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Common Reading Builds Wolfpack Community

Incoming students arrive on campus already feeling like part of the Wolfpack family, having shared the common experience of the university’s summer reading program.  For the past four years, we have asked new freshmen to read a selected book that promotes intellectual discourse and critical thinking, and encourages them to engage in the academic and social life of the campus community.  The common reading sparks many subsequent discussions on campus and gives rise to student-led initiatives in areas such as social justice and international development, as students are spurred to action by the ideas in the book.

This year’s selection is It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine’s Path to Peace, by Rye Barcott. It’s the true story of a young man’s quest to form a nongovernmental organization in Kenya in 2000, through which he hopes to prevent ethnic violence and empower a new generation of community leaders. Challenging old notions of top-down, command-and-control management, Barcott presents powerful lessons about how to form diverse, responsive teams to tackle some of society’s greatest challenges.  The book covers significant subjects such as ethnicity, poverty, and international affairs, and we hope it prompts in-depth consideration of global and social issues.

On August 14, our college’s newest students will gather in small groups to discuss the book under the guidance of selected faculty members. We invite any CHASS alumni who wish to participate in a common reading book discussion to join us. Contact for details.

Rye Barcott will be the keynote speaker at the August 13 NC State Convocation, an event that brings the campus together to welcome new students.  He will also address CHASS students during our College Connections event on Tuesday, August 14.

By Dara Leeder, director of CHASS student recruitment and retention