During a “sneak preview,” San Jacinto College graduate and employee Cassandra Lucio looked over books that were available to students during the College's “Read Across Campus” event. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.
HOUSTON — In conjunction with the National Education Association’s Read Across America initiative, San Jacinto College hosted a Read Across Campus event recently during which free books were available to students.
Approximately 1,200 “leisure” reading books were donated by San Jacinto College faculty and staff for Read Across Campus, a project conceived and coordinated by Dr. Bill Raffetto, provost of the San Jacinto College North Campus, the site of the book give-away. The inventory included fiction and non-fiction books of many genres, such as mysteries, romance, western stories, science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, biographies, and children’s books.
“The premise of the national Read Across America initiative is that motivating students to read is an important factor in academic achievement,” commented Dr. Raffetto. “Our local Read Across Campus event is a way of facilitating that objective. Reading obviously is vital to education and learning, but I also personally enjoy reading just for leisure and adventure. That is why we focused on collecting recreational books, not text or reference books, to offer for free to students. We want to make them lifelong readers.”
Dr. Raffetto admits he was not sure if there would be a good turnout for the Read Across Campus project. However, there was a huge turnout, and all the donated books were taken in a short amount of time. “I was pleasantly surprised at the response and the success,” he commented. “It’s the digital age, and so you never know how people, especially young people, will respond to an event that’s all about print products. Students at the event were excited and appreciative, and there already has been a lot of positive feedback.”
San Jacinto College graduate Cassandra Lucio, who works part-time at the College while pursuing a baccalaureate degree at the University of Houston, was one of the first ones to browse through stacks of books during a sneak preview in the provost’s office. Lucio has been an avid reader since childhood, and like most of her generation she spends a lot of time on her smartphone and other digital devices. Yet, she prefers print over digital books for recreational reading.
“It may seem crazy to some, but I just like everything about a print book,” she commented. “I like the feel of a paper book in my hands. I even like the smell of older books. Reading print on paper seems to be easier on my eyes, and I can focus better on the subject matter because digital content is nearly always so busy and distracting.”
For leisure reading, Lucio enjoys classic novels. Some of her favorites are Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Northanger Abby.” Others are George Orwell’s “1984” and “Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie.
Lucio said she was glad San Jacinto College coordinated the Read Across Campus book giveaway. “I think some of my generation might not read a lot because they think books have no interest to them,” she said. “An event like Read Across Campus can be beneficial because it can help someone discover how interesting and entertaining books can be.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.