Indiana University East’s “One Book, Many Voices” project this year will feature a memoir by Indiana native Paige Rawl. Positive is about her experiences with bullying and her life with HIV.
Rawl, a native of Indianapolis, is currently majoring in molecular biology at Ball State University. She is an accomplished speaker and an inspirational figure. Born HIV-positive and bullied severely in middle school because of her HIV status, Rawl decided to take a stand and to speak out by sharing her story. She has become a national youth advocate, antibullying crusader, and powerful HIV/AIDS educator.
She has been featured in USA Today, People, Seventeen, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, the Huffington Post, and Poz. Rawl was named Miss Indiana Teen Essence 2011 and Miss Indiana High School America 2012.
IU East’s selection committee choose Positive based on the recommendations of students, faculty and staff. Positive was selected for its readability, personal connection to readers, and for its importance of community discussion on social issues including bullying.
In its fourth annual year at IU East, the “One Book, Many Voices” mission is to foster a campus and community discussion about themes and ideas inspired by a common text in an effort to develop camaraderie, inform knowledge, and inspire action towards positive civic engagement and improvement.
Frances Yates, library director and coordinator for this year’s “One Book” project, encourages campus and community participation to share stories about experiences in overcoming challenges. Stories can be submitted anonymously at iue.edu/onebook.
“The book, Positive, provides opportunities to discuss the important issues of bullying and HIV as well as mental health, interpersonal relationships, and how to develop strategies to cope with challenging circumstances and issues that many people may encounter,” Yates said.
Incoming freshman students are provided a copy of the book.
Prudence Nelson is an instructor for First-Year Seminar, a course for all new students to help them succeed in their first semester at IU East. Nelson said one goal of First-Year Seminar is to prepare students for the personal and academic challenges ahead of them.
Nelson added Rawl’s memoir of growing up HIV positive, being bullied and overcoming bullying, becoming an anti-bullying advocate and HIV educator, offers fertile ground for discussion as students enter into dialogue with each other, first through reading and discussion, and then directly with Rawl during her visit to campus.
“As new students gain experience with discussion and writing, they benefit from readings that allow them to draw on their own personal histories. Positive should resonate with First-Year Seminar students’ experience with inclusion and exclusion, pressures toward conformity, and instances of independence, courage and resistance. Rawl’s personal journey may well generate discussions of resilience, considering how people struggle with adversity and persist in moving forward toward their goals,” Nelson said.
Marisa Vanzant is a sophomore majoring in Secondary English Education at IU East.
“I’m very excited for this year’s ‘One Book’, Positive. The many themes and issues the book raises, such as bullying awareness, HIV/AIDS education, and the idea that one person can make a difference, are very important,” Vanzant said. “Many people, including students and community members, will be able to relate. The ‘One Book, Many Voices’ project as a whole is a great way for IU East students, as well as the community at large, to come together and discuss, share personal stories, and simply enjoy a good book.”
Rawl will visit Richmond and speak at an event open to the public at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, in IU East’s Vivian Auditorium, located in Whitewater Hall. A book signing will follow in the lobby.
Free tickets are available online at iueonebook2015.eventbrite.com.
The community is invited to join the discussion on Positive by sharing about HIV, bullying, supporting others and overcoming challenges on social media with the hashtag #iueonebook.
Connect with others reading the book by attending events and through social media including:
IU East website: iue.edu/onebook
Twitter: @iueast and hashtag #iueonebook
Resources and information on Paige Rawl, HIV/AIDS, bullying and suicide are available through the Campus Library Libguide at http://iue.libguides.com/onebook2015.
For more information about “One Book, Many Voices,” visit iue.edu/onebook.