Common Theme

Every year, St. Edward’s chooses a Common Theme - a theme that guides programming and discussions across campus.  Building from this theme, we also chose a common book that elaborates upon this theme.  The author of the common book comes to campus for a lecture and all incoming freshmen read the book before arrival providing shared experiences and discussions.

At St. Edward’s we also have a common theme play that all freshmen attend, expanding further their shared knowledge and experience. 

Our 2013-2014 common theme is Expanding Human Rights. Our incoming students will read Half the Sky by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. To find out more about the book and the website, please visit --

On October 3, 2013, leading activist Jackson Katz will come to campus to discuss ways to fight violence against women. His talk with begin at 7:00PM in the Recreation & Convocation Center. Learn about his work by watching his recent TEDTalk at:

This year's theme is Expanding Human Rights; the book is Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Pulitzer-prize winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. In Half the Sky the authors argue that “in the 19th century, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.” The book chronicles women and men across the globe who are fighting this violence. It illustrates that "ordinary" people can become activists, and it asks readers to consider what they will do in the face of injustice. We chose Half the Sky because it so clearly embodies our mission to confront the critical issues of society and seek justice and peace.

     Renowned activist Jackson Katz is coming to campus in October to speak about ways to combat violence against women, and one of our last fall events will be a panel of local activists who will help us think about opportunities to act.

Click here for an Archive of previous Annual Common Themes.