Queen's University

Common Reading Program brings students together

[Daniel Lloyd, Common Reading Program participant]First-year engineering student Daniel Lloyd read Eating Dirt over the summer and participated in a discussion group during residence orientation.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of orientation week, first-year students had a chance to reflect on their transition from secondary school to university during the Common Reading Program discussion groups.

“I found the most effective part of the discussion was meeting my floor mates and learning more about them and hearing their stories,” says Daniel Lloyd, a first-year engineering student. “Our floor gets along really well now and the discussion group really helped with that.”

All incoming students received Eating Dirt, Charlotte Gill’s memoir of her tree planting experience. The students were invited to read the book over the summer. As part of residence orientation, students participated in group discussions facilitated by dons, student leaders, community members and, in some cases, Principal Daniel Woolf.

“The discussions provided the students with an opportunity to reflect on their personal hardships and accomplishments,” says Sai Balaketheeswaran, a don who facilitated a discussion group. “Watching their discussions unfold, I noticed more engagement between residents who initially did not interact together.”

Mr. Lloyd said the book’s theme of challenges sparked a robust conversation in his group.

“Coming to Queen’s, there are so many things to do. The discussion group got us thinking about what we can do within our own limits and how much we are going to challenge ourselves,” he says.

Students can meet Ms Gill and ask her questions when she visits Queen’s on Tuesday, September 25 as part of Kingston WritersFest. The event is open to all members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities, and 50 signed copies of Eating Dirt are available for attendees who were not part of the Common Reading program.

Ms Gill will sign copies of her book on Wednesday, September 26 in the speaker’s corner area of Stauffer Library from 10-11:30 am and 1:30-3 pm.

Common Reading Program

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Last updated at 9:45 pm EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
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