Common Reading Experience | Kent State University


Common Reading Experience

Kent State University 2018 Common Reading Book Announced

The Common Reading Committee and the Office of Student Success Programs are pleased to announce the selection of this year’s Kent State Common Reading book Everyday Ambassador: Make a Difference by Connecting in a Disconnected World by Kate Otto.

In Everyday Ambassador Kate Otto brings people together even as our digital networks pull us further apart. In a world of limitless technology, we are more connected than ever before but our hyper-connected lifestyles threaten our ability to know ourselves and interact with each other. By focusing on the four core values that allow us to become truly “connected” in tech-centric societies—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.


Everyday Ambassador offers a unique solution to those who aspire to truly make a difference in the twenty-first century—revealing the secrets of how to unite people, even when technology keeps us at a distance from others—emotionally and physically. Otto helps us lift our heads up from our cell phones and tablets and take a look at the people standing right in front of us.

In a time when good citizenship is the new currency of cool, Everyday Ambassador gives us the tactics to connect in our disconnected world.

About the author: Kate Otto is the founder and director of Everyday Ambassador, a network for young individuals who are currently pursuing or have completed an international service opportunity, fellowship, or travel abroad experience. She is also a global health consultant who has worked for several development institutions and grassroots organizations, including The World Bank and USAID. She writes for Huffington Post and Christian Science Monitor and currently lives in New York City.

"Kate Otto is the ultimate example of how someone can mobilize the spirit, the heart, and a true love for mankind
to become an everyday ambassador...We all have a role to play in building a more peaceful world for future generations,
and this book shows us how to act in order to build that better future."
– Alicia Keys, activist and Grammy Award-winning artist


What is the Common Reading Experience?

The Common Reading Experience is designed to welcome and connect incoming students to the Kent State University academic community. It is our hope that reading the book will provide common ground for our new students to share with their peers. The objectives of the program are:

To help students get acclimated to the academic life of the university.
To provide students with an understanding of the university values, principles, and standards.
To build and maintain relationships that foster success with peers, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members.

All new students will compose an essay which includes responses to the prompts in the Common Reading Assignment and submit an electronic copy of their essay to The experience, as a whole, will help to build a supportive and encouraging atmosphere that will ease the transition to university life.

Everyday Ambassador by Kate Otto is available at the Kent State University Bookstore for $16.00.
Visit the first floor of the Kent Student Center or order online with FREE SHIPPING

Common Reading Assignment (PDF)

Common Reading FAQs

Who Participates in the Common Reading Experience?

All new first-year students will participate.

Where will the Common Reading Discussion take place?

You will be notified of your Common Reading Discussion location when you check in for Welcome Weekend. Students will meet with their First Year Experience (FYE) class as their assigned group for the discussion. You will NOT be in your regularly scheduled FYE course location. 

Is the book for a class?

This experience is intended as an academic component to help with your transition to Kent State University and the book is not tied to a specific class. Some FYE Instructors and other course instructors adopt the book for their course for the semester. It is not an expectation of FYE instructors to adopt the book as part of the class

Do I need to type my essay?

Yes, please type your responses to the prompts in essay format. Be sure to include your name and email address on the page. 

How long does my essay need to be?

Your essay should total 1-2 pages in length. A strong essay will answer all four assignment prompts.

Will I be turning in my essay?

Yes, you are required to email your essay to by January 16, 2018.