SDSU Common Read unites diverse campus

Rachel Gibbons

The Common Read for the 2012-2013 academic school year is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a novel by Sherman Alexie. The Common Read is specifically picked by a committee to promote campus involvement and to connect people through discussion on a book each year.

“We are especially excited about this year’s selection. It is the story of a Native American young man who is learning about himself, his community and place in the world. We think that the story has a great deal to teach students and the university how we can live and learn respectfully together,” said Tim Nichols, Dean of the Honors College.

The Common Read committee spent months reading and narrowing down potential books for the final selection. A few reasons The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was chosen was for its great messages and ideas that spark potential discussions in classrooms.

“It is a lot different from books we have done in the past,” said Hanna Larsen, a teaching assistant and student member on the Common Read committee. “It is exciting to see freshman open up in class due to discussions related with the Common Read.”

The Common Read deals with issues concerning diversity. 

“The central role of the Common Read is to build an inclusive community on campus,” said Chief Diversity Officer Jamie Nolan-Adrino. “Commonalities and shared stories bind us to one another. The Common Read book provides many opportunities and possibilities to do that.”

The South Dakota Humanities Council will coordinate with SDSU’s Common Read program for the first time. According to the council’s executive director Sherry DeBoer, there will be many opportunities to collaborate and work together. One idea is to bring author Sherman Alexie to the SDSU campus.

“We encourage people to read and participate in the conversation. We are happy to see faculty members here to see the announcement of the book and see them include the book in their curriculum. We are also excited to see Brookings community members here also get involved with the book,” said Chief University Librarian Kristi Tornquist.

The Common Read promises an upcoming fall full of dynamic events and programs. The committee hopes to expand the Common Read’s impact on students by focusing on more service learning activities. Many ideas are currently being considered as the committee makes plans.

“It is something really different and sounds interesting,” said Terra Klina, a freshman pre-pharmacy major and future Honors teaching assistant.