We are excited to introduce you to Pacific Lutheran University’s ninth annual Common Reading Program. This is a unique opportunity for you to read, reflect and connect as part of your first “official” academic experience with other PLU students and faculty.

During New Student Orientation, incoming students will meet with a faculty member, a New Student Orientation Guide, and their peers to discuss the Common Reading book and learn strategies for academic success at PLU. The 2017 Common Reading book is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

On Sept. 4, there will be a series of small group discussions, followed by a faculty panel as part of New Student Orientation. At this event you’ll discuss the book with a faculty member, a Student Orientation guide and your peers. You will then hear from a panel of faculty members who will discuss the book through their disciplinary lens.

To help you prepare for this the transition from high school to college and your introduction to college-level discussions at the Common Reading Program, PLU faculty members have identified four important college-level academic behaviors:


Start reading the book early; don’t put it off until the last minute. Arrive prepared to discuss the book and ask questions.


The Common Reading Program is an excellent introduction to the liberal arts education you will experience at PLU: You are asked to read, reflect, analyze and discuss. In doing so, you will be challenged to consider issues from different perspectives and to respect the diverse opinions and ideas of your peers.


Take notes as you read the book. Highlight or underline passages that catch your attention, are confusing or relate to a Reading Companion question. Bring your book, Reading & Discussion Guide, a notebook and a pen or pencil to New Student Orientation.


This will be your first academic interaction with a member of the PLU faculty and your classmates; make a positive first impression by arriving ready to discuss the book. Introduce yourself to others and help create a welcoming environment for all members of your discussion group.

We look forward to meeting you at New Student Orientation!

Tyler Travillian & Laree Winer
Common Reading co-directors