We offer a variety of programs and initiatives to support our mission.

Student Programs

Hillbilly Elegy Book + Film Discussion

Tuesday, Jan. 26 | 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. | Prairie Rose, Memorial Union

New York Times best-seller Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is a 2016 memoir by J.D. Vance about growing up in America's white working class. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. It tackles the struggles of a family and culture trying to escape a legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma. A film version was adapted  in 2020 and is available on Netflix.

We are hosting a one-night discussion of the book and film Hillbilly Elegy. Students who sign up will receive a free copy of J.D. Vance's book. The event will begin with a book discussion at 5 p.m., followed by dinner and a showing of the film. This event is open to all NDSU students who register

Hillbilly Elegy
Book + Film Discussion
January 26 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Sign up to receive your free copy of Hillbilly Elegy.


Mancur Olson Scholars

The Mancur Olson Scholars program brings together diverse students to study an important topic of our time. By sharing their own views and hearing the perspectives of their peers, scholars experience the value of free expression and develop scholarly skills. 

Reading groups enhance the university experience by helping students explore important ideas, engage in civil discussion, and develop new skills. 

Scholars are invited to think critically and engage in robust discussion of ideas. Civil disagreement with one another and the text is not only accepted, but actively encouraged. All students who complete the reading group receive a scholarship. In addition, students are given opportunities to network with guest speakers and attend exclusive events. 

Note: The Mancur Olson Scholars program will use a hybrid format in spring 2021 to allow flexibility for all students. Students will be able to attend reading group meetings virtually on Zoom or in-person at Barry Hall.

A Conflict of Visions: Engaging Political Disagreement
Spring 2021 Reading Group
Thursdays 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Scholars will engage opposing political views as we examine why we disagree and how to disagree better: "The purpose of argument should not be victory, but progress."

Mancur Olson Scholars receive a $500 scholarship sponsored by the Challey Institute.

Learn More

Dystopian and Utopian Novels
Spring 2021 Reading Group
Wednesdays 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Scholars will explore dystopian and utopian societies through the lens of popular novels. We will examine how literature reveals our human desires and fears as we seek to better understand what leads humanity to flourish (utopia) and suffer (dystopian).

Mancur Olson Scholars receive a $500 scholarship sponsored by the Challey Institute.

Learn More



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