Purdue common reading program selects book for 2012-2013

February 20, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – An inspiring true story about a boy whose inventiveness changed the lives of those in his community has been selected for Purdue's campus-wide reading program to help new students connect at the university.

William Kamkwamba's "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" will be given to each first-year and transfer student who enters the university this fall as part of the 2011-2012 Common Reading Program.

"The program is designed to connect students and create a common academic experience as they begin their college careers," said Jared Tippets, director of Student Access, Transition and Success Programs and co-chair of the Common Reading Program.

The book will be distributed free of charge during the Summer Transition, Advising and Registration program, known as STAR. International students are provided with an electronic version of the book. Students are required to read the book before they start classes in the fall or arrive for the Boiler Gold Rush undergraduate orientation program. Last year more than 5,000 students participated in book discussions led by more than 600 Boiler Gold Rush team leaders and residence hall staff.

At the end of Boiler Gold Rush, the author will speak to students at a forum on Aug. 19. Information about public attendance will be available in the summer.

The book also will be used in some introductory level classes, and formal talks and presentations will be held throughout the year. This is the fourth year of the program, and the book was selected by a university-wide committee based on suggestions submitted from students, faculty and staff.

"This year's book selection was carefully chosen by our committee to provide the students with an inspiring catalyst for discussion and a symbol of intellectual rigor as they begin their academic careers at Purdue," said Sharon Weiner, W. Wayne Booker Chair in Information Literacy and co-chair of the Common Reading Committee. "I hope that ‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' will help our new students to believe that one individual can change a community and better the lives of those around them."

Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" was read in 2011. Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner" was selected in 2010, and Bich Minh Nguyen's "Stealing Buddha's Dinner" was chosen for 2009. Copies of  "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope" will be available at Purdue Libraries soon. More information about the Common Reading Program is available at http://www.purdue.edu/sats/commonreading/index.html

Writer:  Rebekah Piotrowicz, 765-496-3006, rpiotrow@purdue.edu

Source:  Jared Tippets, 765-494-2451, jtippets@purdue.edu
                 Sharon Weiner, 765-496-3128, sweiner@purdue.edu