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. The lecture will be held on 2/21/2023 at 6:00 p.m. and hosted on the Zoom platform.
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.

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 Calls for Common Reading Book Nominations for 2024-25 The Washington State University Common Reading Program has opened nominations through April 3 for the 2024-25 book to be used in first-year and other courses. “We are putting out the call well in advance of when the next common book will actually be in use because we want to give faculty plenty of time to evaluate the selected book and make plans as to how to use it in their classes,” said Karen Weathermon, program director. She said the book selection will be finalized by summer.
  • Kimmerer Lecture Rescheduled for Feb. 21 “Braiding Sweetgrass” author Robin Wall Kimmerer has had to cancel today’s planned virtual Common Reading Invited Lecture at Washington State University Pullman originally set for 6 p.m. The event will be rescheduled soon, said Karen Weathermon, director of the Common Reading Program. Details about the rescheduled lecture, watch parties, and more will be posted on the Common Reading website as they become available. The complementary lunch prepared by Dining Services will still be served today at Hillside, Northside, and Southside centers.

Browse all of our news headlines.

Kimmerer Video

A screenshot from Robin Wall Kimmerer's virtual lecture showing depictions of nature to inspire a sense of humility, gratitude, and connection.

In February 2023, book author Robin Wall Kimmerer delivered a virtual presentation to an enthusiastic WSU audience. A recording of the lecture is available to those with WSU logins. Event sponsors included the Common Reading Program; Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President; Visiting Writers Series; Department 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.

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.

Learn more about the Common Reading program >>