MLK Student Essay Competition

INVITATION TO ALL UO STUDENTS TO SUBMIT PAPERS, ESSAYS and POEMS for 2017_18 Will Be Available in the Late Fall. Please Check Back.

The Division of Equity and Inclusion will invite UO undergraduate and graduate students to participate in the 2017_18 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Paper Competition. Students will be invited to submit an essay that was developed for an undergraduate or graduate course at the UO in the last 12 months that demonstrates and embodies Rev. Dr. King’s commitments to peace, justice, and equality.  Submissions may include original research papers, creative writing pieces, or personal essays for courses in any department or discipline.

A committee will award a prize for an outstanding paper at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Faculty are also invited to nominate an outstanding student paper for the competition.  Faculty can send the name, email address, and paper title for one student paper to The selection committee will then invite the student to submit their paper. Due dates for nominations will be available in the fall.


  • First, and second PRIZES will be awarded in undergraduate and graduate categories valuing up to $200 in gift certificates.
  • Winners will be recognized at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. awards ceremony and celebration in January 2018.


The 2017 theme was: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?”

- ( Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Please check back in the fall for the 2018 theme.

Selection Criteria:

Student papers will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Demonstration and embodiment of Rev. Dr. King’s commitments to peace, justice and equality
  • Overall quality of writing, research, and/or creative expression
  • Originality and creativity of thesis, narrative, and/or argument

Other Guidelines:

  • Participants must be current UO students.
  • Only one submission is allowed per student.
  • Only one student nomination is allowed per faculty member.
  •  Please check back in the fall for submission deadline.

Guidelines for Paper Submission:

Papers should be submitted as a Word or PDF document and should be emailed to

Names, identification numbers, or any other information should not appear in the text of the essays, but should be included on a separate page, with phone and e-mail address.