Hiram College

Three Hiram freshmen have been recognized for their essays on the ethical issues surrounding war.

Co-sponsored by the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature and the Center for Engaged Ethics, first year students were given the opportunity to enter the Tom and Betty Niccolls First Year Essay Contest this spring. Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize winner and nationally syndicated columnist from the Plain Dealer judged the entries.

The following students were awarded:

1st Place ($300): Kaylyn Gamertsfelder

2nd Place ($200): Hin Yan Wong
“War: Is it ever just?”

3rd Place ($100): Conner Pitkin
“The Cost of War: Conflicts Resolutions instead of War”

The prompt the students wrote about was as follows:

In “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien struggles with his own views about war and the views of society. His country wants him to fight in a war, yet O’Brien believes that the war is unjust.

  • How does someone balance the struggle between person values and societal duties? Would you fight in a war that you did not agree with? Would choosing to fight be cowardly (bending to society’s expectations) or brave (willing to die for your country)?
  • Interview someone who has been personally affected by war such as a veteran or refugee. Describe his or her experience and use the experience to explore the ethical dimensions of war.
  • Can war be just? When do you think a country should go war? Consider the various reasons that countries choose to engage in war. Are some reasons better than others? Do you think there are more peaceful alternatives for conflict resolution? You may choose to explore conflict resolution strategies on an individual or global level.