The OPSEU Local 365 is holding a contest open to all current Trent students in celebration of Trent’s 50th anniversary.

With two prize divisions for undergraduate and graduate students, the first place for each division is a lucrative $2,500, with $1,500 for second-place winners, $500 for third place, and $50 to each of a possible 20 runners up.

“The entries are in support of the value of the organized labour movement, as a tool for social justice,” said Jeannine Crowe of the OPSEU Local 365 committee.

“The focus of the statement can be the influence of the labour movement on local, provincial, national, or international perspectives.”

Submissions can be in any medium, from essay, visual art, poetry, sculpture, video, to performance.

“An abstract or rational of the intent behind the entry is required to accompany the entry, and award winning entrants will be asked to present a three minute speech on their rationale at an celebration in the new year,” added Crowe.

“OPSEU Local 365 is the bargaining unit that represents support staff at Trent University: services and buildings, secretarial and office, administrative, library, and scientific support.

OPSEU stands for Ontario Public Service Employees Union, and provincial membership includes nurses, child care workers, ambulance drivers, nursing home employees, corrections, college and university staff, LCBO employees, and more.

“Provincially, OPSEU advocates not only for workers who are members of the organization, but also on larger social justice issues of benefit to all citizens of the province,” Crowe explained.

Crowe explained how the award “was conceived on a snowy night two years ago at a general membership meeting.”

With a budget of $10,000 to create an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Trent, OPSEU Local 365 struck a committee that evening.

“There was unanimous support among local members that the funds be used to give back to the students who are a vital part of making our workplace enjoyable and personally fulfilling.

“Additionally, it is hoped that the resulting entries will provide a more lasting documentation or commemoration of the 50th anniversary than an event might do, as well as being intellectually and creatively engaging with students, who are, after all, the reason we’re all here.”

Crowe said, “Students are able to develop entries on their own or in a group, provided the entries are original work, following the usual Trent guidelines of Academic integrity.”

The deadline for entries is December 3 at 4pm, so get creative! For more information, or to enter the contest, check out trentu.ca/opseuaward.

“The entries will be judged by a panel including the head of OPSEU, Smokey Thomas, as well as Trent faculty: David Newhouse, Head of Indigenous Studies; Joan Sangster, Labour Historian and faculty of Women’s Studies; and Bryan Palmer, Canadian Research Chair in Labour History.”