Common Reading Events

Photo of author Robin Wall Kimmerer leaning against a tree trunk

Author's Talk With Robin Wall Kimmerer

January 24, 2022

Join Common Reading and author Robin Wall Kimmerer as she gives a virtual talk on the 2021/22 AY selection, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a citizen of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces plants and animals as our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together through her memoir of living in the natural world and practicing heart-centered science.

Drawing on her life as an Indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.

Livestream the event:

RSVP to the EMU viewing event:

Braiding Sweetgrass Pop Up Calendar

Other Events and Ongoing Activities

<Pop Up> Drop-In Weaving Demonstration at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History: January 13, 5:00-7:00 PM

Brenda Brainard will be doing a weaving demonstration, creating a mat from cedar, sedge, bear grass, and woodwardia. She will speak with visitors about the process and other questions they may have. MNCH Student Club will distribute DIY cordage kits to UO students. 

<Pop Up> Scavenger Hunt at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art: January 14, 11:00-1:00 PM

Two versions of the Braiding Sweetgrass Scavenger Hunt will be offered across the JSMA galleries. 

<Pop Up> TAEC Open House at LLC North 123: January 18, 3:00-4:00 PM

Students can stop in to learn about TAEC programs and opportunities, meet staff, and receive a copy of Braiding Sweetgrass.

<Pop Up> Composition & Writing, Public Speaking, and Critical Reasoning Minor Combined Student Presentation/Discussion Event at Tykeson Hall James Commons: January 20, 2:00-3:00 PM

Students will give presentations, and attendees will have the chance to participate in discussion surrounding the themes of the presentations and Braiding Sweetgrass.

<Pop Up> Open House at Mills International Center in the EMU: January 20, 3:00-5:00 PM

Visitors will interact with activities related to Braiding Sweetgrass and “get-to-know-Mills" activities, earning stamps on a punch card and receiving a Mills mug or t-shirt for participation. Braiding Sweetgrass Pop-Up event blended with weekly event Chill in the Mills. 

<Pop Up> UO Libraries & Craft Center Braiding Sweetgrass Craft Kit in Oregon Plaza: January 21, 12:00-2:00 PM

Learn to make and use plant inks; explore the connection between the products we use every day and the natural world around us; hands on opportunity to look at plant ink art books/library resources related to the process.

 Braiding Sweetgrass Author's Visit: January 24th, 2022 12:00-2:00 PM

Join author Robin Wall Kimmerer in the EMU ballroom or via livestream as she discusses her book—Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Kimmerer is this year's UO Common Reading featured author, and she will be on campus January 24th and 25th.

<Pop Up> Dance Program Performance at location TBD: January 28, 3:30 PM

The dance program will be putting on a dance celebrating Braiding Sweetgrass and the themes therein.

<Pop Up> Sustainability and Braiding Sweetgrass with the Office of Sustainability location TBD: January 28, 3:00-4:00 PM

An open discussion drop-in for UO students to discuss the text and its sustainability aspects. We may also discuss Kimmerer’s public lecture. 

<Pop Up> Division of Global Engagement Games, Snacks, Advising, and Conversations at 300W Oregon Hall: February 1, 4:00-5:00 PM

Visit the Division of Global Engagement for a Lunar New Year celebration! Join us for world trivia games and snack, meet other students who are interested in global engagement, or who've lived or studied abroad, and as Robin Wall Kimmerer describes, explored the ways in which language and culture can influence our world view. Advisors for GlobalWorks International Internships, GEO study abroad programs, exchange programs, and international students will be available for office hours. 

<Pop Up> EMU Outdoor Program Redefining Outdoorsy Summit location TBD: February 12, 11:00-3:00 PM

Common Reading will be tabling, handing out books and discussing the program.

Black Lives Celebration & Justice

The “Black Lives: Celebration and Justice” gallery presents some of the research occurring on campus of various topics surrounding Black lives. 

Live Move Speaker Series

Exploring the intersection of racism and transportation, its legacy, and what it means moving forward as future transportation planners and community members.

Past Events

Kim Johnson Photo


A Conversation with Author Kimberly Johnson

Thursday, February 11 at 4:00pm to 5:20pm

Virtual Event Zoom Link:

You will be asked to sign in with your Zoom ID.

Author Kimberly Johnson discusses favorite characters, themes, and writing process for her debut novel, THIS IS MY AMERICA, an unflinching yet uplifting story that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system. Session includes Q/A opportunity from the audience to engage with the author.

Kimberly Johnson is currently the UO Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Advising as well as a UO alum. Her book, This is My America is the featured selection of UO Common Reading during Winter 2021.

Facilitator: Doneka Scott, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Student Success.

Nikole Hannah-Jones Event

Nikole Hannah-Jones on "1619 and the Legacy That Built a Nation"

 Friday, February 19 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm Virtual Event


As the lead writer for New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project,” a major viral multimedia initiative observing the 400th anniversary of the first African slaves arriving in America, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones explores the lasting legacy of Black enslavement on the nation—specifically, how Black Americans pushed for the democracy we have today.

About the Event

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, the Office of the PresidentOffice of the ProvostDivision of Equity and Inclusion, the UO Common Reading, the UO Student Services and Enrollment Management, and the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center. The annual UO School of Journalism and Communication Ruhl Lecture brings the most influential voices in mass communication to campus.


A photo of Michelle Obama's book BECOMING, with information about an upcoming conversation event

In Conversation with Michelle Obama

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Through its Common Reading Program, the University of Oregon has been invited to attend Michelle Obama’s only higher education appearance of the year where she will discuss her memoir, “Becoming.”

The discussion will focus on themes from Obama’s book and include topics about owning your story, finding your voice, unseen history, support systems, and challenges of first-generation and minority students.

With the support of UO President Michael H. Schill, the Division of Undergraduate Education and Student Success, and the Oregon Humanities Center’s Endowment for Public Outreach in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, the Common Reading Program will send one student representative to attend the event in Washington, D.C. The student also will have the unique opportunity to ask the former first lady a question, on behalf of the UO.

Registration details can be found in the UO Events calendar listing.