Paterno Fellows essay contest on ethical values open to students

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Any Penn State undergraduate student interested in exploring and writing about ethical values and intercultural issues can enter the third annual Collegiate Laws of Life Essay Contest, sponsored by The Paterno Fellows Program in the College of the Liberal Arts.

The contest is open to all full-time baccalaureate students who are enrolled at any Penn State campus for at least one semester of the 2015-16 academic year. Essays should be no longer than 800 words and will be judged on originality, relevance and creativity.

Participating students must submit their essays on one of the following prompts by Jan. 20.

-- Given the recent events unfolding at the University of Missouri, Yale University, and countless other universities across the country, what role do you believe a university should play when approaching the duality between preserving freedom of speech and standing in solidarity with its students?

-- “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” ~ Warren Bennis

We will soon elect a new president of the United States. How would you articulate your vision of American values to the future president?

-- “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” ~ Albert Einstein

What are the roles of mistakes? Do mistakes hold merit in the molding of one’s character or do men and women fall into the trap of repeated and fruitless wrongdoing under the guise of normalcy?

-- On Nov. 13, 2015, there were terrorist attacks in both Beirut and Paris of similar magnitude, but they had very dissimilar media coverage. What are the ethics of reporting death and tragedy in the media?

Winners will receive $500 for first place, $400 for second place, and $300 for third place. All winners will be acknowledged at the annual Paterno Fellows Recognition Ceremony on Jan. 27. Their essays will be published on Liberal Arts Voices.

Submissions can be uploaded at

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Last Updated March 11, 2016