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Twitter poetry contest winners announced at fifth anniversary of university's principles of community reception


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 28, 2010 – A reception was held in April to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the signing of Virginia Tech's Principles of Community and to announce the winners of the related Twitter poetry contest.

The rules for the poetry contest stipulated that one of the first place awards would go to a student in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. However, the two honorable mention awards were also presented to College of Architecture and Urban Studies Students. The winners were:

  • First place - Oscar Alexis Salguero of Leesburg, Va., a junior majoring in industrial design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • First place - Drew Knapp of Hickory, N.C., a junior majoring in business in the Pamplin College of Business
  • Honorable Mention - Griffin Ofiesh of Falls Church, Va., a senior majoring in architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Honorable Mention - Emily Louise Calderon of Virginia Beach, Va., a junior majoring in art in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies

Karen Eley Sanders, interim vice president for diversity and inclusion, delivered the welcome address and thanked the Taskforce on Race and the Institution Undergraduate Subcommittee for recommending such activities as a way to further the university’s commitment to the Principles of Community.

Simone Paterson, assistant professor in the School of Visual Arts, thanked the students for participating in the poetry contest, announced the names of the winners, and invited each winner to read his/her poem aloud.

The poetry contest was designed to utilize Twitter as a way to raise awareness of diversity within the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, across campus, and in the surrounding community using the context of Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community as the theme for poems. Each poem was restricted to 140 characters and students were encouraged to submit poems in languages other than English. The submissions were judged on originality, stylistic merit, and effective use of the theme.

The judging committee included: Gyorgyi Voros, instructor in the English department and chair of the judging committee; Kwame Harrison, assistant professor of sociology; Sal Choudhury, professor of architecture; Silvia Ramos-Cotton, manager of diversity initiatives in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion; and Hayley Dodd, an undergraduate English major who was one of the winners of the 2009 Steger Award for Undergraduate Poetry.

The poetry contest was sponsored by the College of Architecture and Urban Studies Diversity Committee, the Taskforce on Race and the Institution Undergraduate Subcommittee, InnovationSpace, and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

The Principles of Community were established in 2005 and are fundamental to “on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members.” In summary, this includes affirming the inherent dignity and value of every person; affirming the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely; affirming the value of human diversity because it enriches our lives and the university; rejecting all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on age, color, disability, gender, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status; and pledging our collective commitment to the principles in the spirit of the Virginia Tech motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).