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Contest Rules

Contest Rules


International Students of Michigan 2015 Photo Contest begins September 15, 2015, and ends December 15, 2015, at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST). By submitting an entry, each contestant agrees to the rules of the contest and states that he or she is 18 years old or older.

Who may enter:

International students attending any of Michigan’s Colleges or Universities (must be non-immigrants).

Sponsors:  Grand Valley State University, Michigan Economic Development Corporation ("Pure Michigan")

What to enter:

The following three contest categories are drawn from subjects of special interest to residents of the State of Michigan:

Natural Michigan: Animals, plants and landscapes; geological or climatological features; and scientific processes and endeavors in Michigan.

Experience Michigan: Locales, peoples or activities in Michigan that convey a sense of place. Photographs that provide a sense of what it is like to live in Michigan.

Diverse Michigan: Individuals from all walks of life in Michigan. Events, objects or activities connecting Michigan people to their history or their cultural heritage.

To be eligible for any category, a photograph must have been shot by the entrant since January 1, 2013.

Cropped photos are eligible in all categories. We do not accept digitally or otherwise enhanced or altered photos. Minor adjustments, including spotting, dodging and burning, sharpening, contrast and slight color adjustment or the digital equivalents, are acceptable for all categories. If the judges determine that a photographer has altered his or her photo, they reserve the right to disqualify it.

For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a model release from the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian and provide it to Pure Michigan upon request. A sample release is available here

Similarly, entrants whose photos depict other people’s work (such as sculptures, statues, paintings, and other copyrightable works) may be need to obtain a release from the rights holder and provide it to Pure Michigan upon request. When photographing the work of others, it must be as an object in its environment and not a full-frame close-up of another person's creation. A sample release is available here

Photographs that have won any other contests are not eligible. We define winning as having won a grand prize or 1st, 2nd or 3rd place overall. Photos that violate or infringe upon another person's rights, including but not limited to copyright, are not eligible.

Photos that contain sexually explicit, nude, obscene, violent or other objectionable or inappropriate content, as determined by the Judges or Sponsors in its sole discretion, are ineligible for all categories of this contest.

How to enter:

Please submit photographs and requested information online through our website at We do not accept photographs submitted through the mail. Submit no more than fifteen (15) photographs per category. We do not accept more than one contestant per e-mail address.

High-quality scans of non-digital photographs are acceptable. Digital photographs should be taken at the highest resolution possible. Use the online entry form on our website. Complete a separate form for each photo submitted. Photographs must be in a .jpeg, .jpg or tiff format. Files submitted may not be larger than 10 MB. The finalists will be asked to submit a high-resolution file or an original negative, print or slide. Original negatives, prints or slides will be returned to finalists. We will collect the photograph’s metadata upon entry.

We reserve the right to disqualify incomplete entries and/or contestants who are unable to submit, upon request, a high-resolution photograph of at least 300 dpi at 3,000 pixels on the longest side or an original photo negative, print or slide.

You retain your rights to your photograph; however, by entering the contest, you grant Pure Michigan (and those authorized by Pure Michigan) a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to publicly display, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or later developed, for any Pure Michigan purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and promotion of the magazine and its website, exhibition, and commercial products, including but not limited to Pure Michigan publications. Any photograph reproduced will include a photographer credit as feasible. Pure Michigan will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.

Entry deadline:
The contest begins on September 15, 2015. All entries must be received through the website by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on December 15, 2015.


Photo entries will be judged based on creativity, quality, originality, responsiveness to the prompt, and overall impact, Judging will be conducted by a staff member of Pure Michigan, a member of the State of Michigan Congress, and a board member of the Michigan Association of International Educators. Four finalists per category will be recognized. One finalist from the public voting that will be from January 1 - January 31, 2016, and the other three in each category selected by the judges. Winning photographs will be announced in Spring 2016.

The finalists will be notified of their status by March 1, 2016. The finalists will be contacted via the contact information provided at the time of entry; we reserve the right to disqualify anyone who fails to respond to the notification within five business days.

Decisions of the judges will be final. Potential prize winners must meet all eligibility requirements and fully comply with these Official Rules. Judge's decisions as to numbers of votes for each Photo Entry (after excluding, in its discretion, any ineligible votes or other votes not compliant with these Official Rules) are final. 

Please do not contact us about the status of entries or judging.


