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 University has selected “Educated: A Memoir” by Dr. Tara Westover as its All Bonaventure Reads (ABR) book for 2018-19.
“Educated” is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
The university will welcome Westover to campus Wednesday, Sept. 26, to deliver a keynote address to members of the Class of 2022. The talk will be open to the public and will be held at 7 p.m. in the Reilly Center Arena.
As part of the All Bonaventure Reads initiative, first-year students at St. Bonaventure will receive a copy of “Educated” during Orientation and be asked to read the book and write an essay reflecting on it as their first college assignment. Students will be engaged in conversations about the book’s themes in their first-year seminar course, SBU 101, and various campuswide events during the upcoming academic year.
As their first official college assignment, members of St. Bonaventure’s Class of 2022 have been asked to read this year’s All Bonaventure Reads selection and then write a reflection on it.
Winners of the Provost's Essay Contest will be invited to a dinner with author Tara Westover and have their work published.
[ Provost's Letter to New Students ]
"Tara Westover’s one-of-a-kind memoir is about the shaping of a mind…In briskly paced prose, she evokes a childhood that completely defined her. Yet it was also, she gradually sensed, deforming her."
"A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle."
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