political essayist and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich, author
of Elon University's common reading, "Nickel and Dimed: On
(Not) Getting By in America," discussed her book in a special
appearance Sept. 14 in Alumni Gym.
book was the common reader selected for Elon's incoming freshman
class this year. It recounts her first-person experience as one
of the millions of Americans who work for poverty-level wages. She
took on entry-level service positions to see if anyone could survive,
let alone prosper, in these jobs. Traveling across the country,
she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing
home aide and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. Very
quickly, she discovered that these low-wage jobs require exhausting
mental and muscular effort.
A chapter of
Ehrenreich's book was published in Harper's magazine in 1999 and
drew widespread interest from readers and the media. The article
also won the Sydney Hullman Award for Journalism and a Brill's Content
writer for Time since 1990, Ehrenreich's books include "The
Worst Years of Our Lives," a New York Times bestseller, and
"Fear of Falling." She has appeared to discuss her work
on national programs such as "Good Morning America," "Crossfire,"
and "All Things Considered." She recently taught in the
Women's Studies Program at Brandeis University.
a committee of Elon students and faculty select a common reader
for incoming students. It provides a common point of reference for
students and faculty at the start of the school year, and each year's
selection is used in classroom discussions and assignments across
the day, Ehrenreich participated in a question-and-answer session
in Whitley Auditorium sponsored by Elon's Office of Cultural Programs,
the Liberal Arts Forum, and the General Studies Program.