2011 Contest Announcement and Rules


March 10, 2011

2011 Peace and Justice Student Writing Contest

Dear Faculty and Students,

The Gandhian Forum for Peace & Justice is pleased to announce a writing contest at William Paterson University to recognize outstanding student writing related to the themes of peace or justice.

Students may submit their own work, or faculty may nominate writing done by their students.

To be eligible, the writing must not have been already published elsewhere. It may have been originally submitted as course work or it can be written especially for this contest. Maximum length should be about 3,000 words (about 12 double-spaced typed pages).

Writing will be judged in two categories: Non-Fiction Writing (arguments, commentaries, or formal research) and Creative Writing and Memoir (poetry, fiction, personal essays, or memoirs). Entries may be in any disciplinary area.

In each category, one entry will be selected. Both of the selected entries will be included in the annual publication of William Paterson's Writing Across the Curriculum program, Celebrating Student Writing. In addition, the authors may be invited to read their work at an event sponsored by the Gandhian Forum. These entries, as well as some of the runner-ups, will also be posted on this website, www.wpunj.edu/gfpj. (You can see last year's winner and runner-up here.)

The deadline for submissions is May 27, 2011. The printed magazine is scheduled to appear in September 2011.

The students whose work is selected for publication in the print magazine will each receive $150, and the knowledge that their writing has made some contribution to the quest for peace and justice.

For more information about the contest, see the Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Steve Shalom, Director, Gandhian Forum for Peace & Justice, Raubinger Hall 443, 973-720-3433, shaloms@wpunj.edu. For information on the Gandhian Forum for Peace & Justice, see the rest of this website.


Peace and Justice Student Writing Contest

Frequently Asked Questions

What does writing "related to the theme of peace or justice" mean?

The theme is intended broadly. So you can describe an obstacle or affront to a peaceful or just world -- whether on campus, in local communities, in our country, or globally. You can propose a policy that might promote peace or justice. Or describe an effort that tried to change the world for the better. Peace can be between nations or between gangs. Justice can address issues of economic inequality, racial, gender, or sexual oppression, or the lack of democracy, self-determination, or human rights. You can discuss torture, the right to education, conflict resolution, tax policy, ethnic violence, employment discrimination: Anything that relates to peace or justice.

Here are some possible themes you can write on, but you are by no means restricted to these topics:

What do recent developments in the Arab world mean for the future of peace and justice?

What is a just way to deal with the budget crises of U.S. state governments?

Does the election of an African-American president mean that the United States has become a post-racial society? Why or why not?

Should the Defense of Marriage Act be repealed? Why or why not?

What is the importance of public education?

How I came to understand some non-obvious lesson about social justice.

If I submit work that was done for a class, may I revise it?

Absolutely. We are looking for your best work, so the stronger you can make your submission, the better. And it is fine to shorten long papers or lengthen short ones.

Who is eligible for this contest?

Anyone who was a William Paterson undergraduate student (full-time or part-time) in either Fall 2010 or Spring 2011 is eligible for this year's contest.

How does a student submit his or her own writing?

You should send an electronic copy of the work as an email attachment to Prof. Steve Shalom at shaloms@wpunj.edu. The subject line should read "GFPJ Contest".

Into the body of the email you should cut and paste the questions from the application form below and provide answers to each question.

If you do not receive a confirmation of receipt within 48 hours, please follow up.

How does a faculty member nominate a student's writing?

To nominate a student, please check with the student that he or she wants to be nominated. If the answer is yes, the nominator should send an email to Prof. Steve Shalom (shaloms@wpunj.edu) with the subject line "GFPJ Contest", giving the student's name and the title of the paper. Please forward the application form below to the student to cut and paste into an email to be sent directly to the same email address with the same subject line. The paper itself can be sent either by the student or by the nominating faculty member to the same email address, again with the same subject line.

Can a student submit and can a faculty member nominate more than one piece of writing?


What does it mean for me to say that I am the sole author of a work?

Writers often incorporate suggestions and editing from friends, colleagues, and teachers. This doesn't take away from your sole authorship. But the first draft and any subsequent substantial revisions need to be your own work. Of course, any material or quotations taken from other authors must be properly attributed and acknowledged.

Is there any required format for the paper?

The paper must be typed double spaced, with the author's name appearing only on a separate title page.

Is there any required citation style?

No. Any consistent citation style is permissible.

Do submissions have to be in English?


How are the winners chosen?

There will be a committee of faculty and Gandhian Forum advisory board members making the judgment, based on the following criteria: 1) Does the writing make a significant statement about peace or justice? 2) Is the writing compelling (surprising yet convincing)? 3) Is the writing successful in both style and content?


Peace & Justice Student Writing Contest

Application Form

Please cut and paste the questions below into the body of an email message to Prof. Steve Shalom, shaloms@wpunj.edu, with the subject line "GFPJ Contest", being sure to answer all six questions.

1. What is your name, phone (cell, home, campus), home address?

2. What is the title of the work you are submitting? _________________

3. Were you enrolled as a student (full-time or part-time) at William Paterson University in either (or both) Fall 2009 or Spring 2010?  Yes ___  No ___

4. Are you the sole author of the work submitted?  Yes ___  No ___

5. Has this work already been published?  Yes ___  No ___

6. Do you give permission for the Gandhian Forum for Peace & Justice to publish your work and to post it on line if it is selected?  Yes ___  No ___