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Common Reading Program Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

Welcome to the Common Reading program

Braiding Sweetgrass book for 2022-23

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 People and the Environment.

About Braiding Sweetgrass

This common reading was published in 2013 by Milkweed Press. It features scientific knowledge as well as indigenous lore and reflections on subjects such as the relationship between humans and the land, sacred traditions, agriculture and land use, environmental threat and regeneration, climate change, and more. It is divided into five sections: planting, tending, picking, braiding, and burning sweetgrass.

Free ebook 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.

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.

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 >>