Courtyard Chatter: Wednesday, February 21, 2014

Reading: The App for Life

Reading: The App for Life
By Anna Masters

It is a rare event that attracts a maximum capacity, daytime crowd to our Performance Hall. It's even rarer to have over 700 students so enthralled by a guest speaker that they stay at the event through the start of their next class period. And rarer still that over 100 students waited in line one hour or more to get their The Other Wes Moore books signed. This is what happened with the Open Book/QEP event "Wes Moore Speaks!"

The Open Book Committee and the QEP would like to take this month's Reading: The App For Life editorial to thank everyone that made this event such a success and to share with you some statistics and student comments. Staging an event of this caliber requires the coordination and efforts of many people. Many thanks to go the Theater Department for the use of the theater and the talents of the lighting and sound group. The Office of Student Life did an exceptional job of hosting the book signing and helping to greet and usher students into the theater. The support of our instructors - those that promoted the event to their classes and those that allowed their students to attend - were an integral part of the success of the attendance - and we thank you. And to everyone else that supported, promoted, discussed and prompted students to attend, we offer our thanks as well.

By the numbers:

  • 700+ student attendees (750+ total attendees)
  • 20+ students waiting for the Performance Hall doors to open 30 minutes before the start of the event
  • 40 copies of The Other Wes Moore purchased in the Performance Hall lobby from Follett's Mobile Bookstore immediately after the event
  • 100+ waited in line to have their books signed
  • 1 hour – the length of time some people waited to have their books signed
  • All copies of The Other Wes Moore in our Library continue to be checked out

An online survey for event attendees was opened immediately after the event. 204 people took the survey, of which we know that 183 were students (this represents a 26% survey response rate based on estimated student attendees.) Some survey results:

Brookhaven College should continue to provide this type of activity for students.
Strongly Agree = 78% Agree = 19%

The presentation and Q&A session enhanced my overall educational experience.
Strongly Agree = 55% Agree = 36%

The opportunity to participate in book events and book signings is important to me as a Brookhaven College student.
Strongly Agree = 61% Agree = 28%

Brookhaven College events that allow me to explore my interests through stories and poetry are an important part of my college experience.
Strongly Agree = 41% Agree = 47%

Reading a book like The Other Wes Moore provides me with the opportunity to learn about life and appreciate the experiences of others.
Strongly Agree = 54% Agree = 35%

Attending an event like "Wes Moore Speaks!" helps me connect books to my own experiences.
Strongly Agree = 56% Agree = 33%

Attending the Wes Moore talk helped me better understand the author's message and purpose.
Strongly Agree = 70% Agree = 25%

Some (62 total) Survey Comments:
One of the best lectures I've ever attended
Great experience. He was so inspiring and insightful!
Loved the experience!
I really enjoyed the presentation. Wes Moore's Q&A really helped inspire me and help me view myself differently. I'm looking forward to another opportunity such as this one.
He was rad as heck
Events like this help students and open their eyes. Thank you, and it was great!
Do not be afraid to try something hard in your life. Be brave! Never give up!
Please bring more speakers to Brookhaven, like Wes Moore, whom the students can relate to.
I love what he said about us being products of our own expectations.

With the last comment above, I'll close this month's column. As Wes Moore stated in his presentation, his book isn't about two boys from the same neighborhood, living with similar family circumstances, with the same environmental pressures. The book is about expectations. This can be said for us and our students as readers. If we set the expectation, it can happen. And we are.