WSU Cougar Head Logo Washington State University
WSU Insider
News and Information for Faculty, Staff, and the WSU Community

Sept. 5: Common Reading lecture — HIV, AIDS stigmas persist into digital times 

PULLMAN, Wash. – Matthew Jeffries, director of Washington State University’s Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, will present “Not all video games and the brat pack: AIDS stigma from the 1980s to the digital age” as a common reading lecture at 5 p.m. Tues., Sept. 5, in CUE 203. 

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Jeffries said that author Ernest Cline paints a rosy image of the 1980s in “Ready Player One,” his fiction novel that is this year’s WSU common reading book for first-year and other students.

HIV and AIDS plagued that era, especially the LGBTQ community, he explained. Stigmas surrounding the HIV and AIDS crisis then continue to prevail today, even in digital spaces, Jeffries said.

“Ready Player One” is about a dystopian future, where humans come most alive when participating and competing in a virtual-reality game universe. The book is immersed in technology, referring back to 1980s video games, music, and films; it also gives rise to exploring ethical dilemmas and changing senses of identity that arise when the world goes increasingly digital.

The book kicks off the common reading’s new two-year theme of exploring “frontiers of technology, health, and society.”

The common reading program began in 2006-07.  Nominations are currently open for the 2018-19 book and can be submitted on the program website at


Media Contact:

  • Karen Weathermon, WSU Common Reading Program co-director, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-5488,
  • Emma Epperly, Communications and Marketing Assistant, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-9458,


Next Story

Recent News

Career Expo set for Feb. 7–8

WSU will welcome 136 employers to meet with students at the spring Career Expo with virtual sessions set for Monday, Feb. 7 and in‑person meetings Tuesday, Feb. 8.

WSU earns CSCAA scholar all‑America accolades

Washington State Women’s Swimming earned the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All‑America Team accolades after posting a 3.47 GPA in the fall 2021 semester.

Hearing boards seek new members

Washington State University’s Community Standards boards are seeking new faculty and staff members from all disciplines at any campus location.

Find More News

Subscribe for more updates