Posts Tagged 'Constitution Day'

2014 Constitution Day is September 17


In less than a month, colleges and universities across the country will commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.

Although educational institutions in the United States that receive federal funding must observe Constitution Day, the real reason we celebrate it is to memorialize the creation of our democracy. What was penned in this document has been fought for and protected by courageous men and women decade after decade, and it has inspired countries around the world to draft similar documents. Together, we continuously work to forge a more perfect union.

This annual holiday is a day to pause and reflect on the birth of our democracy.

And this post is a reminder that Constitution Day is coming up on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

If you need a little inspiration and want to read what some of your ADP colleagues did last year to commemorate Constitution Day, check out this blog entry or this one.

If you are in need of resources, please visit our ADP resource page on Constitution Day.

And finally, if you already know what you are doing, we would love to hear about it. Please take just a moment to fill out this short survey about your plans. With this information, we will create a summary of 2014 Constitution Day activities and events to share with ADP participants and friends. Your response will be an invaluable contribution.

Highlights from a Month Ago Today (i.e., Constitution Day 2013)

A month ago today, we celebrated Constitution Day, and we wanted to take a moment to share with you a couple of cool things from our campuses, as well as what the National Constitution Center was up to.

Florida Gulf Coast University, sent us this video, highlighting one of its Constitution Day events.

And, The College at Brockport held an ADP-sponsored on-campus Naturalization Ceremony; for more information and pictures of the event, click here.

The National Constitution Center (who you should totally follow on Instagram at @constitutionctr) hosted a photo contest that invited people to share their photos of what being an active citizen means to them using #NCCActiveCitizen on Instagram and Twitter, Some pretty cool pics resulted; be sure to check them out.

What ADP Campuses Do on Constitution Day

At the end of August, we emailed our ADP campus coordinators to inquire how their campuses were celebrating Constitution Day (which is tomorrow by the way), and today, we bring you some of the results.

2013 Constitution Day Query Results

What we wanted to know:

  1. What plans does your campus have to celebrate and/or educate students this Constitution Day?
  2. What goals and/or learning outcomes do you have for your planned Constitution Day programming?
  3. Who or what organization on your campus is responsible for planning and implementing Constitution Day celebrations or educational events/programs? What other campus organizations/departments are involved or consulted?
  4. What resources do you plan to use (campus, community, or national) for Constitution Day activities and events?
  5. Website related to Constitution Day (if there is one) and fliers, agendas, or additional materials

@ Missouri State:

  1. We will have David Mercer, First Assistant Federal Defender for the Western District of Missouri, who will speak in a public forum titled “Gideon v. Wainwright: Legal Issues and the Right to Counsel.”  We will also be posting “Fascinating Constitution Facts” hourly  throughout the day on our Facebook and university webpage.  These will include a constitution quiz, as well as the facts.  We will also be conducting a voter registration drive throughout the week, encouraging students to register to vote and exercise their constitutional rights.  Constitution Day is always a part of our Annual Public Affairs Week– a week of activity developed by students for students.
  2. For our students to understand and participate actively in exercising their constitutional rights
  3. The Office of Public Affairs Support is ultimately in charge of the celebration.  We work in collaboration with our Office of Student Engagement.
  4. We have used resources provided by the ADP.  We also are working together with the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, which is sponsoring and hosting our speaker.
  5.; interesting facts and the quiz will be located on our Facebook Page Public Affairs at Missouri State University

@ Metropolitan State University of Denver:

  1. Metropolitan State University of Denver will celebrate Constitution Day by hosting a public educational forum featuring a member of the history department faculty, a representative from the ACLU and Mark Ferrandino, Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives.
  2. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the history of religious liberty, from what the founders originally envisioned to how the issues play out today with respect to church, state and lawmaking, .
  3. The history department at MSU Denver has collaborated with the Community College of Denver and the University of Colorado Denver to organize our Constitution Day event.
  4. We will be using campus facilities for Constitution Day activities.

@ Illinois State University:

  1. We have planned an event featuring U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey who will be discussing “The Constitutional Law of Mandatory Minimum Federal Sentences: How Congress has Diminished Judicial Discretion in Sentencing.”
  2. We hope to engage students in a discussion about  the role of each branch of government in federal sentencing and about the larger question of separation of powers.
  3. The American Democracy Project leadership team at Illinois State University is responsible for planning this Constitution Day event. The Office of the Provost is also very involved in the planning process.
  4. We plan to use campus resources for this event.

