Huron comes together over a single read

Special to Western News

In 'The End of Absence,' Canadian journalist Michael Harris chronicles the massive cultural shift toward ubiquitous information and constant connection and explores what we’ve gained – and lost – in the bargain.

A new program looks to get every member of one Western affiliate’s community all on the same page.

This fall, the Huron University College Library will launch Huron 1 Read, a common reading program to connect incoming students across all disciplines. The inaugural selection is The End of Absence, by Canadian journalist Michael Harris.

All incoming, first-year students were provided with a copy of the book at their summer transition session. In addition, all Huron faculty and staff read End of Absence this summer, along with various student leaders. This includes the Orientation team (Sophs), Residence Life staff and Executive of the Huron University College Student Council.

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“As a liberal arts institution, we want to encourage inter-disciplinary dialogue among our students from day one; we want them to have the opportunity to consider multiple points of view and different ways of thinking,” said Jennifer Robinson, Director of Library and Information Services. “Huron 1 Read encourages this kind of dialogue by giving everyone a common starting point and then providing lots of opportunities for the entire community to get together and talk about what they have read.”

A graduate of York University, Harris began his career in journalism at CBC television where he became the host of The Harris Report, an investigative and current affairs show. His career has included The Globe and Mail, The Sunday Express, Sun News Service and iPolitics. He has written eight books.

In The End of Absence, Harris chronicles the massive cultural shift toward ubiquitous information and constant connection and explores what we’ve gained – and lost – in the bargain. In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, he argues our greatest loss has been that of absence itself – of silence, wonder and solitude.

“When I first picked it (the book) up, Huron 1 Read wasn’t on my mind,” Robinson said. “But as I made my way through the different chapters, it became clear that it was the perfect book to launch our common reading program. We were looking for a book that was topical, relevant to our entire community (staff, faculty and students) and well-written. End of Absence is all of these things.”

So far, the book has generated buzz.

“I’ve had some really great talks with colleagues who have read the book and I’m amazed at how the same book can provoke different reactions from different people,” Robinson said.

The Western affiliate will host events throughout the year centred around the book. Visit the Huron 1 Read website, or follow along and share your thoughts on Twitter at @huronatwestern using the hashtag #Huron1Read.