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Outcasts United Chosen as Common Reading at Butler University

Outcasts United TRFor the second year in a row, Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, has selected Warren St. John’s Outcasts United for their Common Reading Program.  Butler follows nearly 50 schools who have adopted Outcasts for Common Reading, including Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Ohio State University.  The book will be a primary focus for Butler’s Academic Day on August 20th, and will drive in-depth conversation among first-years, all of whom will receive copies.

Click here to view videos of author Warren St. John.

Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to learn about Butler University’s Common Reading Program.


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View New Playlists on the Common Reads YouTube Page


Author videos from previous First-Year Experience® Conferences (2009-2012), featuring prominent authors such as Tracy Kidder (MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS), Warren St. John (OUTCASTS UNITED) and Blake Mycoskie (START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS), are now accessible via the Common Reads YouTube page.  Just check the Playlists tab.

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Click here to view the Common Reads twitter handle.

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Inspiring Community Involvement with Outcasts United

Warren St. John displays a copy of Outcasts United marked up by an engaged UNF freshman

For the past two years, the University of North Florida has used Outcasts United as their freshmen Common Reading title.  While many professors have integrated Outcasts United into their curriculum – leadership classes, for example, discuss the book from a leadership standpoint –  UNF’s Common Reading program, lead by Professor Leslie Kaplan, has used the book as a catalyst to establish meaningful relationships with several local refugee resettlement agencies.  Over 1,000 UNF students currently help refugees establish better lives in the U.S.

Through resettlement organizations such as World Relief, Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities, UNF students currently assist in English classes, mentor families, set up apartments and collect food.  UNF’s most extensive program is through the Honors Program’s Freshman Colloquium class.  Sixty honors freshmen act as mentors to families, meet weekly with children to help with homework, study english, and adjust to American traditions.  Furthermore, all children in the program are invited to UNF for trick-or-treating during Halloween, and for turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.  A final assignment involves students creating a documentary film of the project.  Stay tuned for other ways Outcasts United inspires  social responsibility…

To view the University of Northern Common Reads page please visit: http://www.unf.edu/unfreads/Fall_2012_Selection.aspx

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UTC Unviels Outcasts United as FYE 2012 Selection!

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has officially announced Outcasts United by Warren St. John as their title selection for the university’s 2012 Freshmen Year Reading Experience. After receiving more than 50 entries in favor of choosing Outcasts United, this book will now be read throughout the entire UTC campus and among all incoming Freshmen students.

“I love this book!   I’m really enthusiastic about it and I hope you will be, too,” said Dr. Sara Jorgensen, Assistant Professor, African and World History, serves as chair of the FYRE committee.  “This is not a feel-good book, but it is an inspiring book. It will make people think about a lot of important issues.”

To read the university’s full announcement of this selection, click here. Also be sure to check out UTC’s unveiling video posted here!

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Baker University Unveils Outcasts United as Common Reading Selection

The search for Baker University’s common book has ended! Last Thursday the university announced that  Warren St. John’s Outcasts United was selected as Baker’s common book.

The Baker Orange editorial board writes in their recent announcement that the search for the common book was a decision made by the Office of Student Affairs to find a text for all incoming freshmen to read next fall. The book will have a “community-building” aspect in some way.

In addition to reading the text, student affairs also wants to bring a speaker in who has some relation to the book.

“I am excited, but I think that campus is too, on how we will unify by having one book that the whole freshman class will read and how the negotiations we are having on bringing someone to campus will bring the book more to life,” Dean of Students Cassy Bailey said.

To read the full article on how this text was selected, please visit thebakerorange.com

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University of Florida Unveils Outcasts United as Common Reading Book

Earlier in October, Outcasts United by Warren St. John was unveiled as the Common Reading Program book selection for the 2011-12 year.

