Friday, September 14, 2012

Saving Detroit: this year's student essay topic

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the 2012-2013 Student Essay Contest topic for the college where I teach.*
Saving Detroit

As the 2011 Super Bowl commercial featuring Detroit might indicate, Detroit has developed a reputation for being hard, tough, edgy and auto-centric. Considering the beginnings of our town, steeped in the automotive industry, this is not surprising. Part of this reputation, however, stems also from the notorious race riots of '43 and '67, the persistent crime rate and steeply falling population. Because of recent shifts in the auto industry as well as these less attractive factors, many believe that Detroit is a lost cause with little hope of recovering from persistent decline.

Those who live in and around Detroit, however, have an opportunity to see many other aspects of the city, to take part in a diverse, culturally sophisticated and cosmopolitan community. In fact, despite declining population in the city, a grass roots movement is alive and kicking, hoping to build, promote and develop the best parts of Detroit in such a way that it will once again be a destination rather than an effigy of past glories
As a citizen of the Detroit Metro area, write an essay that argues why Detroit is worth saving. Your essay should be academic in nature and should rely upon first-hand experience and/or research to support its central argument.
I swear I had nothing to do with choosing this topic or crafting the write-up. That written, I couldn't have done a better job myself. Honestly, it encapsulates much of the theme of this blog, including my sentiment that "exciting things are happening here, and I wouldn't miss them for the world." Of course, I'm going to promote this essay contest to my students, including giving extra credit for submissions. That the winner receives $1000, second place $750, third place $500, and five honorable mentions should convince them even more.

*I'm pseudonymous here, but I'm not anonymous. After all, I link to articles with my real name.

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