By Erin Copeland
“Innovation,” the Common Experience theme for the 2018-19 school year, was chosen in the hopes of increasing student involvement and creativity.
The paired book is “The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Makes the World” by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt. Common Reading Coordinator Erika Nielson put together a committee to assess more than 60 books from both the First Year Experience conference and other sources to find the perfect one for the theme.
“We try to go for a combination of faculty, staff and students from different disciplines (when picking the committee),” Nielson said. “Some people have been on the committee previously and they continue to express an interest.”
Twister Marquiss, director of the Common Experience program, wrote this year’s theme almost two years ago.
“I think this theme is going to appeal to everybody, and that’s probably going to be very helpful,” Marquiss said. “More than anything, it’s going to (start us out positively). It can only be a good thing.”
Lisa Chrans, senior lecturer in the university college, said she is excited for the theme because it is relevant, relatable and accessible to students of all majors.
“This is a positive and hopeful theme that shows students of any background, discipline and experience that they can create and innovate, whether it be art, technology, health, business or a combination of their studies,” Chrans said. “I think Texas State students will embrace this book from beginning to end because it provides a foundation for understanding the creative mind and embraces engagement and risk-taking.”
This year’s theme will include more campus-wide involvement. The Common Experience team is larger than it has ever been, with 78 people working to make this year’s theme a success.
“One of the major things we’re going to do this year is Innovation Week. That’ll be September 24-28. That week we want to try to turn the entire campus into an expo,” Marquiss said. “Every department, division, center, program, college – they can all showcase what it is they do, in any way to reach the widest audience. Whether that’s in the quad or putting on an event, that will be up to them. Students will have a lot of things they can go to.”
No speakers for events have been confirmed yet, but they will be announced soon. For more information and to stay up-to-date with the Common Experience theme, visit the