May 15th, 2014

Madison Unplugged Swaps More Than Just Books at Good Book Exchange

“He, She and It is a 90s feminist, cyberpunk novel set in 2059 about…what it means to be human and our relationship with technology,” announced Dr. Rebecca Howes-Mischel, assistant professor of Anthropology, to an intimate group of students and faculty attending Madison Unplugged’s Good Book Exchange in TDU Thursday, April 24th.

Dr. Howes-Mischel’s selection drew an uncanny parallel with Madison Unplugged’s objective as an organization.

“[Madison Unplugged’s] mission is really just to encourage the student population to evaluate the relationship that they have with technology, and especially social media. And once they make that evaluation, consider taking a step back,” said Rosie Lynch, the sophomore Anthropology, Philosophy, and Religion triple major who coordinated the organization’s first book swap.

At the Good Book Exchange, students and faculty alike brought some of their favorite reads to exchange for someone else’s book of choice. A raffle also took place for each of the books brought by professors. Attendees entered their names on a slip of paper into the bag alongside the book they hoped to walk away with at the end of the night, and winners were chosen at random.

However, books weren’t the only things swapped that night. Atop each of the tables, Madison Unplugged had placed questions intended to stimulate conversation about the book each person brought to exchange. Equipped with free coffee, students and faculty alike mingled among the tables, allowing an exchange of ideas as well. When the mingling ended, each professor spoke briefly of the book they chose to swap.

“I hope I’m not preaching to the choir. I hope there are some people who just showed up, and that this may spark more of an interest in books than they might have previously had,” said Dr. Hubert, professor of Political Science, of his hopes for the highly anticipated event.

Sophomores Savannah Howe and Connor Linehan were just the type of attendees Hubert hoped to see. Never having attended a Madison Unplugged event before, the two took a leap of faith, eager to exchange opinions about their favorite reads as well as their peer’s selections.

 When asked what she had enjoyed most about her first Madison Unplugged event, Howe responded, “It’s a smaller group of people which makes it really nice. It’s casual, but people are really passionate about what they’re talking about.”

And it is precisely that inviting environment and promise of intellectual conversation that will lead Linehan and Howe—and surely many others—to future Madison Unplugged events.

Stay on the look-out next semester for more of Madison Unplugged’s inventive events, including more of their famed Too Controversial for Class seminars, a new, weekly coffee and conversation club at TDU, and end of semester activities like yoga to help the student body unwind.

Intrigued? Check out Madison Unplugged’s facebook for more information!

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