Listen. Learn. Act.

UO Common Reading’s theme for 2020-2022 is Listen. Learn. Act. This theme is dedicated to listening to and learning about Blackness and Black experience. The intent is to address historical contexts for racism and biased policies in order to construct more inclusive and viable futures for marginalized people. We look forward to having the opportunity to connect incoming first-year students with the rest of the UO community through conversations, storytelling, and a variety of events throughout the year. We will jump into this experience together by dividing the theme into three segments by term, each focused on a different body of work.

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. It is an interactive project with contributions by the newspaper's writers, including essays on the history of different aspects of contemporary American life which the authors believe have "roots in slavery and its aftermath. "1619" is an audio series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones on how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling.
Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time–her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present? Kimberly Johnson's debut novel explores racial injustice against innocent Black men who are criminally sentenced and the families left behind to pick up the pieces.
The Common Reading program holds events throughout the academic year that offer an opportunity for the community to get involved. In the upcoming year, we'll be highlighting the voices of our local tribes as we continue to work with "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants." Every year, the Undergraduate Research Symposium showcases several projects related to Common Reading and local groups hold events related to the themes and materials studied in the program.

Thank you to our partners

Office of the Provost
Division of Equity and Inclusion
Black Cultural Center
Multicultural Center
Black Studies Minor
First-Year Interest Groups
UO Libraries
Residence Life
Black Strategies Group
Native American Strategies Group
Clark Honors College
UO Advancement
Teaching Engagement Program
Center for the Study of Women in Society
Inclusive Pedagogies Research Interest Group
Environmental Studies
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
Museum of Natural and Cultural History
Office of Sustainability
Student Sustainability Center
Eugene Public Library
Eugene Public Library Foundation
Springfield Public Library
Undergraduate Education and Student Success
Career Center


Contact us

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First-Year Programs
5256 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-5256
Office: Oregon Hall, Room 107