Members of the Class of 2026 should read Renewal: Susquehanna University Common Reading Anthology 2022-2023 and complete the Summer Assignment before arriving on campus (see instructions below). Here is a glimpse of some of what you will find in the anthology:

  • A transcript of the Sidedoor’s “A Right to the City” Smithsonian podcast, which criticizes the gentrification of the neighborhood of Anacostia in Washington, D.C., and praises the value and power of a unified community.
  • A poem by Ada Limón, who writes instructions on not giving up – a return to the strange idea of continuous living despite the mess of us, the hurt, the empty.
  • An excerpt from S.J. Sindu’s novel, Blue-Skinned Gods, about a young boy believed to be the tenth human incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.
  • An essay exploring the environmental impacts of fast-fashion, as popularized by brands like Zara and SHEIN, pre- and post-COVID, written by Rachel Monroe and published in The Atlantic.
  • An excerpt from William Burton and Barry Loveland’s memoir, Out in Central Pennsylvania: The History of an LGBTQ Community. The excerpt explores the ways in which the Stonewall riots shaped the LGBTQ movement in central Pennsylvania.

The Renewal anthology will be mailed home to new students over the summer. International students will receive a copy when they arrive on campus.

Important links

Common Reading Lecture

Dr. Allison Carr
Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Weber Chapel Auditorium

Allison Carr, associate professor of rhetoric and director of writing across the curriculum at Coe College (IA), teaches courses in rhetoric, theory, composition and creative nonfiction writing. As a researcher, she is interested in the emotional/affective dimensions of teaching & learning writing – especially the role failure plays in this work. Her writing on this subject has appeared most recently in the introduction to her collection with Laura Micciche, Failure Pedagogies: Learning and Unlearning What It Means to Fail (2020). She enjoys outdoor activities of all kinds but especially catching her toddler at the bottom of the slide.

This event is required for first year students.

Dr. Allison Carr

Instructions for First-Year Students

The Common Reading Summer Assignment is meant to help you connect with your Perspectives professor, your peers and the campus at large. You’ll turn it in to your Perspectives (or Global Business Perspectives, Honors Thought, or your Living Learning Community) Instructor at the beginning of the term. All students are also invited to submit their works to the Common Reading Program Summer Assignment Contest. Three works will be selected to be published in next year’s anthology and the contest winners will receive a prize package!


In a short personal narrative, explore the idea of renewal and how it has fit into your life. Reflect on one or more of the works within your anthology and consider how you’ve experienced renewal. You can use the following questions as a guide but feel free to explore other important ideas and experiences.

  • What kinds of renewal have you experienced?
  • How have you had to “renew” yourself? How were you changed as a result?
  • What have you learned about yourself, others, or your environment because of renewal processes?
  • What kinds of renewal seem most important? What kinds could you do without?

As you write, draw connections between your experiences and texts in the anthology and share how your experience with renewal, the good and the bad, is reflected, or not, in the collection.

As you complete this assignment, tap into your creative side! Your assignment can strive for accuracy or lean toward fiction and exaggeration. It can focus on text or could even become a photo essay. There’s one catch, you need to be able to turn your assignment in to your instructor, so be sure to save your document as a .docx, .doc, or .pdf.

For examples of how others have completed the summer assignment and instructions on how to enter the Summer Assignment Contest, visit the Reading and Teaching Guide, or follow us on Instagram @sucommonreading.


The tradition of selecting a year-long university theme began at Susquehanna University in 2003 with the purpose of creating opportunities for diverse members of the community to develop dialogue around a central idea or question. Past themes have included key words such as “resilience,” “conflict,” “technology,” “memory” and “water,” and have brought these ideas and more to the center of conversation and exploration at the university.

Faculty, staff, and students involved in the Common Reading Program create a new book each year that centers on the university theme that has been selected. Stories, poems, essays, reports, scholarly articles, and other texts appear alongside introductions written by members of the SU community. The anthology is used in a variety of ways during students’ first semester on campus, including during Welcome Week and in classrooms. Events, such as the annual Common Reading Lecture, bring authors of the texts to campus, and an online Reading and Teaching Guide offers additional means of interacting with the materials.

We hope the Common Reading Program will engage you in lively conversations and challenge you to think critically. It is an introduction to life in a community of learners, where we all participate in discussion and reflection on texts and ideas. We invite you to explore the various theme-based events and activities that occur throughout the academic year.


To embark on a path already treaded, to look back on experiences with a fresh pair of eyes, to reexamine life in an exciting new way. Renewal is a process that many of us will undergo in our lifetimes and whether it be by choice or not, we must learn how to begin again.

Every time we start a new school year, a new job or move to a new location, we begin again. We renew ourselves and the people and things around us in new, unfamiliar beginnings. We reinvent, restore and revitalize. Sometimes we renew our identities so that we are more comfortable in our own skin and other times we change to fully mature as human beings. Each year we renew but what matters is how we change and grow over the course of each renewal.

This year’s theme of Renewal was nominated by Stephanie Thompson, Class of 2021.