Common Read focuses on diversity, current issues




The Common Read Kickoff Tuesday night is set for discussion over this year’s Common Read, “How does it feel to be a problem?” The kickoff is in the Volstorff Ballroom of the Student Union from 7 to 8.30 p.m.

It is the first of eleven Common Read events scheduled for this semester which explore this year’s Common Read theme — PEACE: Perseverance, Exploration, Awareness, Community and Empathy.

“For our first event, the Common Read kick off, we expect probably 300 to 400 people to participate, mostly students, but we do also have faculty, staff and community members who will be volunteering at the event,” said Hanna Holmquist, Honors College adviser and member of the Common Read Committee.

This year’s Common Read revolves around the life of seven young Arab and Muslim Americans and offers a glimpse of how life changed for them following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Griffith Honors Forum Lecture will host the author of the book, Moustafa Bayoumi Nov. 1. Bayoumi is an associate professor of English at Brooklyn College – City University of New York.

Started in 2009, the Common Read series aims at a set of goals for South Dakota State students and faculty, one being awareness about current issues and diverse perspectives, Holmquist said.

“With both the Common Read and the Common Read events we really want students, and faculty and community members to have a chance to engage with the Common Read book and themes and ideas in unique ways,” Holmquist said. She is leading different educational booths at the event.

Speakers will lead the discussion as students explore various New York-themed booths in a “New York Cab”. Among the speakers is SDSU President Barry Dunn, and Rebecca Bott, dean of Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College. Bott  announced the Community Common Read in April.  

“In the national political scene, you know, obviously there is lot of discussion, controversy, misunderstanding, so it [the Common Read] might hopefully make people a little bit more aware of the Muslims living in our community, in SDSU,” said Evren Celik Wiltse, assistant professor of political science at SDSU and co-adviser of the Muslim Student Cultural Association (MCSA).

Wiltse, along with Molly Enz from the department of Modern Languages and Global Studies, will be leading the discussion at the screening of “The Visitor” Sept. 8, second in line of the Common Read events.

Wiltse and the president of MCSA plan to actively take part in the upcoming Common Read events, along with the rest of the organization’s members.

“They [students] hopefully will be able to relate with the book and feel the anger and the unjust that the people in the book felt so they are able to better get in their [people in the book’s] shoes,” Mubashir said.