San Marcos,
08:42 AM

One Book, One University: A Look Into Social Justice

By Whitney Frasier

Students and faculty looking for a rewarding way to pass the time this academic year may want to participate in the University’s annual Common Read program. Much like a traditional book club, the program at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) encourages people to read a book and partake in events and discussions for shared perspectives and a sense of community.

This year’s Common Read selection is “Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution” by Peter Matthiessen.

”Sal Si Puedes” is based on the author’s experience working and traveling with Cesar Chavez. Chavez, an American labor activist and leader of the United Farm Workers during the 20th century, began organizing farm workers into a union in Sal Si Puedes, a San Jose barrio. Matthiessen, who was an American novelist and CIA agent, provides a candid look into the many sides of this enigmatic and charismatic leader.

“This an excellent book for CSUSM, given our campus values of educational equity and social justice, our status as a Hispanic Serving Institution, our Pathways to Academic Success and Opportunities (PASO) program, and the upcoming 20th anniversary celebration of the Cesar Chavez statue,” said Melanie Chu, outreach librarian.

Complementing this year’s book selection, the University Library will host a lecture with Marc Grossman, Chavez’s longtime spokesman, speechwriter and personal aide, on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

What I Learned from Cesar Chavez: An Evening with Marc Grossman of the Chavez Foundation
Wednesday, November 30 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
University Student Union; Ballroom

Marc Grossman served as Cesar Chavez’ press secretary, speechwriter and personal aide for 24 years. Grossman provides unique insight into the complex life and legacy of Cesar Chavez, including Chavez’s transformational vision of what a union could be and why he was the first to successfully organize farm workers. Grossman is the author of the new foreword to “Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can).”

CSUSM Students: Free
Faculty/Staff/Alumni: Free
Community: $5

Previous Common Reads include:

2015-16: “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousafzai.

2014-15: “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore.

2013-14: “This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women” by Jay Allison.

2012-13: “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson.

2011-12: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.

Visit for more information on this year’s Common Read.