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USO Show Introduces Freshman Students to WWII-Era

09- 13- 2006

Spartanburg, S.C. - The Campus Life Center Ballroom at the University of South Carolina Upstate will be magically transformed into a World War II USO Show on Thursday, September 14 at 6:00 p.m. as the English faculty members will perform comedy monologs, specialty acts, dances, songs, and skits. This event will set the stage for the Freshman Reading and Writing Experience entitled Preface.

The freshman class will take part in a special reading, writing, and discussion experience during the fall semester as they read When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka. When the Emperor Was Divine is a short, intense novel that presents the story of a single family to evoke the experience of being Japanese in America during World War II. 

"The novel deepens our knowledge of the historical period; but more significantly, it provides a forum for us to ask important questions about our world today," said Brenda Davenport, who teaches English and is the director of the Writing Center. "As we come together to read, discuss, and write about When the Emperor Was Divine, we hope to begin a conversation that will last far beyond the students' studies at USC Upstate."

The intent of this program is to help USC Upstate freshmen make connections to each other and to the University and to practice the skills that contribute to success in college. On October 11, Julie Otsuka will be on campus to read and discuss her novel. Other related activities include faculty-led discussions, informal student discussions, a student-led conference and a commemoration of peace to be held on December 7. In addition, Japanese mini cultural experiences such as sushi rolling classes, making origami cranes, participating in a Japanese tea ceremony, and learning Japanese conversation starters will be held.