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New Student Orientation

Penn State Reads is a new collaborative initiative for first-year Penn State students.This common reading program is designed to provide a shared experience among new students, encourage intellectual engagement within and beyond the classroom, stimulate critical thinking, and foster a deeper connection to Penn State’s mission and core values.

You will receive a copy of the book while you are campus for New Student Orientation, and then asked to read the book before you return to campus for classes in August. Throughout the year, you will have an opportunity to attend featured lectures, participate in class conversations, attend programming in your Residence Halls, and engage with other first-year students in dialogue about the concepts introduced in the book.

“Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times” by Eyal Press has been selected as the common text for the 2013-14 Penn State Reads program. It was selected for its broad approach to ethics and ethical decision-making. Author and journalist Eyal Press was the 2012 Bernard L. Schwartz fellow at the New American Foundation and a past recipient of the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Press offered his own take on the themes in the book during a February 2012 interview with Publishers Weekly, saying, “It doesn’t take being perfect or heroic or brilliant to feel empathy or compassion, it’s a universal human capacity.”

If you have specific questions about Penn State Reads, future book suggestions, or programming ideas please contact us at vnc1@psu.edu.