Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 60.06
Liaison Julie Hopwood
Submission Date Aug. 2, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Ball State University
Tier2-8: Themed Semester or Year

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.25 Dr. Melinda Messineo
Interim Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Professor of Sociology
Office of Inclusive Excellence
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution chosen a sustainability-related theme for its themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the past three years?:

A brief description of the themed semester, year, or first-year experience:

Freshman Connections is an integral part of Ball State's nationally-recognized programs for first-year students.

Through this program. acclaimed author and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert visited the Ball State campus (9/8/2008) to discuss her book as part of Ball State's Freshman Connections program. Her talk was free and open to the public.
Kolbert's book was read by the freshman class and then used as a basis for events in the university's nationally-recognized Freshmen Connections program. The program encourages students to read a common book to create a shared learning experience for freshmen and ease the transition into college.
"Field Notes from a Catastrophe" discusses climate change and its scientific, social and cultural implications.
"The university has a long history of being committed to sustainability issues," said Melinda Messineo, chair of Freshman Connection's book selection committee. The committee chose Kolbert's book for its ability to explain a complicated issue to a broad audience.
"We view the book to be the starting point for a year long conversation about personal responsibility and sustainable communities," Messineo said. "We hope the book will sensitize students to the topics of environmental degradation and help them think about how their actions impact the environment."
Kolbert developed the book from a three-piece series on climate change she wrote for the New Yorker. She describes the science in layman's terms and reports on those communities most dramatically affected by global warming.
The book received critical acclaim as one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year (2006) by The New York Times Book Review.

Freshman Connections has maintained its sustainability goals with related activities every year, not just the year we used the Kolbert book.

The sustainability-related book that was chosen, if applicable:
Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

The website URL where information about the theme is available:

Whether a current student, future student, parent, faculty or staff member, or visitor to our site, visitors to our web site can access information about the Freshman Common Reader and the Freshman Common Writing Experience, including answers for frequently asked questions.


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