The theme for the 2017-18 Common Experience is “Cultures in Crisis: Circumstances and Choices.” According to J.D. Vance in our common text Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis the Appalachian working class families and their culture are in a state of crisis. There are major problems including rampant drug abuse, alcoholism, unemployment and the lack of “good-paying” jobs, poverty, a sense of helplessness, and vanishing communities. What has caused these problems? The failure to take personal responsibility? The failure of government, economic, and social institutions? Structural unemployment? The end of coal as a long-term energy source? Join us this year as we investigate these problems and their causes.