BOONE, N.C. — The Common Reading Program at Appalachian State University announces its 2018-19 book selection — “The Laramie Project,” by Moisés Kaufman and members of Tectonic Theater Project.
“The Laramie Project” is a play about the community of Laramie, Wyoming, in the aftermath of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, who was a gay student at the University of Wyoming. The murder, which was denounced as a hate crime, sparked a national debate.
“‘The Laramie Project’ represents a creative and illuminating response to an act of inhumane violence. The various perspectives about exclusion, violence, and community membership offered by ‘The Laramie Project’ are quite relevant for our incoming first-year students, whom we hope will engage in discussions about the issues that shape our community,” said Dr. Martha McCaughey, director of Appalachian’s Common Reading Program.
Jason Marsden, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, stated, “Over the last two decades, Judy Shepard has delivered her message of inclusion and compassion to more than 800 colleges, workforces and community organizations. I can easily say that Appalachian’s 2018 programs are amongst the rare few that include such a comprehensive, and impressive set of events around the common theme of erasing hate.”
Additionally, Appalachian will welcome Moisés Kaufman — playwright, director and founder of the Tectonic Theater Project — to campus on Monday, Sept. 17. He will read from his work and sign copies of the play in the Parkway Ballroom (Room 420) of Appalachian’s Plemmons Student Union at 2 p.m. and will give a public address at the university’s Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts at 7 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.
Throughout the academic year, students will remain engaged with the play’s themes through Welcome Weekend discussions, their first year seminar classes and at various events held on campus. Appalachian’s Department of Theatre and Dance will be producing “The Laramie Project,” directed by Teresa Lee, professor of theatre. The play runs Oct. 2-9 in Appalachian’s Valborg Theatre.
“The Laramie Project” is for sale at the University Bookstore, and each first-year student will receive a special edition of the book during their summer orientation visit. In providing first-year students with a common book, the Common Reading Program supports a culture of intellectual engagement, both inside and outside the classroom, and helps students develop an appreciation of the authorial and creative process.
University faculty members who wish to lead a 75-minute discussion about the play, as well as what to expect in college classes with new students during Welcome Weekend on Saturday, Aug. 18, should contact Clinton Marsh, assistant director of orientation, at email@example.com or McCaughey at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 1.
About the Common Reading Program at Appalachian
Since 1997, incoming first-year students at Appalachian State University have been asked to read a book as part of their orientation to the university. By participating in the Common Reading Program, students establish a common experience with other new students that will help develop a sense of community with their new environment and introduce them to a part of the academic life they are beginning at Appalachian. This program is an exciting facet in Appalachian's orientation of new students to life on campus. Learn more at https://commonreading.appstate.edu/about.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.