Welcome to the Common Reading Program! The book this year is Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, which is being used for a second year across the WSU system. Retaining this title for a second year — a first in the program’s 17‑year history — is allowing for revision of the book selection timeline and also will take advantage of numerous related events occurring across WSU in the next year.
The goal of the Common Reading Program is to stimulate thinking and discussion between and among students and faculty. The wide-range of possibilities Braiding Sweetgrass offers in terms of topics, and its utility across multiple disciplines, access, and connection with university initiatives and with our local region, make it an excellent book for supporting a second academic year’s worth of engagement. This title also allows continued free digital access for all students, faculty, and staff through the WSU libraries as well as use of the extensive WSU teaching guide created to highlight ways to use “Braiding Sweetgrass” to address WSU learning goals as well as to introduce students to local resources.
This academic year, we anticipate that programming will continue to focus widely on issues of ecology, climate change, sustainability, cultural heritage, and the nature of knowledge. If your unit or program is planning to host any events, speakers, or activities that relate to the environmental and cultural issues raised by “Braiding Sweetgrass,” let us know so we can add them to the calendar. We welcome your ideas!
—Karen Weathermon, Ph.D.
Director of First-Year Programs, Pullman Campus