Finalists will be recognized on April 7th at the Michigan Capitol Building.  Prize of Pure Michigan Apparel and a tour of the State of Michigan Capitol Building (approximate value of $100) will be awarded at that time. 

GENERAL RULES: The Contest is offered by Pure Michigan and Grand Valley State University, which are not responsible for (i) late, lost, delayed, damaged, postage-due, incomplete, illegible, misdirected or undeliverable entries, responses, or other correspondence, whether by e-mail or postal mail or otherwise; (ii) theft, destruction, unauthorized access to or alterations of entry materials; or (iii) phone, electrical, network, computer, hardware, software program or transmission malfunctions, failures or difficulties. By participating in the Contest, entrants further agree to waive, release, indemnify, defend and hold harmless Sponsors and their parent, affiliated companies and subsidiaries and their directors, officers, employees, sponsors and agents, including advertising and Contest agencies, and assigns, and any other organizations related to the Contest, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (together, the "Released Parties"), from and against, any claims, injuries (including death), loss, expenses or damages and/or liabilities of any nature that in any way arise in whole or in part from the acceptance, possession, use or enjoyment of a prize or parts thereof, participation in the Contest, or in any prize-related activity, including, without limitation, any (i) condition caused by events beyond Sponsor's control that may cause the Contest to be disrupted or corrupted, (ii) injuries, losses, or damages (compensatory, direct, incidental, consequential or otherwise) of any kind arising in connection with or as a result of the prize, or acceptance, possession, or use of the prize, or from participation in the Contest, (iii) printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Contest, or (iv) electronic, network or computer failures or malfunctions, or other hardware, software or technical errors of any kind, including any injury or damage to any person's computer related to, or resulting from, participation in the Contest or for other errors or difficulties of any kind whether human, mechanical, electronic, computer, network, typographical, printing or otherwise relating to or in connection with the Contest, including, without limitation, errors or difficulties which may occur in connection with the administration of the Contest. IN NO EVENT WILL SPONSOR BE LIABLE TO ENTRANTS FOR ANY DIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY, PUNITIVE OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOSS OF USE, DATA, BUSINESS OR PROFITS) ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH ENTRANTS' PARTICIPATION IN THE CONTEST, WHETHER SUCH LIABILITY ARISES FROM ANY CLAIM BASED UPON CONTRACT, WARRANTY, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHERWISE, AND WHETHER OR NOT SPONSOR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH LOSS OR DAMAGE. Some jurisdictions do not allow the limitation or exclusion of liability for incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you.


ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS: Except where prohibited, entrants consent to the use of his/her name, photo and/or likeness, biographical information, and entry materials for advertising and promotional purposes, including without limitation, inclusion in Sponsor's Pure Michigan Travel Guide magazine, newsletters, the Pure Michigan Facebook Page and Sponsor's homepage at, without additional compensation. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, modify or suspend the Contest in whole or in part, in the event of fraud, technical or other difficulties or if the integrity of the Contest is compromised, without liability to the entrant. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Contest; (ii) violates these Official Rules; or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsor's failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. The Contest is subject to these Official Rules and all applicable federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations apply. As stated above, the Contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law. By participating in the Contest, you acknowledge that you have read these Official Rules and agree to abide by them and by the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding on all matters pertaining to the Contest. These Official Rules are governed by the law of the State of Michigan, excluding rules governing choice of laws.


LAWSUITS: Any action, suit or case arising out of, or in connection with, this Contest or these Official Rules must be brought in the state or federal courts located in Michigan.


PERSONAL INFORMATION: Sponsor may collect personal data about entrants online, in accordance with its privacy policy and as may be more specifically set forth in these Official Rules. By participating in the Contest, entrants hereby agree to Sponsor's collection and use of their personal information and acknowledge that they have read and accepted Pure Michigan's privacy policy.


SPONSOR: The Sponsor of the Contest is Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI 49401 and Michigan Economic Development Corporation, 300 North Washington Square, Lansing, Michigan 48913.


BINDING AGREEMENT: In order to enter the Contest, you must agree to these Official Rules. Therefore, please read these Official Rules prior to entry to ensure you understand and agree. You agree that submission of a Photo Entry in the Contest constitutes agreement to these Official Rules. You may not submit a Photo Entry to the Contest and are not eligible to receive the prize described in these Official Rules unless you agree to these Official Rules. These Official Rules form a binding legal agreement between you and the contest sponsors for the purposes of this contest.