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Book-in-Common: author Wes Moore leads service projects on campus

By on September 18, 2012
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By Ryan Considine–

There are books written every day intended to inspire their audiences, but are readers inspired to take action?

Wes Moore, author of this year’s Book-in-Common, “The Other Wes Moore,” said “If we’re willing to get engaged, if we’re willing to get involved, then we can really make a substantial and permanent impact, not just in the life of someone else but in the life of our entire society.”

The University of Louisville has organized many service events in conjunction with this year’s Book-in-Common.

What can students at the University of Louisville do to impact their community?  Star Webb, a freshman, answered the question by beginning the West End Book Drive last year.  Students can participate in the event by donating books at drop boxes in McAlister’s, Damon’s Grill, the Ville Grille and other places on campus.  These items will be given to the West End School, a preparatory school for misguided youth.

Webb began the organization simply because she wanted to help people.

“This year it’s been much easier for me because I know people.  They’re willing to help me out, and they believe in me more,” said Webb.

Starting an organization at the University of Louisville takes more than just knowing the right people; you must also know how to advertise and stay organized.  Since Webb began to utilize mass media devices, such as Facebook and Twitter, she has been able to reach a larger audience.

“I think that’s what people pay attention to more than anything these days.”

Alongside the book drive is a food drive. Donations will be given to Dare to Care, a food bank located on Fern Valley Road. The food drive shares the book-drive drop boxes.

According to Christy Metzger, director of the Office of First Year Initiatives, book and food contributions will be the highest during Moore’s keynote speech.  She estimated 700 people attended last year and 900 tickets have already been reserved this year.  When students go online to print their tickets, they are reminded to contribute to the book and food drive. If attendance reaches 900 people, the Student Activities Center could reach full capacity.

Metzger has been impressed by the feedback she has received from U of L students.

“It’s been overwhelmingly positive.  These are issues they really care about and feel they can connect to.”

Metzger believes students are able to relate to Moore because of his strong sense of humanity and compassion.

“When people share their stories, we see shared humanities,” said Metzger.

Webb agrees with this statement because she is able to see the similarities she shares with Moore rather than their differences.  Moore and Webb both grew up with single mothers and received scholarships for their academic excellence, allowing them to receive higher education.  She believes in order to break the cycle of poverty, children must have opportunities to be educated.

“Education means everything.  I was blessed because I went to a private school and received an amazing education.  These kids who grow up in the West End deserve the same thing,” said Webb.

The Wes Moore Keynote presentation will take place Wednesday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the SAC Multi-Purpose Room.  Tickets can be printed online free of charge at WesMooreKeynote.eventbrite.com.

 features@louisvillecardinal.com

Photo courtesy Louisville.edu

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