By Victoria Onorato
The common read selection for the 2017- 2018 freshman class is Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger’s, by John Elder Robison. The common read, a required reading for the incoming class, has been implemented by the university for seven years.
The responsibility of choosing the common read for each year is given to the Post Peer Mentors, students who co-teach the Post Foundations course. From the Peer Mentors’ selections, the novels are then passed on to the Book Committee, composed of students and professors. Kathleen Kumpas, a peer mentor, was one of two students involved with deciding on this year’s book selection. “The committee had selected from five books, including the selected book, which were previously common reads at other universities,” Kumpas said.
This semester, students will discuss and be quizzed on the novel in the Post Foundations class. The common read is a way for all freshmen to relate to each other. “The importance of the common read is that it connects students to the campus, whether it be a discussion with a fellow student or to the Post Foundations class,” Kumpas said.
English Department Chair Dr. John Lutz, who teaches a section of Post 101, has been involved in the Peer Mentor Program and the Book Committee. He made suggestions from the list compiled by the peer mentors and gathered suggestions from members of the campus community. “I think that it’s very important for new students to have common experiences that connect them to the campus community,” Lutz said.
Alexandra Uribe, a freshman psychology major, felt that the book was a forced reading requirement at first. “After reading through the pages, I began to really enjoy the reading because the book was written about the author’s personal experiences. I feel a reader can connect more to an author when they are discussing themselves and their stages of life,” Uribe said.
After completing the book, Uribe’s view of a common read changed. “It’s important to have a common read because you can listen to other people’s comments and opinions about the book. I believe we need to hear more about other individuals’ personal stories, so we can learn more about that person and understand them on a whole new level,” Uribe said.
Freshmen who have yet to pick up the common read can visit the LIU Promise office on the second floor of Hillwood Commons to receive a copy of Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger’s. Students interested in participating in the choosing of next year’s common read can contact Dr. Lutz to become a peer mentor.