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Student holding a book in Feinberg Library

Center for Community Engagement Plans Reading Festival

By Gerianne Wright
December 2016

The SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Community Engagement is launching a community-wide reading festival for fall 2017 and organizers need your help in picking the book.

Voting is taking place now for a “common read,” according to center director and SUNY Plattsburgh adjunct lecturer in English Julia Devine. A book selection committee comprised of members from the Plattsburgh City School District, Clinton Community College, the Strand Center for the Arts, the Plattsburgh Public Library and SUNY Plattsburgh whittled the selection down to “Citizen: An American Lyric,” by Claudia Rankine, and “The Round House,” by Louise Erdrich.

According to Goodreads.com, “Citizen” “recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in 21st-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV — everywhere, all the time.”

Erdrich’s “Round House” tells the story of a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota who is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as the victim, Geraldine Coutts, faces re-traumatization and reluctance to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband and 13-year-old son.

The reading festival is one of a series of events and activities planned for the newly named Center for Community Engagement. Other 2017 highlights include:

  • Community production of “Top Dog/Underdog” by Suzan Lori-Parks set for Feb. 10 and 11
  • Community Engagement Panel during Diversity Week Wednesday, March 1 at 2 p.m. in the Alumni Conference Room
  • Development of a campus-community skills exchange and community partner database
  • Formation of a campus-community dialogue series and more events and projects that bring both entities together
  • Creation of a community engagement toolkit
  • Awards for engaged faculty and community members

Contact Information

For more information on the reading festival, upcoming events or the center, contact

Julia Devine, Coordinator of the Center for Community Engagement
Office: Hawkins Hall 233A
Phone: (518) 564-3022
Cell: (310) 367-4199
Email: julia.devine@plattsburgh.edu