Common Reader continues with speaking series at Sam

Sam Houston State will continue its examination of Enrique’s Journey next Tuesday, March 1 when the Student Success Initiative presents Immigration and Natural Law. The presentation will be held in Olsen auditorium from 2 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.

Attorney Audrey R. Biggar will speak in the seminar. Biggar has over a decade of experience in the field, and has law offices located in downtown Huntsville. The presentation will cover the current landscape of Immigration Law, a topic thrown around in major debates without significant explanation.

Biggar will walk through the fundamentals of a legal landscape in shift. Immigration and Naturalization Law is one of the hot button topics in the 2016 presidential election and has been brought up in every debate for each party thus far.

Student Success Initiative Program Coordinator Falasha Spruiell said the choice of Enrique’s Journey was well timed with current situations in the United States.

Enrique’s Journey has received praise from students, staff and faculty,” Spruiell said. “There seems to be a lot of support which induces great collaborations. I believe it was a great choice for the Common Reader program.”

The U.S. has seen steady reform in immigration law throughout the 20 century, and the 2001 9/11 attacks caused a flurry of new legislation to be passed. After the 2002 Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act congress continued the push, passing the REAL ID Act in 2005. Now, a decade later, the country is eager for a solution to the many small terrorist threats faced on a regular basis.

For SHSU the issue is even more personal, as the student body is made up of a variety of exchange students and many students with ties outside the country. SHSU is also located in East Texas, not far from the most heated border war in the nation.

As a university with the top criminal justice program in the state, many SHSU graduates will go on to work at border patrol and enforce the law, both present and future which govern it.

Biggar will give all students who attend a groundwork in the laws, essential knowledge for many of the student body who are concerned with the social ethics that surround the conversation of national borders.

The lecture event is one of three which will be held this semester as the university continues its celebration of Sonia Nazario’s book Enrique’s Journey.

Earlier in February SHSU associate professor Charles Heath spoke on one of the many stops along Enrique’s actual journey, a train station in which Heath has visited twice to meet and talk with the migrants.

Later, on March 17 SHSU assistant professor of psychology Amanda Venta will present on the specific mental stresses many migrants face on the long journey, and how the faculty alongside the student body can best help them.

In addition to the speakers, the Common Reader Program also offers a new suite of contests for SHSU students, an essay contest, art contest and daily trivia.

The essay contest will award a $250 prize to the top entrant. The prompt pulls from Nazario’s prologue, as students are challenged to write about what the migrants value in the American lifestyle and what they would sacrifice to obtain it. The deadline is April 1.

The art contest challenges members of the Workshop in Art Studio and History to create a piece that represents their understanding of themes in Enrique’s Journey. First prize for that completion will be $150, $100 for second and $50 for third. The Deadline is April 16.

The last and easiest way to get involved is through the Newton Gresham Library’s daily trivia. Twice a day, Monday through Friday, the library will post a trivia question on their Facebook page (shsulibrary) and award prizes. These trivia questions started in February and will run through April 21.

The contests serve as incentives for students to identify with the story and provides a platform for them to express themselves in an academic environment.

“The additional programing and events for the Common Reader, specifically Enrique’s Journey, encourages students to read and provides an opportunity to open up dialogue about social issues in a safe space,” Spruiell said. “It also fosters a unique collaboration and highlights faculty members who are proficient in the subject matter.”

The Common Reader Program is a way for each college to adapt the book into the specifics of the curriculum.

“Common Reader Program is a way to promote literacy throughout the campus and establishes an intellectual connection between everyone who participates in the program,” Spruiell said. “Each college and department has the flexibility to tailor a curriculum which is specific to their program without loosing the organic theme, messages and lessons of the book.”

For more information regarding the contests, go to Also, anyone who needs a fresh copy of Enrique’s Journey, pick one up in ABIV room 202, the Student Success Initiative Office.

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