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One Campus, One Book

The Campus Common Reading unites students and the entire Notre Dame community in a shared exploration of a significant work of fiction or non-fiction.

Join the Notre Dame community for this year’s common read, In the Time of the Butterflies. In this historical novel, author Julia Alvarez, a native of the Dominican Republic, chronicles the courage, faith and martyrdom of the Mirabal sisters, las mariposas (the butterflies) and their sole surviving sister during the last days of the Trujillo dictatorship. From Publisher’s Weekly: “Alvarez has fictionalized their story in a narrative that starts slowly but builds to a gripping intensity. As the sisters' energetic fervor turns to anguish, Alvarez conveys their courage and their desperation, and the full import of their tragedy.”

During summer orientation, every incoming undergraduate student received a copy of In the Time of Butterflies, which will be explored in their required IDS-100 course, Perspectives on Education and Culture. Upper level and graduate students are also encouraged to participate in the Common Reading and may be required to read the book for some of their classes. Throughout the year, coursework and extra-curricular events will draw from the subjects and themes explored in the work. 

Ms. Alvarez will visit campus on Wednesday, November 6, to discuss her work with the community. More details are forthcoming.

Common Reading Program at NDMU

The Common Reading Program at Notre Dame of Maryland University highlights our commitment to academic excellence while recognizing the importance of community and shared experience. By providing the Common Reading book to our incoming first-year and transfer students, making it a focal point in IDS courses, and opening the reading opportunity to our campus as a whole (returning students, faculty and staff), we begin our academic year with many of the same thoughts, emotions and questions based on our summer reading. This common ground allows us to begin a year of discussion and exploration of the human experience.

After identifying key topics and themes of the chosen text, we are able to plan various campus events throughout the year that serve to enrich the reading. The Notre Dame of Maryland University community is fortunate to have a wealth of faculty and staff often called upon to address topics of interest related to the Common Reading, and our Baltimore location also allows us the opportunity to seek outside presenters to provide their voice to our community reading experience.

To conclude our yearly endeavor, we ask our students for the final take on our common reading program. In April, at the annual Nancy Kreiter Student Research Day, students are invited to share their responses to the reading through a variety of mediums—research, art, music, writing, etc. These submissions are reviewed and awarded recognition by the IDS faculty, Common Reading and Research Day committees.