Rezendes Ethics Competition and Workshop

The Honors College is excited to announce the Rezendes Ethics Essay Competition of 2017! All current undergraduate students at the University of Maine are invited to submit an 8 to 10 page essay that focuses on ethics, broadly construed. Papers on any topic of ethical concern are welcome, but see the link for suggested focus and other requirements here.

Each year, the competition has a designated “theme,” which students can use as a prompt, but are not required to address. The topic this year is as follows:

Citizenship, Democracy, and Conflict

What is a citizen? What ethical stance should a person take in their role as citizen towards issues that divide a society? Is being a citizen a contested idea? Does government have a role in promoting citizenship or is it the product of citizen action? Citizenship is at the heart of many current debates about immigration, terrorism, refugee crises and so forth. Some example topics include:

  • Are there limits to methods of interrogation in the service of national security? Are citizens and non-citizens to be treated differently?
  • What is our ethical responsibility for refugees: people displaced by war, famine, or climate change?
  • How does migration of people across political boundaries—whether due to famine, war, or economic hardship—affect our view of citizenship?
  • What are the ethical justifications of perpetual war?

There will also be a workshop for those writing an essay, held on Wednesday, Feb 8, at 4 PM (Balentine 100) there will be an Ethics Essay Competition Workshop with Prof. Don Beith open to all contest participants:

This interactive, hands on, fun workshop will take students through the steps of writing an effective ethics essay. We’ll cover the basic ethical approaches, with a list of online resources that can help you make progress on your own. We’ll do a mock paper outline. And we’ll discuss tips and strategies for writing your essay and overcoming obstacles. Open to any students, but especially designed for students who might submit to the Rezendes Ethics Essay Contest.

No matter what your major, if you have an opinion on an ethical topic, we want to read your submission!