Summer Reading group

Students and staff discuss Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the subject of the 2005 Summer Reading Program, during that year's Fall Festival.

Fall Festival Welcomes Class of 2010 to Illinois Wesleyan

August 8, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Illinois Wesleyan University will welcome the class of 2010 with its Fall Festival orientation activities beginning Tuesday, Aug. 22, and continuing through Sunday, Aug. 27, involving academic, residential and social acclimation to campus.

The schedule includes various placement exams and class registration, shared mural painting projects and late-night social events, First-Year Convocation, and small discussion groups devoted to the subject of this year's Summer Reading Program, Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America."

Now in its second year, the Summer Reading Program is an opportunity for students in the incoming class to participate in a shared intellectual conversation with the IWU community, said Carolyn Nadeau, coordinator of the First Year Advising Committee.  Faculty and staff volunteers read the same book that all entering students are asked to read, and will meet for small-group discussions about the book on Thursday evening, Aug. 24.

"It offers the entering class an example of what to expect in four years on campus in terms of critical thinking, effective communication, and the spirit of inquiry found both in and out of the classroom," said Nadeau.

"Nickel and Dimed", a New York Times bestseller, is Ehrenriech's account of joining the millions of Americans who work for poverty-level wages. Those participating in the summer reading program are encouraged to consider their personal responses to the book - whether anger, frustration, or compassion - and join in a dialogue about the trials of America's working poor.  Events tied to the book will be scheduled throughout the school year, highlighted by Ehrenreich's visiting campus to address the President's Convocation on Wednesday, Sept. 6.

The First-Year Convocation, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 4:15 p.m. in the Westbrook Auditorium of Presser Hall, 1210 Park St., in Bloomington, will feature an address by James Sikora, professor of sociology and winner of the 2007 Pantagraph Award for Teaching Excellence at the University.

A new element of the orientation process this year is a team of Titan Orientation Leaders - upperclass students who will serve as mentors to small groups of new students during their first few weeks on campus.

"The (first-year) students will have an upperclass student they can turn to and ask questions of, and hopefully bridge a connection" between the new students and an older peer, said Danielle Kuglin, director of fraternity and sorority life and coordinator of orientation services.

Kuglin said the intent of Fall Festival is to help provide a smooth transition for first-year and transfer students into the Illinois Wesleyan community, "to build that sense of community, helping students become aware of campus resources and set the tone for their academic career on campus."

The festival's transition to life away from home "can be a really exciting time to interact with students, faculty and staff, but it can also be a scary and overwhelming time," said Kuglin. "We recognize that and work to normalize any of those fears or hesitations they may have about getting accustomed to college life."

Contact: Ann Aubry, (309) 556-3181