Human Rights and Social Justice Writing Contest

You could share in $3,600 in prizes for the First Annual Elon Writing Contest. This year’s topic is HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE. The contest is open to all Elon students, undergraduate and graduate, in all majors.

Contest categories and prizesContest judges
TopicsWhen winners will be announced
Criteria for selecting winnersEntries will be displayed publicly
You may submit course projects, earlier writingWriting tips
Number of entries you can submitQuestions
Deadline for submitting entriesSponsors

Contest categories and prizes

Elon will award three prizes of $200 apiece in each of the following categories. The prizes are gift certificates to Barnes & Noble. They will be presented at an awards banquet during spring semester.

Research papers and essays
Explore a human rights or social justice issue in depth, using primary or secondary sources. Your submission may be up to 20 double-spaced pages

A photo can be a powerful communication. Accompany yours with a 50- to 250-word caption that tells where you took the photo and how it relates to a human rights or social justice issue.

Creative writing
Write a poem, play, story, song, or other imaginative piece that involves or addresses human rights or social justice in some way, whether implicit or explicit.

Prepare an investigative report or feature article that explores a human rights or social justice issue. There will be one prize for a print article, one for a television article, and one for a radio article.

Electronic media
Create a website, short or long digital movie, interactive application, interactive game, or other electronic project that explores an issue involving human rights and social justice.Your project's size is not as important as its quality.

World Languages Prize
Three special prizes will be awarded for entries written in any of the languages taught by the World Languages and Cultures Department. Your entry may be any of the five types of writing about human rights and social justice described above. Accompany it with a 50- to 250-word summary or abstract in English. If your entry wins, you may choose a $200 scholarship for study abroad rather than a Barnes & Noble gift certificate.


No matter what your major—whether art, education, engineering, or biology—there are many human rights and social justice issues that you can address. You may choose to focus on global topics or local ones—including ones right here at Elon. Here are some possibilities.

  • Dramatize a social injustice
  • Inspire others to action
  • Propose a solution
  • Raise awareness of a little recognized problem
  • Explain how technology or science helps
  • Argue on behalf of an ignored human right

Criteria for selecting winners

Entires will be judged according to the following criteria.

  • Originality
  • Persuasiveness
  • Insightfulness
  • Accuracy of facts cited
  • Polish of the writing or visual presentation

You may submit course projects

You may submit something you prepared for a course or something you wrote on your own initiative. Ask your instructors about this contest. They might integrate this contest into one of the assignments for their courses.

You may also submit items you've written in the past. Your submissions do not have to be new or written specifically for this contest.

Number of entries you can submit

You may submit as many as six entries, one in each category at the Center for Writing Excellence website beginning October 1.

Deadline for submitting entries

Submissions will be accepted until midnight on December 13, 2013.

Contest judges

Each category has its own panel of judges consisting of Elon faculty and staff.

When winners will be announced

Winners will be announced early in spring semester.

Entries will be displayed publicly

All entries will be displayed at the Center for Writing Excellence’s public website for the world to read and admire. They may be displayed in other contexts as well. However, copyright belongs to the writer.

Writing Tips

In addition to the tips you can access from the links below, we have one other suggestion: Ask others (professors, roommates, friends, classmates, family members) to talk with you about your ideas, read your drafts, and make suggestions. There's no better place for this sort of conversation and feedback than the Writing Center. Drop in or make any appointment—once, twice, or several times.

Research paper and essay tipsJournalism tips
Photo tipsElectronic media tips
Creative writing tipsWorld languages tips


Email Paul Anderson at Elon's Center for Writing Excellence:


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Center for Writing Excellence
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Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community
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