Ehrenreich to speak at MU

The author of ‘Nickel and Dimed’ wants ‘a real discussion.’
Friday, August 6, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:14 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Students and community members who included “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” in their summer reading will soon have the chance to see author Barbara Ehrenreich in person.

Ehrenreich is scheduled to visit MU on Sept. 30. She plans to give a lecture followed by a question-and-answer session at 7:30 p.m. in Jesse Auditorium.

“This book is all about real problems, so I like to invite the people who came to talk about what is going on in their community,” Ehrenreich said. “Hopefully, it can turn into a real discussion.”

The critically acclaimed author will also sign books in the afternoon or early evening at the University Bookstore.

Ehrenreich — who spent much of 2003 giving lectures about her work and now is engrossed in another long-term project addressing economics — said her primary focus will be talking about the book while also touching on other economic and political issues facing the nation.

The lecture will be free to MU students, and the remaining tickets will be available to the public for $5. No date has been set for the sale of the extra tickets. The Daniel Boone Regional Library has offered to purchase a block of about 200 tickets, which will be provided to the public for free. When and how the library tickets will be distributed have yet to be decided.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said the cost of bringing Ehrenreich to campus is $17,500. Missouri Students Association and user fees associated with Summer Welcome are helping to cover some of the cost of her visit. Basi said some of cost will be recovered through ticket sales.

With “Nickel and Dimed” being a part of summer reading programs for MU and Stephens College as well as the pick for the city’s One Read 2004 program, Ehrenreich’s visit is well-timed.

“Any time you have that kind of publicity, it tends to generate interest in that person’s visit,” Basi said. “Since this book was suggested freshman reading, I’m sure the freshmen will be interested in the author.”

MU’s goal was to have 50 percent of incoming freshmen read the book and attend group discussions on Aug 19.

Basi said about 2,500 copies of “Nickel and Dimed” have been sold at the University Bookstore this summer, and about 50 percent of the freshmen attending Summer Welcome purchased a copy while they were on campus.

Kris Farris, public relations coordinator for the Daniel Boone Regional Library, said the book has been in such high demand that the library has had difficulty keeping the book on its shelves.

“They’ve all been checked out of the library,” she said.

Farris said she is grateful that MU has been able to bring Ehrenreich to Columbia. “It’s a huge deal for the One Read program,” she said. “This is something we would not have been able to do on our own.”

Basi said MU has worked closely with the library to help coordinate One Read events with the university and Stephens College.

“This makes it truly a community event,” Farris said.

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