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Common reading interest dwindling

By Staff Editorial     8/31/11 7:00pm

Rice hosted the author of its common reading book, "The Honor Code," this past Tuesday (see story, pg. 1). Unfortunately, many new students bypassed the opportunity to hear Kwame Anthony Appiah speak. Only a hundred students attended the talk; the poor attendance reflects the continued struggle of the common reading program at Rice to really captivate the enthusiasm of new students. 

A primary problem still lies in literature selection. The committee has an onerous task of selecting an intellectual book that can appeal to students of numerous backgrounds. However, considering dwindling excitement about the program, Rice should consider making a change to incorporate more of the student body into the decision-making process about the common reading book selection. Students should be permitted to enter submissions to a panel; this panel should be an expanded version of its current four student / two faculty format. The panel should sift through submissions and select a final list of four to six candidates for books. The final decision for book selection should then be attained by a student vote. The collective vote of the student body would be able to anticipate what sort of literature would most interest incoming students. This new potential system would ensure that common reading books are both intellectually stimulating and interesting to the Rice students of the future. 

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