Freshman Connections

The True American Summer Assignments

#1 Discussion Group Preparation Assignment:

You will need to complete these questions as preparation for the book discussion groups on Sunday, August 21, 2016. One or more of these questions may be used to guide your discussion.

1. Take a few minutes to review maps of the use of the death penalty in the US by typing “Maps of death penalty in America” into your search engine.  What trends are revealed in the maps as you look at them over time?  How do regions of the country vary?  Why do you think this variation exists?

2. Take a few minutes to review the chart at Be prepared to discuss the sequence of events in the criminal justice system.

3. Take a few minutes to review the entries at the comparative religions chart at: What are some similarities across the various religions represented?

4. Take a few minutes to read the excerpt about Islam in America from the site:  How was Islam introduced to the United States? How many followers of Islam currently live in the United States?  What is a question that you have about Islam that you would like to learn more about?

5. The author Anand Giridharadas  and Raisuddin Bhuiyan will be on campus on September 20th and will present at 7:30pm in Emens auditorium.  What question would you like to ask them?

#2 Common Writing Experience Essay Assignment:

Once you’ve finished reading the book, log on to the Freshman Common Writing Experience Site at to learn more about the essay.

You will then log in to the Freshman Blackboard Community on the Ball State University website at any time beginning July 15 and before August 15.  We will send you an e-mail when the date approaches.  When you log in, you will receive a prompt asking you to compose an essay on one of two specific questions, ideas, or issues raised by the book. You will have two hours to complete the essay, so be sure that you have sufficient time and are ready to write when you log in. This data may be used for assessment purposes and will not affect your course placement. All students participating in Freshman Connections Common Reading Program are expected to complete this assignment, regardless of current placement in the Writing Program or prior credit (AP, dual-credit, transfer, or other) for one or more Writing Program courses; if you've received such credit, you will still receive credit for those courses.

If you have any questions please e-mail us


Freshman Connections
Melinda M. Messineo Department of Sociology
Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana 47306

Phone: 765-285-5530
Fax: 765-285-5920
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