Aug 07: Deadline for Story of Stuff Essays for Incoming Students

All entering students are invited to submit an essay answering one of the following questions about the Common Reading book The Story of Stuff. $300 worth of gift certificates to the Tufts Book Store will be awarded, and winning essays will be posted online. Essays must be submitted by Tuesday, August 7.

Submission instructions

  • Please put the question you are answering at the top of your essay, along with your name, email, and telephone number.
  • Email your essay- with the subject “Story of Stuff Essay” to TischCollegeSubmissions@tufts.edu
  • Please limit your essay to no more than 500 words.

Essay questions

You must respond to one of these four questions:
  1. The Story of Stuff not only educates us about the effects of mass consumption on our society, but also offers suggestions for change: the essence of active citizenship. Is there an action you are committing to taking after the reading this book, either one directly suggested by the author or something of your own inspired by the book? Please describe your reasoning (including specifically how The Story of Stuff inspired you), the action you intent to take, and its expected impact.
  2. As an environmental activist, Annie Leonard criticizes a few initiatives — such as biofuels, recycling programs, and “green” consumerism — that may be a little surprising, given that they are presented as being good for the environment. Choose a surprising criticism Leonard makes and analyze what her critique is and why she makes this critique. Do you agree or disagree with her points?
  3. Leonard looks at our everyday items and discusses what went into producing them. Depending on each reader’s background, some of this information might be familiar, but other parts will be much more shocking. Choose a specific story or piece of information from the book that really affected you. What about it made an impression? Did it affect your perspective on the everyday items around you, and if so, how?
  4. After reading the book, watch the original animated video, “The Story of Stuff,” that led to the creation of the book, or watch the latest video from Leonard, “The Story of Change” (due out on July 19). Consider the impact of each of these distinct media on your own learning and on societal change. What are the differences between reading a book and watching a short film in this context? How do they work together? Is one more effective than the other? You might also consider Leonard’s own perspective on writing and publishing the book — what are her own concerns and justifications?

 

For information on the contest, go to the Tisch College webpage.

For more information on the book, go to the Tisch Library webpage.

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