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2019 Common Reading Assignment

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Dear Horned Frogs:

Welcome to TCU!  Over the next few years, you will discover many traditions that form an essential part of the TCU experience. The Common Reading Program—a shared learning experience for all incoming students—is one of those traditions. Through interactive group discussions led by world-class faculty and staff, the Common Reading offers your first glimpse into the TCU learning community. It also provides a point of unity amid the rich diversity of the incoming class. We hope this book will spark meaningful conversations and create bonds that will last throughout your time at TCU and beyond.

This year’s selection is Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give (2017). Thomas’ best-selling novel asks readers to explore race and police brutality through the eyes of Starr Carter. We follow Starr as she navigates the contrasting worlds of her predominantly black, low income neighborhood and her predominantly white, affluent prep school. Upon witnessing her friend’s death after being shot by a police officer, Starr finds her community—and herself—at the center of national and local crisis about racialized violence. While Starr is the only witness to what happened that night, her decision to speak or stay silent involves a complex set of choices that has the potential to divide her community and put her own life at risk.

This year’s Common Reading Program is part of TCU’s welcome week, Frogs First. We are excited to welcome Angie Thomas to TCU, who will address the Class of 2023 on Thursday, August 22 at 7:30pm in Schollmaier Arena. On Friday, August 23, incoming students will participate in Common Reading discussion groups with TCU faculty and staff. In preparation for the discussion groups, we ask that you write a brief essay reflecting on one of the prompts listed below. Your essay should be about 400–500 words long. You may turn this essay in through the Common Reading website (www.commonreading.tcu.edu) any time before August 5.

Essay Prompts:

  1. If you and Starr were friends starting your first year at TCU, how might your experiences on campus be similar? How might they be different? Be sure to approach this as a friend who is familiar with Starr’s experiences both at home in Garden Heights and at Williamson Prep.
  2. What does “THUG” life stand for and what does this phrase mean to Starr and her family?
  3. Starr spends each day navigating physical and metaphorical obstacles as she travels from home to school and back again. What obstacles did she help you see that you did not notice before? What strategies did she use that are important to consider when coming to TCU?

We are pleased to provide an opportunity for 20-25 students to attend a meet and greet with Angie Thomas immediately following her presentation. Students will be selected based on their engagement of the book and quality of their writing in their submitted essays. If you are interested in being considered for this opportunity, you must upload your essay no later than July 15 and indicate your interest on the submission form.

If you have any questions about the Common Reading Program, please feel free to email us at commonreading@tcu.edu. We look forward to welcoming you to campus in the fall!

Lavonne Adams
Associate Professor
Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Vanessa Roberts Bryan
Assistant Dean
Student Development Services

TCU Common Reading Committee Co-Chairs