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Kickoff ‘sparks’ further Common Read conversation

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Kickoff ‘sparks’ further Common Read conversation

Landon Dierks

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Hundreds of people gathered in the Volstorff Ballroom for the Common Read Kickoff signature event where student and faculty volunteers led small group discussions with event attendees.

The event provided attendees with an interactive, small-group experience to familiarize themselves with the 2018 Common Read novel, “Wrecked” by Maria Padian and the four themes of the book: choice, awareness and prevention, relationships and emotional wellness (CARE).

Each of the four themes was isolated and associated with a station in the ballroom. As each volunteer-led small group made a trip around the room, they stopped at each station to answer questions and discuss the theme and its importance in relation to the SDSU campus and Brookings community in detail.

The practice of creating conversation is what leads to the success of the common read according to Rebecca Bott-Knutson, dean of the Honors College and a co-chair on the Common Read Committee.

“This should be a spark,” Bott-Knutson said. “It gets you thinking deeply so you can go back to classes with a head start on thinking about the subject and it should also get you thinking about attending more Common Read events.”

Bott-Knutson went even further in expressing optimism about the impact the Common Read and the SDSU community can make moving forward.

“I’m confident this spark or start to the conversation is going to make a positive difference and SDSU can be a leader in talking about those important topics,” she said.

South Dakota State President Barry Dunn took a moment to welcome those in attendance and address what he hopes the SDSU community can take away from the 2018 Common Read. In his brief speech, Dunn emphasized the importance of creating a safe campus for students to learn and prosper and that begins with participation in the Common Read.

“We [the SDSU administration] want you to read, listen and discuss. That is your job in the Common Read,” Dunn said. “Really be involved in this because this is a serious problem across America and it is a challenge on our campus too.”

Dunn went on to mention his pride in SDSU’s ranking as the 22nd safest campus in America but was quick to point out there is always room for improvement.

The event appeared to go over well with the students in attendance, an attitude freshmen Anna Cox and Jessica Borg were quick to agree with.

Both Cox and Borg admitted they were apprehensive about going to the event because they thought it would be lecture-based, but the highly interactive discussion format made the event a positive experience.

“It [the event] was very different than what I expected, but it was actually really engaging and fun,” Cox said.

The Common Read Kickoff was the first in a series of 10 signature events planned to accompany the reading of “Wrecked” this fall.

Signature events are scheduled to help enhance the experience of those who participate in the common read by giving them outlets to express themselves or add depth and context to the reading by listening to various speakers brought to SDSU or engaging in conversation.

The next Common Read event is the Sex Ed Bootcamp, a presentation given by best-selling authors Joni Frater and Esther Lastique. The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11 in the Volstorff Ballroom.

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Kickoff ‘sparks’ further Common Read conversation