The Summer Reading Program Committee is sponsoring an essay writing contest for the 2017 freshman class.

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All first year students are eligible to submit essays. Members of the Summer Reading Program Committee will read and evaluate essays. The winner of the contest will receive a $100 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble bookstore.

The Prize

The winner of the contest and a guest will be invited to a reception with the author on October 5 and will receive a $100 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Essay Prompt

The Work: Searching for a Life that Matters encourages readers to identify what inspires them and transform that into meaningful work. Meaningful work is passion in action, in service to a higher good that is beyond self-interest. These next four years in college offer you the space and time to reflect on what inspires you, to examine it through different disciplinary lenses, and transform it into action. The following essay prompt invites you to begin this process.

Write an essay that describes a moment of inspiration, tracing how that inspiration has become a part of who you are, how you identify yourself, and/or what actions you take. Use the following questions as well as themes from the book, including activism, service, persistence, passion, and mentorship, to
develop and support your ideas. Then shape them into a focused, well developed three-page essay.

Consider the Following Questions

  • What issues and topics do you feel strongly about?
  • What inspires you to serve others?
  • Is there a cultural, national, or political moment, institution, or public figure who resonates with
    you, or moves you to action? Or did someone you know (a parent, family member, teacher,
    friend) draw your attention to some issue you had never thought about or who made you think
    about the possibilities of your life in a new way?

Technical Guidelines for Submission

  • Approximately 3 double-spaced pages in 12 pt. standard font with 1” margins
  • Standard citation format such as MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.
  • Cover page with the title “Summer Reading Program Essay Contest Submission,” your Banner ID,
    and the date. (Please omit name.)

Submit your essay electronically to Elisabeth Gonzalez at by noon on Friday, September 22.

Last Updated 8/29/17

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