This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Environmental Studies: The Freshman Common Reading

The common reading for the class of 2012 is Elizabeth Kolbert’s book Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. The book grew out of a three-part series Kolbert wrote for The New Yorker that won the National Magazine Award in 2006. Kolbert’s goal is to "convey, as vividly as possible, the reality of global warming" in terms of both personal stories and hard science. The book is a comprehensive look at climate change and man’s role within it. It asks the incoming freshmen, who will be seeing drastic effects from global warming within their lifetimes, if anything can be done to save our planet.

The freshman common reading is part of the William A. Starr Lecture Series. Every year, the freshman class is assigned a book to read over the summer and gets a chance to hear the author speak when they come to campus in the fall. The lecture is open to everyone and is accompanied by a question-and-answer session, which gives students the opportunity to discuss the work with its author. Last year Tim O’Brien spoke about his book In the Lake of the Woods, and in 2006 Salman Rushdie came to discuss his work Shalimar the Clown. Elizabeth Kolbert will be coming to campus to speak on September 25.

September 2008

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