Common Read

The Common Read book selection engages the community through readings, speakers and other events throughout the fall semester. You will discuss this book with fellow freshman as you enter life at Arcadia.

Enter the Essay Contest     Submit a question for Q&A with David Hogg

2019 Book

Glimmer of Hope
by the founders of March for Our Lives

Collectively written by survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Glimmer of Hope features a series of personal essays and interviews addressing the issues of gun violence and social activism. The book showcases how young people, driven by a commitment to social justice, can band together, redirect the national conversation, and drive policy change.

David Hogg, one of the book’s contributors, will be speaking at Arcadia University on October 14, 2019.

On February 14, 2018, David’s life changed forever. As a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he lost friends, classmates and teachers. A total of 17 people were killed when a lone teen gunman sprayed bullets from a high-powered military assault rifle. David’s eloquent responses to America’s largest school shooting immediately placed him in the national and international media spotlight. Committed to becoming an agent for change, he resolved that no other young person should have to experience the tragic impact of gun violence. He joined with friends from high school to co-found March For Our Lives, now one of the world’s largest youth-led movements. Five weeks after the shooting, March For Our Lives mobilized one of the biggest demonstrations in the nation’s history. Speaking before an estimated 800,000 protestors in Washington, D.C., David declared, “The sun shines on a new day—and it is ours!”

Praise for Glimmer of Hope:

Glimmer of Hope provides a blueprint for launching social change.” —

“This is a clarion call to action for teens, by teens, and is moving and powerful.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“This collaborative collection of essays by friends and family of Parkland victims exudes optimism and conviction…a must buy.” —School Library Journal

2019 Essay Contest: Glimmer of Hope

Read and share your ideas!

All first-year students are eligible to enter the Common Read Essay Contest. The winner will receive a cash prize and the opportunity to meet David Hogg and participate in a group dinner with him.

Deadline: Wednesday, September 25, at 11:59 p.m.

2019 Contest Topic:

You have read Glimmer of Hope, which features the voices of young people your age. They discuss how to create change in the world, how to get powerful politicians and leaders to listen to their concerns, and how to build momentum and passion on gun reform—an issue about which they care deeply. In doing so, they join a long tradition of youth movements that drive important social changes in the United States. What do you think are the most urgent problems for your generation to take up and push toward solutions? Why? How can young people make a difference? What obstacles are they likely to face? What support do they need from older generations? How does Glimmer of Hope inform your thinking on this?

Rules for the Competition:


  • All first-year students at Arcadia University are eligible to participate.


  • Submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25, 2019
  • Essays must be submitted online

Essay Format and Length:

  • Essays should be 2-3 pages (no submissions longer than 3 pages will be accepted), typed, double spaced, with one-inch margins and 12-point font
  • All essays should have a title
  • The first page of the essay should list the writer’s name and Arcadia email address


  • The winner receives (1) the opportunity to personally meet and talk with the author at a special group reception, (2) a cash prize (for first place and honorable mention), and (3) public recognition from the First-Year Experience and the English Department. The award-winning essay will be eligible for inclusion in the Landman Library Digital Repository (ScholarWorks at Arcadia).

Judging Criteria:

  • Originality and depth of thought
  • Clarity of expression
  • Ability to make meaningful connections between the book and the broader world


  • Essays will be read and evaluated by a panel of judges from the English Department and the First-Year Experience.

Any questions about the Common Read Essay Contest should be directed to Dr. Rachel Collins at