living is like. Visit the No Impact Project to find out how it works, watch videos made by previous participants, and receive a How-To Manual.