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Voices of UD

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Connecting the University of Delaware community

 
 

When was the last time you felt you were heard? On the other hand, when was the last time you really listened? Did you give your undivided attention to the speaker or message? Our days are filled with interruptions. Whether it be from phones, advertisements, social media… even the intrusive thoughts in our heads. Spoken word has the power to unite communities if only its citizens took time to listen. Now is the chance to have your voice heard.

Since 2017, the University of Delaware campus has empowered students and community members to share their personal stories through the Voices project launched by the Center for Political Communication. Participants have previously shared their thoughts on gun violence, our divided nation, and the destructive nature of hate speech. Each year, we offer a general theme 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.

For Voices of UD 2024, we are providing you the opportunity to share how “My Future, My Voice” can change the trajectory.

The 2023 Harvard Youth Poll finds nearly half of young Americans feel anxious and are motivated to take action for change - to craft a better future. Safety, financial security, political divides, and mental health dominate the concerns of young Americans. Do you agree? We invite you to consider your future and share your voice.

  • How do you see your future?
  • If you could write your future, what would it look like?
  • What can or should you do to take action for change?

The future is unwritten; how will you shape it into what you want it to be? ​

For inspiration listen to some past essays on the CPC's Voices of UD playlist​ or by reviewing:

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​Guidelines​​

  • The Voice of UD project is open to all members of the public.
  • The optional contest is for currently enrolled UD students only and ends March 22, 2024.
  • Your message should be between 1 and 4 minutes.
  • You must be the sole author of your message, and it may not contain content that is defamatory to a third party, obscene or inappropriate. It must be accurate and truthful without misrepresentation of individuals, facts or events. The CPC may request validation of content.​
  • Please do not include copyrighted material.
  • The message must not include your address, phone number, or other contact information.​
  • If you require special assistance, contact the Center for Political Communication at 302-831-7771 or cpc-info@udel.edu.​

Submitting your Voices message​

Submit your message to https://bit.ly/voices-of-ud-2024​​. The optional contest for currently enrolled UD students will close at midnight on March 22, 2024.​​

  • ​Record your video or audio message using your smartphone's camera or a voice recording app. Alternatively, you can use a platform such as Zoom or Canvas. You can also reserve a recording session at UD Library's Student Multimedia Design Center.​
  • You need to provide your email address to submit your message.
  • Check the sound to make sure the essay is clear and understandable.​
  • Your submission must include the uploaded audio essay (.mp4, .mp3, .mp4a, or .wav file format).
  • No written transcript is needed for non-contest messages.
  • You must agree to the participant release and license before you submit your recording.
  • The Center for Political Communication will publish non-contest messages on the CPC's Voices of UD playlist​ and Instagram account​ on an ongoing basis. ​

​​Resources and Suggestions​

For help with organizing, composing, or delivering your submission, you may schedule a consultation with the University Writing Center. For complete service descriptions and appointment registration information, visit writingcenter.udel.edu. You can record your submission at the Student Multimedia Design Center. Stop by the SMDC desk in the Morris Library or call 302-831-8832 to schedule an audio recording session.

Here are some tips to help your essay stand out from the rest.

  • Read A Guide to Writing and Producing a Winning Essay for some helpful tips from the University Writing Center and UD Library.
  • A personal story can be more meaningful than a generic anecdote.​
  • Speak in the first person. Avoid speaking in the editorial "we."
  • Do not try to editorialize, preach, or persuade others with your opinions.
  • Your story can be heartwarming, sentimental, funny, triumphant, or thought-provoking. Think about how you can enlighten or inspire others.​
  • Write for the ear. Keep sentences short and use simple vocabulary. Convey imagery and emotion with descriptions and active verbs.
  • Construct your story in three main parts: introduction, explanation of central focus, and resolution or takeaway.​
  • Deliver your story as though you are speaking to a friend, using conversational, descriptive words and phrases that fit your natural speaking style and tone. ​​
  • Consult with the University Writing Center's oral communication consultants for assistance with writing and delivering your essay.​

​ Important Contest Information​

Prizes:

For UD students who entered the contest: First Prize is $500, Second Prize is $250, Third Prize is $100, and three Honorable Mention Prizes are $50 each. Delaware Public Media may broadcast the winning essays. Contest finalists will be published on the CPC's website (www.cpc.udel.edu) in June 2024. Winners will be announced at the Now Hear This! Public speaking event on April 17, 2024. We will email contest results to finalists who are unable to attend in person.​​

Judging:

For students who entered the Voices of UD contest: University of Delaware faculty and administrators will judge contest submissions based on objective and subjective criteria. Essays will be ranked in accordance with the cumulative total scores of points awarded by the contest judges. Judges will score each entry first before discussing and comparing them. Essays with the highest scores will be judged by an additional panel to determine award winners.

  • Content is worth 20 points. Demonstrate an understanding of the theme. Express your ideas in a clear and organized manner. Fully develop your theme and use transitions to move smoothly from one idea to another.
  • Originality and creativity are worth 15 points. Treatment of the theme should allow imagination and human interest. It should engage the listener on an emotional and subjective level.
  • Delivery is worth 10 points. Speak clearly, at a natural pace, and with credibility to engage the listener.
  • Production value is worth 5 points (audio quality and editing).​​​​

About V​oices​

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 cpc-info@​udel.edu if you have questions or call 302-831-7771.​​​

Non-Discrimination, Title IX, and Resources​

Non-Discrimination Statement: The University of Delaware does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in its employment, educational programs and activities, admissions policies, and scholarship and loan programs as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. The University of Delaware also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct: Contest organizers who are made aware that a student may have been the victim of discrimination or sexual misconduct are obligated by federal law to inform the University's Title IX office. The Title IX office will decide if the incident should be examined further. If you disclose such a situation in your submitted contest entry, the contest organizers cannot promise confidentiality.

If you have experienced discrimination or sexual misconduct and would like to discuss it with a trained individual in a confidential setting, please visit the website of the University's Office of Equity and Inclusion (udel.edu)​. You will find information about the University's non-discrimination and sexual misconduct policies, helpful resources, and instructions on how to report incidents.

To speak confidentially with a licensed counselor or a member of the clergy, please visit the Center for Counseling & Student Development at Center for Counseling & Student Development | UD Division of Student Life | (udel.edu)​. You can also find licensed counselors at Student Wellness & Health Promotion (udel.edu)​ and within pastoral care. For more information on reporting sexual misconduct, including confidential disclosure, please visit Reporting | Sexual Misconduct (udel.edu)​. For 24-hour crisis assistance and victim advocacy and counseling, please visit 24 Hour Help | Sexual Offense Support (S.O.S.) (udel.edu)​.​​​

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