Becky Burleigh, head coach of the University of Florida’s women’s soccer team, spoke at the event on why she loves Outcasts United. Watch this video to hear why Burleigh feels this title will not only bring the UF campus community together but will also be a great common reading selection for students of all backgrounds.


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Georgia State University to kick off First-Year Book Program with Outcasts United

For its inagural First-Year Book Program, Georgia State University has selected what is quickly becoming a state favorite: Outcasts United by Warren St. John. Incoming first-year students will have the opportunity to read the book this summer and it will be integrated into the GSU 1010 New Student Orientation and Engl 1101 English Composition I courses this fall.

In a press release the university said:

“A First-Year Book Program is a proven way to generate intellectual interest and engagement among students,” said Allison Calhoun-Brown, GSU’s academic director of student retention. “Outcasts United” is a very interesting and thought provoking book. This program offers freshmen students an opportunity to engage it collectively and from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives.  Reading and discussing it together as a class will help familiarize them with the kind of intellectual excitement that flows from the academic enterprise.”

The selected novel tells the story of how Clarkston, Ga., transformed from a predominately white town into one of the most diverse communities in the country, after it was designated a resettlement center for refugees around the world in the early ’90s. The story, which is told through the lens of a soccer team of refugee boys called the “Fugees,” provides readers with lessons about how to create community in places where everyone is different.

Read more about the book’s selection and the First-Year Book program at Georgia State here.

Outcasts United has also been selected by Georgia Tech University ,  Agnes Scott College (Decatur, GA) and several other universities. Find a full list here.


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Is Outcasts United your next common read? Check out the new lesson plan!

Is your common reading program considering Outcasts United by Warren St. John? Have you already adopted the book?

Whatever the circumstance, be sure you check out the new Outcasts United college lesson plan. Prepared by an instructor at Georgia Tech University for the school’s use of the book as a common read, the guide is replete with unit ideas based on major themes in the book, chapter breakdowns, project outlines and in-class group work ideas.

Download the lesson plan here and be sure to check out the rest of the Outcasts United website. It also features Author Q&A, book reviews and other resources.


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Another for Outcasts United!

The Fugees

Kennesaw State University has selected Warren St. John’s Outcasts United for its common read.

The university joins a rapidly growing list of universities and communities that have chosen the inspirational and diverse story of a refugee soccer team living in Clarkston, Georgia.

Read a letter from Agnes Scott College about why they chose Outcasts United!

Check out author, Warren St. John’s, new video about why the book is great for students!

See Warren St. John speak at the Random House, Inc. Sixth-Annual First Year Experience Author Luncheon!


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Agnes Scott College announces Outcasts United. Read their letter!

Dear Campus Community:

I am pleased to announce that the Common Reading for Fall 2010 will be Warren St. John’s 2009 book Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Differnce (NY: Spiegel & Grau).  

This book gives us a chance to engage the wider world by considering the experiences of refugees from across many cultures, and how a youth soccer team, founded by a woman named Luma Mufleh, changed a community in unforeseeable ways.  At the same time, this book brings the wide world to our door, since the American town where all this took place is five miles away in Clarkston, GA.

ASC connects further to this story because of Prof. Toby Emert’s work with the Fugees Academic Boot Camp last summer. As it states on the Fugees Family website ( http://www.fugeesfamily.org/programs.html):

“Last summer, we held a four-week day camp for the players to improve their academic ability, keep them connected to each other and the staff, and maintain their physical conditioning. The morning activities focused on reading and writing, and the afternoon sessions included art, science, math, and educational and recreational field trips. This summer, we will extend this program to six weeks and serve 60 Fugees, in partnership with Agnes Scott College.”

Last year’s Boot Camp ended with a “fair” organized by Dr. Emert where the Fugees showed and described their summer’s work.

For more information, see the book’s website: http://www.outcastsunited.com/.  Please look for information in the future about campus activities related to this book for 2010-11, including potential partnerships with the Georgia Tech community.

On behalf of the Common Reading committee,
Tracey Laird


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