Academic First Year Experiences

  • Book covers for CSUN's Freshman Common Reading, 2007-2015

Common Read

To the Entering Freshman Class of 2015-2016

Welcome to Cal State Northridge! CSUN's 2015-2016 Freshman Common Reading is Every Day, a novel by David Levithan. 

As a new freshman, you are invited to read this book and to discuss it as part of a campus-wide community of readers. If you are enrolled in UNIV 100 for fall or summer 2015, you will have the opportunity to read Every Day as part of the course. But even if you're not taking UNIV 100, reading and talking about the book will place shared academic engagement at the very center of the community that you are about to join. The Common Reading Program invites everyone on campus to think, talk, and learn together across and beyond the boundaries of the classroom by using the book as a starting point.

David Levithan (the author of Every Day) will be the keynote speaker on Thursday, September 10, 2015, at Freshman Convocation. After the ceremony, he will be autographing books just east of the Oviatt Library front portico.

Read this book; talk about it with other students; and discuss it with faculty, with staff, with administrators, with friends, and even (who knows?) with your family.  Not sure where to start your discussion?  View this YouTube video, produced by a team at CSUN's Office of Student Involvement and Development, for ideas:  CSUN Freshmen: Tips 2015 (FCR).

About the Book

Book cover shows people floating and tumbling through clouds backlit by a bright sun.Every Day is a work of fiction that tells the story of a character named A who awakens each morning in the body of a different person. Here's how Levithan describes the book:

"At the start of the story, A is sixteen, and wakes up in the body of Justin, who’s never really treated his girlfriend, Rhiannon, that well. When A falls for Rhiannon, it suddenly changes the stakes of A’s story – and A’s life. When I started writing Every Day, there were two questions I wanted to answer – first, what would it be like to be a person who grew up without gender, race, sexual orientation, parents, friends, and all of the other things we usually classify ourselves by, and, second, what would it be like to be in love with someone who changed every day – would it be possible? I wrote the book to figure out what my answers were."  (http://davidlevithan.com/about/)

The book raises significant questions about identity, diversity, and ethics.  Its themes connect to courses taught in many departments at CSUN, including Africana Studies, Chicano/a Studies, Child & Adolescent Development, Computer Science, English, Gender & Women's Studies, Journalism, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Queer Studies, Religious Studies, Secondary Education, Sociology, Stretch Composition, and of course University 100.

Every Day Posters

During the spring 2015 semester, students in Professor Laurel Long's upper-division illustration class designed artwork to reflect themes of the book. Seven illustrations were selected by the Freshman Common Reading Program as offering rich and beautiful visual evidence for some of the book's many meanings. These seven illustrations will also be part of our publicity campaign for the 2015-2016 academic year.  

Who Chose Every Day? What Other Books Were Nominated?

A committee made up of CSUN faculty, staff, and students chose Every Day from a list of 19 titles nominated for 2015-2016.  The committee members' names are listed in the left column on this web page.

Assignment Ideas for Faculty and Staff Using Every Day

Classroom assignments and discussion topics faculty and staff can use with Every Day are posted on the faculty-staff resource page. If you have a new idea for teaching with the book, please email it to me and I'll add it to the collection.