New ‘This I Believe’ essay contest begins

Book cover of "This I Believe II"If you were asked to write a 350- to 500-word essay about a strongly held belief, what would you say? Would it look the same as another person who hails from the NIU community?

We all might have a connection to NIU, but our experiences at NIU might have a different impact on each of us.

The Student Association, Mortar Board Senior Honor Society and First-Year Connections are teaming up to present a community-wide open mic event Wednesday, April 4.

The event will be held in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Essayists chosen to read at the open mic will be entered in a raffle to win a Kindle Fire.

To get involved, write and submit your own essay online.

First-Year Connections is collecting essays written by NIU faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, community members and students expressing one of their strongly held beliefs as a part of this year’s Common Reading Experience (CRE) program.

The essay you submit will be reviewed and posted online, joining thousands of other essays. It also will be considered for on-air reading on Northern Public Radio and possible publication in a NIU (bound book) version of the This I Believe project.

“This I Believe II”, this year’s CRE book selection,is a collection of seventy-five, 500-word essays written by a variety of Americans who have chosen to share one of their strongly held beliefs.

The book “has stimulated many conversations about individual beliefs and how they impact life choices and goals, inspiring students, faculty, and other members of the NIU community to think outside their own domain and discover things about themselves and each other’s experiences they would otherwise not have been aware,” said Kelly Melvin, assistant director of Orientation & First-Year Experience.

Teresa Bozikis, a senior at NIU, director of academic affairs for the Student Association and vice-president of scholarship for the NIU Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, said the event “will help bring NIU’s diverse community together. It is a venue that gives people a platform to express their beliefs, and allows an audience to create a new awareness by simply listening.”

Guidance on how to write and submit your own essay is available.

For more information, call (815) 753-1933 or email firstconn@niu.edu.

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