Urgently wanted: Your ideas for a better world

What Matters? 2011 finalists

Have you got an idea about what we could do to build a better society? If you're in years 5-12 in NSW or the ACT then now is your chance to have your say by entering the Whitlam Institute's 2012 What Matters? Competition.

The 2012 What Matters? essay competition, proudly sponsored by Officeworks, calls on students in years 5-12 in NSW and ACT schools to submit a 400-600 word opinion piece on the issues in society that are important to them.

Director of the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney, Mr Eric Sidoti, says the What Matters? Competition is designed to give young people's ideas a platform and provide a chance for their voices to be heard.

"Young people see the world through their own eyes. Each year, when you read the entries to the What Matters? Competition, you cannot help but be bowled over by the freshness, the passion and the compassion in what they have to say," says Mr Sidoti.

Officeworks Communications Manager, Felicia Booth, says that Officeworks is delighted to once again support the successful What Matters? Competition.

"The quality and diversity of entries continues to impress us year in, year out. In 2011, over 1800 students from more than 200 schools submitted essays on a wide range of topics including same-sex marriage, refugee policy in Australia, Indigenous health, population growth, and the difficulty of maintaining a healthy body image," says Ms Booth.

"Officeworks' support for the What Matters? Competition is a vital component of our commitment to education and young people, and we are proud to be involved again in 2012."

This year, the overall competition winner will receive a laptop and software package from Officeworks. Each category winner will be awarded $350, and a runner-up in each category will be awarded $200. Winners and runners-up will receive their prize at an awards ceremony, following their participation in a Young Writers Forum at the University of Western Sydney's Parramatta campus. Winning entries will be published in print and online.

The Year 11/12 category winner will also be offered the opportunity to participate in ReachOut's ReachOutReporters multimedia content producing program, receiving professional training and the opportunity to be published online and paid for their work.

The category winners from years 5/6, 7/8 and 9/10 will each receive a full-day creative writing workshop donated by The Writing Workshop, conducted by award-winning author Bernard Cohen.

Further, all participating schools will go into a major prize draw for their chance to win one of five $1000 Officeworks spending sprees.

Entries close Friday 4 May 2012.


6 February 2012

Photo: Sally Tsoutas

Contact: Amy Sambrooke, Whitlam Institute

Contact: Danielle Roddick, Senior Media Officer