How to Read the Common Text

Welcome to St. Edward's! One of the most important things we hope to do as a university is create a love of learning in our students, and the first part of that happens with the Freshman Studies common text, a book we ask you all to read over the summer. Our committee of faculty, staff, and students has chosen Where Am I Eating? by Kelsey Timmerman as this year’s common text. Timmerman is a journalist who decided to trace where his food came from, beginning when he traveled to Colombia to see where his Starbucks coffee was grown and who picked it. The book raises questions about a variety of topics including farm workers' rights, sustainability, corporate responsibility, and globalization.

As you read the common text this summer, don't read as if it is a textbook. There's no need to memorize any facts. Instead, think about the issues Where Am I Eating? raises. Make notes in the margins, mark passages that stand out to you, and write down questions you have. That way you will be well prepared to write about the book in your writing class and to participate in discussions. You will also have opportunities outside of classes to think about the book and the common theme by attending screenings of documentaries, lectures by experts, and field trips. The author, Kelsey Timmerman, will give a talk on campus on October 3, 2016.

Email me (alexb [at] with any questions about the common text or Freshman Studies. And again, welcome to St. Edward's.  

Alex Barron
Associate Professor University Studies
Director, Freshman Studies Program