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Half the Sky — Commons Reading Competition

Posted by Mike Martin, Project Manager, Digital Commons on July 3rd, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Win a dinner with Sheryl WuDunn at the Dean’s Residence

Enter the Commons Reading Competition and you may be one of the lucky first-year students to be invited to a special dinner with Half the Sky co-author Sheryl WuDunn in the Dean’s Residence on September 24, 2012.

The competition has few limitations--we are simply looking for your original, personal response to Half the Sky. Submissions may be made to one of three categories: written expression, creative and performance art, or online comment. Be creative and take some risks.

You’ll be judged on originality, thoughtfulness, and expression. If you need help with your writing, please consider visiting The Writing Studio, located on the second floor of the Commons Center, after you arrive on campus in August. The Writing Studio can help you clarify ideas, strengthen arguments and improve your prose.

In addition to dinner with the Dean, winners will be published on Common Place and featured at Fall for the Arts, a Commons signature event held on October 12 during Parents and Family Weekend.

Submission Details

Written expression: poetry, short story, essay or critical analysis

Creative and performance arts: music, dance, spoken word, visual arts, media, fiber arts, etc.

Online comment: posted on any Commons Reading page or in response to a Faculty Head of House or other reflection.

The Vanderbilt University Honor Code, which governs plagiarism (the representation of another’s work as your own), applies to all submissions. Winners in the written expression and creative arts will be proportional to the number of submissions in each category. One author will be chosen for best online comment.

Directions for Submission

The Commons Reading Competition is open to first-year students only.

For written works, please send your submission to: along with your name and email address. Essays should be a maximum of five pages (double-spaced).

For performance pieces, please upload a video to YouTube and send the link along with your name and email address to

Art pieces may be photographed and the photograph submitted to, or the original art may be dropped off at the Dean of The Ingram Commons office, located on the second floor of the Commons Center. Please make sure all original art is labeled with your name and email address. Artwork will be returned after October 12, 2012.

For online comments: All online comments will automatically be considered as a contest entry.


All submissions must be received by noon on September 4, 2012.


Winners will be notified via email on Friday, September 14, 2012 and posted on Common Place. Decisions of the contest judges are final.


For questions, please contact Jessica Reasons (

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