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Common Reading Program Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

Welcome to the Common Reading program

Join a virtual lecture from Robin Wall Kimmerer planned for 1/31/23 at 6:00 p.m. Robin is the author the common reading book for 2023, Braiding Sweetgrass.

Join a virtual lecture from Robin Wall Kimmerer planned for 1/31/23 at 6:00 p.m. Robin is the author the common reading book for 2023, Braiding Sweetgrass.

Common Reading Invited Lecture 2023

Recording of Feb. 21 Presentation

At 6 p.m. on Feb. 21, 2023, the WSU community and the public were presented a virtual lecture by Braiding Sweetgrass author Robin Wall Kimmerer. The book is the 2022-23 and 2023-24 common reading book for WSU students–the first to be used for two years.

A screenshot from Robin Wall Kimmerer's virtual lecture showing depictions of nature to inspire a sense of humility, gratitude, and connection.
Watch a recording of the presentation on the Zoom platform

Event Sponsors: Common Reading Program; Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President; Visiting Writers Series; Dept. of English; Native American Programs; Global Campus; the Institute for Biological Chemistry; and the Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Chapter at WSU.

Ask a Question

Do you have a question for the author? Submit it here in the days leading up to the lecture. All submissions will be considered.

Your email:(Required)

Attend an In-person Watch Party

Make plans to meet your friends at a watch party to attend the lecture together. We have listed some below, but there might be others — check with your professors.

WSU Pullman/First-year Programs: 5:30 p.m., CUE 202 – pizza provided

WSU Pullman/Native American Programs: 6:00 p.m., SPARK 212 – pizza provided

WSU Pullman/School of the Environment: 5:30 p.m., Troy 309 – with food

WSU Pullman/Olympia Hall: 6:00 p.m., Lobby – pizza provided

WSU Vancouver: 5:30 p.m., VLIB 261 – food and snacks provided

Puyallup Research and Extension Center: D. F. Allmendinger Center, 2606 W. Pioneer, Puyallup, 5:30 p.m. — hearty snacks provided

Lunch Menu from Dining Services on original lecture date of 1/31

Dining Services offered a special luncheon menu is inspired by the book at all three Pullman campus cafes—Northside, Southside, and Hillside. Entrées of maple-glazed salmon and a plant-based“Three Sisters Stew” were accompanied by wild rice pilaf, corn cakes, green beans with candied pecans, and griddled maple squash. Faculty and staff joined students to enjoy the special meal from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Museum Booklet

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at WSU produced a booklet to inspire visitors to find ties between works of art currently on display and themes found in Braiding Sweetgrass. Titled Common Reading Connections, it features nine excerpts from reflections written by students in Honors 280 in fall 2022, describing ties they found between topics in the book and artwork. Copies of the booklet are available at the museum.

Resources for Braiding Sweetgrass

Resource Guides

A teaching guide has been produced to provide resources for faculty and staff using the common reading book in classes, residence halls, advising, and more.

WSU Libraries has also provided a library instruction resources page focused on Braiding Sweetgrass. Key resources featured include a library resource guide designed especially with students in mind and a topics by chapter guide.

About the Book and Its Author

Braiding Sweetgrass, the book selected for use as the 16th common read at WSU, is subtitled Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Author Robin Wall Kimmerer is described as a mother; scientist/botanist; author; enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation; Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, New York; and founder and director of SUNY ESF’s Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

A virtual lecture by the author is set for WSU audiences at 6 p.m., Tues., Jan. 31. Watch a short presentation featuring Kimmerer prepared by the MacArthur Foundation, which named Kimmerer a MacArthur Fellow in 2022.

Upon selecting the book from nominations, Provost and Executive Vice President and WSU Pullman Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton said, “This beautifully written collection of essays addresses many topics that are of national and global interest: ecology, climate change, sustainability, cultural heritage, and, most importantly, how do we know what we know?”

Weekly Emails for Faculty on Book Use

Faculty can contact First-year Programs Director Karen Weathermon to join an email distribution list for common reading events and opportunities throughout the year.

Free Copies Available from WSU Libraries

Braiding Sweetgrass is available at no cost to all WSU students, faculty, and staff thanks to WSU Libraries’ license for unlimited ebook access to the publication. Users can simply download the book.

Upcoming Events

Browse our full events calendar on Coug Presence »

Upcoming Keynote Events Planned and Hosted by Our Program:

About Our Program

What Is a Common Reading?

A common reading is one way to create community connections among students, and between students and their professors, residence hall staff, and others. Topics in a selected book are examined throughout the year by members of the university community, sparking academic conversations in and beyond classrooms, highlighting WSU research and the diversity of ideas across disciplines, and introducing different ways to explore complex issues from a variety of perspectives.

Recent Program Impact

Robust common reading programming throughout the year includes expert guest lectures, stimulating events, film showings, and much more.  In 2021-22, for example, the Common Reading Program…

  • Hosted and collaborated with 19 other campus units system-wide to provide 92 virtual and in0person events, more than double the number of previous years.
  • Students can typically select from three to five events per week to enhance their knowledge relating to book topics.

Learn more about the Common Reading program >>