Each freshman at SUNY Brockport participates in the Summer Reading Program. The purpose of this program is to help orient new students to the Brockport academic community by having a common reading experience with fellow classmates and faculty members. First-year students will receive a copy of the book with support materials and additional information about the program in early July.

Nickel and Dimed book cover, Author: Barbara Ehrnereich

The reading for Summer 2004 is Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich’s account of what it is like to make a living on the salary of a low paid or “unskilled” worker. Taking jobs as a waitress, cleaning woman, nursing home assistant and Wal-Mart employee in three different cities across the nation, Ehrenreich recounts her efforts to make ends meet.

By bringing the issues of our economy, the income gap, and our large low paying service industries to readers through her portraits of the working poor, Ehrenreich draws a topic often depicted in charts and statistics into compelling narratives.

The summer reading project is a valued tradition at SUNY Brockport that has been reintroduced as a result of our involvement in the American Democracy Project for Civic Engagement, a national, multi-campus initiative that seeks to foster informed civic engagement in the United States. The project seeks to create a greater intellectual understanding and commitment to participate in the civic life of the United States. SUNY Brockport President Paul Yu reflects:

Colleges and universities both have a responsibility, and are in a position, to enable moral and civic learning in their students that will yield sturdy citizens in the future. This is the essence of the American Democracy Project. SUNY Brockport is proud to be one of the first colleges in the nation to participate in this important program.

Students will be asked to react to the book during the Orientation weekend and throughout the semester. They will also take part in discussions, projects and lectures debating noteworthy themes generated by the book. Professors in all first-year courses will assume that their students have carefully read the assigned book.

For additional questions about the summer reading, (585) 395-5646 or e-mail sarno@brockport.edu.