The IDEAs (Inclusion/Diversity/Equity/Anti-Racism) Challenge is intended to spur reflection and discussion around issues of inclusion, diversity, and equity and to promote anti-racism on the Blackburn College campus.

The Challenge was initiated and funded by a Blackburn alumnus who is grateful for the positive impact Blackburn College made on his values relating to diversity and inclusion. The deep friendships and understandings that resulted from his interactions with students of different ethnicities, cultures, and viewpoints are among his most valued lessons from his Blackburn years.

For 2024, IDEAs Challege opportunties will be offered in the spring semester (beginning March 1) and fall semester (beginning September 1).



To encourage original thinking and work that expresses or demonstrates students’ feelings and thoughts concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion issues on the Blackburn College campus. 


The IDEAs Challenge is open to all currently enrolled full-time Blackburn College students who are at least second-semester freshmen or higher.


Each applicant must submit a brief written description of their submitted entry.  Additional information can be obtained by visiting the Office of Institutional Equity and requesting a copy. 

Entry Requirements Summary

  • One submission per student shall be permitted.
  • To be considered, an entry must be the original, unpublished work of the applicant. 
  • A brief written description of the entry must be described on the provided standard form.    
  • Acceptable submissions shall include a written essay, original story, or poem; a drawn, painted, or other piece of visual art; a performed original song, dance, play, or piece of music.

Selection of Winners

A three-person committee will judge the entries. The Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) will head the committee and will include a Professor of English, and a Professor of Art or Music, chosen by the Executive Director. 


Winners shall receive: 1st prize $500, 2nd prize $350, and 3rd prize $150. Winners will be offered the chance to read, play, or otherwise present their submissions to the campus community and will be encouraged to present their winning submissions at the Blackburn College Equity Center. 


  • The IDEAs Challenge shall be administered by the Executive Director of DEIB. 
  • This Executive Director will also monitor funds remaining for future IDEAs challenges and will communicate with the Advancement office, which will maintain communication with the donor. 
  • The IDEAs Challenge is an annual event.
  • The IDEAs Challenge should be publicized by the Executive Director of DEIB starting on or about March 1st (spring semester) and September 1st (fall semester).  Publicity to encourage students to submit their work should include campus posters, frequent mentions in daily announcements, and faculty and staff reminders at their respective assemblies.
  • Entries will be submitted to the Executive Director of DEIB.  A brief description of each entry must be completed on the standard application form along with each original submission.

Selection Criteria

Entries may be one of the following (only one original submission per student):

  1. Written Entry: An essay or story may contain up to 1500-2000 words and should be formatted in 12-point Times New Roman font with double-spacing, and if citations are necessary, they should adhere to a consistent citation format (i.e. MLA or APA) on the form submission. Creative work such as a play or poem need not be double-spaced.  Failure to submit written entries via the electronic submission will result in application being excluded from the contest.
  2. Visual Art Entry: A drawn, printed, painted, or other piece of visual art.  A digital image of the work shall be uploaded in a viewable format (.jpg, ppt.). The digital submission should be in color unless the entry is in black and white. Failure to submit a viewable visual art entry via the electronic submission will result in application being excluded from the contest.
  3. Music/Dance/Performance Entry: A song, dance, play or other performance should be filmed and uploaded to YouTube, and the URL included on the entry form. Videos of these works are limited to ten minutes in length. Failure to submit the uploaded music/dance/performance entries via the electronic submission will result in the application being excluded from the contest.

Submission Form