Photo of USC Upstate First-Year Student Taking a Selfie with Sparty Mascot

Preface First-Year Reading and Writing Program

Preface is a first-year reading program that introduces students to the joy of reading critically and using academic disciplines and methods to approach complex issues. Preface combines guided reading of a selected text with co-curricular events in which students discuss questions raised by the text with university, community and national experts. During this program, first-year students read the Preface text in English 101 and most University 101 courses and attend related events throughout the fall semester.

While Preface is geared primarily toward first-year students, it offers a calendar of events that are relevant to a wide range of university courses as well as the community. Events are planned in close cooperation with USC Upstate departments organizations and are free and open to the public. This fall, first-year writing students will read The Weight of This World, a novel by David Joy. The Weight of This World represents a new generation of Southern literature that combines a deep love of the places and communities of Appalachia with an unflinching look at the realities of our lives. The events of the 2018 Preface series will explore the challenges and opportunities of Our Changing South

The Weight of This WorldThe Weight of This World book cover

Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut Where All the Light Tends to Go was hailed as a "savagely moving novel that will probably become a great addition to the great body of Southern literature" (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountans of North Carolina with a powerful story about the weight of the past. 

A combat veteran returned from war, Thad Broom cannot leave the hardened world of Afghanistan behind, nor can he forgive himself for what he saw there. His mother, April, is haunted by her own demons, a secret trauma she has carried for years, and she wants nothing more than to escape the unforgiving town that holds only bad memories. Between them is Aiden McCall, who is deeply loyal to both but unable to hold them together.

Connected by bonds of circumstance and duty, friendship and love, these three lives are blown apart when Aiden and Thad witness the accidental death of their drug dealer and a riot of dope and cash drops in their laps. In a meth-fueled journey to nowhere, they will either find the grit to overcome the darkness or be consumed by it.--from "About The Weight of This World," Penguin Random House 

Preface Goals

The intent of this series of programs is to help USC Upstate first-year students make connections to each other and to the university and community, to practice skills and explore ideas that contribute to success in college, and to discuss how a deeper understanding of a shared reading can inform the way we make personal decisions and influence public policy today.

2018 Schedule of Events: Our Changing South

"I wanted to make a difference, but it is just so hard": Reflecting on the Experiences of Latinx K-12 Teachers in the Southeast": Speaker Timothy Monreal

September 17, 2018, 4pm-5:30pm, Tukey Theatre, USC Upstate Library Building
Educator Tim Monreal shares perspectives on the New Latinx South. This talk outlines the context for Latinx teachers in the Southeast and shares research about the experiences of Latinx teachers in South Carolina, where only 1% of all teachers identify as "Hispanic." Sponsored by the Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies Talks on Civic Leadership and Mentoring.

photo portrait of David Joy, author of The Weight of This World. Photo from David Joy's Twitter Profile @DavidJoy_AuthorKeynote Speaker: David Joy, author of The Weight of This World

September 25, 2018, 6pm-7pm, Sansbury Campus Life Center Ballroom
Enjoy a reading and discussion with North Carolina writer David Joy, author of our Preface novel and his latest book, The Line That Held Us. Joy is one of the leading voices in the new generation of Appalachian literature. Sponsored by USC Upstate Student Life.

Community Health Workers--How PASOs Puts Paulo Freire's Pedagogy into Practice: Speaker Mike Young

September 27, 2018, 12pm-1:30pm, Sansbury Campus Life Center Ballroom
PASOs is a community-based organization that provides South Carolina's Latino communities with culturally responsive education on family health, early childhood, and positive parenting skills; individual guidance for participants in need of resources; and partnership with health care and social service providers to help them provide more effective services. Mike Young, director of capacity building at PASOs, will discuss the impact of following Paulo Freire's principles of community education and empowerment to fulfill the PASOs mission. Sponsored by the Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies Talks on Civic Leadership and Mentoring.