Writing Program

Common Reading Experience, 2012-2013

The Common Reading Experience invites Fort Lewis students, faculty, staff and community members to share a common intellectual experience by reading one book.

First-year students are given the book at orientation. Classes that incorporate the Common Reading Experience book explore themes from the text, while numerous co-curricular events are scheduled throughout the fall. Discussion groups, lectures, films and other activities tied to the book's themes help foster a community of readers.

For more information, click here for Reed Library's CRE website.

The 2012-2013 Common Reading Experience selection is The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL by Eric Greitens.

The Heart and Fist Common Reading Experience

The Heart and the Fist shares one man's story of extraordinary leadership and service as both a humanitarian and a warrior. In a life lived at the raw edges of the human experience, Greitens has seen what can be accomplished when compassion and courage come together in meaningful service.

As a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL, Greitens worked alongside volunteers who taught art to street children in Bolivia and led US Marines who hunted terrorists in Iraq. He’s learned from nuns who fed the destitute in one of Mother Teresa’s homes for the dying in India, from aid workers who healed orphaned children in Rwanda, and from Navy SEALs who fought in Afghanistan. He excelled at the hardest military training in the world, and today he works with severely wounded and disabled veterans who are rebuilding their lives as community leaders at home.

Greitens offers each of us a new way of thinking about living a meaningful life. We learn that to win any war, even those we wage against ourselves; to create and obtain lasting peace; to save a life; and even, simply to live with purpose requires us—every one of us—to be both good and strong. (excerpt from Amazon's review of The Heart and the Fist)

Previous CRE selections include:

  • Outcasts United (2011-2012)
  • Enrique's Journey (2010-2011)
  • The Beast in the Garden (2009-2010)
  • Three Cups of Tea (2008-2009)
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains (2007-2008)
  • Folding Paper Cranes (2006-2007)

Feel free to modify the following syllabus language explaining the Common Reading Experience to students for use in your own classes:

Acknowledgement of Common Reading Experience Participation

This semester we will be participating in Fort Lewis College’s annual Common Reading Experience (CRE).  The CRE revolves around a book chosen by the college’s Reading Board and given to each freshman. We will read the book in class and we will participate in several activities related to the ideas in the book.  We will also read texts that are connected to the idea in the book. As we discuss and write about the ideas in the text and in our activities, you will begin to see connections between our class and your other courses and between your academic and your public lives. I believe this shared experience will enrich your liberal arts education by creating opportunities to explore and become involved in ideas relevant to contemporary society.