Book cover for “How the Other Half Eats: The Untold Story of Food and Inequality in America,” by Priya Fielding-Singh, Ph.D.
How the Other Half Eats
The nonfiction book, How the Other Half Eats: The Untold Story of Food and Inequality in America, has been selected as the common reading book to be used by first-year and other Washington State University students across classes throughout 2024-25.
Read the News Release
Cover of the 2022-23 common reading book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Author Robin Wall Kimmerer is shown next to the cover via a photo by Dale Kakkak.
Braiding Sweetgrass
Braiding Sweetgrass is the first book selection in the program’s history to be used for a second year, 2023-2024.

Welcome to the Common Reading program

Designed to connect students to their university community, the Common Reading Program at WSU is starting its 17th year.

Thousands of first-year and additional students have used the book—or topics from it—in their classes, prompting academic discussions with their faculty, interactions with staff and students in their residence halls, and participation at special events.

The program emphasizes experiential opportunities for students to hear speakers and engage with topics related to the book. More than 30 programs are already in place for students to attend or engage in this year, thanks to partnerships with many units across the university. Check the full fall calendar for listings.


About This Year’s Book

Braiding Sweetgrass is the first book selection in the program’s history to be used for a second year, 2023-2024. Free copies of the book can be downloaded by WSU students, faculty, and staff thanks to WSU Libraries’ license for unlimited ebook access to the publication.

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.


Programming for This Year

A robust and interdisciplinary set of guest expert lectures, virtual talks, video showings, performances, demonstrations, exhibits, and scheduled activities based on the book will continue to evolve throughout the academic year.

Browse our full events calendar on Coug Presence.


Recent News

  • WSU Selects “How the Other Half Eats” as 2024-25 Common Reading Book The nonfiction book, “How the Other Half Eats: The Untold Story of Food and Inequality in America,” has been selected as the common reading book to be used by first-year and other Washington State University students across classes throughout 2024-25. “One of the many honors of serving as Provost is the opportunity to select the Common Read for all incoming students,” said Provost and Executive Vice President and WSU Pullman Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton. “‘How the Other Half Eats‘ explores the many ways that food—and access to food—underscores issues of social inequality in American society.”
  • Higheagle Strong on Land-grant History, Native Lands, and an Equitable Future Nov. 6; Film Showing “Addressing WSU’s land-grant history and the appropriation of Native lands: Exploring a more equitable future” is the topic of a virtual presentation Nov. 6 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. by Zoe Higheagle Strong, vice provost for Native American Relations and Programs, and tribal liaison to the president. The lecture by Higheagle Strong, a Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) tribal member, aligns with Native American Heritage Month events on the WSU Pullman campus. To attend the event, audience members must register online.

Browse all of our news headlines.

Informational flyer for Zoe Higheagle Strong's lecture on Nov. 6, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. Further details and a registration link are included the caption below.
On Nov 6, 2023, Zoe Higheagle Strong, Ph.D., Nimíipuu (Nez Perce), WSU Vice Provost for Native American Relations and Programs, and Tribal Liaison to the WSU President presented, “Addressing WSU’s Land-grant History and the Appropriation of Native Lands: Exploring a More Equitable Future.”
 
Co-sponsored by the WSU Common Reading Program, the Center for Native American Research and Collaboration, Native American Programs, and ASWSU Ku-ah-mah.

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. A weekly message with PowerPoint slides describes upcoming events and can be easily uploaded into Canvas or digital signage. A student-success tip appropriate that that point in the semester is included.

Attendance: To assist instructors, student attendance is logged at all events, allowing students to easily provide verification of their attendance.


About the Common Reading Program

What Is a “Common Reading?”

Our program is formed around the concept of a “common reading”—a single book chosen for all incoming first-year students to read. 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.
Stylized gray tracing of a collage made up of the covers of past Common Reading books.