One Campus, One Book
Finding common ground through a shared reading experience. This year, "An American Sunrise" by Joy Harjo will serve as the centerpiece for community conversations on Wellness, Healing and reclaiming Native Truth.
An American Sunrise by U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo is the One Campus, One Book selection for the academic year. Planning for campus and community events is underway. This year UAS will celebrate An American Sunrise with the entire Juneau community as part Juneau Public Library's receipt of a Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Learn more at bigreadjuneau.org
A stunning new volume from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, informed by her tribal history and connection to the land.
In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family’s lands and opens a dialogue with history.
In An American Sunrise, Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother’s death, to her beginnings in the native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo’s personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice.
“If you only read one book of poems this summer, make it An American Sunrise.... Every step of the journey is deeply moving... Rich and deeply engaging, An American Sunrise creates bridges of understanding while reminding readers to face and remember the past.”
"Don't worry about what a poem means. Do you ask what a song means before you listen? Just listen."
Writer, musician, and current Poet Laureate of the United States Joy Harjo—her surname means “so brave you’re crazy”—was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is a member of the Mvskoke (also spelled Muscogee) Creek Nation. One of her earliest memories is a sense of awakening when she first heard Miles Davis’ horn on the radio in her parents’ car. “That music opened an incredible door,” she told NPR. “I could almost see the shape of my whole life.” In Harjo’s early years, she would often hear her mother singing, or find her writing a song at the kitchen table. Of Cherokee, Irish, French, and German descent, her mother loved lyric poetry. She was like fire, Harjo says—always full of inspiration.
Harjo has published numerous award-winning books of poetry—including the 1983 classic She Had Some Horses—as well as children’s books and works of nonfiction, including her memoir, Crazy Brave, which took her 14 years to write because she had to face her demons and find the strength to share the pain of her past in a public way. It received the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction and the American Book Award. Harjo’s many other awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas; the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America; the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets; the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award; the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation; a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; and two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. Harjo has also released five albums of music and poetry and is an award-winning saxophonist and vocalist. She performed for many years with the band Poetic Justice and continues to perform today both solo and with her band the Arrow Dynamics, playing the alto saxophone, guitar, flute, horn, ukulele, and bass. Her album Winding through the Milky Way received a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009.
Known for her contagious sense of curiosity and purpose, Harjo is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and has served as a member of the National Endowment for the Arts’s National Council on the Arts. For many years she has also been a professor of American Indian Studies and English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; in 2016, she joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as Chair of Excellence in Creative Writing. “Throughout her extraordinary career as poet, storyteller, musician, memoirist, playwright and activist, Joy Harjo has worked to expand our American language, culture, and soul,” wrote poet Alicia Ostriker in her citation for the Wallace Stevens Award. Her “visionary justice-seeking art transforms personal and collective bitterness to beauty, fragmentation to wholeness, and trauma to healing.”
Out of recognition that integrating One Campus, One Book selections into UAS courses takes time, we'll be selecting two books each cycle.
Eat Like a Fish: My adventures as a fisherman turned restorative ocean farmer by Bren Smith is the One Campus, One Book Selection for AY 22-23
“Part memoir, part treatise on the life of a professional fisherman, part manual for the future of eating worldwide, this unique book cannot help but make readers think long and hard about the fate of the earth as it faces the challenges of global warming and the outlook for feeding the planet... Smith has now become a visionary leader in cultivating what may turn out to be a primary source of the world’s food. This is a book about a man as well as a book about an idea.” —Booklist (starred review)
One Campus, One Book is the common reading program at UAS-Juneau. It's a celebration of literature and the relationships and communities that develop between readers and writers. Discussing a common book can also provide a safe venue for beginning difficult dialogues. The program grew out of the Student Success Forum with the goal of helping foster community and compassion on campus. The program's first year (2010) featured David Issay's Listening is an Act of Love and a corresponding campus oral history project ( The UAS Listening Project) collected the stories of students, faculty and staff. In 2012 the program was formalized as a program of the Egan Library, a selection committee established and in 2013 these program goals and criteria were adopted.
The UAS One Campus, One Book program will:
- Begin an exploration of interdisciplinary approaches
- Create opportunities for learning in and out of the classroom.
