Common Book Project

The Virginia Tech Common Book Project Presents

My Virginia Tech Values: An Essay Event


What does it mean to you to live a life of service and how do you make life choices that emboyd this value?


New students come to Virginia Tech to build academic strengths, and they are sometimes surprised that they also question, test, and confirm personal identities, values, and strengths. Students are exposed to diverse belief systems and new perspectives. They consider the Virginia Tech values shown at the pylons and in the school motto of Ut Prosim, and they read the Virginia Tech common book.  The Heart and the Fist certainly explores the author's position on service as he navigates college, global service and the Navy Seals while demonstrating his own belief in the importance of service to others. Eric Greitens didn't just talk about his values; he lived them.  This essay contest does not require a book report or an author biography. Rather, writers should use the common book as inspiration.

3 selected authors will have their work published on

Deadline for submission is 5:00pm, November 18, 2016.



How do you embrace the university's motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve)? What does it mean to you to live a life of service and how do you make life choices that embody this value?


Consider a way in which you demonstrate service at Virginia Tech.  Develop an essay to share examples of your investment in the value of service.
As you create your response to this prompt, connect to the Keystone Experience at Virginia Tech.  Show evidence of how you embody the Aspirations for Student Learning, Ut Prosim, in the past, current ways you live it in your residence hall, on the drillfield, or as part of an organization and how you envision it in the future.

Submissions will be evaluated based on creativity, voice, and specificity.  See the evaluation rubric at






Submission Guidelines
Essay Length: 250-500 words
Formatting: double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12 pt. font

Email your submission as a doc. or .docx attachment to  In the EMAIL BODY include your name, PID (not your ID number), your year (first year, second year, etc.) and your major. As judging will be anonymous, do not include your name anywhere in your essay.


To print a PDF of the above inforamtion click the link below.

2016-17 Common Book Essay Information

2016-17 Common Book Essay Competition Rubric


2015-16 Virginia Tech Common Book Essay Winners