One Book


The Book of Unknown Americans


2018-2019 Selection:

The Book of Unknown Americans by: Cristina Henriquez

"The truth was that I didn't know which I was. I wasn't allowed to claim the thing I felt and didn't feel the thing I was supposed to claim." - Book excerpt

Common Intellectual Experiences are one of ten high impact practices identified by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). What better way to launch a successful college career than by engaging in a meaningful conversation about relevant topics!

The One Book Committee welcomes ideas from the university community to support inclusion in the first-year curriculum, as well as for events and programming. Please contact the office of Student Transitions if you wish to get involved and join the conversation early!

Campus Theme: Defining America

Written by Cristina Henriquez, the 2018 One Book Selection was chosen for its tremendous interdisciplinary potential and the meaningful conversation it will inspire about topics that matter.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune Offers "A remarkable novel that every American should read"

The 2019 Selection Committee




New Student Convocation Keynote Speaker: Nikki Giovanni
Friday, August 17, 2018 - 5:30 pm
Ramsey Regional Activity Center

Dolores: a documentary on the life and work of Dolores Huerta
A Latinx Speaker Series Program
Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 4:00 pm
University Center Theatre

Exhibit: A History of Unknown Americans: Hispanic Immigration in the 20th Century
Hunter Library
September 7-December 21, 2018

Defining America/One Book - One Look: A Gallery Exhibition
Bardo Arts Center Fine Arts Museum
September 11, 2018 to May 3, 2019
Exhibit ReceptionSeptember 20, 2018 from 5-7 pm

We Were Migrants: Chronicle of indigenous migrants from Chiapas, Mexico
A Latinx Speaker Series Program
An exhibit for Hispanic Heritage Month
September 17 to October 12, 2018
Fine Art Museum Atrium Gallery
Bardo Arts Center

Film: Maya Faces in a Smoking Mirror
September 27th 3:00-5:00 PM
UC Theatre

Movie: Coco
Friday, October 26, 2018
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Show times at 7:00 and 10:00 pm both nights
University Center Theatre

From Spain to the U.S.: Insider Perspectives
MK 214
November 14 5:30 PM

Tunnel of Oppression: It's Hard to Have Liberty
Sponsored by: Intercultural Affairs
February 19-20, 2019 9:00 am-5:00 pm each day
University Center Grand Room

We Were Migrants: Chronicle of indigenous migrants from Chiapas, Mexico
A Latinx Speaker Series Program
March 18-30, 2019
ICA Gallery in the University Center

One Book Author: Cristina Henriquez
Thursday March 21, 7:30-9:00 pm
University Center Grand Room
Reception and Book signing will follow

Exhibit: Immigrants:One Nation, Many Stories
Hunter Library
March 22-May 31

Check back regularly to see this list of amazing speakers unfold!

CONNECTING THE DOTS: Campus Theme and other points of connection

Chancellor's List Keynote Address: Former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch
September 18, 2018 - 5:00 pm
Bardo Arts Center

Rosa Clemente: Civil Discourse Speaker
Sponsored by: Campus Activities

Tuesday, September 18, 2018-7:00 pm
University Center Grand Room

Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15 to October 15, 2018

Cultural Immersion Excursion (Fall Break trip to NYC)
October 6-10, 2018
Sponsored by Intercultural Affairs

Pasofino Social Club
Sponsored by: Campus Activities
October 24, 2018
Bardo Performance Hall

Donny Brito May, a poetry reading (Maya, Spanish, English)
A Latinx Speaker Series Program
September 26, 2018 - 6:00 pm
University Center Theatre

Day of the Dead Altar: an interactive exhibit
A Latinx Speaker Series Program
October 15 to November 3, 2018
Location: Hunter Library (Between the entrance to the library and Java City cafe)

International Education Week
November 12-16, 2018
Sponsored by International Programs and Services

Telling Your Story
Publication Opportunities for WCU student stories and works related to The Book of Unknown Americans.
Ink(a publication for English 101 and 102 students)
Nomad: Special edition
Imagine Magazine
Western Carolinian

Chancellor's List Keynote Address: Former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele
February 12, 2019 - 5:00 pm
Bardo Arts Center


The mission of the One Book program is to engage first-year students, as well as the campus community, in a common intellectual experience that promotes critical thinking and interdisciplinary conversation. This experience will allow participants to strengthen academic skills, create connections with peers, instructors, and community members, and relate universal themes to personal experience and identity. The program seeks to reflect WCU’s core values and responsibilities as a regionally engaged university.

One Book committee members will serve as ambassadors who aid in integrating reading selection themes into course curricula, campus events, service learning opportunities, and departmental goals. The 2018 committee comprises individuals from across campus, ensuring that values and views of all academic units are considered and represented.

The One Book Experience Will:

  • Introduce clear expectations of academic performance and engagement
  • Create opportunities to reveal and explore notions of community
  • Reflect the University’s mission and core values
  • Integrate book themes into course curricula, particularly transition course curricula
  • Encourage interaction among peers, instructors, campus and local community members
  • Foster interdisciplinary discourse and partnership
  • Offer diverse perspectives and cultural exploration
  • Stimulate student self-discovery and personal development
  • Inspire participation and support from faculty and administrators by clearly conveying the book’s relevance to the academic experience and student enrichment.
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