- Foster student, staff and community participation and identification as contributing members of an intellectual community.
- Promote reading and "foster a page-turning togetherness".*
*based on DC We Read 2009
The One Campus, One Book (OCOB) program aligns with the mission and goals of the UAS First Year Experience (FYE) Program to support academic success and persistence, ease educational and social transitions to college, and foster student engagement in the UAS Community. OCOB activities incorporate two FYE student learning outcomes:
First year students participating in OCOB activities will:
- Develop a strong network of peers and professionals including:
- One faculty member they consider a mentor
- One staff member they feel can offer support
- Five peers that are conducive to their social and academic success
- Develop strong connections to the UAS campus by attending at least five events on the Don't Miss List
Criteria for book selection
- The extent to which the book matches program goals (touches on interdisciplinary perspectives and has the potential for integration into curriculum, is not too challenging in terms of reading level or topic).
- Has the potential for a variety of related program (themes).
- The book won’t have likely been assigned reading during high school.
- Accessibility: The book is between 250-350 pages in length, engaging, college-level reading and not a text-book
- Accessibility: is available currently in paperback
- Accessibility: bulk ordering of the book won’t require a reprint of the title.
- The author may be available to visit campus (within our modest budget).
Previous One Campus, One Book Selections
Information about previous OCOB selections and links to audio/video when available.
2020: If Our Bodies Could Talk: Operating and Maintaining a Human Body by James Hamblin
Invited speaker, James Hamblin, discussed his work as a public health professional and author in the midst of a global pandemic. The conversation included questions from participants and was moderated by Jonas Lamb [watch]. Complementary ebook (from Google Play, while supplies last).
2018: Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis
Invited speaker, Oscar Vazquez, one of the teenagers whose trials and triumphs are documented in the book, visited with UAS classes (Spanish), had a luncheon with the UAS Student Veterans and Family Association and provide the afternoon keynote, "La Vida Robot, STEM, and Immigration"during the Power & Privilege Symposium. [watch]
Campus screenings of the feature film, Spare Parts and the documentary Underwater Dreams, illustrated how the boys left an enduring legacy that has inspired generations of young Latino advocates to raise their voice on issues of immigration, the DREAM act and equitable access to STEM education.
Spare Parts author, Joshua Davis, recorded a welcome video for incoming UAS students. [watch]
2017: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandell
UAS partnered with the Juneau Public Libraries on their NEA Big Read Grant. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Station Eleven served as a starting place for a community wide conversation on the themes of remembering and coping with historical trauma through cultural and artistic forms, boosting community knowledge of emergency preparedness and infectious disease prevention, and promoting kindness and respect for different perspectives despite humans’ sometime violent and intolerant nature. Fewer events were hosted on campus this year due to the abundance of community-wide events held by JPL and other Big Read partners.
Dr. Micaela Martinez, Assistant Professor at the Columbia University, New York, UAS Biology and Math Alumna gave the lecture: The Clockwork of Epidemics, Health & Disease [watch select 092217 from playlist]
Two films interpretting future worlds (Mad Max and The Circle) were screened on campus. A game night featuring the board game, Pandemic was held in student housing as were weekly book discussions.
UAS created a website for the project [view the archived website]
2016: Mixed: Multiracial College Students Tell Their Life Stories
Invited speaker, Christina Gomez, co-editor of Mixed visited with 3 classes on the Juneau Campus (Humanities, Spanish, Sociology) and had a lunch time conversation about educational journeys, graduate school, advocacy and passions with the UAS students in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP).
Gomez participated and lectured as part of the 1st UAS Power and Privilege Symposium on November 9th, 2016. Her talk titled "The Act of Dreaming: Undocumented Students in the United States" is archived [ watch, select Session5_Gomez from the playlist).
Gomez also gave the One Campus, One Book lecture, "Negotiating Identity in America" as part of the Evening at Egan series on November 11th, 2016. [ watch, select 111116 from the playlist]
2015: Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir by Ernestine Hayes
“One of the most important books to come out of Alaska. There have been other great memoirs by Alaska Natives, but few if any have been made with such disarming humor, such bravery and such warmth.” --The Anchorage Press
Hayes' visited 15 classes on the Juneau and Sitka campuses, attended a reception in her honor held by the UAS Honors Program and participated in 3 community events culminating in her Evening at Egan Lecture, "An Animate World", Nov. 6th, 2015 [watch, select 11_6_2015 from playlist].
