Students Tom Ringwood, Sarah Tsang, and Shannon William pick up copies of the Reading Project's "Field Notes from a Catastrophe" from Officer in Charge Susan Herbst.(Photo by Mark Schmidt)
ALBANY, N.Y. (December 14, 2006) -- University at Albany Officer in Charge and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Herbst has launched the second annual University at Albany Reading Project, a program to engage the entire University community in reading a common text. The undertaking is designed to bring all students, faculty, and staff together for reflection, analysis, and debate, reinforcing the University's shared enterprise as an intellectual community.
The 2006-2007 Campus Book is Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change (2006).
"Field Notes seeks to deepen our collective understanding of the environment, from political, cultural, economic and scientific perspectives," Herbst said. "Reading this book will enable us to ponder and discuss one of the most important issues of our time: how we together share responsibility for the future of this planet."
Field Notes has earned regular comparisons to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, the book that launched the contemporary environmental movement. The Los Angeles Times said, "Field Notes From a Catastrophe is a small miracle of concision, gaining by its brevity and its plan of attack a rhetorical power that elucidates, rises to meet and deftly answers the historic crisis in which we find ourselves."
Some 2,500 copies of Field Notes are being distributed on campus. The University has created a Web site and will organize discussion groups, film viewings, and related activities in preparation for a March 29, 2007 campus visit by Kolbert.
Kolbert has won a George Polk Award and Walter T. Brown Award for excellence in journalism, and is the former Albany Bureau Chief of the New York Times. She is a staff writer for The New Yorker, and her other books include The Prophet of Love: And Other Tales of Power and Deceit (2004), a collection of profiles of New York political figures including Boss Tweed, Sheldon Silver, Charles Rangel, George Pataki, Hillary Clinton, Al Sharpton, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.
The Project is being assisted by the UAlbany-based New York State Writers Institute. For additional information visit the Reading Project Web site.