Designed to spark intellectual engagement in the classroom and beyond, the Penn State Reads program each year invites people across the university to read a single book. Each first-year student receives a free copy of the selected text to read before arriving on campus in the fall. During the school year, an essay contest, in-class discussions, and special events—including a visit from the author—help spark an extended dialogue. To bring the wider State College community into the conversation, since 2013, the council has partnered with Penn State Libraries, Schlow Centre Region Library, and the Penn State Center for Arts & Humanities since 2013 to offer this program and present a public event in which the author of the Penn State Reads selected novel comes to State College to speak about his/her work and to engage students and residents in meaningful dialogues.
Previous Penn State Reads Events included:
2016 – Author Dave Eggers of The Circle explored the impact of technology on modern life
2015 – Author Russell Gold of The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World discussed his book.
2014 – Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche discussed her book Americanah, which explored the human experience, identity, and blackness in America, Nigeria, and Great Britain.
2013 – Author Eyal Press discussed his book Beautiful Souls, which examined what impels peoples to defy the sway of authority and convention.