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ADP in the News | September 24th Edition

By Caitlin Reilly, Program Associate, American Democracy Project 

ADP in the News is a compilation of brief updates about American Democracy Project activities at ADP colleges and universities and is a semi-regular news feature on our blog. Below you will find the latest edition of this series.

If you have an ADP event you’d like posted in this format, please email


From Indiana State University:

  • Indiana State’s American Democracy Project to Host Congressional Candidate Forum On September 18, 2014 the American Democracy Project hosted a forum for the 8th District congressional candidates. Read more here.
  • Democracy Project to Show 9/11 Film The American Democracy Project hosted a screening of the documentary “102 Minutes that Changed America” in commemoration of September 11, 2001. Read more here.


Weber State University (Utah) Debates Same-Sex Marriage as Part of Constitution Week

As a part of their Constitution Week celebration, the American Democracy Project at Weber State hosted a debate on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. Read more here.


President Hynes First Recipient of Gene Hatfield Annual Service Award

Clayton State University (Ga.) has created the Gene Hatfield Annual Service Award in honor of former history professor and American Democracy Project director, Gene Hatfield. Clayton’s president, Tim Hynes is the first recipient of the award. Read more here.


Northern Arizona University

To commemorate Constitution Day, Northern Arizona University (NAU) sponsored Project Civil Discourse conversations in two locations, Flagstaff and Sedona. Project Civil Discourse is a statewide consortium of civil discourse organizations. On September 18 communities discussed two ballot propositions, one which addresses therapies available to terminally-ill patients (Proposition 303), and another which addresses state sovereignty (Proposition 122).

NAU also organized a post-primary candidate forum for city council and mayoral candidates in Flagstaff. Students had an opportunity to meet with candidates in small groups and ask them questions. Representatives from the Friends of Flagstaff’s Future talked to students about the importance of voting in the November election. Read more here.


University of Missouri – St. Louis

UMSL organized a series of events to celebrate Constitution Day – including a speech competition, a screening and discussion of the documentary “Restrepo,” a lecture on American military power and paintings by UMSL students. You can read more about these events here and here.



Constitution Day 2014

By Caitlin Reilly, Program Associate, The American Democracy Project

Every year American Democracy Project campuses across the country celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. Constitution Day falls on September 17th each year, and this year we are celebrating the 227th anniversary of the document’s signing.

Here are some of the activities planned on ADP campuses. Don’t forget to share your own plans in the comment section!

California State University, Sacramento has planned a full week of activities, including a Constitution Quiz Bowl contest that rewards students’ constitution knowledge with prizes.  For more information, check out their website.

Emporia State University (Kan.) has partnered up with the social science faculty. Together they are building on what it has done in previous years and have invited high school students to campus to work with faculty and students for the day. Last year they had participants come from as far away at 300 miles.

Ferris State University (Mich.) has teamed up with the College Democrats, College Republicans and the Young Americans for Liberty to hand out pocket Constitutions to students. They will also have laptops available for students to register to vote through AASCU partner TurboVote.  To learn more about Ferris State’s Constitution Day activities, visit their website. For more ideas on how to implement TurboVote visit their implementation blog.

Fort Hays State University (Kan.) would like to make students more familiar with the Bill of Rights. Accordingly, they will be passing out pocket Constitutions and encouraging students to make buttons displaying their favorite amendments.

Georgia College has planned two panels, a radio show, a lecture and a Times Talk discussion, in order to educate students on the three branches of government, constitutional rights and the role of federal judiciary review, and discussing diversity in American jurisprudence and public policy.  To learn more, please visit their website.

Illinois State University has planned a panel discussion called, “Have Americans Lost the Right to Counsel?” The discussion will engage students about the right to legal counsel and due process, as well as the challenges of guaranteeing this constitutional right.

Indiana State University has planned a Pizza and Politics Discussion on the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Keene State College (N.H.) has asked the author of The Last of the Doughboys, Richard Rubin to give a talk on campus. Learn more here.

Kennesaw State University has a week full of activities planned. Activities include a voting drive, featuring TurboVote, and talks about hunger and urban agriculture. Learn more here.

Metropolitan State University (Minn.) has asked students, faculty and staff to wear “We the People” t-shirts all day on the 17th.  They have also distributed free Constitution booklets and plan to host a screening of the documentary, North Star: Minnesota’s Black Pioneers.

Metropolitan State University of Denver (Col.) will hold a public forum, to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

Minot State University (N.D.) plans to engage students in a discussion on important civic issues and how to vote in November, through a Free Speech Plaza and by distributing information on the voting process.

Missouri State University has a number of things planned, including a presentation from author and speaker Mike Dilbeck, a screening of the documentary Invisible War, a patriotic song recital and a Constitutional trivia night.  They will also set up TurboVote registration tables across campus throughout the week, where students can register to vote, obtain absentee ballots and get text or email reminders via the TurboVote and university co-branded website (learn more about TurboVote here).  They will also release constitutional facts and quizzes hourly via their social media sites. Learn more on their website.

Northwestern State University (La.) plans to host a voting registration drive and a special presentation on Native American civil rights.

Ramapo College of New Jersey plans to honor the day with visits from New Jersey state senate president, Steve Sweeney, state senate majority leader, Loretta Weinber, and former governor Jim Florio. The campus will also serve Constitution Day birthday cake, hold a TurboVote sign up and receive a visit from “Ben Franklin” at their club fair.

St. Cloud State University (Minn.) will host a trivia event and an evening celebration in honor of the day. Learn more here.

Stephen F. Austin State University (Texas) will host a forum called, “Is the Constitution in Crisis?” They will also erect a Democracy Wall with questions aimed at sparking comment and debate among students, faculty and staff.

SUNY Cortland will host its annual Constitution Day lecture; this year’s is “The Constituting Constitution and How to Reconstitute It.”

The College at Brockport (SUNY) hopes to demonstrate the value of American citizenship by hosting an on-campus naturalization ceremony, with 60 to 70 of people who are soon to be America’s newest citizens.

The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey has several activities planned, including national speakers, films, dialogues and a visit to the National Constitution Center. National Public Radio’s legal correspondent Nina Totenberg will be their keynote speaker.  Learn more on their website.

University of Missouri – St. Louis plans to offer special menu options in the cafeteria, along with a music and spoken word program. Students can also participate by sharing what “We the People” means to them through the six-word project.

Washington State University Vancouver has planned to table on the quad, where they will offer cupcake decorating, a constitutional quiz, pocket Constitutions, a banned book exhibit, voter registration opportunities and an “Ask a Constitutional Scholar” booth.

Weber State University (Utah) has a whole week of events planned, beginning with First Amendment Day on Monday.  The campus will also host Kevin Quealy form The New York Times, and hold a constitutional debate on same sex marriage and a Constitution Quiz Show.

West Texas A&M University has set up a Constitution Day at the campus museum, which they have opened to K-12 students. They plan to close the day with a naturalization ceremony. Learn more on their website.

Western Carolina University (N.C.) plans to hand out copies of the Constitution and host a panel discussing the national and state constitutions. Learn more here.

Winona State University (Minn.) has invited Richard Arenberg, author of Defending the Filibuster, to launch their Lyceum series with a talk.

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.


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