Campus-wide reading club to debut in the fall

Editor’s note: This story was revised for accuracy at 11:22 p.m. Wednesday.

Advances in the development of a university-wide reading club hosted by Project Junior Giveback keeps turning its pages, planning to increase community morale on campus, a student body official said.

“One Book, One TCU” is a learning project to foster a greater sense of community on campus, revive the lost art of recreational reading and provide a good read to students, faculty and staff, said Matt Dietrichson, a sophomore political science major and student body vice president.

“People don’t read for fun enough,” Dietrichson said. “We’d like to promote recreational reading as a community effort and hold discussions about topics people aren’t talking about.”

The goal is to have the entire university community reading the same book at the same time, he said.

Dietrichson, co-chair of the Junior Giveback committee, along with Mary Boschini, a freshman premajor, formed a committee of faculty, staff and student representatives from multiple disciplines such as the English department, Student Development Services, Honors Program and Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services.

“The main criteria was they must be avid readers,” Dietrichson said.

The committee meets about three to four times per month to select a book and brainstorm marketing ideas for the program, he said.

The committee selected the book Tuesday but will keep the title under wraps until the fall semester.

Brett Major, a junior psychology major and former student body vice president, presented the idea of the service project last year to the Junior Transitions faculty and staff committee in a contest.

Major said he was first inspired to start a book club at the university after he heard about “One Book, One Waco,” a community reading effort initiated by the Waco Chamber of Commerce and hosted at Baylor University last spring.

Started by the Center for the Book, which was established by Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading in Washington, D.C., One Book is a nationally recognized movement that encourages the pursuit of education and literacy, according to the Web site for the Library of Congress.

Jason Eagar, a mentor for Junior Giveback and director of student programs and annual giving, said Major, along with three other students, received $1,000 to go toward their community projects.

Eagar said he would like to see more students coming together and talking about issues that don’t just affect the university but have global impact.

“Every person at TCU is connected in some way to the outside world,” Eagar said.

Samantha Siegel, a senior radio-TV-film major from Fort Worth, said she likes the idea of a campuswide read but whether she will read will depend on what book the committee picks.

Siegel said if it were up to her she would want to get people to see the world for more than what they know.

“I would focus on seeing the world in a bigger picture,” she said. “One of my favorite books is ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho. It’s about not being so focused on the miniscule bubble that tends to contract everyone in this school.”

Dietrichson said One Book, One TCU is building upon the prior One Book models to distinguish itself from the rest, while focusing on keeping costs down.

“We are conjuring up ideas about ‘green’ programming and trying to figure out ways of reusing old books,” he said. “There is still much to be decided.”