Learning to Connect
To help new students get acclimated to academic life, during the summer all incoming students to Kent State read the same book, write an essay in response to reading prompts and then talk about it in discussion groups when they get to campus.
This year’s Common Reading book, selected by the Common Reading Committee and the Office of Student Success Programs, is Everyday Ambassador: Making a Difference by Connecting in a Disconnected World by Kate Otto, a global health consultant and the founder and director of Everyday Ambassador, a network for young people who are currently pursuing or have completed an international service opportunity, fellowship or travel abroad experience.
In Everyday Ambassador, Otto shows us how today’s limitless technology can end up limiting our ability to interact thoughtfully with each other. By focusing on four core values that allow us to become truly connected—empathy, patience, focus and humility—Otto demonstrates that the power of technology is not in the tool, but in the intention of the person using it. She reveals the secrets of how to unite people, even when our differences and divisions seem insurmountable.
“I tried to write a book that I wish I would have had when I was starting college,” says Otto in a welcome message video that was sent to incoming students prior to the start of classes and her appearance on the Kent Campus for Convocation.
“I wrote it to share the lessons that I learned about acclimating to new environments, trying to make a difference, trying to find my own sense of purpose and direction in the world. . . . I look forward to spending time with you and helping through my book and our conversations to tailor your different interests and passions into a specific purpose that you can give to your community here at Kent State and to the whole world one day.”