For the fourteenth consecutive year, the Greenfield Peace Scholarship is an opportunity to hear from young Oregonians on some of the most pressing issues of our time. We sponsor this annual scholarship in order to encourage Oregon’s youth to consider their leadership role in promoting a more healthy, just, and peaceful world.
As our tactics for social change continuously evolve, we recognize the power of social media and the internet in shaping our access to information and making it possible to share our experiences in new ways. In past years, we have asked participants to submit written and visual art. This year, though, we are seeking to see and hear the voices of change. For this year’s Greenfield Peace Scholarship, we are asking students to creatively respond to the following prompt: “Half of the US discretionary budget goes to the military every year. How would you spend it instead?”
We are asking that you submit a video performance (3 minutes max.) of your own original poem, song, or rap by Friday, March 18th, 2022 at 11:59 PM to be considered for this year’s scholarship. Please note: This year's scholarship is open to low-income students only.
We recognize that access to internet and recording equipment may vary greatly across participants, so please note that submissions will be judged on creativity and lyrical content over video quality and production. If you do not have access to the equipment necessary to record and submit your video submission, email [email protected]. We are committed to hearing from all interested and eligible students, and we will work with you to make sure that your voice is heard!
Background and Brainstorming Questions
To a generation born after 9/11, never-ending war is the norm. Very few anti-war movements have gained traction since worldwide protests opposing the US-Iraq War took place on February 15th, 2003, spanning over 600 cities across the globe. For most high school juniors and seniors, these anti-war events occurred before their birth. In the past two decades, the military has continued to operate with increased yearly funding, but a sense of decreased visibility and scrutiny from the public. Meanwhile, young people are being raised in a world that is saturated with tragic events through the globalized internet, twenty-four hour news notifications, and social media.
In recent years, young people have been at the forefront of movements for a wide range of social justice issues, ranging from climate justice to the Black Lives Matter movement, from stronger restrictions on guns to changing the way we think about policing and mass incarceration. Yet, due to the military’s incomprehensible power and protections, many of the countless atrocities of war are invisible or kept hidden. Regardless of whether the president is a Democrat or Republican, the military budget continues to grow, drone strikes continue to cause civilian deaths, veterans continue to suffer, and low-income young people continue to be recruited into military service at higher rates than their wealthier peers.
As Generation Z is bombarded with anxiety-inducing news through social media in a fast-moving, globalized world, it can feel impossible to stay focused. At a time when countless issues are demanding the attention of young people, think about one of the issues that matters most to you. Then, brainstorm how you would devise creative solutions to this issue if you had the resources that are currently available to the US military (public and governmental support, fiscal resources, a stellar research and development team, the newest, cutting-edge technologies, etc.) as you respond to the following prompt: “Half of the US discretionary budget goes to the military every year. How would you spend it instead?”
Potential Questions for Brainstorming Your Creative Response
- Think about the ways that a budget serves as a “moral document.” What does our military spending say about America’s values and morality?
- Why do you think there is so little discussion about the human and economic cost of war? What impact do you think the US’s enormous war budget has on your community and your family, if any?
- Do you believe large anti-war movements might reappear in the future? What do you think it would take for public sentiment against military intervention to reach levels seen during the height of the Vietnam or Iraq War?
- Climate disruption has become understood as an intersectional issue - addressing climate change positively affects many other areas of social justice. Could we also think this way when it comes to demilitarization and decreasing war spending?
- What inspired your entry, and why did you feel it was important to highlight this issue? Is your entry based on lived experiences, fiction, or both?
Eligibility Criteria and Accommodations
To qualify for this scholarship, you must:
- Be a resident of Oregon
- Be a junior or senior in high school
- Identify as low-income*
*For the purposes of this scholarship, we define low-income as qualifying for free lunch or SNAP benefits. If neither of these apply to you, but you identify as low-income, please describe your situation in a few sentences when you submit your scholarship entry (ex. “my caretakers are unemployed,” “I have an income-based full-tuition scholarship at a private school,” etc.). If you are unsure whether or not you qualify, please email [email protected].
Again, if internet speed or technology poses a barrier that might prevent your participation in this year’s scholarship, please contact [email protected]. We will provide you with the resources you need!
Submission Form (Google Forms)