For the last three years, SPS has contributed to a major university initiative, “NYU Reads,” which brings students and the entire university community together around a single, common reading. Each school is invited to submit a nomination, working with a theme suggested by the University. This year, the theme was “environmental justice,” and the final selection made by the University committee was put forward by two schools–NYU SPS and NYU Liberal Studies.
The SPS “NYU Reads” committee spent several months last fall reading books on this important topic, and ultimately put forth Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Kimmerer. The author, a botanist, mother, scientist, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of environmental biology, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatoni Nation, is a mesmerizing storyteller. She shares legends from her Potawatomi ancestors as well as reflections on family, motherhood, our relationship to the land, ecological awareness, sustainable agriculture, and much more. She embraces a culture of gratitude so important in the challenging times in which we live. The book lends itself to wide discussion on many topics and will be explored through SPS book clubs and discussion groups. A hearty thanks to the SPS “NYU Reads” committee members for their hard work— Stuart Brodsky, Andrea Chambers (committee chair), Michelle D’Amico, Lisa DiCaprio, Bruno Eekels, Caitlin Enz, Ted Hayduk, Karen Krahulik, Alicia Kubes, and Debbie Un.