FYE Event Focuses on Uncommon Journeys

Students participating in Meredith’s First Year Experience (FYE) program were the focus of a special event on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011. The program, with an “Uncommon Journey” theme, helped students reflect on lessons learned through “Enrique’s Journey,” the College’s 2011 Summer Reading Book.

Chaplain Stacy Pardue opened the event by offering a parallel between first-year students, who recently journeyed to Meredith to begin their college careers, and that of Enrique, whose journey to find his mother in the United States is chronicled in “Enrique’s Journey.”

“Enrique, the main character of our summer reading book, also took a journey,” Pardue said. “Certainly I am not suggesting that your journeys are the same, though Enrique, like you, made his in an effort to find a better life.”

Pardue also shared facts about life in villages such as Enrique’s home in Honduras. Among these was the fact that almost half of the world’s population, 2.8 billion people, live on less than two dollars a day.

At the conclusion of the event, which included a dramatic reading and a simulation activity illustrating challenges faced in the developing world, students were asked to reflect on the Summer Reading Experience.

Sustainability Coordinator Laura Fieselman, an FYE instructor, asked students to write on the back of symbolic two dollar bills. They wrote three adjectives to describe how they felt participating in the Summer Reading Program, by reading “Enrique’s Journey,” discussing the book with their FYE groups, attending a lecture by author Sonia Nazario, and by taking part in the Uncommon Journey program. Adjectives offered included “eye-opening” and “powerful.” Students were also asked to write actions they plan to take as a result of these experiences.

The two dollar bills were then used to make a display on the front steps of Jones Chapel.

“Enrique’s Journey” by Sonia Nazario has been chosen as a summer reading selection by 46 colleges and universities. The book began as a Pulitzer Prize-winning story for The Los Angeles Times. The article won more than a dozen awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, the George Polk Award for International Reporting, the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence.

Date Submitted: 2011-09-07

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