Masculinity is something Ra-Twoine Fields, '12, takes seriously. To him, a real man is one who embraces his own identity, no matter what it is, while being tolerant of others' identities, no matter who they are. "[Masculinity] doesn't reflect physical strength or intellectual ability," he says.

Fields is one of about a dozen University of Richmond men who helped start UR Men for Change over the past year. In addition to encouraging discussions about masculinity, the group challenges intolerance to diversity of all kinds.

Sensing that a conversation on masculinity was critical for the campus community, the Office of the Chaplaincy decided to make the issue the focus of its fifth annual One Book, One Campus Initiative.

Camisha Jones, '94, arts and education director for the chaplaincy, started the program in 2005 to engage faculty, staff and students in an open, ongoing discussion about key issues like gender, class, and now, masculinity.

A One Book, One Campus planning committee comprising students, staff and faculty from departments and organizations across the University selects a book that speaks to each year's topic. This year, Fields was asked to sit on the committee.

Based on a recommendation from Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies Thad Williamson, the committee selected "Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men," by sociologist Michael Kimmel, a leading researcher and writer on men and masculinity. The book explores the world of 16- to 26-year-old males.

"One of Kimmel's most compelling arguments is that this complex guy world is dominated by guys trying to prove themselves to other guys," says Caitlin Manak, '12, who read the book in Williamson's Justice and Civil Society course. "If one were to step back and think about it, the effort and energy that goes into impressing other guys doesn’t quite seem worth it."

In addition to identifying the problems of Guyland, Kimmel's book provides methods to help men and women get through it. The One Book, One Campus program aims to do the same, inspiring people to do something with what they learn.

"It's not just about the pitfalls of masculinity," says Jones. "We talk about what men are doing right, about standing up for what's right."

That's why this year's initiative includes recognizing "just men" — men that Kimmel says "are capable of acting ethically, of doing the right things, of standing up against the centripetal pull of Guyland." The chaplaincy accepted nominations of male faculty, staff and students who embody this description. The 37 men who were nominated had the opportunity to meet with Kimmel when he was on campus in February.

According to Jones, participation in One Book, One Campus is at an all-time high this year. Each resident assistant received a copy of "Guyland" from residence life and the Richmond College Student Government Association helped sponsor Kimmel's visit. Two fraternities, Kappa Sigma and Sigma Phi Epsilon, encouraged members to read "Guyland" by incorporating it into their activities.

Jones explains that while it's hard to measure every action spurred by One Book, One Campus, she hopes that people will "think a little differently" because of what they've learned. "I hope they’ll at least interrupt that thought, that stereotype because of something we read, something we heard," she says.