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The spoken word has the power to unite communities if its citizens take some time to listen. The University of Delaware campus has been listening to powerful, personal stories since the Center for Political Communication launched the Voices project in 2017. Many have shared their thoughts on the divided nation, how words matter and the destructive nature of hate speech, how to speak up for democracy, and, most recently, the pandemic's impact.
For information about the contest including guidelines, visit Voices of UD Audio Essay Contest (udel.edu). The CPC debuted the Voices project in 2017 as part of its mission to promote civic engagement. Through nonpartisan, interdisciplinary outreach and education, the CPC equips students and the community with the political, social, and communication literacy needed to engage in civil discourse. To learn more, visit news stories about the Voices of the Divide in 2017, Voices Matter in 2018, and Speak Up! in 2019.
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Highlights from Voices projects since 2017 are linked below. To hear more, visit the Voices of UD playlist and the 2020 Voices of UD community messages.
In "After Dinner," Oscar de Paz described an encounter while cleaning up after dinner with his family in his story about lost innocence. He earned first place in the Voices of the Divide Audio Essay Contest, hosted by the CPC in fall 2017. He was a Ph.D. student studying energy and environmental policy when he participated in the contest.
In "Afraid," Madeline Merritts depicted the anxiety and fear that women and girls experience because of unwanted attention and sexualization. She earned second place in the Voices of the Divide Audio Essay Contest, hosted by the CPC in fall 2017. She was a junior studying media communication, when she participated in the contest.
In "Fitting In," Monique Harmon shared her perspective of belonging to a religion that isn't considered to be part of mainstream American society. She earned third place in the Voices of the Divide Audio Essay Contest, hosted by the CPC in fall 2017. Monique was a junior studying media communication when she entered the contest.
In "The Line," Mia Carbone recalled a class discussion about the contentious Kavanaugh hearings and the trepidation of a lone boy. She considered how ultimately voices can indeed be drowned out. Mia earned first place in UD's Voices Matter Audio Essay Contest, hosted by the CPC in fall 2018. Mia was a sophomore majoring in political science and communication when she entered the contest.
In "Shut Up and Listen!," Eric Hastings, a graduate student who completed his Master of Public Administration degree in spring 2019, examined the lessons learned when people "shut up and listen," why it is important to do so, and why it is dangerous not to listen. He earned second place in UD's Voices Matter Audio Essay Contest, hosted by the CPC in fall 2018.
In "The Word," Jymere Stillis-Stanford recalled a high school experience when he found his voice to combat ignorance among his non-Black peers. He earned third place in UD's Voices Matter Audio Essay Contest, hosted by the CPC in fall 2018. Jymere was a junior majoring in mass communication and psychology when he entered the contest.
In "Dinner Plate Democracy," Tara Lennon said citizens who don't vote must settle for meatloaf and asparagus, and they lose their right to a new menu. Tara was a sophomore pursuing a degree in communication when she earned third place in the Speak Up! Audio Essay Contest, hosted in fall 2019 by UD's Center for Political Communication.
In "2008," Julia Mack recalled the formative experience of a 5th grade mock election. She was a senior majoring in media communication when she received second place in the Speak Up! Audio Essay Contest. The CPC hosted the contest in fall 2019.
In "Democracy for Minorities," Rachel Sawicki said that the American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are worth defending. Rachel was a senior majoring in communication when she earned first place in the Speak Up! Audio Essay Contest, hosted by the CPC in fall 2019.
Satvika Kandiyala, an University of Delaware sophomore majoring in biological sciences, shared her thoughts about life during a pandemic. Satvika submitted her message, "What Can You Control?," in spring 2020 for the Voices of UD project, which was reintroduced as a digital forum and expanded to include the whole UD community.
Sansskruty Rayavarapu, a junior majoring in political science, shared her thoughts about life during a pandemic in her message, "Why I'm Okay." Sansskruty submitted her message in spring 2020 for the Voices of UD project, which was reintroduced as a digital forum and expanded to include the whole UD community.
Tara Smith, an instructor of communication, shared "Lesson Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic" in spring 2020. She submitted her message as part of the Voices of UD project, which was reintroduced as a digital forum and expanded to include the whole UD community.
In 2017, the CPC launched the Voices project through a collaboration with the University Writing Center, the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press, Delaware Public Media, the College of Arts & Sciences Journalism Program, the University of Delaware Department of Communication, WVUD Radio (91.3), and the University of Delaware Provost.
The views and opinions expressed by the contest participants do not necessarily reflect the views of the University, its administration, or faculty. Please email email@example.com if you have questions or call 302-831-7771.