What is the goal/purpose of the Common Reading Program?
The Common Reading Program aims:
to introduce students to the spirit of inquiry and debate that is integral to the Washington University academic community.
to provide a common intellectual experience for incoming students, as well as participating members of the faculty and staff.
to provide an opportunity for students to meet and interact with a member of the Washington University faculty in an informal discussion, outside the boundaries of the classroom and formal academic requirements.
How are the reading program books selected?
Book suggestions are collected from students, faculty, and staff and are then reviewed and narrowed down by the Common Reading Program Steering Committee. Finalists are often offered in the January Reading Program, an opt-in book discussion program open to all student levels and offered in partnership with the Congress of the South 40. Feedback is collected from students and discussion leaders participating in the January Reading Program. After the Steering Committee debates the relative merits and challenges of each of the finalist texts, a winner is ultimately chosen.
Is my participation in the Common Reading Program mandatory?
All first-year students are required to attend the small group book discussions on Friday, August 24th with their residential college floors. All other CRP-related events are optional, but we strongly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities to attend and experience the myriad of offered programs.
Is the Common Reading Program an isolated event, or will there be other related activities?
Throughout the year, there will be events and activities related to the Common Reading Program. A schedule of the events can be found on the Events page.
I lost/forgot my book. What should I do?
The Washington University campus bookstore carries copies of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.
Who will be facilitating my discussion group? Can I select my Small Group Discussion Leader?
Your Small Group Discussion Leader will be assigned based on your residential college floor. Regrettably, we cannot allow you to change sections or request a specific discussion leader.
How will I know where to go for my Common Reading Program discussion?
On Friday, August 24th, your Residential Advisor (RA) and Washington University Student Associate (WUSA) will notify you of your small group book discussion location and will accompany you and your floormates to the discussion. The Common Reading Program small group book discussions will take place in the morning from 10:30 AM – Noon.
What should I bring to my Common Reading Program discussion?
Please come prepared with:
Something to write on
Something to write with
An open mind
What is the history of the Common Reading Program at Washington University?
This is the 16th annual Common Reading Program at Washington University. Learn more about the CRP history.
What additional resources can I use to educate myself on the themes covered in the book?