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The Common Experience at Texas State University is a yearlong initiative that cultivates a conversation on a theme, fostering a sense of community throughout the campus and beyond.

As part of the Common Experience, the Common Reading Program provides all incoming freshmen with a critically acclaimed book related to the upcoming year's theme. You will read the book as you prepare for classes, then engage in discussion of the text and theme in your University Seminar course. You will also participate in Common Experience events throughout the year.

The Common Reading Program joins similar programs at hundreds of universities and colleges to prepare students for discussion both at the university and with members of the community. The program aims to:

  • introduce you to the Common Experience at Texas State
  • encourage your participation in the intellectual life of the campus
  • foster a sense of community among students, faculty, and staff

2016-2017 Theme

The Common Experience theme for 2016-2017 is "A Century of Conflict: Dialogues on the U.S. Experience of War since 1917." Understanding how conflict and resolution have affected the United States and our own university and community will help you understand your role as a citizen and a future university graduate.

2016-2017 Book

This year's Common Reading book is What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes. This award-winning look at the ordeal of combat relates Marlantes’s experiences as a 23-year-old Marine lieutenant in Vietnam, and how he has dealt with those experiences in the years since. It’s also a critical examination of battle itself, from ancient times to the high-tech combat of today.