Success Centre uses Facebook to put modern spin on book club
and an old-fashioned love of books to help bring students together in the weeks
leading up to the beginning of classes.
Nearly 500 incoming first-year students have signed up to participate in the Centre's
inaugural Summer Reading Program, which uses Facebook and the shared experience of
reading to connect students across all faculties.
Both books being read by program participants have a McMaster connection: In Bed
With the Word, a meditation on the spirituality of the reading experience, was written by
Daniel Coleman, a professor of English & Cultural Studies, and the political satire The
Best Laid Plans was written by engineering alumnus Terry Fallis. The novels also feature
plots that centre on the theme of transition - fitting for students who are just starting
their time at McMaster.
"We thought it was important to offer students a choice. The books appeal to different
interests," said Michelle Corbeil, first year transition co-ordinator at the Student Success
Centre. "We also wanted to start with something close to home."
Upon receiving a free copy of their book of choice, students are encouraged to discuss
their ideas with other students, program staff and on-campus leaders on the Student
Success Centre's Facebook discussion forum.
Over the last two weeks, reader responses have been insightful and reflective, with
many students drawing on personal experience as the basis for their comments. Issues
of environmental sustainability, stereotyping and Canadian politics have all been
This year's event is still open for registration. The
program will culminate on September 20 when both authors will be on campus to
discuss the experience with students.