@ St. Cloud State University:

  1. Our ADP is sponsoring two tables in the student union mall area, in which social studies majors will be conducting a survey of students knowledge of the Constitution and a brief competition.  We have patriotic pins, bracelets, pens, necklaces and pocket constitutions etc. to give to all who participate.
  2. We want to see what the average student on our campus knows about the U.S. Constitution and will print our findings in the school paper.  If the numbers are low, we plan on lobbying the administration for more civic education courses/programs.
  3. The School of Public Affairs, our ADP and the Social Studies Education Program
  4. All resources will come from our own campus.

@ University of Minnesota Duluth:

  1. We are passing out pocket constitutions to students while dressed in colonial-era clothing.  We have a booth for people to register to vote.  We are hosting a panel discussion featuring politicians and other public figures to look at the issue of voter ID laws in order to help students and community members gain a well-rounded perspective on the issue.
  2. We hope that our events, especially the panel, will help to educate our community about the issue of voter ID laws. We hope that by presenting all sides of the issue, attendees will be able to make informed decisions. We hope that this panel will help our community members become more engaged in the political process, and we hope that this will help to create dialogue about the issue on campus and in the community.
  3. Office of Civic Engagement  Center for Ethics and Public Policy  Minnesota Public Interest Research Group
  4. Departmental Funds, Campus Facilities

@ University of Missouri – St. Louis:

  1. Our campus will discuss student activism on college campuses and how use of First Amendment rights is changing with the introduction of varying types of technology and emerging social media opportunities.
  2. Our goal is to connect current students with faculty, students and alumni who have been or are currently involved in some form of community or political activism and discuss the importance of engagement with one’s government processes in order to make an impact in the immediate community and beyond. We will also provide small-group discussion opportunities so that participants may network with others.
  3. Department of Political Science, Office of Community Outreach & Engagement, Volunteer Services, Office of Student Life, Department of Public Policy Administration
  4. Campus and community

@ Kennesaw State University:

  1. We have Constitution Week for the seventh year in a row. Our theme this year is Sustainability. We will be have three experts
  2. Understanding of Sustainability issues such as GMO’s, city planning, resource allocations, hunger, food shortage and community organizing
  3. KSU American Democracy Project, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Institute of Responsible Technology, KSU Department of Sustainability, Morehouse College School of Medicine

@ California University of Pennsylvania:

  1. General Colin Powell is the keynote speaker at the  Pittsburgh Leadership & Diversity Conference, which is being held on Septemebr 19 at Cal U.   Constitution Day is a tribute to Gen. Powell’s leadership.
  2. Constitution Day will educate students about the duties and responsibilities of presidential appointees, specifically the office of secretary of state and chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The primary focus will be on Gen. Powell’s leadership in both pubic and private life.
  3. The following offices and programs are involved in the planning of this year’s Constitution Day:  the American Democracy Project, the Linda and Harry Serene Leadership Institute, the Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs, the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of History & Political Science and the Department of Justice, Law & Society.
  4. Campus facilities will be used.
  5. The event is posted on the ADP website  Next week, it will appear on the Cal U homepage carousel and a press release will be issued.

@ Ferris State University

  1. Ferris State University is conducting a panel discussion on the First Amendment freedom of freedom of speech.
  2. 1). Students learn the meaning of freedom of speech  2). Students learn the challenges for protecting this freedom  3). Students learn the importance of protecting this freedom
  3. The Ferris State University American Democracy Project and Political Engagement Project
  4. 1). Ferris campus facilities  2). Ferris informational media  3). University educational experts

@ Florida Gulf Coast University:

  1. Conversations on the Constitution: Voting Rights Act Reconsidered (Panel discussion and dialogue of how the SCOTUS decision impacts FL), and the  SGA will pass out pocket constitutions
  2. De-mystify basic constitutional principles, encourage students to consider the constitutional significance of the recent SCOTUS decision relating to the VRA of 1965
  3. Office of Undergraduate Studies  &  Interdisciplinary Studies
  4. Campus

