USDA Position Paper & Presentation

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The 2020 AIHEC Student Conference, which had been scheduled for Albuquerque, NM on March 21-24, 2020, will not take place out of an abundance of caution and concern for Tribal College students and their families, TCU faculty and staff, the residents of New Mexico, and most important, our Tribal elders upon whom we depend.
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Position Paper & Presentation Sponsored by USDA


Coordinator: Lisa Yellow Luger
Phone: 701.854.8130

Lawrence Shorty
Phone: 202.720.7265


Competition Objectives

The Position Paper & Presentation Competition sponsored by USDA provides opportunities for tribal college students to explore topics collaboratively, which are relevant to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through research, written documentation, and oral presentation. This team event requires students to develop a topic, conduct research, formulate a collaborative opinion, write the final paper, and create an oral power point presentation to be judged during the AIHEC Student Conference.

In preparing for this event, students must consider one of the following issues:

  1. What role can you and your Tribal College play in enhancing food availability that will help your family, friends and schools make proper food choices, which can help combat obesity, improve personal health and improve nutritional options?
  2. What steps do you believe should be taken to achieve Tribal Energy Independence that would involve biofuels, wind power or other renewable energy sources by USDA and your Tribal College? How will this help tribal communities create jobs, improve the general economic development trends and assist tribal economies in becoming more diverse, sustainable and vibrant?
  3. What strategies can you and your Tribal College adopt which will improve air quality, clean water, wildlife habitat, and help farmers and ranchers protect the environment and natural resources of your community for generations that follow?
  4. What steps can you and your Tribal College take to maximize Native Farmers and Ranchers profitability and promote Economic Development in your community? How would you engage USDA in working with Native Producers?


Competition Guidelines & Procedures

Students should first choose an issue and identify the topic. Next, they must take a position on this topic, and after they have established a position or thesis statement, they should conduct research to support their ideas and solutions.

It is imperative for students to include within their paper and presentation varying points of view regarding the chosen topic. Students should use key evidence to support the argument. The paper must include a strong introduction, well-written body, and a thought-provoking conclusion.

Position Papers will be judged on content, research, ideas, critical thinking, language usage, and persuasive ability. The Presentation will be judged on content, research, ideas, critical thinking, language usage, persuasive ability, and the overall delivery of the presentation.


Competition Rules

  1. Each team shall have 3 members.
  2. The position paper must be submitted electronically 30 days in advance of the competition. Deadline: March 2, 2020. Submit to the Outreach Specialist, Lisa Yellow Luger, at or 1994 Program Lead, Lawrence Shorty, at
  3. A panel of judges will score each position paper at the end of March and will invite the top six papers to present team’s power point presentation during the conference.
  4. Each power point presentation must be between 20 and 30 minutes in length. Any presentation that is under 20 minutes or over 30 minutes will be automatically disqualified.
  5. Teams are encouraged to use appropriate graphs, charts, or other aids to support ideas in the presentation. Equipment will be provided using Windows version (PowerPoint 2010 or lower, etc).
  6. Teams must provide four hard copies of their position paper and printed presentation slides in a booklet format for the judges.
  7. All team members must be present at the time of presentation.
  8. Team awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd will be awarded during the Student Awards’ Banquet.