By Emily Steves, '15
After reading the 2013 All Bonaventure Reads book “Full Body Burden,” each freshman University 101 class presented its own spin on the book at this year’s First-Year Experience Poster Conference.
The Kristen Iversen book is the memoir of a woman who grew up in a Colorado town near the infamous Rocky Flats, a former secret nuclear weapons plant once described as “the most contaminated site in America.”
The environmental aspect of the memoir didn’t deter students who aren’t necessarily engaged in environmental studies.
“The students adapted the book to their majors,” said Chris Brown, director of FYE. “They picked up on a wide variety of themes and diversified their topics –– it was fantastic.”
Each class had a table set up in the Robert R. Jones Trustees Room, with the capability to present their ideas through any medium.
With a mix of physical education and sport studies majors, Lance Hardy’s class did a documentary and PowerPoint presentation on wellbeing for those who come in contact with environmental issues.
Dr. Imhoff’s class of undeclared majors hit home by choosing to highlight the federal cleanup of the West Valley Demonstration Project site.
“In our backyard, we have the same problem,” said Imhoff of the site, located about halfway between Olean and Buffalo.
“I thought the book was interesting with how (Iversen’s) life kind of weaved through it with her alcoholic father and family ties,” said Noah Burton, a political science major in Imhoff’s class.
Journalism major Madeleine Faircloth disagreed. “The book was kind of choppy,” she said.
Classmate Gabriel LaMarca agreed.
“It would have been more interesting if she (Iversen) had split her personal life from the environmental aspect,” he said.
The University 101 class taught by Madeleine Gionet, a graduate student in the Integrated Marketing Communications program, won the friendly competition.
“We did a video kind of like the ABC News show ‘What Would You Do?’ but in Bonaventure-style,” said Gionet. “We created different scenarios to see how students would react and asked them questions about how they would handle different ethical situations.”
“It was actually a very close competition,” said Brown. “Three other sections tied for second place.”
But the competition didn’t take precedence for some students.
“(ABR) brings the whole class together,” said psychology major Gregory Winters.
St. Bonaventure has chosen “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond” by Marc Lamont Hill as its common read for 2017-2018.
“Nobody” considers a string of high-profile deaths in America and incidents of gross negligence by the government.
To make his case, Hill recounts the details of tragedies like the death of Michael Brown and draws upon first-hand reporting and careful historical analysis to show how the “Nobody” class has emerged over time and how forces in America have worked to preserve and exploit this group in ways that are both humiliating and harmful.
First-year students will receive copies of “Nobody” during orientation in July and are asked to read the book prior to the start of the fall semester. Students are engaged in conversations about the book’s themes in their SBU101 course and various campuswide events during the upcoming academic year.
The university will welcome Hill to campus Monday, Sept. 25, for the ABR 2017 Keynote Address.
More about Marc Lamont Hill:
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