Kimmerer Lecture Prompts Lunch Feast, Watch Parties, Museum Booklet

Notice: The virtual Common Reading Invited Lecture for 2023 has been rescheduled to 6:00 p.m. on Feb. 21, 2023. Robin Wall Kimmerer had to postpone the originally planned date for the lecture of Jan. 31.

PULLMAN, Wash.—As Washington State University readies for Braiding Sweetgrass author Robin Wall Kimmerer’s virtual lecture at 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, campus programs are sharing unique ways to engage first-hand in the common-reading inspired event. The lecture, titled, “What Does the Earth Ask of Us?,” is free and open to the public.

Noon Feast

Dining Services is offering a special luncheon menu Tuesday that is inspired by the book at all three Pullman campus cafes—Northside, Southside, and Hillside. Entrées of maple-glazed salmon and a vegetarian “Three Sisters Stew” will be accompanied by wild rice pilaf, corn cakes, green beans with candied pecans, and griddled maple squash. Faculty and staff enjoying to the special meal from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. can pay using Cougar CASH from a Cougar Card as well as debit and credit cards.

“After learning of the food references in Braiding Sweetgrass, we have been thinking about avenues to support the common reading lecture since early fall,” said Sarah Larson, Dining Services direction. “I approached the culinary team with the idea for a special meal and members embraced the idea right away.” Three Sisters Stew, for example, springs from an essay describing Native intertwined garden plantings of corn, beans, and squash.

“We interact daily with the students who live with us. On the day of this event, we have the unique opportunity to provide a great meal to heighten student awareness of the lecture that very evening and help build attendance. We invite the WSU community to join us.”

Evening Watch Parties

Starting late Tuesday afternoon, several groups are inviting students and members of the WSU community to join watch parties to enjoy the lecture together. Four on Pullman campus are hosted by:

  • First-Year Programs, which is home to the Common Reading Program, at 5:30 p.m. in CUE 202
  • Native American Programs at 6 p.m. in Spark G-45
  • Olympia Residence Hall at 6 p.m. in the lobby
  • School of the Environment at 5:30 p.m. in Troy Hall 309

Watch parties will also be hosted by:

  • WSU Tri-Cities at 6:00 p.m. in its Writing Center (CIC 101)
  • WSU Vancouver at 5:45 p.m. in its Library Building (VLIB) 261
  • Puyallup Research and Extension Center at 5:30 p.m. in the D.F. Allmendinger Center, 2606 W. Pioneer

Museum Booklet

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU is producing 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 will be available at the museum’s front desk.

Community Engagement

“This year, and we are very honored to welcome such a renowned and respected author to speak to us,” said Karen Weathermon, director of the Common Reading Program, part of the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement in the provost’s office. Braiding Sweetgrass is the first book in the program’s 16 years to be scheduled for use for two years.

“Our generous cosponsors have been tremendous partners in making this lecture possible. They include: the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President; Visiting Writers Series (VWS); Dept. of English; Native American Programs; Global Campus; Center for Environmental Research, Education, and Outreach (CEREO); and the Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Chapter at WSU.”

In addition to its ties to the Common Reading Program, the Kimmerer lecture also kicks off the VWS spring season of guests.

Join the Lecture, Learn More

Visit the common reading web homepage to learn how to join the virtual lecture that begins at 6:00 p.m., pose an advance question for the author, find details about watch parties, and more.

Media contacts: Karen Weathermon, WSU Common Reading Program director,

Beverly Makhani, DAESA Communications and Marketing,