BOONE, N.C. — For its 25th anniversary, the Common Reading Program at Appalachian State University has named “Junaluska: Oral Histories of a Black Appalachian Community” as its 2022–23 book selection for the incoming class of first-year and transfer students.
Each academic year, the program’s committee selects a book intended to promote and guide intellectual, interdisciplinary interactions and discussions between all incoming students, who receive a copy of the book during their orientation sessions.
According to McFarland, the book’s publisher, the Junaluska community in Boone is one of the oldest African American communities in Western North Carolina.
Dr. Don Presnell, director of App State’s Common Reading Program, said “Junaluska” — published in 2020 as part of McFarland’s Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies series — is “truly a book that can bring together students and community members.”
“The book is not only a history of a ‘village within a village’ but also a vibrant example of participatory research. It is a record of and testament to family and faith, heritage and community, and persistence and resilience,” he added.
As with last year’s selection — Nora Krug’s “Belonging” — the stories and themes of “Junaluska” will be especially meaningful for first-year students, whose transition to college will begin a new chapter in their own personal and educational experiences, Presnell said.
The Common Reading Program selection is a required component of App State’s First Year Seminar courses. Presnell said the program — part of App State’s University College — encourages and collaborates with departments and faculty across the university “to integrate the book into their curricula and disciplines so that all App State students can participate in and share a common reading and intellectual experience.”
A variety of activities, speakers and events related to “Junaluska” will be part of the yearlong Common Reading experience, beginning in mid-September. Details will be made available as events are finalized.
Visit the Common Reading Program website for updates and to learn more about the program.
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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 University College
Formed in 2007, University College consists of the university’s general education program, faculty and student support, and co-curricular programming and support – all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside the classroom. All students at Appalachian begin their education in University College and benefit from its programs until they graduate. Learn more at https://universitycollege.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The 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 to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.