BY KELLY DZIALO
County College of Morris commemorates 9/11 each year by presenting the County College of Morris Peace Prize, and current students are able to participate in the competition for the chance to win $1,000 by creating a project focused on world peace.
Peter Maguire, associate English professor at CCM, said he established the CCM Peace Prize in 2001 after hearing about the Nobel Peace Prize on the radio.
“I thought what an interesting concept it might to be for County College of Morris to fashion its own Peace Prize of one type of another,” Maguire said. “I thought it would be unique. I didn’t know of any other college which obviously had something like that. The combination of [9/11] and the awarding of that year’s [Nobel] Peace Prize, the conflation of the two made me think how beneficial it would be to the college as well as it might be something students would get their teeth into.”
Established in the fall of 2001, the program encourages students to focus on world peace by submitting expository or creative writing, video production, musical composition or other visual and performance art. Submissions may be from an individual or the collaborative effort of students.
“There are a number of bright, brilliant, creative, passionate, thoughtful students, who will feel a spark, a desire to make a statement and create something that they think will have an impact on others,” Maguire said. “Granted, something like this is not going to stop war or famine or suffering or change the world, but the idea that rather than curse the darkness, to add a light, a candle, or lamp and offer light.”
Students wishing to participate must complete and submit an application to Maguire by April 3. Project submissions are due by May 1 for judging. The judges each year include a current CCM faculty member, and whomever holds the positions of chair of CCM Board of Trustees, president of the CCM Foundation, president of CCM and president of College of Saint Elizabeth.
“I have a background in the arts,” said Joseph Vitale, CCM Foundation president. “I love the arts, I love creativity and expression, and it’s exciting to see the students’ works. It’s also exciting to see how different students use different media to get their point across.”
The winner will be honored at commencement May 26 with the $1,000 prize money and a plaque provided by the CCM Foundation. A plaque in the Student Community Center also showcases the name of each recipient.
“It would be great to see more students come out,” Vitale said. “I would say, if you are a musician, a dancer, a painter, a writer, a sculptor or whatever is your mode of expression, it’s a great exercise to have a topic to express.”