2011 Common Book


Each summer, first-year students complete their first college assignment by participating in the Buckeye Book Community. First-year students are given a reading selection during orientation and are asked to complete the reading before they return to campus to be prepared to discuss and analyze what they have read. Students on every Ohio State campus will be reading Outcasts United this summer.

The Buckeye Book Community connects the first-year class through a shared experience and introduces the expectation that college students cultivate a life of learning both in and outside the classroom. 

2011 Common Book: Outcasts United, by Warren St. John

Outcasts United is the story of a refugee soccer team, a remarkable woman coach and a small southern town turned upside down by the process of refugee resettlement.

In the 1990s, that town, Clarkston, Georgia, became a resettlement center for refugees from war zones in Liberia, Congo, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to help keep Clarkston’s boys off the streets. These boys named themselves the Fugees -- short for refugees.

Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees, their families and their charismatic coach as they struggle to build new lives in a fading town overwhelmed by change. Theirs is a story about resilience, the power of one person to make a difference and the daunting challenge of creating community in a place where people seem to have little in common.

Here is an online resource for Outcasts United. Consider searching the internet where you will find many resources to supplement you reading experience.

The Assignment:

At Freshman Welcome Day, Monday, September 19, you will be required to turn in a 2-3 page response paper focusing on Outcasts United on one of the prompts listed below. The assignment is part of your USAS 100.21 course, which is required for all new Ohio State Marion students. The assignment is worth a total of 50 points. 25 points for attending Welcome Day, and a maximum of 25 points for the written paper.

Follow the instructions below and choose a writing prompt from the list provided.  Complete your writing assignment based on the prompt you select. If you quote from the book in your paper, be sure to use correct MLA style citation to document your source.  Be certain that your work is your own.

When you turn in your paper it should:

All papers are to be formatted as follows:

  • Include in the heading of your paper:
    • your name
    • planned major of study
    • name of your advisor
    • your OSU email address  (last name.#)
  • The paper must be typed. Set your document to be typed in 12 pt., Times New Roman font, and double spaced for grading comments
  • Length - two to three double spaced typed full 8.5”x 11” pages
  • Papers should be well thought out, have a clear thesis and argument to support your thesis, using the text for evidence. 

Your paper should be written using one of the following prompts:

Prompt 1—Consider your membership in a specific group. Describe the group. Discuss similarities between your experience in this group and the experiences of the Fugees in Outcasts United.  Explain the reasons you chose to join the group, benefits gained, challenges faced, etc… How was your experience similar or different from that of the Fugees? What do think the experience would have been like for one of the Fugees to join your group and why?  Include in your analysis specific examples from the book.

Prompt 2—Choose a character from the book with whom you identify. Discuss the particular reasons you chose that character and provide specific examples from the book that parallel your own life experience. What can you learn from the character you chose? What advice would you give the character based on your experience? What questions would you ask this character about their experience?

Prompt 3—Examine the challenges and opportunities that arise when immigrants join the consumer population. Use examples that directly connect to your intended major at OSU. For example, if you are pursuing business, what does immigration mean to a business? Would the standardized product have to change (McDonald's bringing in breakfast burritos into the menu)? What would it mean to employ an immigrant? Etc. Use specific examples from the book to connect your ideas. 

Contact your academic advisor if you have questions about the assignment.

Kylie Butte   butte.1@osu.edu

Wolali Dedo   dedo.6@osu.edu

Penny Eyster   eyster.9@osu.edu

Sharon Gattshall   gattshall.2@osu.edu

Louis Hominga   hominga.1@osu.edu

Tom Marshall   marshall.584@osu.edu

Shellie Shirk   shirk.20@osu.edu

Chris Trapp   trapp.22@osu.edu