"War Dances" by Sherman Alexie was the 2011 College’s Common Summer Reading Program and the companion book was "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" (for both children and adults). A series of conversations and events based on the books are scheduled throughout October both on campus and in the community which started with a kick off event on Oct. 2 at the College’s Atrium.
The collaboration between our university's Common Summer Reading Program and the community initiative One Book One New Paltz effectively enhances the shared reading experience of our first-year students, extending it beyond the confines of the campus.
Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement Gerald Benjamin, director (Center for Research, Regional Education & Outreach) founded the One Book One New Paltz project in 2005 as a way to bridge the "town and gown" dichotomy through the unifying influence of reading. It was a natural synergy between the two communities because the college is the natural home of learning, scholarship, and reading; similarly, the New Paltz community is invested in the reading experience through public libraries, leisure reading, and fostering literacy in their children.
One Book One New Paltz cultivates collaboration between community members and New Paltz educators to promote these goals. The university is eager to participate in the One Book One New Paltz initiative where students, faculty, and staff can engage with the local community from high school students to elders.
First-year university and One Book programs are well established across the nation and abroad. Their objective is to acclimatize students to their upcoming scholastic programs and to galvanize the incoming class by sharing a common theme and vision. Extending the program to local community members such as younger students develops relationships between campus and community, and promotes and invigorates shared discussion surrounding the book and relevant social issues.