Many Voices. One Theme.

Texas State University presents an engaging theme each year with events for everyone. This is OUR Common Experience.

We offer opportunities to interact with some of the world's leading voices. During the fall and spring semesters, we offer an array of diverse events that support student development, which include film screenings, philosophy dialogues, panel discussions, exhibitions, conferences, and performances in music, theater and dance.  Among these is the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series, named for Texas State’s most famous alumnus, Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States. The series fulfills his 1973 promise to bring important leaders to the university to share their philosophies, perspectives and experiences. 

As part of the Common Experience, we provide all incoming first-year students with an inspiring book related to the year's theme that can challenge preconceived notions. Students will engage in dialogue with the Common Reading book and explore the theme in University Seminar (US 1100) classes and other courses — encouraging multiple, sustained conversations throughout the year.

While many of the approaches may be tailored specifically for first-year students, most events are intended for all students — undergraduates and graduates — as well as faculty, staff, and community members. Our Common Experience truly is for everyone. We provide a platform for students to be influencers in the Texas State and San Marcos communities. We encourage student created, student led, and student facilitated events with the support of Texas State faculty and staff. 

The Common Experience continues to evolve and embrace new challenges and directions each year, showing students through collaboration with other students, faculty, and staff how to discover new ways to approach issues. The Common Experience embraces the power of interdisciplinary collaborations and communications. 

Our thematic approach and remarkable collaborations enable us to offer more academic event opportunities than any other university in the nation. Because we present so many opportunities for Texas State students, they're able to choose events that match their interests. As a result, our first-year students' participation ranks highest in the nation among similar programs that offer numerous events.

How the Theme Is Chosen

A campus-wide call for proposals is distributed each spring semester. Faculty and staff, in conjunction with students, are encouraged to submit a Common Experience proposal on a particular theme, including suggestions for a Common Reading book, academic events and speakers, as well as the objectives that the theme is expected to accomplish. A selection committee chooses the theme from the proposals submitted, and the theme organizers develop and implement the Common Experience theme over a two-year period by choosing speakers, planning events, providing input into the selection of the Common Reading book, collaborating with the Common Experience Committee, and coordinating a calendar for each semester the theme is active. To learn more about previous themes, visit our history pages.