Democracy, Civility and Freedom of Expression Student Essay Prize

The Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression Student Essay Prize invites all students at Purdue to engage in critical thinking, and facilitates connections between classroom and out-of-classroom learning. Drawing upon a semester of thematic programming developed by the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, we seek essays that demonstrate understanding and application of knowledge; exhibit democratic principles of leadership and/or group participation; emphasize listening to and considering of others’ points of view; and share critical self-reflection about new learnings and connections that are central in our lives today.  

$10,000 in awards

Eligibility and requirements:

  1. The Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression Student Essay Prize is open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled and in good standing at Purdue University. At each of the Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression events, Dr. John Gates, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, will recognize student awardees on stage, providing each winner with a certificate and a $1,000 award.
  2. Essay submissions must be an original work, between 1,000-1,500 words with proper citations where necessary, in response to and/or reflection upon attending a Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression event.
  3. Only one entry per student per prize.  If you participate in more than one Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression event, you must submit a new original essay for each program to be considered for the award.
  4. Essays must be submitted via the provided Qualtrics link.
  5. Essays must be submitted within a 7 day period (1 week) after each Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression event in order to be considered by the review committee. Winners will be contacted and provided VIP seating at the next Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression event where they will be acknowledged on stage and receive a certificate as well as a $1,000 award.
  6. All essays will be peer reviewed by a committee of undergraduate and graduate students on a bi-weekly basis, or as determined by need. Reviewers will not have access to author’s identifying information, and will utilize a rubric to assist in determining recommendations for awards to the Vice Provost to Diversity and Inclusion.
  7. By submitting an essay for consideration, you acknowledge that the Division of Diversity and Inclusion may reproduce and share in part or whole learning outcomes related to Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression events.

Sample prompts for a reflection essay:

  • After attending the Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression program _(specific event)_, I recognize my own capacity to create new understandings from dialogue with others by…
  • Attending the Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression program _(specific event)_ facilitates connections between classroom and out-of-classroom learning by…
  • The Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression program _(specific event)_ helped me consider alternative perspectives on ____________ by demonstrating _______________....
  • The Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression program _(specific event)_ shows how to cooperate with others, including people different from self and/or people with different points of view. This is important to me because…

Eligible Events:

  • February 19th, 2020. Religion, Polarization, and the Public Space. 6:00PM-7:30PM, Loeb Playhouse. 
  • March 3rd, 2020. Beyond Labels: Addressing the Grand Challenge of Democracy Together. 6:00PM-7:30PM, Loeb Playhouse. 
  • March 10th, 2020. Morehouse College and Purdue University Glee Clubs. 7:30PM-9:00PM,  Loeb Playhouse.
  • March 31st, 2020. The Role of the Media in Democracy Now. 6:00PM-7:30PM. Loeb Playhouse. 

Free but general admission ticket needed; available at STEW and Pao Hall box offices.

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