Reading, Writing and Water: Readership WT

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Local News Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Local News Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Water is considered one of life’s precious resources. Living in the Texas Panhandle, drought is a word we are all familiar with. Water has a different meaning for Doc Hendley. Fighting for it is his life’s calling. He has been putting his skills to work in countries all over the world to help protect and maintain clean water. He began as a simple bartender organizing wine tasting events to raise funds and has since begun projects in Uganda, Haiti, Darfur, Ethiopia, and Cambodia.

His book “Water to Wine” has been selected for this year’s common reader. The common reader was put in place to help ease the transition for college freshmen. The common reader and Readership WT have not only promoted community among incoming freshman but have also provided them with the opportunity to win a trip through an essay contest.

“The trip impacted me in many ways. It brought a new perspective to my life and the field that I am studying in. Seeing different people, a different culture, and seeing all the hardships they go through really made me appreciate my life and the people I am surrounded with,” Tessa Davis, sophomore Ad/PR major, said.

Readership WT has been active on campus since 2005 and in recent years has adopted the travel aspect. The trip is designed for students to see the places that impacted the specific author for that year’s book to write their stories. A different book is selected each year. Students are given guidelines and rules to follow when entering the contest.

“My advice would be to start your paper now. Don’t wait until the last minute. Also, talk to people in your IDS class or your roommate about what they are writing. Get the ideas flowing and go,” Katie White, senior Mass Communication major, said. “Also, don’t be afraid to use the writing center. They are a huge help when it comes to correct grammar and punctuation.”

Students who are selected at the beginning stages of the essay contest are then subject to an interview process to see who will be selected to go on the trip.

“The interview process was, of course, nerve-wracking at first. We had a first interview with a group of three other people. From there, we were notified by email whether we would move to the second round of interviews. After we received the email, we met in Old Main. The cool thing is: there was no second round. They surprised us by telling us that we were all going to Bolivia,” Davis said. “It’s the first time that you’re really thrown into a group sitting. There’s nothing to be nervous about, though. The committee is made up of people who genuinely care about you, your education, and your life. The questions are a bit deep at times, but that is what this trip is about: changing and molding your heart.”

The author of the selected year’s common reader speaks at freshman convocation each year. This year’s will be held on Oct. 3.

“Hearing the author speak was a great experience. It’s not every day that you get to meet the author of a book you read. Hearing the author delve deeper into the themes of the book is beneficial in the understanding of the intentions of the author,” Josh Jinkens, senior graphic design major, said.