K-State to launch book network in fall

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The shift from high school to college life can be difficult for anyone, but students, faculty and staff have recently worked together to ease the transition.

This fall the university is scheduled to launch a first-year K-State experience program, consisting of seminars, learning communities and a new book network. The program is called K-State First.

One of the prominent features of the new program is the K-State Book Network.

The idea behind the network is to give all incoming freshmen the same book to read over the summer break. Faculty, staff and other students are welcome to read the book as well.

The book chosen for next fall, “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins, will be given out to each student at orientation and during enrollment.

The book will be incorporated throughout the year into classrooms and into activities and programs in the residence halls and on campus.

Those involved hope the university reading program will help students transition into college by giving them all something in common with other students and professors.

“When new students arrive they will have all read the same book, as well as many of us here,” said Greg Eiselein, faculty director of K-State First. “We will all have something in common already, something to bond over.”

Eiselein said it will allow for a common intellectual experience. Students will be able to talk about their reaction to the book, develop critical thinking skills and reinforce what they have learnt by getting the perspectives of other students, faculty and staff on campus.

In “The Hunger Games,” the characters live in a future that has been taken over by a reality television show, in which the players fight for their lives and only the winner comes out alive.

Collins’ thriller novel helped put her on Time magazine’s 2010 Time 100 as one of the people who most affected our world.

The book will generate a great deal of divergent opinions and will be a good resource to provoke thought, said Kevin Blake, professor of geography. He said the book will be able to create common ground not only freshman to freshman, but among other students as well.

“It provides a common network that will engage them socially and academically,” he said.

Blake, who was on the book selection sub-committee as well as the Book Network committee, will be using the book as part of his fall 2010 curriculum for the World Regional Geography class.

He said the book is also useful in a geography class because it has many parallels between the regions in the book and other areas in North America and Europe. It will be incorporated into class discussions, homework for the course and hands-on projects like mapping out areas mentioned in the book.

Other professors will be incorporating the book to their courses as well.

Tara Coleman, assistant professor at Hale Library, said she thinks the book network will help ease students into the college life, and the book will be a good way for students to interact with each other over a common topic.

“I really hope people enjoy the book, but it’s okay if they don’t,” she said. “Part of the process is learning to articulate why you do or don’t like something. It will bring up a lot of conversation.”

Coleman said they have five students on the committee for next fall, but are always looking for more student involvement. Anyone interested in being a part of the committee, including event planning and public relations, should contact Coleman at tcol2@ksu.edu

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