Leaves of Gold Fall Essay Contest accepting submissions


The annual Leaves of Gold Fall Essay Contest is currently open for student submissions.

The contest, first started at Reinhardt in 2013, provides students with the opportunity to showcase their writing abilities and present their ideas. Students write an essay on one of the three provided topics and compete for cash prizes.

The Chair of the essay contest committee, Associate Vice President for Academic Services and Graduate Studies, Dr. Margaret Morlier, encourages all students to participate in the contest because the competition helps students demonstrate their ability to put their thoughts on important topics into a logical format.

“I think it’s important to reward good writing skills, composition skills, in the essay form because so much of our communication today is in small bits.. …But we’re used to small bits of information,” Morlier said. “There’s a value to thinking through a topic through at least three or four pages, thinking a topic through logically, going into some depth with it and this essay contest rewards that kind of thought process and that kind of writing.”

The three topics for this year include historical, social and philosophical questions. Students must choose one:

Question #1:
2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Parks. Are they necessary to our well-being and worth the enormous cost? Would the public money be better spent rebuilding our decaying urban centers, allowing the parks to be owned and operated by private corporations?

Question #2:
Law enforcement and national security issues are hotly debated today and are complicated by issues of terrorism and racism. What are the significant challenges for public safety? How do you think your generation will meet these challenges?

Question #3:
From a spiritual or philosophical perspective, all of the following character qualities are important— courage, honesty, compassion and determination. Compose an essay about one of these qualities. Why is it important, personally and in terms of benefit to the larger society?

The required length of the essay is four to six pages typed and double-spaced, with 12-point font and 1-inch margins, and should include a title. Dr. Morlier said the judges evaluate both content and composition skills.  Essays are to be submitted electronically via email to Dr. Morlier and should not have been turned in for a class assignment or edited by a professor. The contest is open to any undergraduate student wishing to participate.

Morlier explained that the top essays will contain certain elements.

“I think if someone had a clear thesis and opinion … and logic and examples to support it, just had a good logic to the essay and good specific examples to support. And [the judges are] looking for writing skills, as well: topic sentences, well-organized paragraph, a logical flow to the whole essay,” Morlier said.

The essays will be judged by Dr. Theresa Ast (History), Dr. Evan Kropp (Communication and Media Studies) and Joel Langford (Library). The first-place winner will receive a prize of $200, second place will receive $150, and third place will receive $100. The contest is sponsored by the Student Government Association and the Arts and Humanities Department. 

The deadline to submit essays is 5 p.m. on Oct. 17, and prizes will be awarded Nov. 10.


Written By: Jordan Beach. Photo By: Jordan Beach. Featured Image: Freshman Levi Cochran

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