Hayes moderated the panel, "The Making of Never Alone" an interdisciplinary discussion focusing on the video game, Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna), winner of the 2015 British Academy Games Award: Best Debut. The panel featured cultural ambassadors Ishmael Hope and Amy Fredeen and a team from E-Line Media appeared via video (Matt Swanson — Producer, Ian Gil — Lead Designer, David Koenig — Technical Director, Casey McDonnell — Art Director). The discussion raised the question, how can new media platforms be used effectively to tell traditional stories in order celebrate indigenous language, contribute to decolonization efforts and share a vibrant, in-tact culture with younger generations?
Hayes' donated the pre-publication Blonde Indian manuscript and author's correspondence to the Egan Library. It can be viewed online in ScholarWorks@UA. Access to original manuscript materials are restricted to in-library use at the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Library and requires pre-approval from a reference librarian. Researchers are encouraged to use the online version of this collection.
Blonde Indian was selected by Alaska Writer Laureate, Frank Soos and the Alaska Center for the Book as the inaugural selection for Alaska Reads 2016, a statewide celebration of Alaskan literature. Hayes' travelled extensively throughout the state during the month of February and free copies of Blonde Indianwere distributed to public libraries courtesy of the Alaska State Library.
In March 2016, Hayes was featured on "The Artist" @ 360 North. The event was recorded and rebroadcast later on 360 North public television and on YouTube. Additional info about "The Artist @360". [watch]
Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness an exhibition on loan from the National Library of Medicine was hosted @ Egan Library September-December 2015
The Juneau Public Library collected interviews on campus as part of their StoryCorps grant “Every Voice Matters: Recording and Sharing Alaska Native Educational Experiences”. UAS students and faculty facilitated interviews at the Egan Library. Recordings will be available on CD at the Juneau Public Libraries in Summer 2016. Select interviews from the project can be streamed from KHNS (Haines, AK Public Radio).
2014: Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck and Ricketts scholar Katie Rodger visited the Juneau campus for a series of class visits, reception and an Evening at Egan Lecture, 'Discovering Science: Finding the Story', Oct. 10th, 2014 [watch]
Artist and socio-ecological activist Colleen Flanigan visited the Sitka and Juneau campuses for a series of class visits and presentations on Merging Art and Environmental Sciences.
2013: At the Mouth of the River of Bees by Kij Johnson
Kij Johnson visited the Juneau campus for a series of class visits, the one-night only production of a staged reading and an Evening at Egan Lecture.
UAS Drama Club S.C.R.I.P.T performed "Finding True North", Nov. 6th 2013
Kij Johnson presented and Evening at Egan lecture, Egan Library, Nov. 8th, 2013 [ watch]
Narrative Endeavors: Visual and Literary Art Exhibition. One night only student art show with open mic and Google Hangout with Kij Johnson. Downtown Gallery, April 4th, 2014.
John Marzluff, author of Gifts of the Crow: How perception, emotion, and thought allow smart birds to behave like humans presented a different perspective on this year's OCOB theme of human-animal communication and communicating with the other at a Sound and Motion Lecture on April 18th, 2014.
2012: Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer
Karsten Heuer and Leanne Alison visited the Juneau campus for a series of lectures, film screening and classroom visits. Gwich’in elder Randall Tetlichi was elder-in-residence on the Juneau Campus and gave another perspective on related themes.
Gwich’in elder Randall Tetlichi presented an Evening at Egan lecture, Egan Library: Nov. 9th 2012 [watch ]
Leanne screened the related film, Egan Lecture Hall followed by a Q&A, Nov. 15th 2012 [watch]
Karsten presented an Evening at Egan lecture, Egan Library, Nov. 16th 2012 [watch]
Sarah Ray, OCOB 2012 Committee Chair
2011: The Truth About Stories by Thomas King
2010: Listening is an Act of Love by David Isay
Planning and Selection Committee
Please email committee chair, Jonas Lamb (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in participating on the committee or for information about the next selection.