News & Announcements

New Students Begin Their College Experience Engaging in a Book Discussion about "Behind the Beautiful Forevers"

08/15/2014, 11:33 AM

Hackettstown, N.J.  – Centenary College has always been innovative when it comes to new student orientation.  Incoming students have the benefit having their belongings carried to their dormitory rooms by Centenary administrators, faculty, staff and student leaders.  They also all participate in a day of volunteerism called the Community Plunge.  Now, for the first year, students will be spending the afternoon before their first day of classes having a discussion about Centenary’s common book, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo.

This year’s project was spearheaded by Dr. Robert Battistini, Assistant Professor of English, Dr. Noah Haiduc-Dale, Assistant Professor of History and Dr. Christine Floether, Associate Professor of Psychology.

“We would like to acquaint our students with another aspect of student life at Centenary right at the beginning of their academic journey,” says Dr. Battistini.  “This activity is also a process of exchanging ideas and conducting a lively discussion with classmates and Centenary College’s accessible faculty.”

Nineteen separate discussions will take place at the same time on the afternoon of August 26, 2014 with 12 students involved in each session. The discussion will only take place that afternoon and it is not part of a larger class assignment.

“Behind the Beautiful Forevers” takes place in a poverty stricken area in India called Annawadi.  It focuses on education, global capital, ethnicity and religion, public health, the effects of living in poverty and the ways that family bonds can persevere through difficult circumstances.

“It is a pleasure to incorporate this exercise within our Orientation 2014 schedule,” says Josh Walker, Director of First and Second Year Experiences at Centenary College.  “It is another method to acclimate first-year students to their new environment.  This time they are engaging in a literary discussion before the semester even officially begins.”

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary College’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix is designed to provide an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. 

Centenary College’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County).  The Centenary College School of Professional Studies offers degree programs in two locations: Parsippany and Edison, and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.  The School of International Programs recruits international students for study at Centenary and Centenary students for study abroad.