Virginia Tech's Office of First Year Experiences is coordinating a series of events this month to celebrate the university’s Common Book.

“The Common Book Project seeks to give all students, regardless of their academic discipline, the same piece of writing to learn from and discuss,” said Mary Ann Lewis, assistant provost for first-year experiences. “The activities we’ve planned this year aim to open up the discussion in new forums and provide ways for students, faculty, and community members to engage in the principles and themes within the Common Book.”

Conor Grennan’s “Little Princes,” an account of the author’s trip to an orphanage in a war-torn Nepal and his efforts to reunite the children with their parents, has been the university’s Common Book since fall 2013. Virginia Tech has featured eight different books for its Common Book Project since the project launched full-scale in 2000 as a way to enrich the first-year experience and create a sense of community among undergraduate students.

Several events are scheduled throughout the month of November:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 4: A student activities information session on service and study abroad opportunities available on campus and in the community will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. in Multipurpose Room on the first floor of Newman Library. This event is presented in partnership with VT Engage’s Week of Engagement.
  • Monday, Nov. 10: Shannon Mann of Stafford, Virginia, a junior majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science, will share her experiences from a service trip to a Nepali orphanage and monastery at 7 p.m. in 2150 Torgersen Hall.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 12: A screening of the documentary, “A Gift for the Village,” will take place at 6 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre. Local artist Jane Vance, instructor of religion and culture, will screen her documentary that chronicles the presentation of one of Vance’s paintings to a remote village in Nepal.
  • Thursday, Nov. 13: Conor Grennan, the author of the current Common Book “Little Princes,” will visit campus and give a public presentation beginning at 7 p.m. followed by a question and answer session and book signing in Burruss Hall Auditorium.

All of the events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Common Book Project website.

The Common Book is distributed for free to all first-year and transfer students. Faculty members who teach those students are encouraged to integrate the Common Book into their curriculum through class discussions and projects.

The Common Book Project committee – made up of students, faculty, and staff – selects the featured book each year. The committee chose “Little Princes,” after collecting public suggestions. The committee is currently reviewing public suggestions for a new Common Book for the 2015-16 academic year. The Office of First Year Experiences expects to announce the selection at the start of the spring semester.

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