September 2019

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Incoming first-year students are often assigned a book to read over the summer or during a required first-year course. We asked our member colleges what students are reading this year — and why the book was chosen. Yes, it may be a handy list to refer to for anyone looking for what they want to read next.

The College of St. Scholastica

  • There There by Tommy Orange

There There was chosen to inspire incoming students to think about the meaning of place, traditions and belonging while considering the significant role of historical trauma in shaping the trajectory of people's lives. The author will be coming to campus to speak to students on Dec. 5. St. Scholastica's first-year seminar, Dignitas, provides the foundation for students’ entire college experience by introducing them to important questions that shape their learning, actions and purpose as members of the college community. Dignitas, the Latin word for dignity, is the program's signature element, focusing on the intrinsic, absolute value of being a person.

Concordia College

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The committee selected this book for three main reasons. First, we believe first-year students will find this book engaging. One third of current Concordia students who offered write-in suggestions for the 2019 Summer Book Read nominated The Hate U Give. Second, we feel this book is relevant to our 2019 Faith, Reason, and World Affairs Symposium on free speech. Lastly, The Hate U Give helps us confront issues that affect all of us today and will allow for rich conversation from a variety of disciplinary standpoints.

Hamline University

  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Hamline first-year students read On the Come Up by Angie Thomas for the Common Read program. The story intersects with an overarching campus theme of the criminalization of poverty shared between the Center for Justice and Law, the First-Year Seminar program and the Commitment to Community program. The book also engages with the topic of how creative expression, and specifically hip-hop, can be a community-building and empowering practice, a subject that aligns with the expertise hip-hop scholar Jeff Chang, the 2019 Commitment to Community keynote speaker who will address campus on Wednesday, October 2.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

  • The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide by Monona Rossol

All students receive this book at the beginning of their time at MCAD. We love that our students are adventurous creators. This book equips students with awareness and training to be safe, responsible makers.

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

  • The Happiness Effect - How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost by Donna Freitas

Mobile technology and social media are ubiquitous in the lives of most teenagers and college students. The selection of this book is an attempt to get students to think critically about the implications of this dependency on both the physical and mental health of individuals, and relationships in society. The book, through interviews conducted by the author, allows students to hear from their peers on this issue. It also provides tips on how to better navigate mobile technology usage, and points of discussion for how universities can create a culture that is not dominated by the smartphone.

St. Catherine University

  • The Catherine Core Reader edited by Cecilia Konchar-Farr, Martha Phillips and Nancy Heitzeg

The Catherine Core Reader is assigned to all first-year students at St. Kate's. It accompanies first-year students through the required course, The Reflective Woman, as well as a capstone course Global Search for Justice. The idea is to carry this book throughout their academic career at St. Kate's, and connect the entire experience of earning their degree.