The activities that the campus-wide reading program generates are the perfect opportunities for networking and making friends, especially for freshmen. For instance, there's the book discussion, lead by the Socrates Cafe, that's open to all at the beginning of the semester. The program is also a vehicle for professors to add items to the syllabus. It's not only with MCOM 072, but with other classes as well. However, it would be more apt if the chosen book was an option for extra credit rather than a requirement.
Moreover, the benefits for the book itself are endless, of course. Certainly, it will become more well-known. I seriously doubt that I would have even known about Nickel and Dimed if it wasn't chosen last year. In line with that, the book that the committee chooses shouldn't be one that's already famous. That would be redundant, for one thing. For another, that type of selection would be futile since most people, in and out of the literary community, have already heard of it. Therefore, Bel Canto and Life of Pi are definitely out of the question.
As for Farewell to Manzanar, I had read it for a class (MCOM 136). So, that and any other book on a class's syllabus already should be excluded from the list. Besides, it was fairly boring albeit enlightening on the Japanese internment camps, which I assume is the reason for its consideration. Now, even though I haven't read the other books, from the synopsis of each novel, I would love Donorboy to be 2007's campus reading program title. Oryx and Crake comes a close second if only for the author. Then, there's Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, which is a collection of stories so, if such a book hasn't been picked before, this would definitely be different.