Now You See It...Stories from Cokesville, PA, was one of two books that members of Lehigh's class of 2018 could choose to read last summer. First-year students discuss the books during orientation.

Campus community to vote on summer reading selection

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As the 2015-16 school year slowly approaches, a committee composed of faculty, staff and students is being formed to choose a summer reading book for the incoming first-year class.

On Oct. 28 this group came together to comprise a list of proposed topics for the summer reading book. In past years the committee has used themes such as the sustainability throughout the Lehigh and Bethlehem community for inspiration in choosing the summer reading book. This year the suggested themes range from class-consciousness to medical care access.

The Office of the First-Year Experience’s goal is not only to “find a book that is easily accessible to students, and intellectually engaging,” said Emily Shreve, a first-year graduate assistant for the Office of First Year Experience, but also a book that incorporates “some sort of diversity and inclusion.”

They are looking for a theme that applies to all three undergraduate colleges — a book that can make connections not just academically, but also community wide.

However, students do not always have the same idea that the Office of the First Year Experience does. For example, Robert Smith, ’17, was required to read “Madonnas of Echo Park” by Brando Skyhorse when he was an incoming first-year student in 2013.

“I can’t really say I liked it,” he said. “I read it but it wasn’t really enjoyable,”

For other students, like Emilee Strange, ’17, the book was hard to get through. She said she read two or three chapters but found it very confusing. Other students simply choose not read the assigned books.

This past year the Office of First-Year Experience gave the incoming first-year students two summer reading options to choose from: “Class Matters and “Now You See It… Stories from Cokesville, PA.” Having two summer reading options is currently on the table as the committee looks for potential books for the 2015 summer reading book. Shreve said that the Office of the First-Year Experience wants to choose a book that is not too long and that students will be excited to read.

The committee will decide on a list of proposed topics and then open up the list to the Lehigh community by sending out a Google document through the University Announcements for any specific book suggestions. From there, the committee will run through the book ideas and narrow the list down to a select few. Shreve said that before spring break, the committee will have a campus vote, where students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to vote on what book will be the 2015 summer reading book.

“We are really excited to see what the campus chooses,” Shreve said.

The committee will vote on Friday, Nov. 7, on a list of proposed topics, and they are welcome to any feedback from the Lehigh community.

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