'This I Believe' engages campus
Dental students and faculty gathered in late August for an important discussion—not about new dental procedures or techniques, but rather about beliefs.
They centered their talk on the book “This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women,” a collection of essays by both famous and regular folks, who write of their beliefs and how they got there. Students throughout the university are reading it as part of the Book-in-Common program.
The discussion allowed the dental students to branch out and think about what led them to their decision to go to dental school and how they would relate to other people, including patients.
“It means a lot when you ask someone about their life or their situation rather than assuming you know what is going on in their life,” said student Katie Keel. “Everyone has a story. Everyone has their own beliefs. It's okay to hold your own, as long as you respect the values and beliefs of others.”
Student, faculty and staff feedback to this year’s Book-in-Common has been positive so far, said Christy Metzger, director of First Year Initiatives.
Many students discussed “This I Believe” with faculty and staff facilitators as part of Welcome Week.
“It was so interesting to hear back from the facilitators, how readily the students engaged with the ideas from the book,” Metzger said. “This book has sparked student interest for a number of reasons, and they’re eager to talk about it.”
The Office of First Year Initiatives is doing a number of activities to take the book beyond the classroom and into other campus activities.
- Co-curricular events will take place throughout the year to focus on the theme of “Belief in Action,” including highlighting individuals whose beliefs are central to their work. Featured speakers include the recent Take Back the Night keynote, the upcoming PRIDE Week keynote, the Anne Braden Memorial Lecture and others.
- There’s an online UofL specific portal through “This I Believe” that will house UofL student, employee and alumni-written essays. So far, about 90 essays have been submitted, including essays from Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives; John Sauk, dean of the School of Dentistry, and Beth Boehm, dean of the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. First-year students also can choose to enter their essay into a contest to win a $350 prize. Essays will be featured on UofL Today.
Metzger said she hopes there will be an on-campus reading opportunity in the spring that will allow people on campus to come together and share both their experiences with the book and their essays.
Here’s a rundown of some of this semester’s activities:
Let’s Talk Lunch: Anne Braden, noon – 1 p.m., Oct. 9, Cultural Center
Anne Braden’s belief in action made her a leader in fighting against racism. Come break down social justice issues related to the topic. See Anne Braden Institute for lecture details.
Campus Sustainability Day 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Oct. 23, Humanities Quad
We believe in sustainable living. Learn what campus and community groups are doing to create a sustainable revolution and how to get involved.
Let’s Talk Lunch: I Believe in a Violence-Free World, noon – 1 p.m., Oct. 23, Cultural Center
What do you believe a violence-free world could look like? Join PEACC in dialogue based on the BinC. FREE food!
“42: The True Story of an American Legend,” 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Oct. 24, Floyd Theater
Baseball wouldn’t be what it is today without Jackie Robinson. He wrote about his journey in “This I Believe.” Watch that story come to life on the big screen.
“This I Believe: Kentucky,” 2 – 4 p.m. Nov. 17, Columbia Auditorium, Spalding University
The publishers of “This I Believe” launch their latest publication, “This I Believe: Kentucky.” Public radio personality and Louisvillian Bob Edwards will host, with notable Kentucky authors attending and reading their essays. Ticket info.
“This I Believe” began in the 1950s as a radio series by famed journalist Edward R. Murrow. In 2005, the radio segments were relaunched and featured on NPR. The first “This I Believe” book, edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, was released in 2007. With an accompanying international project, readers are encouraged to develop their own personal belief statements and post them online.