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Environmental writing contest now under way

The Working Group Recycling Committee (WGR) is now accepting essays for its first environmental writing contest. Entries are due by Jan. 30.

Sponsored by a number of groups, including Artists Behind the Desk, Department of Facilities, the Environmental Programs Office, the First Year Writing Program, the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, the Lab for Energy and the Environment, Share a Vital Earth, Students for Global Sustainability, Terrascope and the Working Group on Support Staff Issues, the contest is open to staff, students and faculty alike.

"We have the best minds in the country at MIT," said Nancy Boyce, an assistant in the Program in Science, Technology and Society and member of the WGR. Boyce said she thought up the contest as a new way to get people thinking about sustainability and the environment.

The essays are to be 2,000 to 3,000 words long and must fit into one of six categories: developing MIT-specific solutions to energy, environment and campus ecology; health and population; building a new ethic of stewardship and sustainable development; exploring solutions for worldwide energy; preserving ecosystems, water and biodiversity; and coping with climate. The categories are drawn from the 2005 United Nations' Millennium Report, which offered an evaluation of global environmental issues. Only original, unpublished works will be considered.

The 10 judges are a mix of students, faculty and staff. They will be evaluating the essays on originality, quality, content, organization, style and delivery.

First-prize essays will be considered for publication in several journals, including Worldwatch, Technology Review, E-Magazine, Orion and Geo Times, said Amy Donovan of WGR. Second-prize essays may be compiled and bound for publication in a journal to be distributed to campus libraries. Third-prize essayists will each receive a certificate of merit and a pass to the IMAX theater at the New England Aquarium. Winners will be announced at the MIT Earth Day 2006 event on March 20.

"This is a great opportunity for someone who hasn't been published before," said Donovan.

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A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 7, 2005 (download PDF).

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