On Thursday, September 1, Seton Hill University hosted Opening Liturgy and the campus wide book discussion.

Opening Liturgy was held in Saint Joseph Chapel at 9 a.m. Sister Maureen O’Brien, S.C., director of Campus Ministry, noted, “Opening Liturgy is tradition at Seton Hill and, with the addition to the campus wide discussion, we are celebrating our tradition with a greater audience.”

Every summer, incoming Seton Hill first year and transfer students receive a complimentary copy of a novel or nonfiction work, chosen by Seton Hill’s Summer Reading Committee on the caliber of its writing, relevance to contemporary issues and the interest of the community in its topic. The book is also provided to Seton Hill faculty, staff and upperclassmen who wish to take part in group book discussions with the freshman class at the beginning of the fall semester. This year, Seton Hill University’s Summer Reading Committee chose the novel “Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins.

The number one New York Times Best Seller “Hunger Games” is the first book of a trilogy and introduces 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where North America once existed. This is where a government working in a central city, called the Capitol, holds power. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl from each district to fight to the death. The Hunger Games exist to demonstrate that not even children are beyond the reach of the Capitol's jurisdiction. Collins says that the idea for The “Hunger Games” came from channel surfing on television. On one channel she observed people competing on a reality show and on another she saw footage of the Iraq War. The two blended together and the idea for the book was formed.

More than 550 faculty, staff and students gathered to discuss the overall impact of “Hunger Games.” The discussions were very successful and allowed new students to interact with faculty and staff in a supportive, enjoyable environment. The smaller group discussions were followed by a large open discussion held in Cecilian Hall. A panel discussion was held that explained “Hunger Games” in greater depth. This allowed many students to understand and apply the novel to their lives at Seton Hill University. The overall response to the novel was positive. Students found “Hunger Games to be very powerful and moving.