Rose Byler, a 2012 Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) graduate, placed third in the bi-national C. Henry Smith Oratorical contest for her speech, “Living in the Tension: Social Services and Systemic Change.”
Byler, who graduated with a degree in social work, was a senior when she gave her speech discussing how her profession can both empower individuals and tackle systemic issues.
“I challenge us to use our gifts to empower individuals, communities and policy making bodies in ways that confront systemic injustice and shift toward sustainable change. We must not forget the end goal,” Byler said.
She was awarded a $150 cash prize from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), which sponsors the bi-national contest.
Lauren Treiber, a junior at Goshen College, won first prize for her speech, “The Real Occupy Movement: Understanding Capitalism in a Christian Context.” The second-place winner in the contest was Katie Wineland, a senior at Bluffton University, for her speech, “Speaking a Wor(l)d of Truth: Proclamation as Peacebuilding.”
Treiber collected a $300 cash prize while Wineland was awarded a $225.
About the contest
The annual oratorical event, open to students in Mennonite and Brethren in Christ universities and colleges in Canada and the United States, is administered by Peace and Justice Ministries of MCC.
Each speaker applied the Christian peace position to a contemporary concern in an 8-10 minute address.
EMU has participated in the event since 2003, with EMU students winning the grand prize at the bi-national level in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2011. The contest is sponsored by EMU’s Bible and religion, language and literature, and peacebuilding and development programs.
The contest was established in 1974 in honor of the late C. Henry Smith, a Mennonite historian and professor at Goshen and Bluffton.