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Texas State University
Texas State University

Our Plan | Fall 2020

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Also available in a brief summary version.

Small tabletop banner featuring the word "Dynamics"


  1. the branch of any science in which forces or motion are considered.
  2. the motivating or driving forces, physical or moral, in any field.
  3. a pattern or history of growth, change, development, or activity.

Fall 2020

The Common Experience at Texas State

To our students, faculty, staff, and community:

The leadership team of the Common Experience always strives to be as blunt and transparent as possible. And we always have a plan. Always.

We began sharing information about the novel coronavirus in January. In February, we developed plans for possible campus impacts to the Common Experience, and in early March, we prepared for the possibility of canceling events and moving to an online environment. So when Texas State issued a campus-wide directive, we were able to cancel or postpone our 34 remaining events in just one day. When classes resumed online after spring break, the Common Experience was there — entirely online — to continue offering opportunities for Texas State students.

So what about the semester ahead? We have a plan, of course.



All Common Experience events will be online-only during the fall 2020 semester. In our view, it’s safer and easier for everyone if we're consistent with online-only programming than to create complex plans that might have to be undone or canceled.

For years, we’ve presented more events than any other common experience initiative anywhere. We presented 239 events each of the past two academic years. Blunt truth: It’s unlikely that our schedule will have nearly that many events this year.

Planning Something?

If you or your department/program are planning a Common Experience-related event for the 2020-2021 academic year, please contact us as soon as possible. Work with us. We want every event to be outstanding. Our students deserve it. Also, we need to include every event on the calendar as soon as they’re confirmed, regardless of whether all the details are finished. Please review our Policies for Events before making plans.

No Overlapping Events

The Common Experience will not schedule live events starting on the same date/time. We don’t want students to have to choose between simultaneous events.

Blog: Ideas in Motion

If you haven’t seen the new official blog of the Common Experience, go have a look.

Student Voices

This year, we're offering a second blog-style section of our website. All content there has been — and will be — written for students, about students, and by students.

Social Media

We're all tired of Zoom sessions and Teams meetings. So, whenever possible, our social media accounts will drive content to students and other audiences. We’re currently developing some ideas to deliver events via social media, particularly guest speakers and dialogue opportunities. If you have a question for someone during an event — whether they’re a celebrity or a subject expert — we want you to be able to ask. Live video, live interactive events, new ways to connect to the voices that shape our world. We’re on it.


Our 2020-2021 Theme

On May 4, we announced our Common Experience theme for the 2020-2021 academic year: Dynamics. It's about movement and the motivating forces behind everything, everywhere: physical forces, moral forces, driving forces. You can see and feel dynamics in growth, change, inspiration, and action. It’s movement from where you are to where you will be. Watch our new video.

American Like Me

2020-2021 Common Reading

Our 2020-2021 Common Reading is American Like Me, edited by actress America Ferrera. It's a collection of first-person stories from famous figures about the experience of growing up between cultures.

Free Access to eBook

We emailed first-year students on August 23 to provide free access to the eBook version.

LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series

Online event in Fall 2020

We had originally planned to wait until spring 2021 to present the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series event, hoping that we’d be able to offer an in-person experience with a major speaker in Strahan Arena. But because very little is certain about schedules, arrangements, or the end of the pandemic, we are now looking at speakers who could be amazing in a live, online event this fall.

Keep in mind that this speaker series is covered by the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series Endowment, funded by private donors. Speakers are presented at no cost to students, faculty, staff, or community members — no tuition, fees, ticket charges, or tax dollars. And whether we offer an event in Strahan Arena or hosted through an online platform, we’ll ensure that it’s a first-class moment to remember.

Our Budget

As with nearly every department and program at Texas State, we’ll be working with a smaller budget for the 2020-2021 academic year. Here are the changes we've made to adapt:

  • Eliminate Common Experience Event Grants for co-funding events during the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • Move expenses for promoting the LBJ Distinguished Lecture onto the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series Restricted Fund.
  • Tap the Common Experience account where donations have been collected; we've been holding onto our recent donations in case we had a budget situation like this.
  • Seek additional donors and sponsors for the Common Experience for this year and the years ahead.
  • No additional expenses for students — or anyone else.


If things change, we’ll let you know. We’re looking forward to seeing students again, however that might be. And we’re looking forward to making an impact when it’s needed most. Our inbox has been pretty deep lately, but if you have any questions, send us a message. I’ll reply as soon as time allows:

Best wishes to all,

Twister Marquiss
Director of the Common Experience
Texas State University