Public Affairs Essay Contest Entry and Prize Information

Entry Deadline: October 29, 2023

Who Can Enter

Any Freshman through Senior classified full-time student attending the Missouri State University Springfield campus.  Graduate level students are not eligible.  

Essay Content

Submission Requirements

  • Submit a cover page that includes the following:
    • Your full name (kept anonymous during judging).

    • One to two sentence biographical statement about yourself, including your hometown and academic interest or the degree you are seeking.

    • What aspect of the theme your essay is addressing and the total word count.

    • The name of the charity or non-profit organization that you would choose to receive the cash award should you win the contest.

  • The judging committee will consider clarity, spelling, and grammar as well as the originality and compelling nature of idea(s).
  • Inclusion of evidence-based ideas is encouraged, but not required.

Entry Submission

Email your cover page and essay as one .doc, .docx or .PDF document to
Deadline: Submissions must be emailed prior to midnight (11:59pm) on Sunday, October 29, 2023.
All submissions are kept anonymous during judging. Names will be removed and replaced with an identifier prior to being submitted to the judging committee.

Contest Sponsorship

This contest is sponsored by the Institute for Development of Ethics And Leadership—IDEAL. IDEAL is a non-profit organization established by the alumni of the Alpha Rho Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity at Missouri State University.  Their mission is to further the development of ethics and leadership in the men of the fraternity.

Members of the MSU Chapter of Sigma Pi are not eligible to compete in this contest.  

Prize Details

1st place prize - $1,500*

The author of the winning essay will receive a cash prize of $1,500, plus an additional $500 to be donated in the winner's name to the charity or non-profit of their choice. The winning work will be published on the MSU Public Affairs website. First place prize is provided by MSU Sigma Pi alumni via the Institute for Development of Ethics and Leadership (IDEAL)

2nd place prizes - $300 each 

There will be two 2nd place prizes to be awarded each $300 in MSU Bookstore gift cards.  Sponsored by MSU's Political Science Department.  

3rd place prizes - $150 each

There will be three 3rd place cash prizes to be awarded $150 each. MSU Sigma Pi alumni via the Institute for Development of Ethics and Leadership (IDEAL)

Questions & Disclaimer

Missouri State's Office of Public Affairs Support helps to provide communication and web support for the contest. Please direct questions to 417-836-8832 or

All aspects of this essay contest, including prize distribution, is at the discretion of IDEAL and the essay review committee.