Kickoff event set for reading program
Western Carolina University students, faculty and staff, plus residents of the local area, are invited to attend the kickoff event for a new community reading program at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in the multipurpose room of Blue Ridge Hall.
The gathering will be hosted by WCU’s Honors College. “At a meeting last year, when our honors students asked Chancellor David Belcher if he had any projects for the Honors College to work on he asked them to launch a reading program,” said Brian Railsback, dean of the college. “Our student board of directors took this on, and the effort is being led by a subcommittee of that group.”
Belcher will attend the kickoff event and deliver remarks, and it also will include a short story reading by Ron Rash, WCU’s Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture.
Details about the reading program are still being ironed out in the Honors College, but it likely will be promoted through a website and social media, Railsback said. “Over the next year, our students will develop and implement the program, reaching out to the campus and local community and developing the program name and marketing,” he said. “The idea is that Honors College students will launch the program, but that it will expand from there with involvement by other groups on campus and, hopefully, the area community libraries.”
Belcher, who participated in a book discussion group when he lived in Missouri, said he loves to read and is working on a book of fiction most of the time. “I don’t go through them as fast as I used to,” he laughed. “There are lots of books I’ve loved over the years, particularly works by William Faulkner and a book by John Irving called ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany.’”
Belcher said he wants the honors students to decide what volumes are on the recommended book list and he hopes the effort will result in book clubs involving members of the campus community and local residents.
For more information about the Sept. 20 event, contact Brian Railsback at 828-227-2101.