Over the past 10+ years working within higher education, I have had the distinct pleasure to serve on a number of professional opportunities outside of my immediate area of practice in Residence Life. Without question, one of the most defining experiences has been serving as the student life representative on the first year common read committee at Elon University.
First year common read programs, when done well, can be incredibly impactful to creating a cohort experience for first year students upon their arrival to college, and at Elon which is a small private, liberal arts college, this is definitely the goal. Elon’s common read selection is chosen based on books which are nominated for selection by all faculty, staff, students, and alumni; just about anyone connected with the university can nominate a book. The Elon common read committee itself is made up of faculty, staff and students, and ultimately it has one fixed, salient goal— to choose a meaningful book that will resonate with students, staff and faculty across disciplines, one not only culturally relevant, but also forward moving in spirit and design.