The Competition

See Past Competitions  for the award winners of the Initial Competition in 2018.

The Second Annual Sturcken Memorial Oratorical Competition will be held February 29, 2020.

It will be held in two rounds:

First Round - written outline

The first calls for an approximately 300 word outline of a problem and potential solution on campus. The problem must be clearly articulated in terms of its

1) relation to lived experience on campus and

2) connection to a larger discussion of marginalization, equity, and justice.

The solution will be understood in conjunction with the problem and its potential for being both expanded upon and implemented; at this stage, the proposal needn’t be nuanced and complex, but rather a cohesive observation for further investigation.

A selection committee composed of students, faculty, and administrators will convene to discuss which proposals will be eligible for the next round.  Those selected will be given a few suggestions on how the proposal may be improved.

Second Round - verbal presentation

Orators will then be invited to expand their proposal into a 5-9 minute verbal presentation. The specific assessment guidelines can be found on this printable pdf. While no speaking style is required or expected, the assessment criteria lends itself to a more progressive understanding of authorial voice. Generally, a simple problem with a simple solution will not place well. It is therefore essential to center the lived experience of those which the problem affects most intimately. A panel consisting of two students, two faculty members (including emeritus faculty), a campus administrator, and a community leader will determine the ranking of the speeches.

The Awards

The winner then makes a bona fide commitment to see the solution to its full expression. In addition to the cash prize, the winner has the network of The Office of the Provost, The Division of Student Affairs, the Sustainability Literacy Institute, and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences to see the project through. Whether human or material, these resources provide the means for sustainable change in the way our institution relates to inequality. 

Deadlines for the Second Annual Competition will be posted:

First Round –  Written Outline

Second Round  –  Verbal Presentation


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