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UWS has launched an initiative to maximise the unifying power of reading to help new students settle into university life.

Around 500 new and direct entry students from the University’s School of Business & Enterprise BA Business course were given a special copy of Gail Honeyman’s award-winning debut novel, ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ as they embarked on their studies. The copies included a letter from both the author and Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS.

Now, students, staff and interested members of the public are being given the opportunity to attend an audience with Gail Honeyman at UWS’ Paisley campus on Thursday 22 November to take part in a question and answer session and hear a reading from the author.

The idea behind the initiative is that books bring people together, giving new students something in common to talk about from day one, helping them to feel more welcome in their new environment.

Dr Claire Carney, Associate Vice-Principal Education UWS, headed up the project, she said: “Student wellbeing is of primary concern here at UWS and this initiative aims to support students transitioning to university by providing them with something to talk about and bond over from day one.

“In choosing our ‘Big Read’ book we explored a range of different novels before settling on this one as it tackles important issues that face all students of today and it focuses on the inspirational and transformational power of small acts of kindness.”

The project by UWS, in partnership with Kingston University, received funding from Scottish Library and Information Council’s Innovation and Development Fund. UWS has worked collaboratively with Scottish Book Trust, West College Scotland, Renfrewshire Council School Libraries and East Renfrewshire Libraries. In addition, the Students Association University of the West of Scotland (SAUWS) has also got behind the initiative.

“We recognise the role academic libraries play in supporting learning, teaching and research needs but we strongly believe that libraries can play more of a role in supporting the wellbeing and leisure needs of our students and staff."
Jeanette Castle, Library Services Manager at UWS Paisley

Jeanette Castle, Library Services Manager at UWS Paisley said: “We recognise the role academic libraries play in supporting learning, teaching and research needs but we strongly believe that libraries can play more of a role in supporting the wellbeing and leisure needs of our students and staff. By forming partnerships with libraries in the surrounding local area, we are hoping to forge new connections and explore how libraries across the sector can support students through this shared reading project.

“Our aim is to see our students’ confidence and resilience grow thanks to this community of support that has been created through reading.”

Students and staff are now gearing up for their evening with the author Gail Honeyman on Thursday 22 November from 5pm to 7pm at UWS’ Paisley campus. Some spaces will be made available to interested members of the public, but please note spaces are limited.

To book a place visit https://uwsbigread2018.eventbrite.co.uk

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