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Students write op-eds, Letters to the Editor

Dan Hudgins and Lisa de Saxe Zerden recently gave their Foundations of Social Welfare and Social Work classes a compelling assignment — write a letter worthy of publishing.

Students were asked to write either an op-ed about an issue, problem or policy of their choice; or to respond to an article that relates to course content and topics. Most students chose to write letters to the editor, but a handful of the students wrote op-eds.

The were to address issues on a local, state or national level. And they were encouraged to grab the audience with examples from practice, offer statistics, provide background and propose a solution; or they could critique or praise something they read.

The students soon learned that it was a difficult task to be brief but also write concisely and powerfully.

“The assignment was quiet timely, given the 2010 elections and [the media coverage] major policies like ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ was receiving during the time of the assignment,” said Zerden.

Those published from Hudgins’ class include:

  • Jay Jahnes, Nation must address causes of poverty, Greensboro News & Record
  • Diana Palacios, ‘Doughnut Hole’ causing belly aches for low-income seniors, Independent Tribune
  • Cindy Portillo, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ keeps good soldiers away, The Daily Tar Heel
  • Jane Stewart, Illiteracy breeds array of chronic problems, Greensboro News & Record
  • Sam Warlick, Still thirsting for a COLA, Salisbury Post

Those published from Zerden’s class include: