Published June 28, 2004; Category: STUDENTS
While members of the Class of 2008 come from every corner of the world, by the time they arrive at Dartmouth in September, they will have at least one thing in common: they will all have been assigned to read Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, written by Terry Tempest Williams.
Refuge deals with the rising levels of the Great Salt Lake during floods in the 1980s and the resulting diminution of water-bird habitats. The author's struggle with the breast cancer that afflicts her mother and other women in her family is connected to her observation of the lake's water levels and the bird refuge's decline.Folt, who is also an aquatic ecologist, will deliver a lecture on the book during orientation.
The reading functions "to give first-year students a common intellectual experience and showcase an academic event during orientation," said Gail Zimmerman, Dean of First-Year Students. The office also wants to introduce students to a faculty member, as well as demonstrate how to approach a text from an academic point of view, to give students "a first taste of college learning."
Incoming first-year students are also encouraged to see the film The Day After Tomorrow, in keeping with the aquatic theme. Other events include a book-discussion dinner during orientation, a contest for essays written about Refuge, and submissions of any thoughts on water to Folt.
Refuge is "a beautiful book," Zimmerman said. "I think it will have the opportunity to connect students in many different ways; from a relational, environmental, and spiritual perspective ... it has a lot of different layers, and I'm excited about it."
By SHIORI OKAZAKI '04
Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.
Last Updated: 12/17/08