HOUGHTON - Even before their studies begin on campus, students at Michigan Technological University start their first year with an assignment under the belt, and this year, the public is involved.
Every year, incoming freshmen are assigned a book to read for the summer as part of the Reading as Inquiry program at Michigan Tech. The idea is to prep incoming first-year students for college-level discussion and analysis. This year, the students were tasked with reading "Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal" by Conor Grennan. The assignment is accompanied by a visit from the author who will speak about the experiences writing the book.
However this year, a special presentation will be held for the general public at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at Michigan Tech.
"The last couple of years, we've had a fair amount of community interest, but we haven't been able to open it up as much because the Rozsa can only seat so many people," said Bob Johnson, professor in the humanities department at Michigan Tech.
The author agreed to do two sessions, with one for the first-year students.
Grennan went to Nepal to help reclaim children who have been victims of human trafficking. After volunteering at an orphanage, he became familiar with human trafficking.
"His task was to find ways to reunite these children with their families," he said.
As a result, he started an effort to work against human trafficking.
Every year, a committee comprised of several faculty, graduate and undergraduate students choose a different book to be read. Sometimes, they take suggestions and usually the books go over well with the readers. Also considered is the cost of the book and the availability of bringing the author to campus.
"We're open to anything, but we choose books that would not only be of interest to young adults, but would also be of interest to the general public," Johnson said.
The first-year classes have even adapted the books specifically for their classes, for example, when last year's class called themselves the "The Glass Castle Class" after reading "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls.
"The students get into it," he said.
At the presentation, Johnson said the author may speak beyond the book and a book signing will be held after.
There will be a $5 admission fee for the general public and anyone who is interested is encouraged to come.