One Book One Northwestern centers climate change in this year’s programming


Daily file illustration by Joanne Haner

This year’s One Book One Northwestern selection is geobiologist Hope Jahren’s “The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where To Go From Here.”

Callie Morgan, Reporter

One Book One Northwestern, an annual program that engages the community in conversation about a selected book, is kicking off a year of events promoting sustainability. 

This year’s selection is geobiologist Hope Jahren’s “The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where To Go From Here.” The committee looks for books that will appeal to the Northwestern community at large and involve several University departments, student ambassador Bobby Read said.

“Right now, climate change is one of the biggest issues facing our society,” the SESP senior said. “Bringing this book this year to… focus on climate change and reform around it — and trying to bring in different ways for students to realize how the way they are living impacts our society in a much broader way — is really important.”

“The Story of More” was chosen from a list of more than 80 nominations submitted by members of the NU community last fall, many of which were about climate change. The One Book selection committee read and discussed a handful of books before submitting its top two choices to University President Morton Schapiro, who made the final decision.

 McCormick Prof. William Miller, the One Book faculty chair, said part of the program’s mission is to connect with student organizations and help them advertise, plan and fund their own events relating to sustainability. The One Book team is currently working with Associated Student Government and a committee of students leading sustainability initiatives across campus to exchange ideas for events.

“We look out and say, ‘What’s already happening on campus that’s related to this topic?’” Miller said. “It’s a lot of reaching out to encourage people to develop activities or let the community know about existing activities.” 

Along with connecting with existing student initiatives, One Book has several speaker events and symposiums planned throughout the year. The NU community will get the chance to hear from Jahren at an Oct. 28 virtual keynote address. Students can subscribe to the One Book newsletter to receive weekly updates on upcoming events.

One Book Director Nancy Cunniff said these events are aimed to educate the NU community about the topic of the year’s book.

“If you’re totally unfamiliar with the topic, there’s so much programming made available to you,” Cunniff said. “It’s almost like taking a course in that topic.” 

Upcoming events include an Oct. 9 screening of “Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm,” a documentary about local farmer Henry Brockman, in the McCormick Auditorium at Norris University Center. Before and after the screening, members of Wild Roots — a student organization focused on sustainability, social justice and food systems — will give tours of the student-run garden at Norris. Brockman will also be available to meet students at the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market that morning and at the post-screening discussion.

Students will also have an opportunity to win cash prizes in two upcoming contests. In the photo contest, students can submit an original photo that reflects origins of, consequences or solutions to climate change to be considered for a prize of up to $300, Miller said. Submissions will be available for viewing at the Dittmar Gallery, and the community will have a chance to vote for the “People’s Choice” winner.

Freshmen and transfer students are also eligible to participate in an essay contest. One Book is awarding $500 to the student with the best response to a prompt about lifestyle changes they can make to reduce climate change. Winners for both contests will be announced in October. 

Read said he’s looking forward to seeing the change One Book can spark with this year’s selection.

“Our generation are the people that are going to have to step up and do something about climate change,” Read said. “And that really starts at the university level.” 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @calliemorgan02

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