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 the nonfiction book “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson as its common read for 2015-2016. This All Bonaventure Reads selection explores the inequity embedded in the U.S. criminal justice system.
“Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” was released in October and focuses mainly on the work of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala., a legal practice Stevenson founded as a young lawyer that is dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need.
One of Stevenson’s first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. It transformed the lawyer’s understanding of mercy and justice forever and illustrates numerous ongoing challenges in work advocating for social justice.
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