Fresh Voices: Composition at Cal Poly


Alex Vincent’s “Solve with Sustainability” develops an argument in support of a proposal or claim of policy. The question at issue here is of local concern, but the problem the writer defines carries significantly broader potential effects. The argument moves from a definition of the problem to feasible options for solution, including an example of such solutions at work elsewhere, followed by concession of the need for further research in the area, and, finally, detailed suggestions for implementation. Does that organizational pattern work effectively? Note how his evidence is drawn from both local campus resources and expert opinion. The essay begins and ends with a connection to the “big picture,” giving the reader necessary context and a reason to care.

Following Vincent’s essay you will find documents from his writing process. Compare the final draft to the first draft, prospectus, and outline to get a sense of how this paper grew from conception to execution through several stages of thoughtful revision. At the beginning, Vincent’s topic area was broad and global, but in the final draft, he addresses a topic of global concern by offering a detailed proposal for a local solution. His first draft lacks adequate development. Can you see where he expanded his argument from that draft to the outline and final paper? The cover letter submitted with the final revision comments on Vincent’s process during this project: the low point of finding himself “knee deep in 200+ page documents,” the helpful advice he received from the classmate who reviewed his essay, and the need to revise for his particular audience.