Wednesday, Sept. 20th - 12:30 - 2:00 pm (Doors Open at 12:15 PM) - International House

As you begin to prepare to join us at Harris, it’s our goal to make sure we set a strong foundation for you to not only learn, but to build connections with your fellow students, and ensure your understanding of your similarities and differences. To help achieve this the Day One experience includes a common read. By participating in this year’s common read, you will be creating a base where you and your fellow incoming students can come together to discuss ideas, opinions, and reactions to a book that speaks to the city of Chicago and public policy.

All incoming students are strongly encouraged to read High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing by Audrey Petty. You will receive a copy of the book upon your arrival at Harris.

High Rise Stories includes first-person accounts of former residents of Chicago’s iconic public housing, describing life in the now-demolished high-rises. A total of twelve narrators reconstruct their homes and neighborhoods, and they intricately map their passages out of them. Their complex stories of community, displacement, and survival give voice to those whose hopes and struggles exist firmly at the heart of our national identity.

You will be challenged to reflect upon High Rise Stories at the Diversity Luncheon on September 20 where Audrey Petty will join us to talk about her book and participate in an open dialogue. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your thoughts on the books in a comfortable, relaxed environment with your peers. The Diversity Luncheon aims to bring local, national, and worldly conversations regarding social justice to Harris through dynamic discussion exclusively for the Harris community. The Diversity Luncheon will also include comments by key Harris staff as well as representatives of Harris Student Organizations. 

Audrey Petty is a writer and educator. She writes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her stories have been published in such journals as African American Review, StoryQuarterly, Callaloo, and The Massachusetts Review. She has taught extensively in the fields of African American literature and creative writing. Formerly on faculty in the Creative Writing Programs at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Knox College, Petty has also been an instructor for the Education Justice Project, Project FYSH (Foster Youth Seen and Heard), and Continuing Studies Programs at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University. In 2015, she served as the Simon Blattner Visiting Assistant Professor of Fiction at Northwestern.

This is a unique opportunity to partake in conversation and bring you together with your Harris community.  All continuing students, faculty, and staff will also be reading High Rise Stories before the start of the academic year and will want to hear your thoughts and opinions on the content.  Please be sure to read High Rise Stories to get the most out of your Day One experience.