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2011 First-Year Common Reading Experience: Get the book, read the book, donate the book

August 3, 2011

Book cover of "This I Believe II"NIU faculty, administrators, staff and returning students are encouraged to “Get the Book, Read the Book and Donate the Book” as part of the First-Year Common Reading Experience (CRE) this fall.

This year’s selection, “This I Believe II,” is a collection of 500-word essays written by a variety of Americans who have expressed one of their strongly held beliefs.

“The book serves as a springboard for expressing our individual beliefs in an open, academic community,” said Denise Rode, director of Orientation & First-Year Experience. “Everyone will find essays that speak to them in this book, whether they read it entirely or pick out selected chapters.”

It will be used as a text in some UNIV 101/201, English and Communication courses this fall, and it reinforces the 2011-2012 Northern Pact theme of “an open community.”

Because of rising book costs, the planning committee for the CRE urges faculty, staff and returning students to consider purchasing the book, reading the book and donating the book through Orientation & First-Year Experience to a first-year student with significant financial need.

The book can be purchased at the University Bookstore, at popular booksellers or online (both used and new copies). It’s also available for e-readers, and can be borrowed from the DeKalb Public Library.

While reading, members of the NIU community are encouraged to mark their favorite essays and perhaps include an inspiring note for a first-year student as a way of welcoming new students to the University.

Donating the book is as simple as sending it through Campus Mail or bringing it to Orientation & First-Year Experience in Holmes Student Center 023 (basement level, near the computer lab). Staff members will make sure that student s with a zero Expected Family Contribution on the FAFSA receive a copy for classroom use.

Denise L. Rode

Denise L. Rode

Response to the common reading has been positive during its introduction at summer orientation programs, Rode said. A student who was able to purchase the book has already written to her English professor to say, “I have finished (reading) ‘This I Believe II,’ and absolutely loved it.”

“This book not only allows us to talk about the fundamentals of essay writing,” another student said, “but it also gives us a way to express our own ideas and opens a dialogue between students about what’s important to them.”

In addition to classroom use, a full schedule of activities around “This I Believe II” is being planned for the fall term, including speakers, a service opportunity, an essay contest, “Open Mic” programs and a discussion group during Family Weekend.


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