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“We are reconnecting through writing's reflections - reaching deeper, writing more authentically, learning and growing thoughtfully, and understanding the world around us more richly.” – William Macauley, University of Nevada, Reno professor of English

Dr. Cornel West student composition contest

Students are invited to create a composition to celebrate Dr. West’s work and vision, shared during his virtual visit with the University this month

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“We are reconnecting through writing's reflections - reaching deeper, writing more authentically, learning and growing thoughtfully, and understanding the world around us more richly.” – William Macauley, University of Nevada, Reno professor of English

Dr. Cornel West student composition contest

Students are invited to create a composition to celebrate Dr. West’s work and vision, shared during his virtual visit with the University this month

Dr. Cornel West is one of the most vibrant and engaging public intellectuals in the United States today, but most younger Americans are not familiar with his work. On Jan. 4, Dr. West virtually visited with the University of Nevada, Reno community for a free, public lecture. To celebrate his recent visit, the Department of English and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion are inviting students of all ages to prepare and submit compositions that reflect, reveal and build from Dr. West’s extensive work.

The composition can respond directly to West’s work or use his work to respond to issues of social concern or interest at the local level or beyond. Student compositions can take on any number of forms and may use most mediums to create their work. The key to the compositions is young people are creating pieces for young people to learn about Dr. West and his scholarship, activist and creative activities, and his public intellectualism.

Criteria for submissions:

  1. The composition must build from/respond to the work of Dr. Cornel West
  2. The composition must come from people of University student age and be made for a similar audience
  3. The composition must contribute to diversity, inclusion and/or equity
  4. Any reference materials included must be documented appropriately

Winning compositions will be virtually displayed during the University’s  2021 Northern Nevada Diversity Summit in April.

The first-prize winner will receive $250, second-prize winner will receive $150 and third-prize winner will receive $50. All prizes are provided by the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Judging criteria:

  • Composer/creator/performer/writer is of University student age
  • Responds directly to, makes direct use of, makes overt reference to the work of Dr. Cornel West
  • Contributes positively to diversity, inclusion and/or equity
  • Intellectual quality
  • Creativity
  • Technical quality

Deadline for submissions:

Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, 11:59 p.m. PST.

This is two weeks after Dr. West’s free, public lecture and keynote at the University’s virtual Minds, Means, and Materials conference. By submitting a composition, submitters agree to allow the public display of the composition as part of the contest. Questions and submissions are to be directed to English Professor William Macauley at wmacauleyjr@unr.edu with the subject line “Cornel West Composition Contest.”

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