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Common Community Reading

The Catawba Common College Reading Program, started in 2005, is an initiative intended to get you and your fellow incoming first-year students talking about important issues from the minute you arrive on campus. The program affords you an opportunity to participate in and contribute to the intellectual life of the College and provides you with a shared academic experience during Orientation and the first semester.

Themes in the reading are addressed in a variety of contexts: during formal discussion in Orientation, in individual First-Year Seminars, in the community, during informal conversation (with faculty, ALPHAs, coaches, staff, and other students), and in Lilly Center events such as the values and vocation dinner. Thus, the reading provides a common base for discussion among all members of the campus community for the entire year.

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2016 Selection

The Common Community Reading (CCR) for Catawba College, class of 2020, will be "Stepping Out"  by David Sedaris. 

David Sedaris is one of the most noteworthy essayists of the late 20th and 21st centuries. His essays are typically very funny, but also point to difficult truths about human behavior. Often his essays deal with relatively “mature” content that would not be suitable for a Common Reading selection. However, “Stepping Out” deals, on the surface, with Sedaris’ obsession with his Fitbit activity tracker, a timely topic (our relationship with technology) that we believe you will find relatable. At another level, the essay is about obsession and addiction more generally, a topic that would have applications to other facets of Catawba’s Orientation. The essay also allows us to examine how “tracking” daily steps taken without looking at the larger picture is like focusing on individual college courses, rather than seeing the big picture about the nature and purpose of a Catawba College education. Still another level of the essay is the concept of relationships: with others, with a place, with oneself. Therefore, we believe that this selection represents a good choice for a “summer” reading, but also provides several layers for you to explore during a classroom-based discussion.



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