Virtual Engagement

Book Club

The Southwestern University Alumni Association invites you to be a part of the SU Book Club. Join us for our regular book club format, or for our ongoing series, “Let’s Talk About It.”

Participate in the SU Book Club

Register to participate in the SU Book Club.  Southwestern has an ongoing book club where participants play a part in determining the books that are read. Receive information about the books we will read and the times we will gather to engage in discussions surrounding the books. The books are read and discussed in sections, generally within 3-5 meetings per book. You do not have to read the entire book prior to the first meeting.


The Four Winds Thank you for voting on the “Best of the Seconds.” The next book will be The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. The meeting dates are as follows:

Monday, Oct. 25 at 6:00 p.m. - Chapters 1 - 9
Monday, Nov. 1 at 6:00 p.m. - Chapters 10 - 18 
Monday, Nov. 8 at 6:00 p.m. - Chapters 19 - 27
Monday, Nov. 15 at 6:00 p.m. - Chapters 28 - end


To learn a little about the book read below:

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa―like so many of her neighbors―must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it―the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

 Past Book Titles:



Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb

The Madhouse at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton

Fall Poems and Family Traditions

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
News of the World by Paulette Jiles

 Start With Why by Simon Sinek

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi  

Let’s Talk About It - Book Series

“Let’s Talk About It” is a discussion series within the Southwestern University Alumni Association book club. The series is meant to engage community members in conversations regarding a particular social theme. 

Thank you to all the panelists for leading the discussions in the first series dedicated to racial justice and inequity, and thank you to the participants for joining the conversation. Recordings of the panel discussions can be found on the On-Demand Streaming page.

The LGBTQIA Community

The Southwestern Alumni Association is in the process of identifying books to choose from and potential alumni, faculty, and staff who would be interested in serving on one of three panels scheduled for this fall. If you are interested in being a part of one of these panels, please let Serena Bettis know by filling out the attached google form  by Monday, September 27, 2021.


The Science of Sustainability

  • Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard by Douglas
    W. Tallamy.
    • Greg Mast ’05, Garden Manager of the Central Texas Food Bank
    • Sarah Woolley Houston ’11, Associate Director of Education and Outreach, a research
      center at the University of Memphis
    • Patrick Houston ’09, Shelby County Firefighter
    • Rachel Blakeslee ’11, Manager, National Corporate Partnerships
  • The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living by Fritjof Capra.
    • Matthew Barnes ’06, Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University
    • Audrey Calhoun ’13, Sustainability Professional
    • Kira McEntire ’13, Assistant Professor of Biology at Queens University of Charlotte
  • The Story of More - How We Got to Climate Change and Where To Go From Here by Hope Jahren.  
    • Veronica Johnson, Sustainability Coordinator at Southwestern University
    • Molly O’Hara Pilarski ’12, Sustainability Manager Region Americas, Sika
    • Charles (Charlie) Stern ’04, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy at the Congressional Research Service

Racial Justice and Inequity

  • White Fragility by Robin Diangelo.
    • Kylin Lee Ph.D., Psychologist at Southwestern University
    • Isaac Bernal ’13, Alumni Council - Inclusion and Diversity Chair
    • Elizabeth Guillory Medina Ph.D. ’97, Alumni Council - Lifelong Learning Chair
    • Shannon Mariotti Ph.D., Professor of Political Science
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.
    • Elizabeth Guillory Medina Ph.D. ’97, Alumni Council - Lifelong Learning Chair
    • Ebony Rose ’02, Sr. Learning and Development Consultant at TCU
    • Emily Sydnor Ph.D., Asst. Prof., Dept. of Political Science at Southwestern University
    • Ben Woods ’06, Local Alumni Chapter President - Greater Austin Chapter 
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. 
    • Elizabeth Guillory Medina Ph.D. ’97, Alumni Council - Lifelong Learning Chair
    • Melissa A. Johnson Ph.D., Chair, Sociology and Anthropology Department, Chair, Race & Ethnicity Studies Program, Professor of Anthropology
    • Jaclyn Suffel ’07, Vice President at Powers Solutions
    • John F. Lopez ’89, Travis County Assistant District Attorney