Philadelphia University Announces Summer Reading Selection

Photo credit:

Philadelphia University has selected Blake Mycoskie’s book, Start Something That Matters, as the common text for the 2012 First Year Experience (FYE) Summer Reading Program. PhilaU’s focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, and its drive to educate civically engaged leaders makes this text an important message: that students’ passions and careers are not mutually exclusive, but in fact should be intimately connected.

While the book features the history of TOMS, one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world, Mycoskie weaves in lessons learned from other socially responsible—and inspiring—enterprises such as method, charity:water, FEED Projects and TerraCycle. Each organization demonstrates how entrepreneurs can find profit and meaning at the same time.

The messages implicit in TOMS One for One TM movement, and those of the other social entrepreneurs featured in the text, reflect important lessons for new students:

  • find your story,
  • face your fears,
  • be resourceful,
  • keep it simple,
  • build trust, and
  • giving is good business.

Mycoskie, founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, tells the story behind the revolutionary One for One TM movement that gave away a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair of shoes TOMS sold. The One for One TM business model has been expanded to TOMS Eyewear, and now to our summer reading program. For every book Mycoskie sells, a new children’s book will be provided to a child in need.

New students at Philadelphia University will receive a copy of Start Something That Matters when they visit campus during START, our summer orientation program. Over the course of the summer, new students will also be encouraged to participate in a blog about the book. When they return to campus in the fall, students will engage in discussions about the book during New Student Orientation with faculty, staff and upper level students.

Diamond Newman, a senior professional communication major and a student reviewer for the Summer Reading Program, said, “Young people today are ready to self-create and self-start. We are ready to set new standards for ourselves. Start Something That Matters is a book that gives us this guidance and pushes us to do just that.”

Fall programming to support the summer reading will include events sponsored by the PhilaU chapter of Students for Social Justice and will culminate with a special featured speaker at the fifth annual Day of Service scheduled on Tuesday, Oct. 9.  The speaker will be hosted in partnership with the DEC Dialogue Series, which brings industry leaders to the University to present workshop lectures to all first-year students majoring in programs in the College of Design, Engineering and Commerce.

Faculty using the book in class can apply for mini-grants of up to $500, offered through the Office of Student Development, to engage students outside the classroom. Mini-grant proposals are due by Aug.10. Proposal forms are available at

For information regarding the First Year Experience Summer Reading Program, please contact the Office of Student Development at 215.951.2634 or via email at

Posted in University Headlines