We Are Family: Focusing on Unity, Community, Participation

The Common Read is a central part of First Year Seminar. It gives all new first-year students a common intellectual experience centered around a theme of Catholic Social Teaching (CST). All first-year students are required to complete the Common Read book, and engage in writing and discussion during the First Year Seminar class. Related events are held throughout the academic year, from panel discussions and community exploration to presentations from invited speakers.

The CST theme that will be explored during the 2017-2018 academic year is Call to Family, Community, and Participation. The Common Read selection is United, by Cory Booker. This year’s tagline for the program is “We Are Family,” which encourages students to think about human interconnectedness in a new way.

United, which has a subtitle of “Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good,” focuses on using the ideals of empathy, responsibility, and action to guide our world toward a bright future.

In United, Booker urges his readers to overcome despair with hope, and to work toward a shared mission and a common destiny. We lose touch with our neighbors too easily, Booker says, so we have to remember that we all rise or fall together, and that mere tolerance is not enough: We need to forge a deeper connection through love.

That vision of unity ties into the Elms College’s mission. The Sisters of St. Joseph, who founded the college, have always worked to connect neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God, without distinction. From the start, the college — a community rooted in faith, educated in mind, compassionate in heart, and responsive to civic and social obligations — has challenged students to embrace change without compromising principle, to respond creatively to the demands of their chosen careers, and to advocate for people in need.

This book will inspire the entire Elms community to continue carrying on that noble mission, and the related on-campus activities and in-class discussions around the Common Read will give them new tools to do so.

Books may be purchased in the Elms College bookstore.

Discussion Resources

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Articles and Other Online Resources

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