New Great Books Club seeks to create collaborative and creative outlet for book-lovers


Gabriela Krieger, Editor-in-Chief

For readers searching for a creative space to analyze literature and discuss great works with fellow students, Oakton’s new Great Books Club may be ideal.

The Great Books foundation is an independent educational organization whose mission is to help readers analyze and share their ideas about literature. “If you love to read, love to puzzle through what the work of an author really means, or just want to better understand ideas from some of the greatest thinkers of all time—people who have helped shape the world and also helped us better understand it—Great Books classes are for you,” said Michael Mauritzen, Oakton professor and Great Books Club Coordinator.

Oakton offers Great Books classes in English, Humanities, Philosophy, and History. They are unique from other classes in the sense that they are smaller classes focused on the discussion of some of the most important and influential texts in the world. 

There are plenty of benefits to adding a Great Books class to your schedule. Upon completing three Great Books classes, students will earn a special designation of Great Books Scholar on their transcript.

“Beyond discussing some of the best works ever written, the Great Books Student Club will offer opportunities to socialize with some of Oakton’s great minds, assist with Great Books events, attend readings and plays, work on getting essays published, earn scholarships, create social media content, and more,” said Mauritzen. 

Furthermore, for budding essayists, Great Books symposiums are an opportunity to present written works to students from surrounding schools. 

“The symposium allowed me to share my work with others in the same field,” said Sadia Duranni, one of two Oakton students who participated in last year’s Great Books symposium. “The questions presented encouraged students to think critically, and the answers were prepared in such a way that further discussion could be held for the benefit of the audience.”

However, for students whose schedules are crammed full but would still like to engage with, discuss, and analyze Great Books literature, Oakton’s newly founded Great Books Club might be a better option. 

Meetings will be driven by the interests of the students involved with some coordination with the Great Books coordinator and related faculty. Students would be expected to attend meetings and events, offer ideas, have fun, and earn more experience that looks great on your resume. As this will be the first year of the club, there is room for students to take leadership roles and steer its direction.

“I think that is a big deal for a writer– that one’s work is appreciated,” said Duranni.

Reading– in general, but great books in particular– is said to strengthen not only knowledge, but self-understanding and judgement.

“Examining some of the most important texts, influential thinkers, and enduring questions developed throughout history fosters readers who are more engaged citizens, who hold a deeper understanding of a variety of histories and cultures, who are adept at critical thinking, and who are primed for taking on the challenges of the future,” said Mauritzen. 

If you are interested in joining the Great Books Student Club, email Mike Mauritzen, the Great Books Coordinator, at [email protected] to be included as the club commences.