Campus Invited to Join Freshmen in Reading MLK Works

As a new swarm of Yellow Jackets descends on campus during FASET orientations throughout the summer, each new student will not only return home with a stack of informational flyers and a BuzzCard, but with their first shared undertaking as the incoming class of 2011.

The Center for Academic Success (formerly the Office of Success Programs) and the Library and Information Center coordinate the Freshman Reading Project to engage all incoming freshman students in a common reading experience at the start of their college careers. This year, Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s “I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World” was chosen in conjunction with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the matriculation of black students at Tech.

“Freshman or common reading programs exist at many colleges and universities, and most share similar goals of enhancing students’ academic engagement and fostering a shared learning experience,” said Steven Girardot, director of the Center for Academic Success. Tech has offered such a program on and off for many years, most recently restarting it in 2009.

With this year’s reading, “the hope is to challenge freshmen to think about how they want to ‘change the world’ and how their Tech education will help them on the path to doing that,” Girardot said. Faculty and staff are encouraged to read along with new students as well.

“If faculty, staff or other students read this book with the incoming class, they would definitely be more adept at relating to our situations at having to face an uncertain time coming into college, at a time when we are deciding what to pursue, and how to spend the rest of our lives,” said Shinjini Das, a second-year industrial and systems engineering major who participated in last year’s reading of Warren St. John’s “Outcasts United.” Das believes this year’s choice of literature is apt to motivate and inspire new students.

“It is absolutely important to instill the idea of initiating positive change on campus and in the world from as early as freshman year,” she said. “In this way, students have goal-oriented mindsets and are intent on revitalizing campus life. No matter age, freshmen are an integral part of Georgia Tech, and their fresh perspectives bring so much to the table.”

Some GT 1000 and Literature, Communication and Culture classes will use the book in classes during the fall, with academic analysis punctuated by relevant social events throughout the semester. The entire campus community is invited to join in these various events; details will be updated throughout the fall at

“I Have a Dream” will be available at a 20 percent discount to the campus community at the Tech Barnes & Noble Bookstore; consider reading along with the freshman class by making this your next book club or leisure reading.

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  • I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

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Kristen Shaw
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