@ Middle Tennessee University

  1. SCALES – Tenn, Supreme Court Advancing Legal Education  – is coming to MTSU, holding court on campus, hearing three supreme court cases. All briefs are posted to the ADP MTSU website for students and faculty. Classes are studying the issues with members of the Tenn. Bar Assn. in preparation for court. The arguing attorneys will debrief the students after the hearing. Students will meet the Supreme Court justices over lunch and at the end of the day.  2. Read-aloud Constitution readings in every college.  3. Campus-wide debate on immigration issues that night.   4. Voter registration all over campus that day and on 9/24, in conjunction with LWV, Tenn. Citizen Action, and campus student orgs.
  2. Knowledge, visibility
  3. ADP, all deans of all the colleges, Forensics Team, College Dems and Raider Repubs, Provost’s Office, Center for Historic Preservation, the university lawyer-faculty from every college and EXL faculty
  4. Campus + community

@ Weber State University:

  1. We are planning a week of activities:

    • September 16 – Voter registration booth
    • September 17 – Birthday Cake and handing out constitutions
    • September 18 – video presentation of student knowledge of the Constitution (based on a kind of Jay-walking)
    • September 19 – NYT reporter Brian Stelter will be on campus presenting on Social Media’s Impact on Governments 
    • September 20 – Senator Mike Lee will be coming to speak to students

  2. Increase awareness of the Constitution and its part in our history.
  3. American Democracy Project; co-hosting with the NYT for our Reporter and the Olene Walker Institute for Senator Mike Lee
  4. National, campus and statewide.

Additionally, we hear that there is a Constitution Day essay contest in the works at the University of North Georgia, and we have agreed to host the winning essay on our blog, so be sure to stay tuned for that.

With that, we wish you all a very happy (and for Colorado, a very dry) Constitution Day tomorrow! And, if you’re wearing colonial-era clothing, please send us pics (to Stephanie at; in fact, please just send us cool Constitution Day photos in general.



This Tuesday Is Constitution Day 2013

Are you ready?

Have you looked at our resources?

  • More information can be found on our ADP page dedicated to Constitution day; to visit that page, click here.
  • Ideas for campus programming gleaned from years past can be found on our ADP blog; to visit the blog, click here.

If you’re an ADP Campus Coordinator, have you told us what’s happening on your campus?

If not, please fill out the survey here.

It’s Coming…Constitution Day 2013

On Tuesday, September 17, 2013, we will be celebrating Constitution Day, which commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by the 39 Founding Fathers on Sept. 17, 1787.

With the semester underway and the date rapidly approaching, we wanted to both remind you of the date and offer some resources that may be of use to you in your planning process.

  • More information can be found on our ADP page dedicated to Constitution day; to visit that page, click here.
  • Ideas for campus programming gleaned from years past can be found on our ADP blog; to visit the blog, click here.

ADP Campus Coordinators, please be on the lookout for a survey from ADP National later today  regarding your plans for this Constitution Day.

Campus Spotlight: UCO’s Constitution Week Programming 2012

University of Central Oklahoma: Constitution Week Programming: September 17-21, 28, 2012

By Mary Carver, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mass Communication and Leadership and Civic Engagement, Susan Scott, Ed.D., Professor of Educational Sciences, Foundations, and Research and American Democracy Project Student Organization Faculty Sponsor, and Emily Griffin Overocker, Director of Transfer Student Support and Co-Chair of the Naturalization Ceremony Committee

Constitution Week activities hosted by the American Democracy Project and Academic Affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma included a variety of activities which involved students, faculty, staff and the Oklahoma City community. It was a memorable week in big and small ways.

UCO Voter Registration Contest

UCO Voter Registration Contest

On Constitution Day we kicked off a voter registration drive. Each year Oklahoma Campus Compact sponsors a voter registration contest for universities across the state. Schools compete to see who can register the highest percentage of voters, with awards given in the small, medium and large school divisions. Efforts throughout the campus resulted in the registration of 1060 voters, 7.9 percent of the student body.

