Common Read

Summer Bridge will be held remotely via Blackboard
from August 23 to August 27, 2021.

Convocation will be held remotely via Blackboard on August 30, 2021.

All Summer Bridge participants read the same text to create shared experiences and build community. The Common Read provides a base for the discussion of diverse viewpoints, to inspire intellectual curiosity, and to start important conversations about academic work and engagement at the college level. The various Summer Bridge activities are connected to a theme from the text that is chosen by the Summer Bridge Curriculum Committee. This year’s theme is Community.

The Colossus of New York book cover

This year’s Common Read is an essay titled “City Limits” from Colson Whitehead’s The Colossus of New York, a collection of essays about New York City that was published in 2004.

Before Summer Bridge begins, all participants are required to complete the following:

  1. Read Colson Whitehead’s essay, “City Limits,” in which the author discusses his relationship to an ever-changing New York City. Born and raised in Manhattan, Whitehead invites all New Yorkers to define their own unique relationship with the City.
  2. While reading Colson, highlight or underline text that stands out to you or relates to your own experiences. Take notes on your thoughts and impressions.
  3. In addition, consider how you are connected to the City and through whom – people, organizations, networks. Think about how the theme of community is represented in the reading. You will be reflecting on and sharing your ideas during Summer Bridge.

The Common Read will be available on Blackboard after June 19, 2021. To access it:

  1. Log in to CUNYfirst.
  2. From CUNYfirst, click on Blackboard.
  3. From Blackboard, click on New Student Orientation under My Organizations.
  4. Open the Resource Folder to find the essay.

If you have trouble accessing CUNYfirst or Blackboard, email For accessible versions of the Common Read, contact the Office of AccessABILITY at