In the fall of 2020, alumni and parents will meet for thought-provoking group discussions on Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil as part of the Washington University Common Reading Program. The program, sponsored by the Washington University Alumni Association and Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement provides a copy of the selected book, discussion questions, and a forum for attendees to delve into complex issues and questions raised in the book.
Originally named the First Year Reading Program, this initiative began in the fall of 2003 to provide first-year students a shared intellectual experience to start their academic career at WashU. The program was renamed the Washington University Common Reading Program in 2017 as the program now supports discussions among first-year students, parents, families, and alumni groups around the world.
Since 2009, the WashU Miami Network has read the assigned book for first-year students and gathered annually in a local home for a thought-provoking group discussion over coffee and desserts. In fall of 2016, the Alumni Association and the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement expanded the number of Alumni and Parent Book Discussions to 40 discussion groups nationwide, up from four groups the previous year.