Getting Started at Adelphi

2016 First Year Community Reads Response Contest

First Year Community Reads Award
The First Year Experience Committee awards one incoming first year student a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble for an outstanding response to the AU Community Reads book selection. See the 2015-16 winner.

What does it mean to “embody”? To become the perfect example of? To take an abstract concept and make it real? In Between the World and Me, his 2015 National Book Award winning essay, Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a powerful example, laying out to his son the ways in which ideas about power, violence, freedom, and “the Dream” collide—often terrifyingly, frustratingly, fatally—in racialized bodies. Coates speaks of an American legacy of embodied racial violence—once again prominent in news bylines like “Emanuel AME Church,” or on-stage at the Grammy awards with Kendrick Lamar—challenging readers with questions like:

  • Does identity (racial, ethnic, gendered) have any use beside excluding others?
  • What does individual responsibility mean within historical and political systems?
  • For what do we struggle if “the Dream” is simply a euphemism for fear of “the other”?

Throughout the upcoming year, the Adelphi community will consider these questions within classes and without, in discussions, exhibits, and events (including a presentation by Ta-Nehisi Coates on Wednesday, October 5) as part of its AU Community Reads program.

We invite you to take up these issues with a response to Coates’s book to be submitted for the First-Year Experience Committee’s annual First Year Community Reads Award.

NOTE: You do NOT need to purchase a copy of the book; a copy has already been purchased for you and will be given to you at Orientation.

While essay responses are always welcome, this year we encourage you to embody your submission in other formats:

  • a sculpture
  • a poem
  • a performed piece
  • a short documentary film

Submissions will be considered for the award—a $250 gift-card to Barnes and Noble—on their own merits. They should identify and pursue a clear purpose aware of the complexity and significance of the issues Coates examines, and attempt to advance a serious discussion on race. If referencing ideas outside of your own—i.e. using someone else’s words, modifying someone else’s theme, etc.—be sure to credit those ideas appropriately and in accordance with Adelphi’s Code of Academic Honesty.

If you are interested in participating, please email your submission to by Monday, September 12. If you have an entry Write “First Year Community Reads Award” in the subject heading. Include your name, ID #, address, and phone number in the email.

» Check book availability at Adelphi Libraries

» View our Library Guide
Explore our Library Guide to read about the author, hear a reading of the poem the book was named after, delve further into themes of the book and learn about African American history and culture.

If you have an entry that cannot be submitted electronically, or with further questions about this contest, please contact:

First Year Experience Committee

Sarah Eltabib
p – 516.877.3444
e –

Jennifer Walsh
p – 516.877.3488
e –

Submissions are encouraged but not mandatory. You should create one if you feel you have something to say.  We are confident that you do, and look forward to hearing it. 
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