Published: Aug. 17, 2022

The University is giving away thousands of copies of this year’s Buffs One Read book selection to incoming first-year students. 

It’s part of Buffs One Read, the annual campus reading program which aims to build community around the experience of reading one book. Each year, a diverse committee of faculty, staff and students come together to pick a title for campus to champion for the entire academic year. 

This year’s selection is Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer, a 2013 nonfiction book that explores Indigenous knowledge as a complementary or alternative approach to Western methodologies for addressing climate-related concerns. 

First-year students can pick up their copy at Norlin Library or any of the Buff Stop kiosks located across campus Monday, August 22 and Tuesday, August 23 or anytime after at the University Bookstore. Other members of the campus community may borrow Braiding Sweetgrass in print, ebook or audiobook form from the library or purchase a copy from the bookstore.

“Braiding Sweetgrass is a beautiful collection of stories in which the author weaves together scientific knowledge, Indigenous knowledge and personal memoir,” Senior Associate Dean of Libraries Leslie Reynolds said. “The author urges readers to consider the possibility of reciprocal relationships with nature as we confront and help solve the dire and urgent climate challenge.” 

Once you have your copy, we invite you to our monthly book clubs to discuss a chapter of the book and its themes. Our first book club meetup is Wednesday, September 14 from 12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. in Norlin Library. Register now or come as you are

“When incoming first-year students read a common text, they gain a common language and set of experiences that can connect them to one another in new and unexpected ways,” Kathy Schultz, dean of the School of Education said. “Further, their instructors have the opportunity to weave the ideas and themes from the books into their courses, moving us toward a more unified campus.”

There are also prompts and reflection activities for anyone interested in facilitating their own book club discussion of this year’s Buffs One Read book. All campus community members are invited to join the University Libraries’ Canvas Community Course, where you’ll find chapter summaries, discussion prompts, and activities related to the text. Educators are invited to use the content for course integrations as well. 

“Through community conversation and campus engagement, we hope to unleash our capacities for hope, innovation and positive impact in all segments of our university and our community by building a coalition to help solve this monumental challenge,” said Cynthia Keller, teaching associate professor and learning coordinator with the University Libraries.  

We hope these community discussions will inspire students to enter the Buffs One Read Storytelling Contest. Students may win $500 for sharing a visual, written or multi-modal work that responds to or celebrates the themes of Braiding Sweetgrass. More details about the contest can be found on the libraries’ website.

“College is a time for students to explore new ideas,” said Devin Cramer, acting Dean of Students. “We want students to have opportunities to develop and grow those ideas, give space for the opinions of others and empower the Buff community to have thoughtful dialogues about society and each other’s world views. Our students can really make a difference by learning to articulate their opinions in a meaningful way, and the Buffs One Read program is a great way to jump start those collaborative conversations. The program immediately gets our students engaging in the behaviors that will define their college experience–things like developing new skills, exploring differing opinions and hopefully, making some lifelong friendships along the way.”

Get the book and join the discussion now!