Students, faculty and staff came together to promote and assist with the voter registration drive.  The UCO American Democracy Project coordinated with students in the Leadership and Civic Engagement course, Pi Sigma Alpha (the political science honor society), Success Central courses, U.S. history courses, the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, the Women’s Outreach Center, Alpha Phi Alpha and Greek Life, Max Chambers Library, University Relations, the Wellness Center, Central 360 student TV station, The Vista student newspaper, and student housing to make the week a success. Students, staff and faculty worked together across campus to ensure as many people as possible were reached. It was amazing to see so many different people in different departments, colleges and areas of campus come together to be involved in this one goal.

As UCO student, Jerrah explained, “Helping with the voter registration drive on UCO’s campus was an experience that enabled me to truly understand the impact of holding other students accountable for their civic involvement as citizens of such a blessed nation. The fact that we won shows how much UCO students care about their communities and the decisions that impact them: living Central means engaging in and caring about our communities and their leaders!” Our efforts paid off, as UCO won the Oklahoma Campus Compact voter registration contest large school division for a third year in a row. More importantly, a thousand more Oklahomans will be more likely to vote in November.

Constitution Week celebrations ended with 118 individuals from thirty-three countries taking the Oath of Allegiance at the University of Central Oklahoma. The event had multiple components, all designed to recognize and honor our newest citizens. Four federal judges, Chief Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange, Judge David L Russell, Judge Stephen P.Friot, and Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti from the US District Court, Western District of Oklahoma presided over the court. President Don Betz delivered a welcome that included the central role of civic engagement, global citizenship and responsibility, and the American Democracy Project on campus.

The Citizenship and Immigration Services presented the 118 applicants to the court for citizenship and Court Clerk Robert Dennis administered the Oath of Allegiance to their new country. In a moving show of allegiance, the applicants stood and recited the oath as it was written on their programs. To hear their voices as they renounced their former countries of origin could only cause pause to those of us who are born U.S. citizens as we contemplated the serious and life changing moment.

Students at the University of Central Oklahoma participated in the naturalization ceremony in several ways. Our ultimate goal was

US Courts, Western District of Oklahoma 2

US Courts, Western District of Oklahoma 2

to provide a transformative learning experience for our students, while honoring our new citizens through service learning. This was accomplished several ways. First a small Citizenship Fair was set up and information related to the students’ programs were provided to our new citizens and their families.

Two courses created projects for the new citizens. One course, a computer class, designed buttons for the new citizens to wear. The other course designed a personalized souvenir notecard and the students wrote welcome notes to each new citizen. Members of the class hand delivered the notecards. Corrie, one of the students who wrote a card said, “I hoped to make the new citizens feel welcome and accepted when they read our cards. I also wanted to show them that they should be very proud of their accomplishment.”

Finally, one of the UCO leadership courses volunteered to serve as hosts and helpers from the beginning to the end. They took great effort to serve the new citizens and their families in so many ways including helping them register to vote. They personally went to each new citizen and provided them with voter registration information. Their friendly faces helped the new citizens feel welcomed and honored. One student, Amber said, “It was so unique to see new citizens so excited about their citizenship and so thrilled to get to vote in this year’s election.”

Karla Dougherty, new citizen

The naturalization ceremony was well attended by the UCO community. Sarah, UCO student said, “Watching the ceremony made me feel really thankful that I was born in America, so I naturally have my citizenship.  I realized that so many people work very hard to become citizens of this country. I feel very blessed.”  (Watch ceremony here.) She goes on to share why she felt hosting a naturalization ceremony at our university is important, “Students at a university are learning, not only to expand their scholarly knowledge, but to expand their views on the world as well. The world is a very complex place with so many different types of people.  Seeing a naturalization ceremony is a good way to for students to witness the diversity that makes up our great country.”

As we prepared for the naturalization ceremony many of the students took time to understand the arduous and costly process. It also provided a time for self-reflection where one considered their own citizenship. At the same time, one new citizen, Aura, shared that the experience was professional and touching. She also went on to say that her new U. S. citizenship provides stability and a great place to raise her son. Those of us born in the United States and who attend UCO were given a rare glimpse of the journey to naturalized citizenship through the stories and faces of those who take on this quest. It was transformative, not only for the new citizens, but for those of us who participated in the naturalization ceremony with them.

To learn more about ADP at UCO, go here.

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