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05/31/2016

Common Book Will Be Given to New Students in June at Orientation

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 University College Dean Gloria Jones said the university liked the book’s theme of Walls’ early years detailing a nomadic life with parents whose own mental/emotional problems expose the children to poverty, homelessness, sporadic education, rat-infested dwellings with no plumbing and non-existent health care.
 Few Common Books have been as widely read by Winthrop students and faculty or more clearly connected to the goals of the Human Experience course and the university’s global commitment.

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ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - Winthrop University will repeat its 2015-16 Common Book, "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls, for the 2016-17 academic year.

University College Dean Gloria Jones said the university liked the book’s theme of Walls’ early years detailing a nomadic life with parents whose own mental/emotional problems expose the children to poverty, homelessness, hunger, sporadic education, rat-infested dwellings with no plumbing and non-existent health care.

During the 2015-16 academic year, the university was able to use those messages to connect directly to the themes in the Human Experience course, a class required of all Winthrop students. In addition, the university was able to showcase the expertise of several faculty members who presented programs tied closely to the issues raised by this book. Few Common Books have been as widely read by Winthrop students and faculty or more clearly connected to the goals of the Human Experience course and the university’s global commitment of exposing students to perspectives and cultures that may differ from their own.

“This book will help our students understand a life that is very different from their own and also show them that even the worst of circumstances do not dictate all of one’s choices,” said Jones, who is also a member of the Common Book selection committee. “In line with the goals of the Human Experience course in which this book is infused, students will examine the impact of an uninvolved community, a dearth of formal education, a harsh natural world and a lack of exposure to spiritual matters on the life of one individual.”

Walls’ survival and drive to change her life serves as a model of resilience and an inspiration to overcome hardship, said Jones. Moving from Phoenix – where climate was Walls’ friend – to Nevada and eventually to the hills of West Virginia, the author wrote about how her father’s delusions of grandeur and alcohol addiction and her mother’s seeming indifference left the children to fend for themselves.

Winthrop has used its Common Book to emphasize global awareness through the Global Learning Initiative started in 2011. As the fourth and now fifth intentionally selected global Common Book, "The Glass Castle" differs from Winthrop’s other selections in that it is not set in a foreign country. It does, however, adhere closely to the university’s adopted definition of “global”: “local, regional, national, and/or international experiences that may differ from one’s own culture.”

New students will receive the Common Book selection at Orientation sessions in June. The Common Book Project, in place at Winthrop since 2004, works to integrate Winthrop students into the university environment and offers them a common intellectual experience that upholds Winthrop’s strong academic values.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or e-mail her at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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