The One Book, One Campus program will be accepting suggestions for the 2013-2014 book until Thursday, Jan. 31.
The selection committee will announce the book on March 20 at the final One Book, One Campus discussion for the school year. The discussion will feature David “Sonny” Lacks, who is the son of Henrietta Lacks, the protagonist of the university’s 2012-2013 One Book, One Campus novel, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”
“The program provides an opportunity to talk with students, faculty and staff across disciplines,” said Bryn Taylor, co-coordinator for the One Book, One Campus program and director of spiritual formation at the University of Richmond. The program began in 2005 with the intent to make meaning out of the world we live in, Taylor said.
The One Book, One Campus selection committee is seeking suggestions of books dealing with social inequality, she said. Books in past years have dealt with racial, gender, class and sexuality inequalities.
Suggestions should be submitted via the “Suggest a Book” form on the university’s chaplaincy website. The selection committee will then research the suggestions and meet to review the books. The committee consists of faculty, staff and two students who all help coordinate discussions, publicize the program and plan ways to involve the UR and wider communities, Taylor said.
“We open it up and welcome suggestions from the community as to what they think are pressing issues at this time,” Taylor said.
The committee has so far received suggestions including “It Happened on the Way to War” by Rye Barcott and “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander.
The committee is seeking a quality book that would interest a broad spectrum of the community, said Molly Field, co-coordinator for the One Book, One Campus program. The committee hopes that the new book will engage the campus community as the 2012-2013 book did, Field said.
The book selected for 2012-2013 year is “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. It is a novel about a poor farm woman living in the South whose cells were taken without her approval or awareness.
This year the One Book, One Campus program hosted a discussion about consent in medical research with Kirk Jonas, the chair of the Institutional Review Board, said Aleah Goldin, a senior serving her first year on the selection committee. The discussion asked questions about changes in the ethics of medical research since Henrietta Lacks was alive and whether someone in her position would sign his or her rights away today.
Some of the key takeaway points from “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” include inequality in early medicine and questions of bioethics, Taylor said.
“It’s been interesting for people to consider informed consent in medical procedures and what kind of rights they have in terms of their own bodies and property,” Taylor said.
Contact reporter Megan Haggerty at firstname.lastname@example.org