Like many a composition instructor, I have often designed writing assignments that attempt to get students forging genuine connections between the personal and the political. Yet these assignments have not always been met with overwhelming enthusiasm from my classes, to put it politely. One possible cause for this type of response may be related to the word politics, as it seems invariably to elicit a mixture of apathy and confusion from students. So over the past several years, I have been experimenting with an assignment that bypasses overt references to politics and instead cuts straight to the conflicts surrounding students' lives—that is, the tensions bubbling up on college campuses. In this article, I reflect further on the origins of this assignment and give an overview of the engaging topics students choose to explore.

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