This year’s common reading for the Echols Scholars was Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. After returning to Grounds this fall, upper-class students led discussion groups of first years around grounds. We are also partnering with the Law School this fall to jointly host additional activities related to the themes in this book.
“Discussing Just Mercy with first years was, particularly in the wake of the August 11-12 anniversary, quite powerful. I'm a fourth year, so it's not often that I get to interact with students outside my department. It was so interesting to hear perspectives from such an eager and intellectually diverse group of scholars. My group covered topics ranging from modern day race relations to the nature of fairness. Overall, it was a great experience!” - Abigail Johnson, Echols class of 2019
“When I was a first year, I was super nervous about the ways in which to interact with upperclassmen Echols Scholars. The common reading last year bridged that gap and helped me connect intellectually with a wide array of students. Coming into this year, I wanted to engage in that same dialogue with the incoming first years and was so taken aback by how intuitively they critiqued and analyses the issues we were dealing with. It was a reminder of what makes this space and this program so special, as we are we able to connect so deeply despite not knowing each other.” - Karishma Srikanth, Echols class of 2021
“As an upperclassman, leading a discussion group was a great way to connect with First Year scholars. Discussing Just Mercy allowed us to talk about difficult issues such as race, class, and gender in an open and respectful environment. I hope that the common reading remains a core part of the Echols Scholars program for years to come!” - Michael Hilzendeger, Echols class of 2019