Bulletin News

Book Club to unwind 'Braiding Sweetgrass'


SUNY Cortland’s Student Book Club will have something substantial to digest on Wednesday, Oct. 25, when they meet to discuss the university’s year-long “common read” title, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.

Students from the SUNY Cortland chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international honor society for students of English, will begin analyzing the first section of the 2013 nonfiction work by Robin Wall Kimmerer at 7 p.m. in Corey Union, Room 209.


Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, N.Y., and a MacArthur Fellow.

The Oct. 25 event is the first in a monthly series by the Student Book Club, where each session will focus on a different subset of chapters in the book. An electronic copy of Braiding Sweetgrass is available for free through the university’s Memorial Library. Login to MyRedDragon and select the Library tab to search the title.

Braiding Sweetgrass is a collection of thought-provoking essays that invites readers to explore their relationships with the environment on both personal and systemic levels.

“Kimmerer brings together Indigenous wisdom and practices in Western botany to emphasize and embrace our reciprocity with the natural world,” said Abigail Droge, a CICC organizer an assistant professor of British literature and culture in the English Department.

“The book takes a new approach to food, showing us that the plants and animals that feed us are not just a source of bodily nourishment, but also our family and our teachers,” Droge said. “Part of the joy of reading  Braiding Sweetgrass  in Cortland is that many of the interwoven narratives that make up the book take place locally in our Central New York landscape.”

The talk continues the university’s annual, yearlong academic series of lectures, discussions, film screenings and art exhibitions framed this year on the theme of “Food.” Organized by the university’s Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee (CICC), an all-campus group of faculty and staff appointed by the provost, events in the series are free and open to the public.

As part of the “Food” series, the CICC also will partner with local organizations such as the Cortland Food Project to explore the many facets of food on the campus and in the community. 

To submit an event, volunteer to support this year’s activities and programming, or for more information, visit the “Food” website at cortland.edu/cicc or contact organizer Benjamin Wilson, associate professor and chair of the Economics Department, at 607-753-2436.